Growing up, there was only one time in the summer that my mom would keep the TV on all day long, and that was during the Wimbledon tournament. My mom, sister, and I are huge tennis fanatics and when we aren’t watching Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open, or the US Open we are out hitting the courts ourselves. Growing up watching tennis was inspirational for my sister and I and in high school we were doubles partners for a season. Yes, we were the white Venus and Serena’s of our time. We were an unstoppable duo and we took the silver in our state competition. That late spring I graduated from high school in 2014 and my mom got me a trip to England as a graduation gift, and of course the dates were planned perfectly because that was the same time Wimbledon was going on. You could imagine the heart attack I had when I found that out.
We are the type of travelers that do our research, and we read blogs and all the information we could find on how to get into Wimbledon. You can’t exactly buy tickets in advance and if there are some available online those things will sell faster than hotcakes! So we found out that we had to go through what Europeans call a “QUEUE” which is a fancy term for waiting in line. We also learned that it is tradition to have strawberries and cream at Wimbledon.
On June 30, 2014 we arrived by taxi to the All England Tennis Club for Day 7 of the tournament and we followed the signs to The Queue. We were directed to this huge piece of lawn where there were other people posted up in hopes of seeing Rodger Federer or one of the other greats play. It was 4:30 am (England Time) and we were handed a Guide to Queueing and Queue Card and it told me that I was 1,641st in line. On the card it stated the Queue Code of Conduct:
- The Queue Card is dated and numbered to show your position in the Queue
- It must be retained and will be checked on entry to the Grounds
- This Queue Card does not guarantee entrance to the Grounds
- Queue jumping is not acceptable and will not be tolerated
- The stewards are there to help and guide you; do not hesitate to ask for information
- Please note the alcohol and bag restrictions for entry into The Championships
We were all set to go in line. There were so many people and even a lot of them were camping out to get a ticket for Center Court and even make it into the championship rounds. It was a rather chilly and damp morning so we had to stay standing, but thankfully there were vendors walking around and they had a good deal where you could get an official Wimbledon blanket, a program and newspaper, a bag, and even Wimbledon chocolate. Eventually it warmed up and the time passed to where the line started moving and my heart was beating so fast from the excitement. I had my big floppy hat in arm and I was dreaming about running into tennis pro.
We were in a good spot in line because we made it to get Court 2 seats. The way it works is that the first people in line get Center Court tickets then when it fills up it goes to Court 1 and Court 2 and Court 3, then General Admission which was all the other courts. If you have a Court 2 ticket you have a seat there and you can go to any other court below 3. However, Court 3 and beyond are open seating, so it is first come, first serve. If you leave up out of your seat at any point of time it will be filled by someone waiting in line outside the court.
We had Court 2 tickets, but we looked at the line-up for the day and saw that John Isner was playing first off that day on Court 3 and we wanted to be his American fan club for the day, so we had to get to the court soon enough to get a seat. Once we bought our official tickets and we had to wait inside the grounds for the courts to open. We mapped out the grounds so we knew exactly were Court 3 was and there was a massive crowd of other people wanting to get there too.
IT WAS CRAZY waiting in the crowd like that. We were all pushed together like sardines and my mom and sister and I were linking arms to one another so we wouldn’t loose anyone. It was that packed, and slowly the stewards would move up to slow down the crowd. They had to yell, “move back” and once they released the rope, they kept yelling “no running!” But of course everyone was running and the girls and I stayed linked together and got a good spot in line to let us in Court 3. We finally made it!!
It was surreal getting to sit in the second row of a professional tennis tournament, and the tournament of tournaments!! The grass was perfectly cut and the little ball boys were so cute! John Isner came out against his opponent Feliciono Lopez. John is a freaking giant in real life, I mean he could probably be a professional basketball player in the winter if he wanted!
After John’s nail-biting win, we decided to go to Court 2 to check out our reserved seats. We just caught the end of a women’s single match and Petra Kvitova won in an easy two. Little did we know that she would end up winning Wimbledon that year (sorry Serena). After the singles match, women’s doubles came out and we saw partners, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci win (2014 Women’s Doubles Winners). However, our experience was cut short by a rain-out and they had to stop on all outdoor courts for the day.
We may have gotten rained out and that ended our day a little short, but that day was one I will never forget. I got to see the beautiful, Centre Court, Murray’s Mound, and I even got my Ralph Lauren T-Shirt to always remember it by. The only thing missing was not getting my strawberries and creme and a litte champagne on the side. If you are a die-heart tennis fan like me and you are in England late June, early July, I would 10000% recommend spending a day in Wimbledon because it is a once in a life time opportunity.