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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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