Get a feel for the fan experience at Wimbledon 2013.
This is a guest article by Ranjona Banerji. Follow her on Twitter @ranjona
Big thanks also to Steph from I Have a Tennis Addiction for sharing her photos.
The Vibe on The Tube
Suddenly, all the people who got off at Earl’s Court tube station to switch to the District Line looked at each other and realised that they were all headed to see the tennis at Wimbledon: A sort of a mass spirit of happy discovery in the air. And as everyone walked up the stairs to head into a train to Southfields, they heard this lovely mellifluous West Indian voice telling them not to bother if they didn’t have tickets! Not what everyone wanted to hear perhaps but everyone laughed all the same. This was no longer a morning rush London Underground experience. This was the beginning of the most prestigious and sought after tennis tournament of the year.
The announcement about non-ticket holders being advised to avoid The Championships continued through the journey but no one seemed to pay attention. The walk to the tournament was peppered with some very seedy looking characters looking to buy or sell tickets. The girls giving away free Evian water got more attention though!
The Day 1 Matches
The crowds milling around as play began on the outer courts found themselves heading to court no 19 where last year’s giant-killer Lukas Rosol, now ranked number 34, played Julian Resiter of Germany. Rosol had of course knocked Nadal out of the tournament last year. But 2013 was another story with Rosol and Reister playing out a spirited five sets before Reister triumphed. Meanwhile as I write this, Nadal is down a set against Steve Darcis of Belgium* but Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic are all through!
*In a massive first round upset, Nadal was defeated by Darcis in straight sets. Read more.
But the most beautiful match of the day was undoubtedly played by defending champion Roger Federer against Victor Hanescu. In 68 minutes of some majestic tennis, Federer sent a little reminder to his competitors and perhaps to his growing list of detractors that he still has his moments. Centre Court thrummed to his rhythm as Federer displayed his array of magic tricks. When Federer was up 3 love in the third set, you almost felt he has a lunch appointment to keep! There was also a rumour that Federer might be fined for the red soles of his shoes but maybe it’s because he burned the grass with his speed of play!
The Weather so far
The weather in London has been well, the weather in London for this time of the year. A bit of cloud, a bit of rain and a bit of sun. Take your pick but neither seems to last for every long. As the day’s play gets into its stride, it seems like everyone might just make it for the day. The sun is shining!
Stay tuned for more fan updates from Wimbledon 2013 as the tournament rolls out.