Saturday, 6 July 2013

Wimbledon Tennis

I'm not hugely into the tennis, but since my sister and the boy both are, I end up watching a fair amount of it on the TV. And like most people, my favourite grand slam is Wimbledon. Because although, to me, the tennis is all the same, the pomp and tradition of Wimbledon make it something special. I love perfectly co-ordinated umpires and a refusal to have advertising. Going to see the tennis at Wimbledon is one of those things I've been meaning to do since I moved to London but have never gotten around to.

So this year I finally decided to do it and me and my sister went on the 2nd July. We didn't have tickets so we had to queue up on the morning. Another great thing about Wimbledon is that they hold back 500 tickets for each day fir people to buy in the day. I felt a bit like we were winging it and didn't entirely know what to expect so I've written a guide to my experience.

We had to get the train at 6am and were at Southfields by 6.30. Then we walked to the All England Tennis Club to begin queueing. And my god, it was the best queue process ever and I've been in quite a few queues.

Everyone talks about all the rules in place but really it just makes queueing so much easier. First of all we queued up in long lines in a field. You will be just sitting in the same spot for quite a while so you can spread out your blanket and have some picnic. Someone will come also and give you a guide to queueing and a ticket with a number on. Once you have that you can leave the queue and rejoin in the same spot, as long as someone holds your place. I didn't realise that you needed cash to buy tickets, so I had to walk back to Southfields to go to the cash point but I didn't loose my place in the queue. Once the queue starts moving we were split into 2 queues, one for people who just want grounds tickets (which means you can sit in the unreserved courts and on Murray Mound) and one for people who wanted tickets for courts  one and two and centre court. There were tickets available for all courts but since centre court tickets are £100 each, we opted for court 2 tickets at £38 each. You are given a wristband in the queue that says what you are queue for and what number you are. Then you queue for a bit more to pass through security, which was pretty standard for any event (we were telling two Americans in the queue about our escapades with security at the Olympics) and then you queue to buy tickets. All of the stewards are very friendly and helpful.

Then once you have your ticket, you're in! I think a grounds ticket is well worth it if you don't want to buy a more expensive ticket as its like being at a festival. Everyone is friendly and chatting and there's a great atmosphere. All of the foliage is green and purple and there's a really nice area to sit and have some drinks. There are over-priced souvenir shops (We bought postcards, some of which were hilarious, I chose one of all the umbrellas up in the crowd because its pissing it down.) and places to buy food and drink as well as a newsagents (?) and a pharmacy!

A word on the food, another great thing about Wimbledon is that you aren't at all discouraged from bringing your own food and drink and being forced to buy the overpriced food there. £7.50 for a cup of pimms? I don't think so! Although the strawberries and cream were not the rip off I was expecting at £2.50 for a little bowlful. Since I had been expecting a major rip off on the food front, I had packed a lovely picnic which me and my sister ate on Murray mound, watching the big screen. We both agreed that, as sad as it is to admit, this was one of those moments which was actually how we had pictured living in London to be.

I wasn't sure if Wimbledon was one of those things you were supposed to dress up for as some people on TV look really nice and others are in jeans and a tee. I opted to wear my new monsoon dress  and leopard print cardi (which deserve a post of their own) and plimsolls as I had read that comfy shoes were a must.

We went to our court, which is much smaller in real life and sat on the baseline, which my sister chose so it would look like on TV. She got very excited that she recognised the umpire from the TV (I told you she was into the tennis) I got quite into things and I got to see all my favourite things from the TV, like clapping when it goes to hawk-eye and ball children walking about in formation. 

In the afternoon play was stopped for a couple of hours due to rain, but that just meant I got to see the children in green pulling out the rain covers and putting them back again. 

All in all I had a great day and I'm definitely applying for tickets in the ballot for next year. Did you go to Wimbledon at all? Are you thinking of going next year?


Hips Like Cinderella said...

Looks like you had such a great day! I'd love to go. It's on my London to-do list! X

Nadia said...

It's been on my list for ages too, along with go to lates at the zoo. so glad i finally did it. maybe I should do a post on my london to do list...

Magical Daydream said...

Sound like a fun thing to experience one time :)

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