Friday officially marked the start of my summer and more importantly, my summer of sport. I have tickets for so many things that it’s ridiculous but well worth the fact that I’m now pretty broke because of this. After an enjoyable night down in Essex for the T20 on Friday, number two on the list was the second day of Wimbledon. You know, that tennis tournament. You may have heard of it?
This was the first year we’d decided to do Wimbledon after many years of saying we should really get tickets. So back in January, my sister entered the ballot and ended up with two tickets for Centre Court no less. She is one of the jammiest people I have ever met and if she enters something for tickets, then she’s very likely to get them.
So we get off the Tube onto a green carpet that had been laid down for the occasion and walk down to SW19 with the crowds, banners lining the streets and excitement crackling the air. Before I’d even made it 500 yards from the Tube Station I had made full use of the freebies that were being handed out by nabbing myself a free i newspaper and free bottle of Evian. You know it’s going to be a good day if you’re getting free stuff. Besides, I had to make use of what I could get for free then because as soon as you’re in Wimbledon, everything is outrageously overpriced. I ended up purchasing the most expensive baguette I’d ever purchased at £6.80 (I know!) but c’est la vie, that’s to be expected.
We happily wandered around, taking in the buzzing atmosphere. It was perfect weather – hot and sunny (I’m from the UK so that’s a rarity for the end of June!) and Pimms was being consumed by the gallon. I had to forgo the usual tradition of strawberries and cream (I don’t like strawberries I’m ashamed to say) but I did partake in another little tradition. I ended up spending £19 on a tiny bottle of champagne which gave me just under two glasses. But hey, it’s Wimbledon, so I kind of had to and it was so worth it!
So when I had my champers and my sister had her Pimms, we climbed right to the top of Centre Court to take our seats in what was a surprisingly good viewing point. The ball boys and girls were decked out in their Ralph Lauren and there was excitement in the air. While we were waiting, we tried celeb spot in the Royal Box, working out that Bruce Forsyth, Michael Parkinson and Katherine Jenkins were all in attendance.
The first game was a Ladies’ Singles first round match between Glushko and Lisicki. It took a couple of games before the crowd really started to get into it but once they were, the atmosphere was amazing. No one was really there to support either of them but rather to support both of them. The crowd just wanted to see a good game of tennis and were at their best after a particularly good rally, applauding for the talent they were watching.
But the second match of the day was when it all kicked off. Nadal versus Klizan As soon as Nadal stepped out onto the court, people were on their feet. But again, once play was underway, they were more about the tennis than the players, just revelling in good shots. Though Klizan really did give it his all and soon had the crowd behind him. I’m not sure if it was the British mentality of loving an underdog or the British mentality of knowing if he knocked Nadal out, it could make Murray’s path a whole lot smoother later on in the tournament. But we British do love a good sporting upset. Well, unless we’re the ones being upset.
It was that match that really made the afternoon and sums up what Wimbledon is all about. People were excited about watching world class tennis, impeccable manners were adhered to when the whole court fell silent for each serve and you knew exactly why Wimbledon was the pinnacle of the tennis world. There is just something incredible about it – the tradition, the prestige, the excitement. Plus Nadal took his shirt off a couple of times, so that was worth the ticket price alone.
We finished the day off watching Serena Williams win in straight sets before heading home. But when ballot time comes around again, I suggest you put yourself in it. Wimbledon is definitely something you need to experience.