It’s that time of the year again when the rackets get busy with tennis balls. Going to Wimbledon is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teen after watching almost every match, back to back on TV and I’m glad I finally made it there last July after a long wait.
Wimbledon is not just the name of a district in southwest London, England but it is also the name of the popular tennis tournament, The Championships, Wimbledon. The district is in the London borough of Merton, which is south of Wandsworth.
The championships take place every year for two weeks on the last week in June to the first week in July. But this year the dates are QUALIFYING: MONDAY 26 JUNE TO THURSDAY 29TH JUNE. THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: MONDAY 3 JULY TO SUNDAY 16TH JULY.
Securing good seats
Wimbledon tickets are extremely popular and hard to get! Purchasing ground tickets was the easiest way for me at the time. They cost me £25 and will allow you to visit most courts except Centre court. Some courts are small and you can easily stand at the back and get a good view of players.
Queuing with my daughter for a couple of ground court tickets at Wimbledon seemed to take forever with the queue moving at a very slow pace. Like everywhere else these day, we were subject to security checks before we were even allowed to access the grounds; which is the norm at some public places. We were issued with a queue card (above) and had to hold on to it because this gave us access to the turnstile where we purchased our tickets to enter the grounds.
Get there early
We arrived at Wimbledon queueing field a 8:20 am and didn’t get into the grounds until 1:30pm. We queued for 5 hours and 10 minutes on grass but even though it seemed a long time, we turned the wait into a picnic. I remember being asked if food and toilets were available. It was a relief to know that they were within easy reach.
What to take with you on the day
- A picnic bag/cooler bag
- A mat
- An Umbrella
- A sun hat
- Sun cream
- Picnic mat (confirm first!)
- Comfortable shoes, preferably trainers, sunglasses.
A Sandwich bar and toilets were available with a friendly atmosphere but the downside was that the meals and drinks were expensive.
One thing for sure was that almost everyone at Wimbledon had one thing in common; an interest and a passion for Tennis.
Did you know?
That with a ground pass, once you get out of your seat to quickly go for a toilet break or to buy a drink or refreshments; you won’t be allowed back onto the court without joining the long queue all over again. You will end up joining a long queue for over an hour or more especially if it’s a popular match with the William sisters!
We were on court number 3 when their match was about 1 hour away so we both decided to leave our seats for a short while, thinking we could easily return to them not knowing they’ll be taken. Luckily, we were able to return to the court after over an hour waiting time but we didn’t return to the same seats but at least we saw the sisters up close play a doubles match.
Watching the Williams sisters play doubles was exhilarating. The match started around 4.30 pm and lasted for around 2 hours.
Some useful facts worth remembering
- Robinson’s Barley water and Rolex are some of the companies that sponsor the tournament.
- Complete silence is required on all of the courts.
- Some school children and tourist were among the spectators.
- Strawberry and cream is a popular delicatessen at Wimbledon.
- The tennis courts are huge and feel very different to watching matches on TV.
Even though there were a couple of matches in progress well into the evening, it was so hard to break away from the championships. It’s not too late to book your ticket and I strongly recommend you plan a day off work if you can and make a day out of Wimbledon. Oh and don’t forget your sun cream!