Friday, 1 July 2016

With love from Wimbledon!

Wimbledon is Wimbledon: 
This uniquely SW19 experience
has prestige, royalty, pin-striped mown lawns, 
all white tennis attire, strawberries and cream
and the world's best tennis players.

Wimbledon, established in 1877,  is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and they know what they’re about. They are not a Grand Slam for the masses, you will not find the party-like 'happy slam' atmosphere that you get at Melbourne Park. Tickets are hard to come by, and spectator numbers are limited. It is all about the tennis, the tradition and tough luck if you want free Wifi. (Quite right too, you're supposed to be here for the tennis!)

Five things I loved about Wimbledon:

1. The beauty of the Championships

The last time I was at Wimbledon hosting a corporate table, I remember the food we ate but have no idea who was playing!

Fast forward twenty-five years I was here for the tennis and not the food! I was expecting to be impressed by perfect grass tennis courts but the grounds at the All England  Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club were unexpectedly gorgeous. 

I’m guessing the Grounds staff at Wimbledon, who produce the best lawns in the country, are also pretty handy with the plants? It was like a mini Chelsea flower show. 

Hats off to all the gardeners. It’s sure been tricky wet gardening conditions. It’s not quite Glastonbury mud out the back at the picnic tables near Henman Hill (that shows my age doesn’t it?) but it sure was squelchy under foot. 

2. The ease of walking about

I loved how few people were there compared to Melbourne Park! 

In fact, I did have one conversation with one official asking 'is it always this quiet?!!' We agreed the atmosphere was a little flat, looking at the glum faces leaving Centre Court, but to be fair we came to the conclusion that was the whole Country not just Wimbledon crowds who were feeling hard to get Monday excited. 

'We need your Aussie Nick Kyrgios to liven it up a bit" 
"Thank you, I'm sure it won't be long" I replied! 

And true to form, by the time I'd stepped off the plane back on Aussie soil our top sports news story was:

Nick Kyrgios fined for unsportsmanlike conduct, former greats say his temper part of the package

In Australia the tournament is definately more lively, Crowds cheering and people dressed up to support their favourite players. On Heineken Saturday in 2015 over 81,000 people attended, more than double what Wimbledon gets on an average day. Indeed there were too many at the party that day, we said never again on Super Saturday! 

I'm loving the fact on Manic Monday there was no queue for strawberries, it was always easy to get a seat to eat, even the queues to watch tennis weren’t bad:

it was so civilised! 

3. Everything is well organised

If there is one thing the Brits do well it’s a queue. There were queues to get in, but with plenty of people on hand, explaining where to go and what to do. Unlike the Aussie Open staffed with young people, you got the impression most of them had been doing this and loving it, year in, year out since the Championships commenced in 1877!

Security was present but low key, although was that the army on the doors? I didn’t see any policeman walking around with massive machine guns or the police canine explosive dog team as I’d seen in France at Roland Garros. It was relaxed but orderly. 

4. Players in white

I was surprised at how different the players look in their regulation all white tennis attire, it looks fantastic. 

It's great the way the clothing sponsors will bring out a new outfit for each Grand Slam. Gone are the magenta, cerise, buttercup yellow and bold neon colour-clashing worn at the French Open. You'd be mad to wear white with all that red clay anyway, unless of course, you're sporting an Adidas Roland Garros black and white dazzle camouflage look...

The Nike lingerie dress scandal was yet to hit the headlines, but just goes to show that fashion and whether it's um ...appropriate and fit for purpose, will always make headlines.

5. Strawberries and Cream

I have to give a little shout out to the HSBC bank who are offering account holders free strawberries and cream and a postcard to send home from Centre Court With Love. I love all the freebies at the tennis, there is a lot less spectator activation in London than the other slams, but I was happy with my strawberries and cream - you see cream and the heat in Australia wouldn't mix well... I did also have strawberries and cream ice-cream which would be a hit in Melbourne!

This is my third Tennis Grand Slam of the year and I am going for the Fan Slam Wren-style. The fan slam is to be at all four Grand Slams Aussie, French, Wimbledon and the US Open. But whilst that would be great, I'm hoping to do my own version...and switch the US Open for another Country. I wonder if you can work out where I am hoping to go? Watch this space later in the year!

I hope you have enjoyed a visit with me to delightful Wimbledon! 

If you have enjoyed this post you might enjoy my other tennis posts this year: 
Anyone for Tennis? from Roland Garros
Pimp my Dog, pimp the Car from Australian Open

Have a great weekend!

Linking with thanks to Amy for Five on Friday at Love Made My Home

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