That time of year has come again. The couple of weeks of year where tennis fans and non-fans alike spend far too much time in front of the television, drink copious amounts of Pimms, indulge on strawberries and cream and pray for clear skies. It is of course WIMBLEDON- one of the oldest and most famous lawn tennis championships in the world. Based in London, the championship is quintessentially British through and through.
Tickets, as most of you will probably know, are notoriously hard to get hold of with an annual ballot months in advance. Those who are not so lucky in the ballot have the option of camping in a field adjacent to the tennis club in order to be first in ‘The Queue’ for tickets on the door. Luckily for me I was given two tickets for women’s quarter-finals day as a birthday present. This boded well for me as I am not a fan of camping and waking up at the crack of dawn to stand in a queue (although I am sure it is worth it). After flying home from Spain I went straight from the airport to my boyfriend’s house in Twickenham for a few hours sleep before we left the next day, picnic in hand, to go and see the tennis.
On arriving at Southfields station you are greeted by a lawn-covered platform and directed towards Wimbledon. Once inside, everything seems so much smaller than it appears on telly. ‘Henman Hill’, the famous mound of grass where spectators with Ground Pass tickets sit to watch the big screen showing Court One action is the perfect spot to enjoy your picnic, people-watch and soak up the atmosphere before play begins. What is lovely about Wimbledon is that, despite general consensus, it really is enjoyed by everyone from all walks of life (not just Pippa Middleton-lookalike Tatler-readers wearing pastels)…
James (the boyfriend) and I took a stroll around the courts which are free for anyone with tickets or a Ground Pass to view. Usually there are doubles matches, juniors or lower-seeded players on these courts but the matches are often just as fun to watch. The boards showing the order of play for the whole competition and who has made it to each round are displayed near the larger courts as well. Everywhere is immaculate with hydrangeas lining the edges of these boards as well as the framing courts and seating areas. It is not often that a sporting event is so beautiful and elegant but this is most certainly the case with Wimbledon where every detail has been thought through and everything made to look very posh indeed!
The same attention to detail can be seen in the uniforms of all of the Wimbledon employees. Whether working with the ground-staff, at the till in the shop (which sells not just key-rings but Ralph Lauren merchandise!), at the bar or as security all of the staff are flawlessly suited and booted in an array of preppy Wimbledon-coloured outfits. The armed forces were also on hand and looking dapper in their finest uniforms. If only all security dressed so smartly and looked so preppy in Ralph Lauren…it would make getting fined by ticket-officers on trains and being frisked by airport security much more stylish occasions!
It was time to take our seats and see the first match of the day which was Sabine Lisicki vs. Kaia Kanepi. We were cheering Lisicki on so were pleased when she came out on top! As you would expect from watching on the telly, the atmosphere in the crowd is brilliant with everyone cheering for a good point regardless of whether it was scored by their favourite and everyone collectively sighing as the ball is called out on hawk-eye. It is all rather civilised!
The second game of the day was between Marion Bartoli and Sloane Stephens (the crowd’s favourite). As was the case with the first match it was great to watch with many a nail-biting point! The linesmen and women were looking their best as per usual as well…below you can see them filing out ready for the match. We thought we better stick with tradition and buy a couple of cups of obligatory Pimms which went down a treat. After a couple of breaks for rain (it wouldn’t be Wimbledon without the occasional weather interruption!) we were perishing and my fingernails were slowly turning a lovely shade of blue to match my trousers! It was time to go in search of some Lavazza coffee to warm our hands. There are so many lovely little food outlets, cafes and bars to choose from (all looking delicious and posh as you’d expect)…you really are spolit for choice.
The rain covers were removed, Stephens lost to Bartoli and we were ready to head home. That was until it was announced that senior men had been invited back to Wimbledon for a match of Australia vs. The United States. The crowd, who were, in majority, on their feet ready to make a swift exit, were intrigued and stood still waiting to hear what this invitational match was all about. The answer….Peter Mcnamara, Paul Mcnamee vs. John and Patrick Mcenroe. Some of tennis’ greatest legends had returned to play a doubles match which was sure to be highly entertaining and worth staying for. It wasn’t even five minutes before a member of the crowd shouting out one of John Mcenroe’s commentary catch-phrases “Oh my God you cannot be serious?!” and the entire crowd were creasing with laughter. As expected the match was a slow-paced, yet comedy-filled with banter being thrown about between the players and with the umpire and crowd.
With weary-legs, cold fingers and a memory-card filled with piccies it was time to head home and say goodbye to Wimbledon. It had been a wonderful (and ridiculously preppy) day and had lived up to our expectations. Not only was the tennis entertaining and a joy to watch but the atmosphere was top-notch! It would have been easy to feel out of place sipping from a free carton of coconut water when people were wandering round with magnums of champagne, cashmere jumpers draped over their polo-shirt clad backs with girls trotting to heal in their Issa dresses but that really wasn’t the case. Despite the posh flowers, fancy uniforms and impeccably groomed couples warming the seats of the royal box, there was the sense that it was a place that could be enjoyed by everyone and I think it is safe to say that it was!
Here’s a little pic James instagrammed of me in my new Finlay’s!