Today we have a guest post by Col Chambers of Fit2Thrive who is at Wimbledon for the Men’s quarterfinals. As part of his preparation he wrote this article which gives us a look back on the amazing memories from his visit on the same day last year.
We had tickets for number one court which were half way up and to the side so we got a different view from TV and I could see all the play not just what TV gives you. We could see the play and players comfortably but weren’t quite close enough to really feel part of it. That’s my frustration with the big courts, it’s a wonderful experience and there is no bad view but, if you watch a lot of tennis, you feel you’ve seen a lot of it before.
The players we got to see on court one were:
- Eugenie Bouchard v Angelique Kerber,
- Milos Raonic v Nick Kyrgios,
- Novak Djokovic v Marin Cilic,
The value of wandering around
If we had stayed in our allocated seats we would have enjoyed ourselves and seen some amazing tennis but that’s not all there is to see. The blessing of having a ticket on a court means we have an automatic ground pass plus a guaranteed seat if we want it.
I highly recommend getting out of your seat to explore the other matches because you see so much more. The rest of this post is dedicated to all I saw by getting out and wandering around.
For starters we saw so many more matches matches including:
- Sania Mirza & Horia tecau V Bojana Javanovski & Mate Pavic,
- Rennae Stubbs & Andrea Jager v Tracy Austin & Helena Sukova.
Behind the scenes at the practice courts
My dream has always been to visit the practice courts because you just don’t see these on TV. It’s very much a behind the scenes look that feels very intimate and special. They are located next to the Aorangi centre to the right of the main entrance.
I began by watching Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger Vasselin, fresh from their doubles triumph at Roland Garros who were rallying with an almost hypnotic rhythm and focus. Delivering the ball with incredible reliability and pin point accuracy within an inch of the baseline time and time again. Martina Hingis and her partner Bruno Soares, two more Grand Slam champions, were doing the exact same thing, always combining quality with quantity because whatever they did they did well and repeatedly.
In fact this same process was reflected across all the courts I could see and by all the players which, if you read the full list of who was on show you will find more Grand Slam champions than you can shake a stick at. The common theme was quiet, sustained high quality effort and as an avid player myself this was the best coaching session I’ve ever had. You could really see just how the pros achieve their results and why us lesser mortals don’t. Their quiet intensity and sustained quality is something I remember to this day.
I also had the privilege of bumping into Petra Kvitova and Milos Raonic on their way to the courts. I literally had to move out of their way to let them through. I’m just gutted I didn’t have my camera ready to get a shot of them. So, not only did I see the eventual winner but I actually let her past so she could get to her court. That I still remember this and it raises a smile show that these aren’t memories I will be forgetting soon.
The full list of players I saw includes:
- Nick Kyrgios,
- Milos Raonic
- Martina Hingis
- Bruno Soares
- Julien Benneteau
- Edouard roger vasselin
- Nenad Zimonjic
- Sam Stosur (and her girlfriend coaching her),
- Petra Kvitova (working with David Kotyza her coach),
- Ashleigh Barty,
- John Peers,
I also saw Wayne Ferreira and Mark Petchey walking back from courts and Guy Forget coaching Julien and Edouard. I still remember when these guys were playing so to seem them aswell was still special.
Note from Mel: I also love the experience of seeing players on the practice courts, especially when they stop to sign autographs and take selfies with fans. View photos from the Practice Courts this year; the men and the ladies.
I’ve always heard how you see amazing players both current and past just walking around but to be honest I had never been lucky enough to see them. This time was completely different because I saw:
- Greg Rusedski,
- Anne Keothavong,
- Ashleigh Barty,
- John Peers
I had no idea how tall Anne Keothavong is, you can never quite tell on tv. Now it may be the heels she was wearing but still, it was fascinating to see her in person, just walking around the grounds with her partner like any fan at a slam. Greg was a bit of a blur but if you know your players and keep your eyes open you’ve got a decent chance of seeing someone.
I saw the winner!!!
I also have a wonderful record of having seen at least one of the champions every time I visited a slam. This time I managed to see:
- Novak Djokovic: Mens singles champion I saw play Marin cilic on court one
- Petra Kvitova: Ladies singles champion I bumped into and watched practice
- Nenad Zimonjic and Sam Stosur: I watched the mixed doubles champions practice
Legends:Womens invitational doubles
We also got to watch some former legends to see how the game used to be played. This was on one of the more intimate courts and so I could actually reach out and touch the action if I wanted. You’re so close you can hear them and they can hear you so you really do have to be quiet.
Tracy Austin, Helena Sukova, Andrea Jaeger and Rennae Stubs
7 Grand Slam Winners
Once I got home I realised how many grand slam winners I had seen
- Novak Djokovic (8 singles)
- Martina Hingis 15 (5 singles, 10 doubles),
- Bruno Soares 1 (US Open 2012 Mixed Doubles),
- Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger Vasselin 1 each (Roland Garros 2014 Mens Doubles)
- Nenad Zimonjic 5 doubles slams
- Sam Stosur US Open 2011 singles and 5 doubles slams
- Petra Kvitova 2 singles slams
What a day!!!
In all it’s a day that is still fresh in my memory. So many cherished memories that I treasure and just putting it down in words is getting me super excited for my next trip.
We packed so much in:
- court one,
- practice courts,
- explored the grounds.
I mentioned how many players I saw because that’s what stays in my mind. Instead of seeing the few we would have seen if we had stayed in our allotted seats we saw 3 to 4 times as many by getting out and about. Particularly the long list of grandslam winners.
The bonus is that epic trips like this are how I stay fit. My step tracker registered over 20,000 steps for the day and while I ate plenty I spent so much of the day absorbed in the action that my stomach wasn’t what I was thinking about.
At fit2thrive I believe that living your dreams and training through real life is more beneficial and more fun than sweating in a gym and being locked into diets.
If you want to learn more about how this much play can make you strong then get in touch at [email protected] with the subject “tennis makes me strong” and come visit me at fit2thrive.co.uk to learn how it can be done. You might also like my parisian adventure at Roland Garros
Martin H. (UK) says
I also went on the first Tuesday. I was all prepared to join the queue for a ground pass early on the Tuesday morning, however I managed to get hold of a court 3 (reserved seat) ticket via Ticketmaster only 24 hours before the event. Court 3 had Dolgopolov (UKR) vs Kyle Edmund (GBR); Rodina (RUS) vs Laura Robson (GBR); Duan (CHN) vs Bouchard (CAN); Monfils (FRA) vs Carreno Busta (ESP). Also managed to see bits of the other games on the outside courts too. A great day’s tennis in the sunshine and great value for £43.
If memory serves me correctly, the first Tuesday was a good day for the Brits with Andy Murray, James Ward, Brydan Klein, Aljaz Bedene and Heather Watson all winning. Come to think of it, the only Brits that lost on the first Tuesday were the ones I saw on Court 3 (Edmund/Robson). Hope I am not becoming a jinx on the UK players.
Just as well that I am not going to the Davis Cup tie vs France this weekend….!
Lee Myers says
Nice post. I went on first Tuesday. Great that you got hold of number 1 court tickets. I did it on just a ground pass but for anyone reading this its still a great day out. Like with Col Chambers a lot of the experience is the players and big names you get to see off the court and walking round the grounds. All the big names use the practice courts at some point and these are easy to access. Great that you got to see the 2015 champion in action!
Thanks for your comment Lee, sounds like you had a wonderful Wimbledon experience too.