Wimbledon: Rain or Shine! - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  


Wimbledon: Rain or Shine!

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 7/26/2007
  



PassPorter.com > Articles > International Travel > Traveling  

There are some great British summer traditions.


One of them is Wimbledon fortnight, when the top names in the tennis world head for a suburb of London for the only Grand Slam tournament to be held on a grass surface. Sadly another tradition is that once the fortnight gets underway, so does the rain. We've had years where Wimbledon has helped to end weeks of drought conditions. I was really hoping that this year would be different, as it was the first time in 11 years that I had managed to get tickets for the championship, although it's been compulsory television viewing in our house for a number of years.

Wimbledon is very different to most major sporting events in the way that the tickets allocated. A certain amount of tickets are available for the show courts - Centre Court, Number One and Number Two courts - on each day of the tournament via a public ballot (lottery). To be entered into this ballot, all you have to do is send in your details and a self-addressed envelope between the start of August and mid December. If you're successful, then you'll get notification in February or March, with details of the date and court that you've been allocated tickets for. You can then decide whether you want to take them or not and if you do, that's when you pay for them.

But what's unique about Wimbledon is that even if you don't strike it lucky in the ballot, there is still hope. Every day you can just turn up and queue for entry into the grounds and for the remaining tickets for the show courts. Realistically, if you want one of those show court tickets, you have to be there early. It's not uncommon for people to camp out overnight and the lines often stretch around the grounds, with thousands waiting and hoping to get in on the busiest days.

Fortunately we didn't have to go down this route, as we were lucky enough to be allocated top-priced tickets for Number One court for the first Saturday of the tournament. Of course, I eagerly accepted those and paid for them. It's not a cheap day out, but then, that applies to most major sporting tournaments. Besides, on a good day, you could easily enjoy ten hours of tennis.

It became fairly obvious though as the day dawned that there was no way we would be seeing that much action. The clouds greeted us with rain as we parked and that continued on and off throughout the morning. The gates usually open at 10:30 am and play will then begin on the outside courts, numbers 3 through to 19, shortly afterwards at 11:00 am. If you've just got a ticket to get into the grounds and want to grab a seat to see the action on the outside courts, you'll need to move quickly. By the time we got past the very thorough security checks (a lot of places could learn from Wimbledon on that count!), a lot of the seats on court 13 were already taken. It's only that court and court 3 that have large amounts of seating. The others have very limited seats and mainly standing room only views.

When you first enter the grounds, the thing that strikes you is how close together the courts are. The outside courts are literally sandwiched together in two chunks to the north and south of Centre Court, some with literally only a few feet between them.

Speaking of Centre Court, it's in the middle of a very dramatic refurbishment, which will see the installation of a retractable roof by the 2009 tournament. This year there's no roof on the court at all, making for a potentially wet and windy spectator and playing experience. And that's exactly what we got on the day we were there. That rain was never far away and before long, we heard an announcement that first there would be no play until midday, then 1:00 pm and then 1:30 pm.

Fortunately, when it rains, there are lots of other things to see and do - of course, most of them cost you money! There are plenty of places to get food, although as you'd expect, the prices aren't cheap and when it rains, it's mobbed. The Wimbledon shop is another good way to ensure that you don't leave with the money you entered with, full of tempting items. Let's just say that the Wimbledon umbrella we bought was the best purchase we'd made in some time!

Finally we took our seats on Number One court and discovered that we really had lucked out with them. We were in the front row, about four seats along from where the players' coaches and families sit. We couldn't have wished for anything better, except for sunshine and dry weather.

We eventually got enough of a break in the rain to get the players on to court and we were treated to a first class match between number two seed Maria Sharapova and the number 26 seed Ai Sugayama. Although the score didn't reflect it, it was a close match and perhaps some of the most interesting things were the things you don't really notice when you watch TV coverage. It was quiet enough to hear a pin drop when either player served, which I never realized before, and to actually see the power and motion that goes into each serve really makes you admire their fitness levels. It looks like a very simple game to play, but there's a great deal of technique, training and sheer power required to do it well.

As the match moved into its last game, the rain returned and as soon as the players shook hands, the ground staff were into place and hauling the covers safely back into place to protect the court from the rain. They make it look like an effortless operation and the speed at which they get the cover into place is staggering.

Sadly, from that point onwards, we saw no further play, but fortunately as we had only seen just over an hour's worth of play, we would receive half of our money back. This rain policy was introduced a few years ago and for those on Centre Court, the news was even better. With just 58 minutes play, as they had seen less than an hour of tennis, they would get a complete refund on the price of their tickets. It may sound generous, but let's not forget, with nothing to watch, we were all happily spending money inside the grounds!

Despite the rain, we will definitely be trying to get lucky in the Wimbledon ballot for the 2008 tournament. It's an experience I can thoroughly recommend, although I can't always promise good weather for your day out!



About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!


Recent International Travel Articles:
Bistro Chez Remy at Disneyland Paris - A Disneyland Paris Dining Review last updated 01-15-2015
Ratatouille at Disneyland Paris - A Disneyland Paris Attraction Review last updated 01-08-2015
The Holidays at Disneyland Paris - A Disneyland Paris Review last updated 12-25-2014
One Night in Venice, Italy - A Disney Cruise Line Port Review last updated 10-02-2014
Hong Kong Disneyland - A Disney Parks Review last updated 05-22-2014

More Related Links:


Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World - Avoid Those Baggage Fees last updated 3/2/2011
New York City - Something Old, Something New last updated 01/02/2009
On the Road to Walt Disney World - Doing "The Drive" last updated 01/20/2009
Airline Security - 10 Important Tips and Reminders last updated 1/21/2009
Sick at Sea - (But Not Sea Sick!) last updated 5/14/2009




Reader Comments:


View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 7/26/2007 - Article #244 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com


Alaska cruise, cruise and land, or explore on our own?
by Ann2
13 Apr 2015 at 8:32pm
In the beginning of planning Alaskan vacation, and finding this research more overwhelming than my usual planning. I'm trying to determine if going...
(click title above to view replies)

Adventures By Disney Mail Indicates Special Announcement April 14--"A Whole N...
by toddjodybrent
7 Apr 2015 at 8:51pm
Had some Adventures by Disney mail arrive today with information about a "surprise" being announced on April 14 about a "whole new way to travel."...
(click title above to view replies)

DL Hong Kong-advice needed
by jeebugs
5 Apr 2015 at 4:22pm
Anyone have any advice on these things or any other things we need to know?- DH and I are traveling to China in about a week and I have...
(click title above to view replies)

cruising out of nyc
by skateycat
4 Apr 2015 at 8:28am
this will not be a disney cruise, but who better to ask about general travel plans? hubby and i will be sailing out of nyc this october. will...
(click title above to view replies)

Tokyo Disney Questions...
by Meggera
31 Mar 2015 at 9:42am
HEY PASSPORTERS!!! I haven't posted on here in a few...years. Our family dynamics have changed quite a bit since I posted last. I'll have to tell...
(click title above to view replies)

Train excursions American and Canadian?
by Pris
21 Mar 2015 at 9:54pm
I've been doing a little exploring the excursions offered by Amtrak and by the Canadian Railway. I'm particularly interested in the Pacific...
(click title above to view replies)

Disney's Hilton Head Resort
by KathyL
21 Mar 2015 at 8:31pm
DH and I are considering taking a trip to Disney's Hilton Head Resort in late October. For anyone who has been there, what can you tell me about the...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 3473

TING!
You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!


PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.