So we are through week 1 of Wimbledon and last week, the hubby and I figured that since we still have enormous amounts of time on our hands that we should captialise on a sunny day and go watch some tennis. Last year we entered the ticket raffle and were lucky enough to get centre court tickets but this year we did the ‘queue’ thing.
Basically, Wimbledon allows 40,000 people in the grounds each day. There are a few thousand tickets that are not allocated each day and sold to those who queue up. On top of the tickets that are available they have a one in one one out system throughout the day so when people leave the grounds, they let the queued up people in. Apparently about 13,000 to 16,000 queued up people get in on a regular day (although Saturday when Andy Murray played, they were at capacity first thing in the morning and figured there would be no more room for the rest of the day).
Anyhoo not knowing what to expect, we headed to Wimbledon to get our spot in the queue. We arrived at the main gates but were told to walk ’10 minutes down the road’ to the start of the queue…we walked and walked and walked until we found a parking lot where it started. When we joined the end of the queue we were given a queue card with a sequential number. This meant that we could have left the queue and came back a few hours later and re-joined. Having not known anyone in the area and the fact it was a sunny day we waited, and waited and waited.
It was the most organised queue that I could imagine. The entire route was marked out with plastic panels so we weren’t ruining any grass or having to get our shoes dirty and along the whole queue were various food stalls which ranged from ice cream to coffee to burgers. There were garbage and recycling bins everywhere, toilets en route and quiz questions and a hall of fame toward the end of the queue to keep us from dying of boredom. We finally reached security then headed across the street to the main gates (3 hours after we had passed them originally) to buy our tickets.
Once in the grounds it radiated with patriotism for Andy Murray and the champagne and strawberry poshness that I can’t get enough of. The grounds are perfectly manicured and my favourite ball boys and girls looking as stoic and efficient as usual.
We were fortunate enough to catch Andy Murray playing from the public viewing area called “Henman Hill”, (after English Tennis player Tim Henman), which they are trying to change to Murray Mound in honour of the new favourite. We then wandered to some of the outer courts where there were ladies singles and doubles playing. It’s quite amazing as you get so close and really get to see how fit the players really have to be.
Despite how it sounds, the 3 hour wait wasn’t that bad as it was a beautiful sunny day and to be fair, we didn’t have much else to do. It was well worth it because Wimbledon is quite an event and is fairly hard to describe unless you’ve been there (despite this terribly wordy post where I am trying to do just that). I would recommend it to anyone and am hoping to go back next year….although fingers crossed we will have to take a holiday day to go versus still being ‘between jobs’.