Friday, June 26, 2009

14) Go To Wimbledon

From a young age, I can always remember watching the Wimbledon championships. I remember adoring Bjorn Borg and then falling in love with the likes of Pat Cash and Andre Agassi. I haven't followed tennis all that closely for a few years, but one place I always wanted to go was the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

After applying to join the lottery, for tickets for the second year, luck was on my side, as I was granted two centre court tickets for the fourth day of play - now to get down there! If I was organised then I would have booked the train tickets weeks ago, but we will not go there and suffice to say they were booked by phone the day before and cost me just a tad more than the tickets to centre court did!
We left Nottingham on a dull and cool day, wondering if we were appropriately dressed as we drove to the tram stop, caught the tram into Nottingham train station and then caught the train to St Pancras. From there, we caught the tube to Earls Court and then changed to the Overground to Wimbledon Station. Only problem was when we hit Southfields (which was very nicely decked out like a tennis court) everyone and I mean everyone got off! So like sheep, we followed them and it seemed this was the station that you had to disembark to reach the tennis centre.
We then chose the walking route instead of taxi/bus, thinking that we at least could see some of Wimbledon. It was great! Yes you had to put up with people dragging their feet and getting in your way, but every few yards, you were given free stuff - mostly drinks, but you got the odd toy as well (a rather nice mars bouncy ball I was going to give to Mr M's nephew).
After about 10/15 mins when we reached the tennis centre, I was pleasantly surprised that the queues were not longer. We first had to present our tickets and then have our bags searched. Unfortunately I lost the Mars bouncy ball, as it wasn't an official sponsor of Wimbledon and the woman beside me lost her free drinks (Ribena) for the same reason (should have drunk them like me and Mr M did!)
Then we were in and boy was it hot! I mean seriously hot. We grabbed some food from the nearest vendor and sat on Henman Hill next to the big screen, but I could hardly eat it. We had some strawberries and cream between us, but I barely touched them. Being naturally fair, I don't cope well with such intense heat. We managed to have a steady walk round and visited the shop etc and then desperate for some shade we went into centre court and found our seats. Thankfully we were 4 rows from the top, so we were in shade. If we had been on the front, then I wouldn't have coped.
Then all too soon the players were on. First match was Lleyton Hewitt v Juan Martin Del Potro. Lleyton came exclusively with his own fan club, a rowdy bunch of Aussies dressed in yellow that kept us entertained through the match. It was fantastic to watch the velocity of the serves (one registered at 134mph) but on the other hand it was a tad weird. It felt like you were sitting in a library at times, as everyone is so silent when the match is in play. Then when the games ended, it felt like everyone was at a party and you weren't invited. People seemed to know when they could get up and wander round etc.
I think Lleyton is my new Agassi. He showed passion and commitment in wanting to win - poor Del Boy (as the crowd nicknamed him!) didn't stand a chance!
At the end of the match, I was seriously flagging and needed fuel! After we eventually got out of centre court, we headed for the food halls and boy was I hungry. One very nice pizza slice later with choc fudge cake for afterwards and I could feel my tanks refuelling and I was ready to go. We went back in to watch the next match (Caroline Wozniack v Maria Kirilenko) and found that they were already on the second set (I knew we went to get some food but I didn't think it had been that long!). It was interesting to compare the women's game against the men's. The average speed of the serve was 94mph. The women's game has improved over the years, but it's still slower compared to the men's.
Then it was the big one - Andy Murray v Ernests Gulbis. Now we had to leave at 6pm come what may to catch the train back to Nottingham, so we didn't think we would have chance to see him at all. We actually managed to see the first set and have to say, I found him an incredibly boring player. Yes he appears driven and focused, but he lacks any personality.
Then we were done! We scanned our tickets at the gate (they then get resold and the money raised goes to charity) and we started our mammoth journey to get back home. Still picking freebies on the way back to the tube station (more Ribena!)
I was really pleased that I'd gone, but I think the crowds and the heat would prevent me from visiting again. If it had just been a tad cooler than I would have been happier!


B said...

Glad you had a good time! you seem to be whizzing through your list :) how long do you have left to finish?

Janette Jones said...

B - two and a half years - want to at least have completed twenty tasks by the end of this year!

Clueless said...

Wow, it sounds like one of those things you see on TV or want to do that turn out to be not exactly like what you expected. Just goes to show. something something something (Im not sure what moral fits best here).

Janette Jones said...

Clueless - Glad I went though, it's just a shame about the heat, it spoilt the enjoyment somewhat.