Tennis scattered with strawberries & cream
It’s July; it’s Wimbledon and WOW we didn't again, this year it was my mum's turn to get the elusive Wimbledon ticket in the annual tennis ballot.
It certainly not been through the lack of trying, I’ve been applying devotedly for about the last 20 years, so persistence does pay off.
Will it, won’t it?
Well, even though the rain gods are always looming for the Wimbledon fortnight, it never stops us dusting off the sun hats & grabbing a picnic.
The atmosphere at this tournament is so very British, and I really don’t think Wimbledon should be any other way, that’s what makes it feel so special (we always love a queue).
Everyone arrives smiling & appreciative at how lucky we are to have found the ‘Golden Ticket’.
It’s a ritual
As mentioned my mum & I have trodden the hallowed ground a few times, and we are continually creatures of habit.
If only we’d have had the chance to have taken my Nan, who was a keen armchair tennis fan, she would have felt like the Queen.
After we’ve secured our souvenir program for the days ‘Order of Play’, we have a wander around the outside courts to catch a glimpse of aspiring new talent for the coming years.
It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t sneak a peak at the latest tennis fashions in the Wimbledon merchandise shop.
Not as big as you’d think
What always surprises me about this manicured venue is its size, it is so much smaller than you would imagine, from seeing it on the TV (unless that’s just me). But considering there are 18 grass courts and various large social areas with up to 39,000 spectators, it doesn’t feel too crowded at all.
So, once we have immersed ourselves in the atmosphere, it’s off to Henman Hill or Murray Mound depending on your era. This is where we enjoy our picnic & reminisce on Wimbledon’s gone by.
If you have been successful in the ballot you’ll have secured a ticket for one of the show courts (centre, no.1 or no.2), the matches on these courts don’t kick off until 1 pm (slightly earlier on no.2).
So, if you’re ‘old hats’ at this like us you’d have arrived early, as we still have time for our strawberries & cream & the obligatory Pimms.
Am I really here!!!!
With 1 pm ebbing ever closer we head to our court, a tradition of Wimbledon on Centre and no.1 courts are the attendance of the Armed Forces & the London Fire Brigade as service stewards.
Dressed in their immaculate uniforms, they are there with a smile to guide you around the court and advise on the do’s & don’ts of the ground.
If you have never been before you’ll be amazed at the scene that opens out before you, when you walk up the steps to find your seat, you are rewarded with a view that is difficult to be surpassed by any sporting venue.
With everyone in place the show begins, the elegant figures in their crisp white kit ready to take on the onslaught ahead of them and the beady gaze of Hawkeye.
With the umpire taking command play begins, and you could hear a pin drop. Thwack, thwack and the game is under way.
“COME ON TIM” someone shouts (Tim Henman retired in 2007), ohhh the British sense of humour.
Mum & I don’t tend to leave our seats much, we have come here for the tennis and to soak up the atmosphere.
The Royal Box
It goes without saying that if you are on centre court your eyes are often drawn to the Royal Box, hoping to catch a glimpse of an elusive monarch a tennis great or an immaculately dressed celebrity.
I don't like to name drop, 'but I will', we were there to see Beckham catch the stray ball flying into the Royal Box (I wasn't quick enough with my camera - honestly).
Never sitting still
Wimbledon is forever evolving, in 2018 a new two level public plaza called The Walled Garden will be available for all to enjoy.
However, the 'smash' shot for 2019 will be completion of the new retractable roof on court No. 1, along with around 900 additional seats.
Is it that time again
As time ticks by and the umpires and ball boys & girls are switching with military precision, balls being chased and rackets being swiped, it’s time for some more strawberries.
Over the years, we have been lucky to have seen some modern tennis greats, the likes of Nadal, Federer, Murray, Djokovic & the Williams sisters to name but a few.
My idol growing up was always Boris Becker, I never got to see him play here, however, a couple of years ago we brushed shoulders as he walked passed me – I think it meant more to me than it did to him…..
And then there's this guy