If you keep your eyes open, it's surprising who you might see at Wimbledon. Of course, former tennis stars are all over the place, and some play in the over 35 and over 45 events. For example. Goran Ivanisevic and Henri Leconte were partners in the over 35's mens doubles this year, and the ladies over 35's doubles was full of familiar names - Jana Navotna, Hana Mandlikova, Tracy Austin to name a few.
Other sporting stars can be spotted around the grounds, mostly in the Royal Box in Centre Court - but I saw Peter Beardsley (former England football star) leaving No 2 court this year.
Other easy-to-spot celebs are those associated with the players - the picture shows Richard Williams (Venus and Serena's Dad) watching in No 2 Court in 2005. The second picture is Hana Mandlikova in action out on court 4 this year.
The giant screen at Wimbledon is well known to all those who have watched the tennis on the BBC. It is situated at the foot of Aorangi Terrace (otherwise known as Henman Hill) which is to the North East of No 1 Court. It shows coverage from the BBC, and is a popular spot for those with ground tickets to sit on the grass and watch the play on the show-courts.
If you haven't bought a programme for the day, you can catch up on the results so far, and see the full draws on the scoreboard, which is updated (by hand, one man, a ladder and some printed labels !) throughout the day. The board shown in the picture was on the north side of Centre Court up to 2005 when this picture was taken. We didn't walk past it this year, but there are new boards just inside the main entrance gate (Gate No 3) which are very similar.
Remember that you might be sitting in the sun for several hours, so take a hat to save your head from getting fried. People wear all sorts of hats, from floppy little sunhats, sun-visors, up to straw hats and panamas. Don't wear too big a hat that though, you'll upset the people sitting behind you, and don't wear a silly hat unless you WANT to be picked out by the television cameras for the world to see !
Unless you are guests of someone who can get you into one of the "private" areas, such as the Press Bar, Stewards Bar or Debentures Lounge where you'll need to be a bit smarter, you can wear pretty well what you like to watch the tennis (within reason of course - streakers ARE ejected from the courts !).
DO remember that you'll probably be sitting in the sun for most of the day, so unless you've already got a healthy tan you need to be able to cover up to avoid getting burnt. Also, remember to check the weather forcast before you go - it nearly always rains on at least one day during the tournament.
You MUST buy a programme if you go to Wimbledon.
You could manage without a programme - after all the draws, results and order of play are all on display - but there is so much additional information in the programme that you'd be missing out big-time. This year (2006) it contains 124 pages, of which the middle 16 (and the cover) is printed specially every day. All the draws are updated daily, the order of play (i.e. who is playing where and when !) is set out in detail, and there are articles and features on all the top players and various aspects of the game.
Excellent value at £ 6.50 from stands inside the ground, or the Wimbledon Shop.
The best one to get for a souvenir though is the special edition published after the tournament ends with ALL the results printed in it. (Can also be purchased from the Wimbledon website for £ 8.00) And even better is the special edition presented to the Honorary Stewards with their names on the cover (I presume they still do that - I know they used to !)
There are plenty of toilets around Wimbledon, but the best ones are to be found under the (relatively) new Number 1 Court. The ones we've used are to be found under the stairs each side of the south-west entrance, but they can be also be found on the other three sides of No 1 Court. They are all kept spotlessly clean throughout the day (I haven't caught them out yet !). If you enlarge the photo you can just see the signs over the entrance to the disabled toilets.
There are other toilets all round the grounds, including the four corners of Centre Court. But No 1 is the best !
Remember that tennis matches go on for a long time. Mens tennis at Wimbledon is the best of five sets, and matches can easily last three hours or more. The tennis usually starts at 12 noon, and play can continue on into the evening, maybe until after 8 at night if it is not to dark. You could be sitting for easily 6 hours or more. So give some consideration to your backside. The seats at Wimbledon used to be very hard wooden seats, and after an hour or more started to become uncomfortable. The seats are much better now, (hard plastic ones !)and you don't get anything like as sore as you used to.
Equipment: If you've got a suitable cushion, consider taking it. Otherwise you can hire cushions at a price of two pounds per day from kiosks within the ground. Or you could buy one from the Wimbledon Shop - at six pounds, or fifteen pounds for a luxury souvenir cushion (it better be special at that price !).
Ticket Prices for 2006
Ticket prices for Centre Court range from £ 34 for the first two days up to £ 83 for the men’s final. No 1 court is slightly cheaper, ranging from £ 32 at the start of the tournament up to £ 62 in the middle of the second week, before dropping to £ 23 at the end of the tournament, when the semi-finals and finals are held on Centre Court, unless the inevitable happens and the English weather intervenes to delay the matches. In this case No 1 court may still host top matches for those lucky enough to have tickets. Tickets are also available for No 2 Court (from £ 25 to £38). No 2 Court has some very good matches, particularly in the first week, and has been the scene of numerous upsets over the years. Around 500 tickets for each of these courts are also available on the day at the turnstiles for those prepared to queue, and around 6,000 ground tickets are available each day at prices up to £ 16. There are long queues for tickets every day, with many people queuing overnight for the chance to see the top matches.
The Championships will be held from 26th June to 9th July. Ticket information can be found on the website. The tickets for the show-courts (Centre Court, No 1 Court, and No 2 Court) were sold some time ago. Most are sold through the public ballot, and I've set out below how the procedure for this year worked. But you are too late now for 2006 ! However around 500 tickets are available for each of the show-courts on the day, if you are prepared to queue - and that probably means queuing overnight !
The main proportion of tickets for Centre and Number One courts are allocated through the public ballot, for which applications must be submitted by 15th December 2005. Successful applicants are selected at random by computer as the ballot is many times oversubscribed, and those applicants are then offered tickets for a day and court, also randomly selected by computer. So it really is the luck of the draw whether you get a ticket, and for what day. Generally you will always get to see the top players in action, but only in the second week does the competition really heat up, as in the first week quite a few matches can be one-sided.
Full details of ticket arrangements can be found on the official website.
You are allowed to take photos inside The Championships, even in the show courts. In fact, one year we sat in the second row in Centre Court, behind all the press photographers, and so I felt obliged to take lots of photos ! But please be considerate to the spectators around you - they have paid good money too to watch the tennis. And if your camera has a built-in flash, make sure it is turned off - as play can continue quite late into the evening (as late as 9 pm on occasions) it can get a little gloomy and flash is distracting to the players especially. If you don't know how to turn it off, read your camera's manual ! And if you still don't know how to turn it off, don't try and take pictures !
Enough said, one of my personal dislikes !
A wimbledon title is greatly sort after by tennis players across the globe.
The gass is a notoriously difficult surface to play tennis on
More often then not rain interrupts play but many people chose to sit it out rather then leave the stands as ticket prices are expensive
Lots of people chose to sit outside the grounds on a hill affectionately known as Henman Hill after our Tim Henman (he has never yet won wimbledon but there is always hope :-))
It is traditional to enjoy strawberries & cream at this event
The championship starts 26 June 2006 & ends 9 July 2006
People resident in the UK can apply for tickets by Public Ballot to AELTC
Equipment: A cushion as the seats are fairly hard
Definetly an umbrella & some water
During the Championships, tickets are available from the gates on all tennis days.
Sale of ground passes is limited to one person out, one person in, after total ground capacity has been reached. Centre Court tickets are not available from the gates on the last 4 days of the Championships.
More info on website below!
This isnt a sports activity per say.. but you can play football (soccer), cricket, play on the swings in the kiddies playground, etc on this playing field. It is across the road from our home and we often come here and picnic after work... especially during the long summer days :)
There are many parks around Wimbledon, Wimbledon Common being the largest and most well known. There is quite a bit of 'green space' for such a built up suburb, which is lovely!
Once again the month of June sees the annual All England Tennis Championships at Wimbledon. Despite being England it is a long time since an English man or lady has won their repective championship. Every year English hopes are bult up and then dashed early on, although Tim Henman and Greg Rudeski are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Wimbledon has changed quite alot since I visited on a school trip. I can remember parking the coach on a field not far awa and then queuing for a short while. Once inside I had a quick walk round the maze of courts, past the famous, outrageously priced strawberries and cream stands and eventually found my way on to Centre Court. In those days you didn't need a ticket to get in there, it was first come first served. I was on the lower tier which was standig, it is now all seating. I can't really remember who played but they had to be pretty good to play on Centre Court. I do remember watching Martina Navratilova play though.
It was a good day and and unusually for Wimbledon it didn't rain.
Equipment: A pair of eyes to watch, a sense of patience to sit there for hours and be quiet when told to and an umbrella and raincoat for when the inevitable rainstorms happen.