Strictly’s Annabel Croft admits ‘terrifying’ dancing makes her ‘physically sick’

It Takes Two: Annabel Croft never thought she’d get a 10

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Annabel Croft described how she found performing “terrifying” ahead of reaching the semi-finals of the popular BBC show. The former tennis champion, 57, has enchanted audiences with effortlessly elegant moves alongside professional partner Johannes Radebe, 36.

However, in an interview with MailOnline, Annabel revealed she was often in pieces behind the scenes, but felt she had to do her Strictly stint justice “for Mel”. Annabel suffered the devastating loss of her husband Mel Coleman back in May.

Mel’s death came as a huge shock to his family, as it happened just 16 weeks after the healthy former round-the-world yachtsman was diagnosed with colon cancer. Discussing her husband’s sudden and unexpected diagnosis a few weeks ago, she told the publication: “It’s unthinkable.

“How can someone disappear in three months?” she asked. “We didn’t even know he was ill.”

Recalling the moment she had been called up for Strictly, Annabel admitted she took up the challenge in memory of Mel. Her success in the competition has come in spite of her feeling “physically sick” on the dance floor.

READ MORE: Strictly star Annabel Croft’s fate sealed with ‘disadvantage’, pro claims

Annabel said: “He had been so proud when they asked me. I had to do it for him, really, and actually, it helped.

“I’d be crying in the members’ enclosure, but then I’d walk out and . . . focus. It was a relief, to be honest. It rested my brain from the grief.

“I find the performing terrifying. I feel physically sick, but the effort involved means your brain doesn’t have room for anything else.

She added: “It’s bringing joy, or at least a glimmer of it, back into my life. I’m still crying every day, really, but in the last few weeks I’ve got home once or twice and realised: ‘I haven’t blubbed today yet.’”

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Before taking part in Strictly this year, Annabel described her demanding rehearsals that left her feeling like she was “on a roller coaster” in an interview with

The sports broadcaster, who was the youngest British tennis player to compete at Wimbledon for almost a century, branded her introduction to Strictly “terrifying yet exhilarating”.

“It’s a bit like a roller coaster ride,” she admitted at the time. “I mean, it’s like just being thrown onto a roller coaster and just taking off and trying to keep up.”

Performing alongside Annabel and Johannes in tonight’s semi-finals are: Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola, Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, and Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell.

Strictly Come Dancing returns this Saturday at 7.35pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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