Extract from Inside tennis – a season on the pro tour by Peter Bodo and June Harrison:

Jimmy Connors just wasn’t there. For once in his life, the eagerness of his mind did not reach his arms and legs. On a clear, fine day, he let Borg walk right by him, into the pantheon of tennis, as he was trounced 6-2 6-2 6-3. The match had an eerie symmetry. Each set lasted thirty-six minutes. It was as if the deities, having determined that Borg had proven himself before the final, allowed him 108 minutes in which to demonstrate why he deserved their approval.

Connors played two dazzling games to start the match up, 2-0. Then Borg ran off the next six games. He served impeccably. He returned magnificently. The turning point, if the expression applies, came in the fourth game of the second set, with Borg already up a break at 2-1. Two sizzling winners by Connors and a forehand error by Borg made the score love-40. But Borg served his way past the three break points to retain command. Connors could not mount an effective challenge the rest of the way.

The occasion had called for an epic battle, but it produced an exhibition. The most impressive statistic was Borg’s service return; he missed only two returns throughout the entire match. When Connors drove a backhand volley deep on match point, the crowd responded with a shriek. Borg began to raise his arms. His legs melted away; in a moment he was knelling on the turf, clutching his temples. He had done it, but the means were still incredible – no player in the world responded to a big match as well as Connors. But today, for reasons nobody will ever understand, much less explain, Connors just wasn’t there. Call it Wimbledon.

When Borg came to see the press, he looked like a man who had been relieved of an enormous weight. He was no more gregarious than usual, but he smiled freely and easily. He said the match was probably the best he had ever played.

The Swede had not gotten tight until 4-3 in the final set, after he missed two relatively easy volleys. “I just say to myself, if only you get to 5-3, if only you make this one more game, it will be okay.” Borg knew he had to serve well to beat Connors – his feeling that he could break Connors’s serve was vindicated, and his execution was letter-perfect.

“Now, Bjorn, about the Grand Slam,” someone said.
“No way I can dream to do that. Maybe it is better to do it first, then think about it, you know?”
“Did Connors say anything special to you after the match?”
“No.” Borg shrugged.
“How about Perry – what did Perry say?”
“He said congratulations – and that I must shave now.” A few days earlier, Perry had promised to take Borg out to dinner if he equaled his record. But now it did not look like the two would be able to get together until next Wimbledon, Borg explained, without elaborating. It seemed a shame.
The questions wandered. Borg was asked what he was thinking about when he saw the match ball go long and fell to his knees.
“I was praying.” He laughed.
“To whom?”
“To my parents,” said this man of unfathomable simplicity.
As the press conference broke up, I asked Borg how he would like to be remembered by future generations.
“That I’m a nice guy,” he said unsurely. Then conviction illuminated his face. “No. I think I want to be remembered as a winner. Yes, put that!”

When Jimmy Connors entered the pressroom, it was evident that he did not intend to hang around. He masked whatever disappointment he felt; defiance sparkled in his eyes.
“My serve took a day off,” he said. “I never got into it mentally. I got off to a decent start and I was eager, but it wasn’t there.”
Someone mentioned that the fourth game of the second set had increased Borg’s confidence, because he had come back from love-40 to hold service. “If that was the turning point in his eyes, great,” Connors said flatly.

When a reporter asked him why he hadn’t attacked more, Connors suggested it was because he wasn’t serving well. More technical questions followed, but Connors soon had enough.
“It’s all history now,” he announced. “I don’t care about history. I’m not going to brood. I play again in eight day…” He thought for a while.

“The matches Borg and I play are going to be around a lot longer than we are. Maybe when we’re seventy or so, people will still be talking about them. I don’t want them to talk about this one particularly, but there’ll be plenty more. The season is young.”

An Australian writer asked if Connors would play Down Under if Borg won the US Open and had a chance at the Grand Slam. “I may follow him to the ends of the earth now,” said Jimmy Connors.

Martina Navratilova, WImbledon 1978

Extract from Inside tennis – a season on the pro tour by Peter Bodo and June Harrison:

On Friday, the morning of the women’s final between Navratilova and Evert, the air is cool and crisp; the packed galleries of the Centre Court hum with anticipation.

The women exchange breaks to start the match, then play the next few games lightly and elegantly. It is elevated, pleasant tennis, free of corrosive personal antagonisms. Breaks in the sixth and eight games give Evert the first set. The match is reminiscent of the Navratilova-Goolagong semifinal, with the Czech again taking the first game of the second set. Again, she is extended in the next game. But this time she mistimes an easy overhead at deuce and misses the ball completely. Disconcerted, she hits a poor volley and is handily passed by Evert to give the break back.

But the overhead blunder awakens Navratilova. She takes Evert’s serve at 15 in the next game and then holds at love. The match has climbed a level; the ethereal beginnings have yielded to tennis that takes on increasing grandeur. Evert holds to trail, 2-3. At 15-30 in the next game, with both players at the net, Evert hits a backhand volley that strikes her opponent in the head. Navratilova collapses, more from embarrassment than pain. When she gets up, smiling, Evert is waiting at the net to give her head a friendly rub. Again, the fluky occurrence stimulates Navratilova’s game. She forces Evert into an error and then makes short work of an overhead to reach deuce. Although Evert wins an advantage point, three crushing volleys by Navratilova take the game. There are no more breaks; Navratilova takes the second set, 6-4.

Evert begins the final set with a tentative game; a double fault for 15-30 and a flurry of errors give Navratilova another break. Two games go by routinely before Evert stirs again, holding four break points against her opponent. The game is a classic, with Navratilova’s booming serves and forcing volleys offset by Evert’s uncanny anticipation and precise passing shots under acute pressure. In the end, Evert finally gets the break when Navratilova floats a sliced backhand approach shot too deep in her eagerness to get to the net.

It has become one of those matches in which breaks cease to matter because the level of skill is so high. Although Chris breaks again for a 4-2 lead, Martina is unflappable. It seems as if this match will go to the player who mounts the most furious assault through the closing games, and that proves to be Navratilova. She hits her peak with a love game that levels the score at 5-all, and she takes twelve of the last thirteen points. Evert simply lacks the mental and physical stamina to stay with her, and when Navratilova hits yet another winning backhand volley right to the corner of court, it is over.

While club officials unrolled the crimson carpet for the presentation ceremony, Evert and Navratilova stood by the umpire’s chair.
“How come you’re not crying?” Evert asked.
“I don’t know,” Martina replied with embarrassment. “I don’t want to, not in front of all these people.”
“I did, the first time,” Evert said.
Navratilova was speechless.
“I can’t believe it,” Evert continued. “I hit you in the head with the ball and you started playing better.”
The winner remained incapacitated.

When the Duchess of Kent presented the trophy, she offered to assist in Navratilova’s efforts to win travel privileges for her parents.
Nobody on earth can conduct a ceremony as briefly and decorously as the English. Within minutes it was over. When Navratilova came to the pressroom, she was surprisingly coherent. She said she did not know whether to cry or laugh; all she wanted to do was share her joy with her family, whom she would call later. She felt a chauvinistic flush of pride, the first since her defection, because she considered her victory a triumph for the Czech people.

By the time the formalities were concluded and Navratilova returned to the Inn on the Park, the champion was able to get right through to her parents on the telephone.
The televised image of Martina was the first her parents had seen of her in over two years. However, the first topic of conversation between Martina and her father was the forehand volley. He told her that she was starting her backswing too high. She laughed and told him that she wasn’t calling for a lesson.

Wimbledon 1978

Extract from Inside tennis – a season on the pro tour by Peter Bodo and June Harrison:

The sign on the railroad platform reads Southfields – alight here for Wimbledon tennis. Upstairs, newspaper vendors crowd the sidewalk, each wearing a sandwich board advertising one exclusive or another pertaining to the chances of “Our Ginny”, “Stormy Ilie”, or “The Mighty Man from Michigan”. A long line of black taxicabs provides transportation to the grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, two miles away.

Traffic thickens as you approach Wimbledon. Soon you see a long queue that has formed in the predawn hours at the wrought-iron main gate of the club. When the cab pulls up, a ticket tout opens the door and offers a pair of Centre Court seats a twenty-five pounds each. The markup is still a modest 500 percent; by final days the seats will fetch at least £100 each. The fortunate people at the front of the queue have a chance to buy one of the 300 Centre Court seats that are available to the public daily, but the vast majority are waiting to purchase grounds passes that do not guarantee seating anywhere.

If you have tickets or the proper credentials, you pass through the gate beneath the club crest, the green-and-mauve club flag, and the Union Jack. Inside you have a choice of wandering about the field courts, hoping to get close enough to watch part of a match, or going directly to any of several other queues. One is for standing room alongside the Centre Court, another for the handful of seats available for Number One Court. The bleachers at the other six show courts are filled fifteen minutes after the gates open at noon. Many spectators spend the better part of the day standing in line both inside and outside the grounds. The critical attendance point at Wimbledon is 31,000; it is exceeded almost every day.

Every few moments, the main gate swings open to admit a vehicle, usually a delivery truck, a Rolls-Royce bearing royalty, a Wimbledon courtesy car, or a rented limousine carrying players like Connors or Gerulaitis. Over three hundred competitors are eligible for official transportation. A few years ago, the club maintained a fleet of elegant Daimlers to ferry players back and forth from their London hotels. Now the job is left to British-Leyland, which uses fifty sedans and as many drivers. These courtesy cars are painted to advertise the tournament and the automobile company.

Wimbledon is gigantic in spirit, but the grounds cover just about ten acres. Stewards check the ebb and flow of spectators at each court; inside the clubhouse an electronic counting device registers the click of each admission turnstile. Each afternoon, a committee of club men wearing green-and-mauve ties surveys the crowd from the balcony above the main entrance to the Centre Court. They decide whether to keep the gates open or shut them down for the day. Then they adjourn for tea.

The Centre Court is an eight-sided edifice connected to the rectangular Number One Court by a common wall. The complex looks as if it has been pieced together from odd scraps of steel and random slabs of concrete. It is a maze of cream and loden halls and staircases rambling in myriad directions, with ivy-covered walls and window boxes of blue and pink hydrangeas.

The focal point of the grounds is the large scoreboard opposite the Number One Court enclosure. This enormous green panel, which bears the legend of results and the schedule for each court, faces the players’ tearoom. Spectators on the macadam walkway below can look up and spot the contestants through the tall glass windows or on the balcony above.

There is a public dining area near the main gate, flanking a small grassy picnic area. A variety of tents house bookstalls and souvenir shops, a Pimm’s bar and the famed strawberries and cream concession, as well as a gallery of food and beverage concessions built into the side of the Centre Court.

A sloping roof extends over most of the seats in the Centre Court, leaving only the standing room along either sideline exposed to the elements. The roof adds intimacy and turns the most significant piece of sod in tennis history into a stage suitable for Elizabethan drama. Number One Court is covered at both baselines and where the east stand is a towering structure that adds a breathtaking quality to the court. Courts Two, Three, Six, and Seven, directly across from the main enclosure, also have grandstands. The only other show court is Fourteen, in a distant corner of the grounds. The rest of the twenty-three courts are divided by low fences, narrow walkways, and tall hedges reminiscent of the mazelike gardens found on baronial estates.

The Wimbledon field courts, with the steeple of St. Mary’s Church in the background:

Wimbledon 1978

Southfields Station, on the District Line

Wimbledon 1978
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Wimbledon queue

Is the Queue the only way to buy Wimbledon tickets?

No. There are a few more options: four ways to get tickets: ballots, Ticketmaster, hospitality packages and debenture tickets. Read more here: How to get Wimbledon tickets, How to get last minute Wimbledon tickets.

Where is The Queue?

The easiest way to get to Wimbledon is by public transport, taking the District Line and getting off at Southfields station. It’s then a 10-minute walk to reach the Queue, here’s a map.

Off to the Queue! 🎾🎾 #wimbledon #queue #thequeue #wimbledonqueue #wednesday #tennis #wimbledontennis #wimbledon2016 #andymurray

Une photo publiée par ⚜Steven T.⚜ (@steviet_pinoyboy) le

How much tickets are available for queuers?

– Centre Court: 500 tickets are available every day, for the first nine days, for queuers.
– No.1 Court: 500 tickets are available every day for queuers.
– No.2 Court: 500 tickets are available every day for queuers whilst matches are scheduled on this court.
– Ground Passes: thousands of tickets are available every day at the gate. These allow access to all of the outside courts, including the unreserved seating on Court No.3.

What time to queue?

It depends on how much of a tennis nuts you are, and how patient you are.

– 5 pm the day before: if you want to have a chance to get some Show Court tickets, you’ll have to camp overnight.
– 6 am on the day: if you would like to queue for Ground Passes, you should join the Queue a few hours before the Grounds open at 9.30am.
– 3 pm on the day: you can join the Queue later in the afternoon to gain late entry after 5pm at a cheaper rate

How do I know my place in the Queue?

On your arrival, the Stewards will direct you to the end of the Queue and give you a Queue card, that’s your official place in the Queue. Stewards will ckeck your card a few times before entering the grounds, don’t lose it!

Do I have to stay in the Queue all the time?

No. You can grab some food, have a toilet break… But you could lose your place is the Queue if you leave your place for more than 30 minutes. So, you can’t set up your tent, spend the night at your hotel and come back the morning after.

Can I queue for my friends?

No. Tickets are sold on a strictly one per person queueing basis and are non-transferable.

How is the overnight Queue organized?

The only way to get a Show Court ticket is to camp overnight. Everything is well organized and the Stewards are there to help and guide you. Stewards will wake you up around 6am and you’ll have to pack up your tent and belongings and take them to Left Luggage in order to create space for those joining the Queue on the day.
Around 7.30am the Stewards give wristbands to those towards the front of the Queue who are queueing for Centre, No.1 and No.2 Courts tickets. There are only 500 wristbands for each Show Court. That’s where your place in the Queue is important as the first 500 have priority for Centre Court, but some of the first 500 could choose to buy Court 1 tickets instead, so you could be 600 in the Queue and still be able to buy a Centre Court ticket.
Around 9.30am the Queue moves on and you can finally buy your ticket at the turnstile. The grounds open at 10.30am.

Is it secure to queue at night?

Yes. There are Stewards on both day and night shift to handle all problems. So, don’t worry and enjoy the experience.

Can I bring food and drink?

Yes. You can also order yourself a takeaway to be delivered to the Wimbledon Park Road Gate, grab some food at Wimbledon Park, Wimbledon Village pr Southfields.

What should I wear?

Take clothing suitable for all conditions and don’t forget a hat, sunglasses but also waterproofs.

What is the second Queue?

Once inside the Grounds, you can queue – again – after 3pm in order to purchase returned Centre Court tickets for £10 or Show Court tickets for £5 from the Ticket Resale Kiosk. Money goes to charity.

A few tips for the Queue?

– follow @ViewfromtheQ Twitter account to get updates and informations on the Queue
– don’t lose your Queue card! Stewards will ckeck your card a few times before entering the grounds
– make sure you have enough cash to pay your ticket
– check out the order of play in advance to know which ticket you want to buy
– it might sounds stupid, but if you intend to queue overnight, learn to pack your tent
– it can be cold at night, so bring good camping mat and sleeping bag
– read the Guide to queuing from the Wimbledon website and Diary of Wimbledon queuer from Grandslamgal blog.
– enjoy the Wimbledon experience!

nae-nae'ing our way through #TheQueue @Wimbledon 🎾👒🍹

Une photo publiée par Simone Mercier (@misonesimone) le

If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below, I’ll do my best to reply.

Wimbledon 2016

The majority of Wimbledon tickets are reserved for the public ballots (read more about Wimbledon ballots here). Don’t worry if you had no luck with the ballot or didn’t take part, you still have a few options left.

The Queue

A limited number of tickets are available daily for Centre Court, No.1 Court and No.2 Court, except for the last four days on Centre Court, when all are sold in advance. In addition, several thousand Grounds Passes are available each day at the turnstiles entitling use of unreserved seating and standing room on Courts No.3-19.
Tickets are sold strictly on the basis of one per person queuing and payment is by CASH ONLY.

Depending on your patience and how big of a tennis fan you are, you can join the queue the evening before the game, the morning or the afternoon.

Read more about the queue in Wimbledon Queue 101, a Diary of a Wimbledon queuer and from the Wimbledon website.

Ticketmaster

Several hundred Centre Court and No.3 Court tickets are up for grabs on Ticketmaster the day before each game. The tickets sell out almost immediately. Sign up to the Wimbledon newsletter to get ticket alerts.

Debenture tickets

If you have loads of money to spend, debenture tickets are another option. Debentures are like shares in a company. In exchange for an investment that goes towards ground maintenance and upkeep (new Wimbledon museum, Centre Court retractable roof..), the holder of the debenture gets a fixed number of specific seats for a fixed period of time. One Centre Court debenture ticket is allocated to each holder for every day of The Championships and No. 1 Court debenture tickets are allocated for the first 10 days of The Championships. The debenture holder can then sell the seats they don’t plan to use.

Learn more about debentures from Wimbledon website and check out prices here.

If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below, I’ll do my best to reply.

Photo credit: Paula Funnell

Novak Djokovic signs with Lacoste

There were rumours since January that Novak Djokovic would sign with French brand Lacoste once his contract with Uniqlo over, it is now official: Djokovic is the newest member of the Croc family.

Lacoste has developed for Novak Djokovic an eponymous clothing line to be worn on the court. These outfits have been specially designed to kit out the champion during the Grand Slam’s tournaments as well as dress him for the other tournaments of the season. The Novak Djokovic collection will be available in Lacoste boutiques, starting May 2017.

Novak Djokovic outfit for Roland Garros

Let’s have a look at Novak’s outfits for the upcoming tournaments.

Roland Garros:

Novak Djokovic outfit for Roland Garros 2017

Novak Djokovic outfit for Roland Garros 2017
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