Saturday, 15 August 2015

Game, set match: taking in a Wimbledon game

Dateline: July 10, 2015
Place: The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (Wimbledon Championships)
Time: 6:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Temperature: 27° C
Song of the day: Anyone for Tennis? by Cream

Wimbledon was definitely on the my "to do" list for London this summer ... but the idea of getting in "The Queue" was not so appealing until MaryRodgers Beal, a classmate, said, "Anyone want to go to Wimbledon?" I said, "Yes!"  

MaryRodgers (left) figured out how to get there (easy train west from Waterloo) and we left this morning at 6:30 a.m. Walking from the train station to the tennis grounds, we began to catch tennis fever. 

Today is the day that Andy Murray plays Roger Federer (spoiler: the game doesn't work out as he plans).

There are flags on many lamp posts throughout town
bearing the Wimbledon standard ... 

we know we're in the right place (Google Maps)!

Hopes are high that Andy will advance to the second round and
fan fever is high (left).
Wimbledon is a lovely community ... and posh (right)!

If you don't have pots of money for tickets (over $1000 for good ones), then your only option is to join "The Queue" so that's what we did--it's so popular with the masses, there is even an online "how to" guide.

There were approximately 2,200 people in the queue with us ...
the previous Friday there had been about 10,000.
This is an amazing experience... we're part of a human snake of a line that beings in a big open field that can hold thousands of people, and continues through archways and past amusements on our way to security and the ticket wicket where we pay our £15 for a seat at any match except a main event, unless we want to pay £35. This is the ultimate temptation of the queue--sometimes seats are still left for "good" games but you don't know until you make it to the ticket

We are issued a queue ticket and a guide book ... but still need to buy
the pass to get into the grounds. Cash only! The tennis ball sculpture?
Clearly waiting in line is a bore so we need entertaining.
Standing behind a row of 10 bobbies, we wait for the official opening and when it comes, everyone is like lemmings to the sea as we rush to get a seat at one of the other games.
MaryRogers and I take the men's doubles invitationals:

Jamie Baker (UK) and Frabrice Santoro (France)
Fernando Gonz├ález (Chile) and Albert Costa (Spain)

Gonzàlez (far left), Costa (near left) and
Santoro (near right) and Baker (far right)
Eating our strawberries and cream, of course and MaryRodgers helps me remember that players have to win sets (best out of 6 games), then matches and then the game ... it's been a long time since tennis lessons! 
My one and only bowl of strawberries and cream
while I was away ... too busy eating cream teas!
And I have never seen so many folks around a court, not playing tennis ... linespeople, ball catchers ... whew! So serious, more serious than the tennis players who are just having a good time in the sunshine!
Martin (left) and me, takes 1 and 2 ... his idea!
An obliging firefighter joins me for a photo and suggests swapping hats. It's been a lovely, lovely morning and I am so glad I made the trek that I call Ian from the train station platform going back to London.

Google Maps. (2015). [Wimbledon Tramtrack Stop to All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club]. Retrieved from,+Church+Road,+London,+UK/Wimbledon+Tramlink+Stop,+United+Kingdom/@51.4272831,-0.2226286,15z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x48760f345b43f485:0xcee40a1e57bb6a74!2m2!1d-0.2144883!2d51.4342911!1m5!1m1!1s0x487608b74564fba3:0x22621fbdfebb4dda!2m2!1d-0.20579!2d51.42105!3e2

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