Thursday, August 04, 2016

SHOTS FROM LONDON (Part 6): Strawberries & Cream at Wimbledon


Today was a big day. Newman and i were watching Wimbledon again, but unlike yesterday [refer to previous post] wherein we queued for hours in the morning, today was going to be easy-peasy. Why? We had tickets, that's why. Reserved seats! At Court No. 3! [fist pump ala Lleyton]

So, how to score tickets for Wimbledon? Well, if you live outside the United Kingdom, basically your only chance is to join the Wimbledon Overseas Public Ticket Ballot, through its official website. It usually opens sometime November, and closes on December 31st. 

All you need to do is type in (or more accurately, all the AELTC requests for are) your name, address, contact no. and email address. Lucky winners are chosen by a random computer process, so it is not possible to choose when you want to watch, which court, how many persons, and/or how many days.  Given the massive demand vs. the severely limited supply of tickets. the AELTC can afford to be snooty. Hehe!

When i received this email from the AELTC sometime in February, i nearly fell off my chair in surprise:

     We are pleased to offer you the following tickets for The Championships, 2016:


The amount due is 96.00 GBP

Payment must be made by THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY


After i made my payment by credit card, i got this email reminder from them:

You will be required to collect the tickets in person from the AELTC via Gate 4 on the day of play. You will need to show photographic identification which shows your name (e.g. passport or driving licence) as well as a current proof of address (issued within the last 3 months of tickets collection) which matches the name and address with which you applied (e.g. utility bill, bank statement etc) in order to collect your tickets. Tickets will not be released to a third party.

Yesterday, our efforts to queue were rewarded by good weather most of the day. At the outside courts with no reserved seats, one could really see the action up close:

Daria Gavrilova in action.

Check out the nattily-attired linesmen:

One of my favorites, the rising Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia:

Today was unfortunately a bit different. The infamous London weather was rearing its ugly head, and forecast for the day was rain, rain and more rain. True enough, the order of play kept on getting delayed, and finally started around 1 PM. 

Check out the old-fashioned board showing the order of play:

Here's our vantage point from our reserved seats on Court No. 3. Unfortunately, play kept on getting suspended as rain showers came and went and came back. 

Here's how the ballboys and grounds crew unfurl the tarp, to cheers and whistles from the crowd: 

With play suspended for the most part of the day, there wasn't really much to do except wait. And do some retail therapy, courtesy of the Wimbledon shops: 

The queues were horrendous at the cashier (or "till", as the Brits call it), and there was much jostling around. There was a dizzying array of official Wimbledon branded merchandise, from the usual tennis apparel to the high-end Polo Ralph Lauren line; oversized tennis balls, stuffed toys, keychains, mugs and tumblers and the like; even a nifty-looking Powerbank that Newman bought. 

And you have never been to Wimbledon if you haven't tried the famed strawberries and cream:

Not a bad deal for GBP2.50. 

The programmes are overpriced at GBP10.00. Resist the urge! 

After yet another rain delay, there was hope of play resuming around 5PM. But just when all the covers were unfurled off the courts, and the official having put his palm on the grass and affirmed it was suitable for play, and the ballboys having folded the players' towels, raindrops started falling hard again (argghhhh).

I was at the nearly empty Court No. 17, with only another tennis fan and some officials nearby. Ten feet away from us was the veteran pro Feliciano Lopez. Upon seeing the raindrops, he glanced at our direction and shrugged, "Guess we are done for today." His words proved prophetic, and play was suspended for the rest of the day. 

No comments: