Well! Wimbledon has come around again and this year I was actually able to attend! Since I have been a little girl watching Wimbledon in my room in the 80s I have always wanted to be there. To experience the atmosphere, see the amazing players and sit on Centre Court!
I jumped up and down with joy when my husband told me that we were going with his work and we would get to sit in Centre Court on opening day of the tournament! I couldn’t believe it! I thought I would share with you my experience and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club!
The easiest way to get to the tournament is via tube. We took the District Line to Southfields and then it was a 15/20 minute walk from there. The walk itself was really great! Everyone was heading that way and we got there for 10:30am (so just after it opened). We went through Gate 4 where they checked our tickets and then our bags (can’t be too careful nowadays!).
As we were there for work we were very excited to be able to have lunch in the Champions Room. This room was all set out for our needs throughout the day. We had our own table all day, lunch was provided as well as drinks and even afternoon tea! We have views out onto Court 15 from our table. I was trying not to be antisocial to the other members of our party but all I wanted to do was watch the match! The staff couldn’t have been more helpful or attentive and really did spoil us.
We navigated the maze full of corridors before finding out entrance onto Centre Court. And WOW! What a view we had! Centre Court seems much bigger on TV but in real life it is pretty intimate. We had a great view but I think anywhere you sat would have amazing views of the match (which is a credit to its design!) The military service men and women are stationed around the court and when the players came on there was the polite claps and cheers from the audience. The games were griping and emotional and we could see and hear the frustration and exuberance on the players’ faces. Spectators are allowed to move from there seats when there is a break in play but if play starts, and you are not back in your seat, you will need to wait in the corridor until the next play break. The retractable roof was back when I was there but I can imagine that the closing of the roof is a sight to see! It’s massive!
All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club
Once the first game was over we decided to explore the rest of the club. We peaked in at other games going on in smaller courts and tried to see what famous players we would find on the practise grounds. We went over to Henman Hill/Murray Mount which was one of my favourite areas. Everyone peacefully laying on the grass, Pimms in hand watching the big screen. We walked by many a restaurant open for the ticket holders and there were lots of little seating areas about the club where people could sit and have a drink before heading off to the next match. We were going to get the boys a souvenir from the shop (which was massive!) but the queues were so long and the shop so packed we decided for sanity’s sake we would skip that!
We went back at watched another match and this time I watched the umpire, the ball boys and ball girls then linesmen and women. What a slick operation it all is. Each person has a small but pivotal role in the match. They all take is so seriously (as they should) and each one deserved their own standing ovation for the time and dedication they put into their roles. I had always wanted to be a ball girl when I was younger and I still think it is a super cool job to have in Wimbledon!
We had to leave earlier than the game finished. We headed out of Gate 5 and waited for a taxi to take us back to the tube station. It was much slower on the tube getting back so a tip is, if you can leave a little earlier than the end of the match then do so. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we had tried to leave when everyone else was as well. It was just a fun day. A once in a lifetime experience (I’m sure!) but one that I hope to take my sons to when they are older.
Note – I’m still going to try the ballot every year. You never know, I might get to go again!
Have you been to Wimbledon? Do you have any tips? Drop them in the comments below! xx