Wimbledon 2012, a set on Flickr.
Well, as I posted last week, I went to Wimbledon on Tuesday.
It was a great day – we were lucky with the weather, only a couple of brief showers and it was gloriously sunny in the morning. I even got sunburn where I hadn’t put enough cream on!
I was sharing a hostel room in Earl’s Court with one friend and we met the third member of our party, who lives in London, on arrival. We had a late dinner and made a plan of action for the next day.
I don’t think either of us slept too well as the hostel was very hot and we had to be up at 5.30! We met our third member at Earl’s Court tube and together we caught the first District Line train of the day down to Southfields. From there it was about a 15 minute walk following the crowds to the back of the queue in Wimbledon Park.
On arrival we were handed a queue card showing our positions – around 2100 in the queue, behind those who’d camped overnight. The queue was long but not as dull as you might expect. I managed to buy a Daily Telegraph with a large chocolate bar and a picnic blanket for £3 so at least we had something to sit on.
As we got nearer the grounds at around 9am the queue started moving faster. Once you get through the All England Club gates (though you seem to still be in the park) the Championships sponsors had stalls and were giving away free drinks and the like.
Soon enough we were going through security (body scanners and x-ray scanners for bags) and bought our grounds tickets at the turnstile. £20 for a full day of tennis is great value, even if it does restrict you to the outside courts.
We’d decided to go in the first week as it meant that there would be plenty of top players in action on the outside courts. First of all we headed to see Mardy Fish, the men’s tenth seed, on court 12. First we had to wait penned up near the entrance for the grounds to open properly but once they did we eventually found court 12 and bagged 3 seats.
There was another hour to wait before the match started but when it got going it didn’t disappoint! We had great views, only one row back from the action and although it was a Fish victory in straight sets, two of them went to tie-breaks.
After that we decided to head to the Ticket Resale Booth. Anyone leaving the show courts can hand in their ticket and it is resold at a small charge with the profits going to charity. It’s a great way of keeping seats filled and letting more fans in to see the title contenders.
We must have queued for another two hours here but it overlooked Court 18 so we could pop up and check the score on the match there – Elena Baltacha, one of the top ranked British women, was playing. It was also near Henman Hill so there was plenty going on. As we waited we had some strawberries and cream. You have to really! They were absolutely delicious and not as extortionately priced as you might expect! £2.50 per portion.
We would have liked Centre Court tickets as Andy Murray was playing but most of the returns were in pairs not threes and we reasoned that most people would be hoping for Centre, so when three Court 1 tickets became available we decided to go for those.
We had 2 seats in row D and 1 in Row U. After picking at random I was pleased to end up with Row D! On arrival at Court 1 we just missed the start of the match which meant we had to wait for the first changeover to find our seats. The match was Victoria Azarenka, a title contender, vs Irina Falconi. Azarenka struggled in the first game and the second set was tighter than the first but she won fairly comfortably.
Then it was Jamie Baker, a Brit, vs Andy Roddick, who has been a Wimbledon finalist twice, I believe.
I’d never seen Baker play before but he played extremely well, only losing the first set in a tiebreak. It was great to be part of a large crowd cheering on a British player!
Partway through the second set it started raining and we knew it was extremely unlikely that play would resume as it was getting dark. We also heard Andy Roddick saying to a line judge “It’s spitting, and it’s dark. I’m not going to get hurt out here” and complaining that the match hadn’t been suspended yet. Then it started raining properly and the decision was made!
We got some food and the announcement was made that play wouldn’t continue. It was a fantastic day. Though I could have done with more tennis and less queuing, getting Court 1 tickets was absolutely the right decision. The day as a whole was marred only by the travel problems on the way home which meant getting an even later train from another station and not getting home until nearly 2am!
Another thing to cross off my Bucket List!