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.

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!

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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Wimbledon view from court 12

It’s more than time to prepare your trip to the greatest tennis tournament, Wimbledon! Wimbledon tickets are the most coveted tickets and of course the most difficult to get.

Prices

First, let’s have a look at the prices for Wimbledon 2017 tickets. From £15 to £190 for the mens finals.

Wimbledon 2017 ticket prices

There are four ways to get tickets: the ballots, the Queue, Ticketmaster and the hospitality packages. In fact there are two more (membership and debentures) but I guess if you can afford them you are not reading this article.

Ballots

Neat

The majority of Wimbledon tickets are distributed via ballots. Entry into the ballot gives you a place in the draw for tickets, which is done randomly by computer. It does not automatically entitle you to tickets for Wimbledon. You can not choose specific days or courts.

UK ballot

From September 1, 2016, the All England Club Tennis Club is accepting applications for the public ballot from UK residents. To obtain an application form send in a stamped, self-addressed envelope before December 15, 2016 to:
AELTC
P.O. BOX 98
London
SW19 5AE

You will need to complete and return the application form by December 31, 2016 in order to be entered in the ballot. Completed forms must be returned to:
AELTC
P.O. BOX 67611
London
SW19 9DT

Overseas ballot

To enter the non-UK residents ballot, you need to complete this form. You have from December 1, 2016 till December 15, 2016 to submit your application.

British tennis ballot

If you’re a British tennis member, you’ve already received an email asking if you want to opt in for the ballot. You only have to login into your members area, click OPT IN and that’s it you just have to wait for the results.
If you’re not it’s really easy to join, it only costs £25 for adults and you don’t have to be British to join in. Membership gives you discounts and pre-sales on tickets for events including Queen’s and Eastbourne tournaments, and entry into the BTM Wimbledon ballot. Check out all the details here.

The Queue

Wimbledon Queues

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. All you have to do to get one ticket is queue! Tickets are cash only if you’re queuing.

The Queue is a tradition as integral to the Championships as strawberries and cream, or predominately white clothing.
In 1927 queues started outside the ground at 5 a.m. and more than 2,000 people were turned away. In 1991, when heavy rain caused the game to be delayed to the Middle Sunday for the very first time, the queue stretched for 2.4 km outside the grounds.

Check out Wimbledon’s guide to queuing and Mel’s diary of a Wimbledon queuer.

Ticketmaster

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

Hospitality packages

Keith Prowse and Sportsworld are Wimbledon’s two official tour operators. They provide hospitality packages, including tickets and London hotel accommodation. Sportsworld offer packages for visitors from the UK, Asia and Australasia. Keith Prowse offer packages for visitors from the UK, Europe, and the Americas.

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

Photo credit: KT (1&3), Wimbledon website (2), Michael Pritchard (4)