August 22, 2012

Wimbledon!

June 26- WIMBLEDON


One of things that got me most excited about visiting London in the summer was that my trip was coinciding with Wimbledon 2012.

I did my usual research about tickets, etc. The starting cost of the men's final was 2000 pounds that went up by 20% a day in the final week of Wimbledon! (I think they went up to about 12,000 pounds!!!!!!)

I guess the best way to experience Wimbledon and getting cheaper tickets was by waiting in queues and getting tickets on the day.

Schedule of play comes out the day before and unfortunately, we missed having a chance to see Federer because we decided to go on day 2.

A very very early start

We (Jason, Kim, my Dad and I) left home just after 4 with backpacks full of food, sunscreen and antihistamine and took the earliest train out of Watford Junction. We jumped off the train at our last stop and literally ran till we reached the grounds. The more people we overtook, the higher the chance of getting a ticket for one of the main courts.

Q for queue

When we finally got our queuing cards, we were most disappointed with our numbers--- 2462!! (Only 600 court tickets) If only we had camped there overnight. Oh well.. time to settle down on the grass and read the queuing guide cover to cover, eating croissants while happily watching 3000+ people join the queue behind us! 

And we finally started moving. Yes, everyone in perfect line, no pushing or shoving! Excitement building up as we continue through the gates, get our tickets, and then finally to the turnstiles to wait till 10:30 to rush in and joining in with the crowd to sing 'Happy Birthday' for one of the guards. 



And we're inside


A quick rush past all the main courts (a glance at Hewitt practicing for his match against Tsonga) to grab our 2nd row seats to watch Fish play against Ramirez Hidalgo. The perfect lawns, players in crisp white, ball boys walking in in unison; It's just so much more than watching on TV.


And to top it off, perfect summer weather. It's surprising how the crowds in the morning chill were in coats and scarfs and as soon as the sun was out, all I could see were shorts and  summer dresses. 


The match was pretty good, with Hidalgo putting up a good fight, but I guess not good enough.






And then off to watch Sania Mirza play in her first round women's doubles match. Was a fun game, sitting in the first row, her coach sitting behind us, eating strawberries and cream and cheering for a player from the homeland. 




British sun went hiding for a while

...and the rains came down. Players disappeared, umbrellas went up and the court was covered within a few minutes. Thankfully, it didn't last long, and in no time, the game continued with a beautiful win.


And then it got better

We walked through the park. Saw glimpses of Tommy Haas playing, bumped into a few players walking around. Then walked over to the big screen on Henman hill. Nadal's match was going on on centre court. So the closest I got to seeing him was on the big screen.


Tickets from the courts get resold half way through the day. Another queue, but it was well worth the wait when we got cheap tickets to court no.1!!! :) The excitement level couldn't have got higher when we walked into the court.


Watched Falconi get butchered by world no.2 Azarenka while eating more strawberries and cream. 



Then probably the best game of the day- Andy Roddick against newbie Jamie Baker. Everyone was pleasantly surprised when Baker actually fought back really really well. The American fans cheering and the British fans cheering even louder although most of the British fans were in the next court watching Murray. 



Unfortunately, the rains came down again; players went in, umbrellas came up and the plastic sheets came out. If only it wasn't already late in the evening and the match had to be suspended till the next day.

We walked out quite satisfied with such an eventful day with souvenirs and plenty of pictures to remember it by.


Watched more matches on TV over the next ten days. Unfortunately we weren't at home the day of the brilliant finals- Federer against Murray. We were walking in London and happened to pass by a cafe with a TV screen just as Federer was serving for match point and watched a beautiful victory.

It feels even more special that I visited Wimbledon the year Azarenka went back to being no.1 and Federer regained his title as world no.1 not just as of now but of all time! 

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