Friday, July 6, 2012

The Noble Sport

A Guide...need to get it right....

Since this post is about Wimbledon, you might think the title refers to tennis. However, it refers to a much more accessible British sport, within the capacity of us all to participate, and governed by its own strict set of rules and regulations. Yes, the noble sport of Queueing. 

The Queue

6 AM and ready to Queue: Wimbledon Park.

There are a number of ways to get tickets to Wimbledon during the summer tournament. Apart from ‘knowing someone’ or purchasing a very expensive debenture hospitality seat, there is a public ballot, held well in advance, But there are also 1500 tickets held each day for those hardy and intrepid queuers willing to rise at sparrow’s twit, or even camp for several nights. With the help of a tennis-loving friend who knows the queueing ropes, I rose early and we were in Wimbledon Park by 6 am on Day One of the tournament. The campers were there before, plus at least a thousand more people. We stood in an orderly line, and were immediately handed numbered cards by the queue stewards: 1681 and 1682. Now, you’ll recall that there are 1500 seat tickets available for this queue - 500 each for Centre Court, Court One and Court Two. But some people just enjoy wandering around on general passes, and so it was with great delight that - after a couple of hours - we were presented with wrist-bands entitling us to buy (for a modest sum) reserved seats on Court Two. Yay!

The precious ticket.

In the grounds: first day's order of play.

Ball boys ready on Court Two.

After a mere four hours, 10 am saw us inside the grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, fortifying ourselves with a second cup of coffee, and perusing the matches for the day. The biggest name to be playing on Court Two was Venus Williams, who unfortunately executed rather a swift Transit of Venus, gong down in straight sets to a Russian contender Elena Vesnina.

We also watched the women's third seed Agnieszka Radwanska win over a determined effort by Magdelena Rybarikovaw; the men Sergiv Stakjovsky and Radel Stepanek battle it out, Stepanek winning; and British wild card Oliver Golding give the Russiona Igor Andreev a run for his money before being defeated.

Venus Williams.

Elena Vesnina.

Wimbledon, Court Two.

The day was rounded out with the traditional strawberries and cream, and an afternoon Pimm’s, plus a stroll around the outer courts, the hill with the big screen, the players & officials’ buttery, the gardens and the green-and-purple floral displays. 

It was only Day One, but we had queued competently and  this was our reward. Wimbledon - and the sun shone all day.


Colours of the AELT&CC

"The Longest Match"

Wimbledon, Day One, 2012

Wimbledon 2012.

Green & purple in the cafe, and a tennis court floor.

Strawberries & cream. Traditions are fine.

A few moments from the rather quick transit of Venus.

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