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)

Bjorn Borg, Wimbledon 1976

Winner at Roland Garros in 1974 and 1975, Borg reached the Wimbledon final in 1976 without dropping a set. He then dispatched Ilie Nastase in straight sets. Borg became the youngest male Wimbledon champion of the modern era at 20 years and 1 month (a record subsequently broken by Boris Becker, who won Wimbledon aged 17 in 1985). It would be the last time Borg played Wimbledon as an underdog.
With his long blonde hair and good looks, Bjorn Borg changed the face of tennis in the early 70s: winning Roland Garros made him a european celebrity, but winning Wimbledon made him a worldwilde celebrity, the first tennis popstar.

Extract from Mr Nastase, the autobiography:

We emerged from the locker rroom that was on the left, just inside the main entrance to the All England Club, turned let, walked up a few steps, through some wooden doors, and passed underneath Kipling’s words about meeting Triumph and Disaster and treating those two impostors just the same (yeah, right). Then, just on the left, before the door that led onto Centre Court, we were told to wait in the famous little anteroom. We sat there, just Bjorn and me and Leo, the little lockerroom attendant who carried all our rackets and bags. Bjorn and I had agreed before we went out which end we would take with our chais, but that was all we had said to each other all morning. In the anteroom, we didn’t exchange a word.

Then we were called onto court. We emerged to a total scrum of photographers. Even I had never seen so many, it felt like a boxing match. We both bowed when we reached the sevice line, and each went to our corners. Borg won the toos and elected to receive. When play started, I began well. So well, in fact, compared to Borg, that I broke him in his first service game, led 3-0, and had three break points for a 4-0 lead.

Sure enough, the Ice Man cometh. Borg woke up. He held serve, broke back, got to 3-3, and broke me again to go 5-4, after which he served out to win the first set. I think that, if I had won that first set, anything could have happened. But, with Borg one set up, he got into his stride, whereas I seemed to lose my momentum. I had served really well all through the tournament, making use of my slightly heavier racket. Now, though, my serves were neutered, and he was benefiting from the slower court and higher bounce to slug great returns at me as I made my way to the net. He also served unbelievably well, and because of the conditions, had more time to choose on which shot he would come up to the net, so he won a lot of points at the net, something he would not normally have done. Although I was fast, Borg was a great athlete as well, so he was able to run to anything.

By the second set, I had lost confidence. I began to swear and shout at my brother and Mitch out of frustration. I tried staying back, I tried going up to the net, but Bjorn had an answer to everything. Before I knew I had lost the set 6-2.

I kept trying to get myself going in the third set. I was slapping my thigh the whole time, but still Borg was better than me. I’m not the sort of player who, at the change of ends, will sit there trying to analyze the game and figure out a way of changing things. I would just change ends faster. When I was winning, on the other hand, I used to take a long time: let the other guy sit there and think about it. But now that I was losing there was no point in sitting there, going crazy. Borg, meawhile, was spending every change of ends putting freezing spray on his stomach muscle to numb the pain. It obviously worked.
It was incredible how, having totally crushed him six months before in the Masters final, the situation had been reversed, and I was now the one who couldn’t play. But that’s the unpredictable side of sport. Maybe if we’d played the next day, the result would have been different, you never know. But I have to say Borg played really well that day.

He broke immediately in that third set and reached 5-4. He was now serving for the title. The crowd went wild and tried to encourage me. I don’t know how, but I managed to break back after saving a match point with a passing shot. I survived until 7-7 (the tie-breaks were at 8-all in those days) when I was broken again. This time, Borg reached match point, served match point, served to my backhand corner, and I returned into the net. It was all over. Borg hurled his racket into the air, as Smith has done four years before. Although I had lost, I spontaneously leapt over the net to hug and congratulate him.

Andy Muray climbs into the stands, Wimbledon 2013

Like strawberries and cream, the Queue and all-white outfits, the champion’s climb to the players’ box to celebrate his victory with his closed ones has become a tradition at Wimbledon. It all started with Pat Cash back in 1987:

“Champions of the past had celebrated their wins in time honoured fashion. Most used to jump the net and run up to commiserate with the person they had just beaten; this was the style of the Australians such as Laver, Emerson, Hoad and Fraser. But I wasn’t prepared to do that with Ivan Lendl; I didn’t like the guy at all and I wasn’t about to sympathise with him.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a great lover of Wimbledon’s traditions and everything they stand for, but I wanted to go where no champion had ever gone before. Suddenly I made up my mind, and nothing or nobody was going to stop me. I had looked up to the players box, and so many of the people who meant so much to me were there: my coach Ian Barclay, my girlfriend Anne-Britt, my dad, my sister Renee, my uncle Brian, and the woman who had helped me become one of the fittest players ever to walk on a tennis court, Ann Quinn. I had to be up there with them, and I was going to show my gratitude by climbing up to them.

Why did I do it? Growing up I’d always seen myself as just a normal Aussie kid who liked rock and roll music, football and girls, but I suppose I was just a little bit left of centre. I was kind of crazy, and always tried to be a bit different. My family upbringing had never involved a lot of hugging, but I had it in my head that if I ever won Wimbledon I would show the world how much I actually felt for those people. I wanted to be with them for these most memorable minutes of my life, and the most public way of showing my thanks was to do it in this greatest arena in tennis. So off I went.” [1]

Pat Cash, Wimbledon 1987

Since then, 14 players have scaled terraces to the players’ box to embrace their family and coaches.
The most unexpected – and out of character – climb was probably Sampras‘ when he beat Pat Rafter in 2000 and broke Roy Emerson’s Grand Slam record:

“I finally won it, 6-7 7-6 6-4 6-2. It was dusk by then, and flashbulbs went off like a thousand lightning strikes. I looked over at Paul [Annacone] in the players’ box. He gestured up toward the area where we knew my folks were sitting. I was disoriented, but I knew what to do next – I climbed into the stands to find and hug my folks. And those flashbulbs just kept exploding. The scene was surreal.
Left to my own devices, I probably wouldn’t have climbed into the stands. Thinking about it in advance, I would have said “None of us likes to make a really big scene, and my parents would find it embarrassing, I don’t think I’ll do that.” But when Paul signaled me, I knew immediately it was the right thing to do. Much like when I had to speak at Tim Gullikson’s funeral, my first reaction was to avoid drama and attention. But when the moment arrived in both those cases, I knew enough to do the right thing. As Paul said later, when I asked him why he had thought to signal me, “How often to you break the Grand Slam record, at a place that’s been so good to you, in front of people who have been so good to you?” [2]

The most spectacular was Nadal‘s one after his thrilling marathon win over Federer in 2008.

“I collapsed flat on my back on the Wimbledon grass, arms outstretched, fists clenched, roaring with triumph. The silence of the Centre Court gave way to pandemonium, an I succumbed, at long last, to the crowd’s euphoria, letting it wash over me, liberating myself from the mental prison I had inhabited from start to finish of the match, all day, the night before, the full two weeks of the greatest tennis tournament on earth. […] the tears came, and there was nothing I could do to stop them, and there was one more thing I had to do before the ceremony, one emotional release I needed before I could behave with some semblance of the restraint that Wimbledon tradition required.
I ran toward the corner where my father and mother and Toni, Titin, Carlos Costa, Tuts and Dr Cotorro had been sitting, and were now standing, and I clambered up the seats and scaled a wall to reach them. I was crying, and my father, the first to greet me, was crying too, and we hugged, and I hugged my mother, and I hugged Toni and the three of us all held one another in one great, tight family embrace.” [3]

After Rafa celebrated with his family, he made a U-turn towards the Royal Box to greet the Spanish Crown Prince and his wife.

Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon 2008

And the one the British crowd had been expected for so many years, is of course Andy Murray‘s celebratory climb in 2013:

“A few fraught minutes (and deuces) later, the title was mine. In the celerations after Novak’s decisive netted backhand, I was aware that people had started to come onto the court. When I finally sat down, I saw Andrew Jarrett coming over.
“Have I got enough time to go to my family and friends?” I asked.
“You need to be quick.”
I climbed up to the players’ box and went to Ivan first. He was sitting next to Novak’s team. It wasn’t a conscious decision to seek him out, but it was fitting that he was the first person I saw.
I’ve no idea if Ivan said anything to me or not. Two things I recall: my uncle, Neil, was sitting a few rows back and he was so desperate to high-five me that he reached forward and stuck his armpit right in Sir Chris Hoy’s face. Then, of course, I hadn’t seen my mum and someone shouted “Your mum, your mum”, so I went back and gave her a hug.” [4]

Sources:
[1] Uncovered by Pat Cash
[2] A champion’s mind by Pete Sampras and Peter Bodo
[3] Rafa by John Carlin
[4] Seventy-seven my road to Wimbledon glory by Andy Murray