Photos Guy Harris
There is nothing quite like The Championships at Wimbledon, the world’s most famous tennis tournament. Whether they attend in person or watch the coverage on television, for those two weeks every summer, you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the United Kingdom who isn’t a tennis fan.
The thing about Wimbledon is the atmosphere. Even those who haven’t been able to get tickets for seats on the tennis courts at Wimbledon queue to buy ‘grounds’ tickets. There is lots to see and do and you can sit on the hill behind Court One with other fans to watch the tennis on a huge television screen. Formerly referred to as ‘Henman Hill’, this year most fans are referring to this iconic location as ‘Murray Mount’ due to the success of Britain’s number one tennis player, Andy Murray.
Henman Hill / Murray Mount
My husband and I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to purchase tickets to either Centre Court or Court One for the last five years running. It is one of the highlights of our summer and a wonderful day out. Before the tennis begins at one o’clock each afternoon, bands play in the grounds and restaurants and bars offer champagne, Pimms and every imaginable sort of snack, the most popular being strawberries and cream – a classic part of the Wimbledon experience. People picnic in the grounds, and there are some wonderful places to eat, including my favourite, The Wingfield Restaurant. Attached to Centre Court and overlooking the grounds, it is a great place to people watch as well as enjoying an absolutely delicious lunch.
Salad of Ogen Melon, Mint & English Tomatoes with a Merlot Dressing | Poached Shetland Islands Salmon Niçoise Salad
Raspberry and Lemon Brulée Tart | Chocolate & Orange Delice with Rich Chocolate and Golden Syrup Sauce
Promptly at one o’clock, the games begin. One of the fun parts of sitting on Centre Court is seeing who will be in the Royal Box the day you attend. Although our seats were a long way apart, in past years I have watched tennis with Colin Firth, Ann Hathaway, Anna Wintour, Billy Jean King, Martina Navratilova, the King and Queen of Spain and the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie among others. Although it’s almost sacrilege to say this, sometimes the people in the Royal Box are more interesting than the tennis!
This year we had tickets to Court One and saw three matches; Lepchenko versus Kvitova in the women’s competition and in the men’s Nishikori versus Del Potro and Tsonga versus Lacko. We enjoyed them all, the sun shone for most of the day and we had a fabulous time.
Of course, everyone in Britain lives in hope of a home grown winner, and this year we finally have a chance. Andy Murray has broken a seventy-four year dry spell and we have a British man in the Men’s Final. Murray has got his work cut out for him against Federer. However, he is definitely at the top of his game and with virtually every Brit on the planet rooting for him things are looking good! So, like many of our fellow countrymen, tomorrow afternoon my family and I will be watching the tennis on television. We’ll be raising a glass of Pimms, eating strawberries and cream and hoping and praying for a British win in this Jubilee and Olympic year.
You see, not only is Wimbledon a great sporting event, it’s a wonderful example of how tradition and history are such an important part of life in the UK. We Brits may be famous for our reserve, but Wimbledon is one place where we really do let go and cheer our favourites on. No wonder it is one of the highlights of any British summer!