My day at Wimbledon was certainly an experience I’m not likely to forget any time soon! Decorations have popped up all over London, and it’s pretty much all anyone is talking about!
My roommate Ari invited me to go with him, and since tickets can be quite expensive, we decided to try our luck in the famous Wimbledon Queue to get cheaper tickets. People can camp overnight in tents, and are allowed to begin lining up after 6am.
Because I live on the complete opposite side of London, I had quite an early start, which made for a very long day. I was so nervous that I would oversleep, so after nervously checking my phone all night, I gave up and decided to get ready for the day at 4:30am. Our train left at 5:30am, and took us about an hour to get there.
The best time to arrive is between 6 and 6:30 am. We were a bit late (my fault-I forgot to add money to my oyster card for the train) and arrived at 6:45, and there was already a huge crowd of people!
Wimbledon is officially held at the All England Club, and the best way to get there is by taking the District line to Southfield (which is much closer to the queue than the Wimbledon station!). Since we arrived with crowds of people, Ari and I sprung for a taxi. We ended up sharing with two other people, so it was less than 5 pounds for the both of us, and probably saved us another hour of waiting in the queue.
Our taxi driver was incredibly enthusiastic for such an early morning. I did love how committed he was to tennis!!
We followed the huge crowd of people to the queueing field, which already have a ton of people! There were people playing little games of lawn tennis, people lounging about inside their tents, and a few walking around trying to entertain the more impatient queuers.
As soon as we first arrived at the field, we were handed a little booklet on “A Guide to Queuing”, which explained what queuing is (basically waiting in line), the proper British way to do it, and what to expect over the next few hours.
We also got a ticket stating out number in the queue, which had a very strict policy against line jumping. If you did not enter numerically, you could be turned away, and they were very strict when we went in. Even though we arrived before 7am, we were still #4010 and #4011 in line.
It was then that I realized I had definitely worn the wrong shoes. It had never really occurred to me that I would be waiting for hours…in the mud. I had brought a thin little blanket for Ari and I to sit on, and I realized that it would be wet and muddy instantly. Luckily, there were people selling little goodie bags, and for five pounds I got a canvas bag, a very sturdy blanket with a tarp-backing, a newspaper to keep me occupied, and a poncho in case it rained. Literally the best thing I have bought in the last year. It would have been absolutely miserable to have stood for for three hours!
By 11:00 we finally went through the gates….and into another long, windy queue. This one wasn’t as bad because the line was always moving and there were things to look at along the way.
We finally made it inside by 11:30, just in time to see the matches begin!
Because we had standing ground tickets, we couldn’t go into the seated courts to see any of the bigger matches, so we just wandered around. One of the things I loved about walking around was seeing how decorative everything was! There were purple and green flowers everywhere, the official Wimbledon colors.
I’m short, so after lots of standing on my toes and looking through peoples arms and legs, I finally secured a seat in front of one of the courts!
The first game we saw was a men’s singles match of Lacko vs Karlovic. It was an intense game, and the players were evenly matched. They had to play tie-breakers at the end of almost every set, and it was fascinating to watch! The one player was 6ft 9in, and towered over everyone!
After this match we headed up to the Hill to watch Andy Murray’s match on the big screen.
We watched most of this match on the screen, and then headed off in search of a doubles match.
We watched a few sets of a doubles game, and by then it was 7:30pm and we wanted to check out the shops in case they closed early.
I wanted to get a little souvenir to bring home, so I bought these cute little towels.
I’m starting to think that Ari might be my lucky charm, and I may need to take him to every event I attend for the rest of my life. First he invited me to see Bruce Springsteen. We bought the cheapest tickets available, and on a fluke ended up standing close to the stage.
Then, he invited me to Wimbledon, and we waited in the queue for hours in the mud to buy the cheapest tickets. Nine hours later, as we were getting ready to leave, two of the sweetest girls came up to us and offered us free tickets to Center Court to see Johanna Konta and Eugenie Bouchard play an intense singles match!
The seats were amazing!
It was a fantastic match, and the crowd was going wild! Johanna Konta was the favorite to win, and it was thrilling to listen to the fans support her.
It is always nice to be reminded how kind strangers can be. So, cheers to the mysterious Pippa (and her equally mysterious friend) for making our first Wimbledon experience unforgettable! And of course, to Ari, for somehow managing once again to turn our dirt cheap tickets into gold.
We finally got home around 10pm, which made for a very long, but awesome, day.