Waking up at 7.30am on a Saturday morning would not be something I would usually do. I made the exception for Wimbledon and, stumbling bleary-eyed down Church Street, realised that I was even excited about the day ahead – strawberries and cream, toned young men in white shorts and cool, fruity Pimms – all of this made Wimbledon seem like something I definitely wanted to get involved with. Upon entry, we ignored the over-zealous, camping-overnighters and assumed our position in the scorched field.
It was so hot even that early in the morning and I began to realise we were in for a rather long day. After polishing-off the first Kronenbergs of the morn, we were each handed a ‘queue card’ which allowed us to briefly leave the queue for loo trips and suchlike. My card read ‘11398’ – far from promising. I looked up and pondered the eleven thousand, three hundred and ninety seven people ahead with slight weariness. Along with the queue card, we were also handed a leaflet entitled ‘The Wimbledon Guide to Queuing’ this was met with initial derision (“we are British, I think we all know how to queue!”) but a few hours later, it was the most scintillating read at our disposal and an invaluable commodity. Yes, the queue was long (we arrived at around 9am and got through the entrance at 4.30pm) and there was little to do but the atmosphere, the banter and the wonderful weather made it a much more favourable activity.
Wimbledon itself wasn’t actually all that great - I think you really need proper court tickets to see some actual tennis but the heat of the day combined with mucho drinking perhaps impaired my enjoyment somewhat. By the time we got in all I wanted to do was have a drink of water and a lie-down in the shade - not to grapple with a load of sweaty people for a good position on Henman’s famous hill. I would go back though – perhaps next time I will try camping or, better still, win the ticket ballot.