Wonderful Wimbledon 2015

This year I went to Wimbledon with a Centre Court ticket on Day 1 and on a Ground Pass for the day of the Men’s semifinals. Here are my thoughts about the tournament and the wonderful fan experience.

Centre Court

I’m eternally grateful to the Australian Open Membership program for offering a Wimbledon ticket ballot, feel really lucky that we were amongst the recipients of this year’s ballot tickets and am even more grateful for such fabulous third row seats. The grass looked glorious on Day 1. The seats were level with the court so it was a great vantage point to really see how fast the players move and how hard they hit the ball. Kudos also goes to the ball boys and girls because I could see how quickly they react, picking up loose balls on the court and making them available to the server if needed.

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Maria Sharapova and Jo Konta

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Stan Wawrinka

The lack of sponsor logos around the grounds and courts, having the players all wearing white and the smart uniforms of the lines people and ushers adds a classy element to the experience.

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There’s a great atmosphere at Wimbledon.

Everyone is there purely to watch tennis and everyone who is there has made an effort in order to get tickets, either by applying for a ballot, queuing, being online at Ticketmaster at exactly the right moment or managing to get tickets via one of the other options. Combine that with the happiness of the home crowd with players like Andy Murray, Heather Watson and James Ward all doing well and the great weather and this year was great timing to go to Wimbledon.

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The Wimbledon crowd is one of my favourite tennis crowds

There’s no endless chit chat, regular unexplained booing or lack of understanding of spectator etiquette like I’ve experienced at a lot of tournaments. Overall it’s just a lovely experience. Provided the weather is good of course, because the weather makes all the difference for play being able to continue on courts other than Centre Court and for the comfort of fans in their seats and watching the big screen on the hill.

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One of many things I love about Wimbledon is the amount of food and drink that you can bring in with you, including alcohol. We stopped at a supermarket in Wimbledon to stock up and the food and drinks lasted until the end of the day. There is a wide variety of food and drinks available in the grounds but like any big event, it’s way more expensive. As an example Strawberries and Cream were GBP 2.50 in the grounds (which doesn’t seem too bad but I only counted an average of 7 small strawberries per serve), whereas we bought a whole punnet of strawberries with us which cost GBP 2.

The Practice Courts

I also love the Wimbledon practice courts. Spend an hour or two near the entrance you’ll see loads of different players walking to and from the courts. Which I did. Rafa managed to give me the slip but I saw players including Hewitt, Berdych, Lopez, Janowicz, Gasquet, Dimitrov, Tsonga, Lu, Kvitova, Wozniaki, Kerber, Bouchard, Radwanska, Hantuchova, Cibulkova and Muruguza.

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Grigor Dimitrov

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Petra Kvitova

A few suggestions

Something that could be improved is making the player practice schedule available to the public. Last year the Australian Open added a viewing deck for the practice courts and started sharing the player practice schedule on signs around the grounds and on their website. This is a huge bonus for fans in terms of being in the right place at the right time for a chance of seeing your favourite players.

Day 1 was perfect weather for tennis. Sunny and not as hot as Day 2 and 3. When you’re sitting at a court for a reasonable period of time you’re likely to get sunburnt if you’re not wearing sunscreen, even if it doesn’t seem that hot. I saw a lot of sunburnt people by mid to late afternoon and I think having people walking around selling sunscreen would have been helpful for those who didn’t bring it with them.

I’d like to see on court interviews with the winning players at the end of each match on the show courts, like they do at other tournaments. There was always an interview shown on TV so this could be done on court so that spectators at the match could hear it too. Announcing the players when they enter the court also helps build excitement before a match starts but Wimbledon doesn’t do this.

Ground Pass access on Semifinals day

Our second visit to Wimbledon this year was the day of the Men’s semifinals. Technically I queued to get into the grounds but there wasn’t actually any queuing involved because the line moved quickly. Once in the grounds tou can see players practicing plus juniors and doubles matches but it’s not a great place to watch the Centre Court matches unless you get there early to secure a good spot on the hill. Which we didn’t and there was no where left to sit that had a view of the screen by the time we got there. The next option was to go to Court 2 where they were showing the matches on screens but the screens were too small to see the ball properly or read the score (for my old eyes anyway!) so we went to a pub in Wimbledon village that was showing the matches on multiple big screens.

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Court 2 during Federer and Murray's match

Court 2 during Federer and Murray’s match

Thanks as always to my friends, especially those on Twitter who make the whole experience so much more entertaining and interesting.

Overall I recommend going to Wimbledon if you get the opportunity. Other than adding cup holders to Centre Court seats, making it easier to get tickets and the few things I mentioned above I wouldn’t change a thing! Rain or shine it’s pure class and a memorable tournament experience.

Until next time

Grand Slam Gal

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  1. Lynette says

    Hi Mel, thank you for your wonderful site. I’m going to the whole 2nd week of the US Open this year and I’m trying to get prepared as well as possible.

    I went to the Australian Open in 2013 and it was indeed an amazing experience watching Federer play up close! The Aussies were all really friendly and the whole tournament was well organised. We also had fun at the sponsors’ stalls. The only down thing was that we were only there for the last few days and a lot of the souvenirs were already sold out (like the player’s towels).

    I hope to attend Roland Garros and Wimbledon next year so that I could complete my grand slam journey 🙂

    Look forward to reading more of your tennis adventures!

  2. Martin H. (UK) says

    Glad you had a great day on Centre Court, Mel. You were indeed lucky to get hold of Centre Court tickets. I haven’t managed to get on Centre Court for years. The roof wasn’t there last time I visited Centre Court – how long ago is that! Nevertheless, in the meantime I have been on Court 1, Court 3, the outside courts etc and always had a great time. For me personally, it doesn’t matter which court I am on, as I am simply grateful to be there and always enjoy the experience.

    This year I went to Wimbledon on two days (Tues 30th June and Sat 4th July) spending both days on Court 3. My personal highlights were seeing Gael Monfils play on the Tuesday and Dustin Brown play on the Saturday (even though he lost). These two guys play their tennis in a very entertaining way. If ever Monfils played Brown, that surely would be one to watch and enjoy.

  3. says

    I’ve been a life-long Wimbledon fan – my mum always watched it when I was a youngster and I can just about remember Virginia Wade winning! In 2005, just before we emigrated to Australia, we went on the first Tuesday and it was a dream come true.

    I saw Andy Roddick warming up with Tommy Haas (to be honest, I’d have gone home happy after that!) and then we watched Ivo Karlovic play against an Italian – Ivo is so tall, he could see eye to eye with the umpire in his chair! After a couple of sets we made our way to Henman Hill to watch Tim playing on Centre Court – unfortunately we weren’t early enough to get tickets for Court 2 where a certain Andy Murray was making his first big appearance. The atmosphere on the Hill was wonderful and we were just in front of the camera, so I got some good air time waving like a mad woman!

    I agree with your comments about the lack of advertising and the way the crowds conduct themselves (with the exception of the Aussie Fanatics!). It sets it apart and, as far as I’m concerned, Wimbledon is the most important Grand Slam of the year.

    • says

      Sounds like you have great memories of Wimbledon Bridie, I would have loved to have seen Andy Roddick. He provided awesome special commentary for the BBC this year for the last few days of Wimbledon and it was so great to see him again.

  4. Sean says

    Sounds like you had a great time. In 2014 I attended three days of Wimbledon. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of the first week.

    On the Tuesday I arrived at 6am and got a ground pass and saw Hewitt from the first row on Court 3 and various other matches.

    Thursday I got there at 3.30am and got Court 2 tickets and saw Kyrgios beat Gasquet and Hewitt get beat by Jankovic (he was getting beat it actually carried over to the next day).

    Friday we had tickets through the Tennis Australia ballot for Centre court and it was fantastic. Saw the eventual winners Djokovic and Kvitova plus Murray.

    Our tickets weren’t as close to the court as you. We were right behind the court opposite end to royal box about half way up. It must have been a row allocated to TA because all the people next to us had got ballot tix too.

    Whole atmosphere of the tournament is great. Grounds of Wimbledon and Roland Garros are half the size of Melbourne Park.