With the sound of, well, silence, apart from the occasional shout of ‘out’ or ‘deuce’ along with the price of strawberries and cream at its height, it must be the two weeks of the year our TVs are taken over by the Wimbledon Championships.
Getting tickets for the main courts to see the highest seeded players at the championships can be a very expensive business with Centre Court tickets ranging from £41-£104, which are often bought without even knowing the schedule order; a risky spend if your favourite player ends up playing on another court. However, Wimbledon the student way is to get up very early in the morning (not very student-like so far, I know) and travel to London and queue for the privalege to enter the grounds.
Queuing for over three hours may not sound fun, but with the sun shining and receiving the official souvenir sticker saying ‘I was in the queue for Wimbledon 2010’ whilst eating the picnic intended for inside Wimbledon Village, you will be through the gates before you know it for the small price of £20.
The ticket re-sale booth is yet another perk for not buying expensive seats for the tournament. People with tickets are encouraged to hand them in if they are leaving their seat early so that they can be re-sold for just £5. This involves yet another long queue but I managed to wait it out yesterday, which was made easier by the unbroken sunshine, in order to get on to Centre Court and see Venus Williams beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0-6-4. There really is nothing better than sitting in seats you paid only £5 for whilst being surrounded by people who paid 10 times the price.
Today would have been a great day to attend the championships, however, as the Queen took a surprise visit to Wimbledon herself. She has not visited the grounds since 1977, the year of her silver jubilee, as she is more known for her following of horse racing. But this afternoon she viewed Andy Murray’s Centre Court match from the Royal Box with noticeably increased security and visible police surveillance on the court due to her presence.
The Queen’s visit follows what was a record breaking match on Wednesday afternoon. With 59 games each in the fifth set, the match was forced to end after 10 hours of play and set to recommence today. Nicolas Mahut from France and the USA’s John Isner made tennis history and still had the stamina to serve ace’s up until the match was halted, as light was dwindling at 9.10pm. After play was halted until 3.30pm Thursday, Isner said:
“He’s serving fantastic, I’m serving fantastic. Nothing like this will ever happen again.”
The championships run from 21st June to 4th July, so there is still plenty of time to head down to the grounds and catch your bit of the action. But for an even cheaper way to enjoy the tennis, the only way can be to sit down with a glass of Pimm’s (which will definitely cost you less than the £6 a glass at Wimbledon) and switch on your TV to the BBC’s live coverage.