For the second year running I was lucky enough to be able to travel up to London to watch Wimbledon, not just once but twice in a matter of 3 days. This was due to winning tickets in the ballot for Court 2 on the second Monday whilst I had already arranged to queue up with a group of friends the Saturday morning before. Both days were superb despite the weather, and there was some great tennis to be seen across the days. First of, I will describe the first trip which involved queuing up with friends in the early hours of Saturday morning.
After waking up to an alarm at 3:30am, we travelled to Wimbledon via a train and a couple of tubes to eventually reach the queue at around 6:30am. After 4 1/2 hours in the queue we arrived into the grounds just before play started on the outside courts at half 11, with rain welcoming our arrival. We had decided to try to get onto Court 17 to watch the battle of the youngsters with Nick Kyrgios and Jiri Vesely facing-off in the third round. Unfortunately the court was already fully packed and the rain began to come down even harder. We headed towards the practice courts to see if we could see any of the top stars. After a few minutes Amelie Mauresmo appeared just before Andy Murray who was swarmed by fans wanting his autograph. After he disappeared we went along to Court 19 just to sit down and see some tennis when the weather cleared up.
Shortly afterwards it did and the boys singles match was between American Alex Rybakov and Brit Rhett Purcell. Initial views of the match made the Brit look extremely laid back, almost as if the match was down a local park and didn’t mean too much. After the opening couple of games the rain began to fall again and play was suspended. We went to buy drinks and find some cover from the rain, hoping that it was only a light shower. It wasn’t.
We decided to go head towards Court 18 as if the rain stopped we would’ve seen a women’s singles match between Vera Zvonareva and Zarina Diyas. Unfortunately it didn’t stop raining for a few hours and we remained on Court 18 for a while and even started singing in an attempt to raise spirits.
After a while it was clear that the rain was unlikely to stop and we headed towards a bar to purchase some drinks and then take a personal tour of the grounds. We walked towards Court 3 and noticed that the screens were showing Centre Court action, which still had play due to the roof. Roger Federer was on soon quickly and it seemed a better idea to sit on the court watching the screen than rather watching nothing at all. 5 minutes after entering the court the rain began to stop and the covers were being taken off. Immediately we had to check the schedule and see what match we were going to see and our plan wasn’t to watch the live tennis. The match scheduled was rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard against Andrea Petkovic, an exciting match which had alot of promise. We watched the first few games of the continued set and Bouchard opened up a lead.
As a big Federer fan I wanted to watch some of the match so we left and headed towards Henman hill. On our way up there, many people passed us, running with excitement with what appeared to be Centre Court resale tickets. The queue seemed to be short so me and another from the group queued up to hopefully catch the end of the match against Santiago Giraldo.
After less than 5 minutes we had resale tickets and the excitement of seeing Federer began to kick in. Once we got into our correct gangway we checked the score and Giraldo had two break points on the Federer serve which were eventually saved by two strong first serves. After this we were allowed into our seats and the action began. In the end we only saw two games as Federer broke the Giraldo serve before serving it out to love with incredible serving. Despite this, it was brilliant to see the great man win after being on Centre Court the year before, for his second round defeat to Sergiy Stakhovsky. The day as a whole was affected by the weather but that didn’t stop us enjoying our time, entertaining Court 18 with various clapping routines and songs. Ending up on Centre Court at the end made the day a little brighter but ultimately the rain had the major say. Hopefully it wouldn’t rain on the following Monday. My second trip of the Championships…
My second trip started completely different to the Saturday with my alarm set for 7:30am rather than 4 hours before. Nothing beats the queue ultimately but having tickets for a show court is a nice luxury too. I was attending the Championships again with my auntie, who had in fact never been to Wimbledon before. Once we arrived in the grounds, we headed towards the practice courts, just like I did with the group on Saturday. Serena Williams’ conqueror Alize Cornet was practicing, ahead of her 4th round match with Bouchard, who overcame Petkovic in the match we watched temporarily the round before. Our tickets were for Court two and we were scheduled to see Stan Wawrinka and Petra Kvitova in the singles before a couple of doubles matches.
We headed towards the court and positioned ourselves ahead of Wawrinka’s match against Denis Istomin. Our seats were ridiculously close to the players and it was easy to hear Stan muttering criticism at himself. In the end, Wawrinka won in 3 comfortable sets with Istomin only troubling the Swiss star’s serve in the first set with Stan eventually holding throughout.
Almost as soon as the match ended, the heavens opened above and it appeared that the weather was heading the same way as it did on Saturday. This was only a shower however, and play commenced after just more than half an hour. It was another one-sided affair with Kvitova seeing off Shuai Peng 6-3 6-2, in a match which lasted just over an hour.
That bought to an end the singles matches on Court 2 and number 2 seeds Sara Errani and Roberto Vinci featured in the doubles match against a young Ukrainian pair. I’m not usually a huge doubles fan but this match got me interested from the start with a few notable long rallies that featured great skill at the net and decent ground strokes. The set was entering its final stages when the clouds began to darken and eventually rain fell again, with play being suspended again. This time it wasn’t just a shower, it was here to stay.
2 hours had passed with no play on the outside courts and we were forced to sit on benches inside the Centre Court complex for cover, where you could just about hear the roars of Centre Court when Andy Murray won a point against Kevin Anderson. The rain didn’t look like stopping so I suggested to my Auntie about queuing up for Centre Court resale tickets as there was little else to do. We headed up there and the queue looked huge with others seemingly having the same idea. We were told the wait would be hours by the stewards but it seemed worth it to actually see some tennis. After just over an hour we had a pair of tickets and we heading off to Centre Court to watch Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. My auntie could hardly believe it, Centre Court on her first trip! And she’s a big Tsonga fan.
We arrived at our gangway and were shown the way to our seats, which were weirdly close to where I had sat on Saturday. The atmosphere inside the great arena was fantastic and it seemed as though a real party had started with even members of the Royal Box joining in the Mexican waves. The match itself was thoroughly entertaining despite being a straight sets win for Djokovic. The fans backed Tsonga strongly as they wanted to see more tennis but it wasn’t enough for the Frenchman despite some huge aces. So that was it. Wimbledon 2014 was over for me, but what an incredible couple of days it was, even with the rain! I can’t wait for the 2015 Championships to start now…