The whole point of my trip to London a few weeks ago was to go to Wimbledon. I have been a massive tennis fan and of the tournament for years, and one of the highlights of every summer is Wimbledon fortnight when I am glued to the TV, watching with bated breath to see who will win each nerve jangling match. I’ve also been many times to the tournament, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend. I’ve queued for tickets, once all day, and and I’ve also managed to get tickets online (a few are sold online each day). Once, I even managed to get a pair of tickets from the tennis club I used to belong to back when I actually played (not very well) before I knackered my shoulder.
A friend and I had plans to go in 2020. We got chatting as the tournament ended in 2019, and decided to go in 2020. We even had a hotel booked, and we were planning on queuing again. And then Covid happened, and the 2020 Championships were cancelled. Buying tickets was very different this year. The ongoing uncertainty about crowd capacity at big events meant that the AELTC couldn’t confirm numbers until only a couple of weeks before the tournament was due to start. Tickets could only be purchased online, and they didn’t release them until about 10 days before it started. Fortunately I was off work that day…
The day I went dawned bright and sunny, a vast improvement on what was forecast – at one point it looked like my day at the tennis would be a complete washout. Ticket sales were limited for the first few days, to about 50% capacity, which was lovely – it was quieter than normal, although it didn’t feel much emptier in the stands on court.
I was on court 2, just behind the umpire – not a bad view at all. The first match of the day was Brit Dan Evans playing Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, a good match which Evans won, delight of the mainly British crowd.
After that match, I went for a wonder around the grounds, soaking up the atmosphere and just enjoying being back in a familiar place after so long, and after the chaos of the last year and a bit. As ever, the grounds of the AELTC looked amazing, immaculate and beautiful.
Sadly, it was while I was walking the rain started, and then didn’t stop for several hours. This was when it was noticeable that the grounds weren’t full to capacity – it much easier than normal to find somewhere under the courts to shelter out of the rain, and to be honest the queues for the food outlets weren’t as long as normal.
Eventually, the rain stopped and play resumed. My next match was Coco Gaugh. This was the first time I’d seen her, and I was pleased she was on court 2 – another few years she may only be on the big show courts. It was another good match, which she won.
The next match court was Cameron Norrie, another British player. Unfortunately due to the rain, it was late by the time this match started and it wasn’t possible to finish it that evening.
And that was my day out at the tennis. It was a fab day, as it always is, and it was just nice to have some normality with covid still going on, and all the uncertainty about the future.