Same procedure as every day – getting up at 5.30, heading to Wimbledon Commons, receiving a Queue card. But this time I had decided to wear shorts. The other day it was really hot and, why not, all the Brits seemed to wear summer wear all the time. Worst decision ever. It was freezing cold with a nasty wind blowing over the fields. We even bought a really bad tabloid because they offered a picnic blanket with it. Wrapped in the blanket we even read the paper. I never laughed so much in my life. But – I was still ice cold. After two hours I decided to rush back and change. There was still time, lots of time in the Queue. Best decision ever.
The day started with a long rain delay on Court 3. The players, Sabine Lisicki and Sloane Stephens had just finished their warm-up when the dreaded soft drizzle began to fall. After testing the grass, the chair umpire suspended play and the two players vanished again. The rain wasn’t bad but it stopped and began again and again. An Asian dude who was sitting with us in the front row gave up after almost 1 1/2 hours and left his seat.
That was a little too soon (but perhaps he had Court 1 or Centre Court tickets). Shortly after there were sun rays peeping through the clouds and it was announced that play would start soon.
As I recall it was a pretty mediocre match. Lisicki won the first set, got breadsticked in the second, pulled herself together and won in three.
Next on the menu: Team Kazakhstan. I call them Crazy & Cool. I think that fits perfectly. Galina Voskoboeva and Yaroslava Shvedova
On the fourth day of Wimby my mojo gave to me, Angie Kerber on Court 18.
The German was originally scheduled last on Court 2 a day before but the match was postponed due to darkness. Court 2 is one of the bigger show courts and I didn’t have a ticket for it, so I wouldn’t have been able to see Angelique Kerber, but Court 18 has unreserved seats only, so we went there immediately and got front row seats for Angie’s ‘battle of the lefties’ against Ekaterina Makarova.
Galina Voskoboeva vs.Yanina Wickmayer
Also in action on that day: Julia Görges, another German. Or should I say Jule ‘Stands With a Fist’ Gorgeous? Ah, better not! Drill instuctor, I mean, German Fed Cup captain Barbara ‘Terminator’ Rittner is watching. Yes, ma’am.
Ok, so here is Day 3. After a relatively easy-peasy day, this one would be stressful again. Fave alarm on Court 12. Again, not listening to the voice of reason from the loudspeakers not to rush – we did just that, and while we are running to the court- oh, what? wait!? 90 to nothing! – there is Sam Stosur practicing on Court 11.
Snap, snap, quick, quick, some pictures, some biceps obeisance in the morning and keep on running! And here we are with nice seats in the second row for Sabine Lisicki‘s second round match.
Concentrating on the match – like I did – you are likely to miss out! Look at these unashamedly bromancing Brits. I only saw that later going through the pictures. This is a photo I really love. Lisicki, of course, completely unperturbed by the love going on, cuz in tennis love won’t buy you a bowl of strawberries and cream.
If you saw the match on TV you might have heard that loud person screaming incomprehensible words at Sabine Lisicki. Ahem. That was me. Shouting in German. I’m usually not a loud person. I’m 197% certain, I wouldn’t have said a word if she had won the first set. But she didn’t. And even though the second set looked much brighter – she won it -, there was drama in the third.
Looks like a sure thing, eh? But Bojana saved all three match points and held. The match would go on and on. Giving away a 0-40 lead in general and three match points in particular can prey on a player’s mind and it’s not unlikely that they go on and lose a match. I felt obliged to step in and shout encouragement when it was needed most. It worked! Me and a little fellow, who was shouting as well, got rewarded with Lisicki’s wristbands. Cool, you think? Well, reconsider. It was d r i p p i n g with a transparent liquid. Ok, still cool. And I haven’t washed it yet and I will never do. Who knows, Sabine’s sweaty sweatband might have magic powers, no? So I’m playing tennis with it. And I’m losing. Against sixteen-year old beginners. So much for the mojo…
My second day in Wimbledon was much more relaxed. Most of the players I needed to see were scheduled on the odd-numbered days, so when I finally entered the Club after queuing I strolled around and headed to the practice courts. I can really only advise anybody who visits a tournament to check out the practice courts. Not only might you stumble across your favourite players (like I did) but it’s just fascinating to watch them hit shot after shot, serve after serve, backhands and forehands.
Here’s Sloane Stephens and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova…
… and Casey Dellacqua and Angelique Kerber.
Also an advantage if you make it out to the practice courts: You may have the privilege to see Sam Stosur volley like an airborne goddess, whereas during a match you immediately feel the urge to facepalm should she cross the service line and make it to the net. Uh huh. It can be that bad.
I was distracted for a short time (pun intended) by Dominica Cibulkova and Irina Falconi
I arrived in Wimbledon on Sunday before play started. As soon as I had checked in and abandoned my backpack I headed out to Wimbledon on the District Line with Dory, a friend who had flown in for the tournament from Canada. We got off at Southfields and walked up Wimbledon Park Road. Some of the houses on the way look a bit shabby, but don’t be fooled. They all have lawn tennis courts in the backyard. (Not really but it is in fact a posh neighborhood.) As soon as you get close to the grounds the excitement gets really palpable. There are people wearing tennis clothes! And people with racquets! We are getting closer! Oh, and here’s a tennis player. Whoohoo. My paparazzo skills completely failed me and I only got Jarmila Gaidosova’s lovely backside.
First thing we did was walking around the Club which is enclosed by a brick wall. You don’t really see anything except more tennis people. Hello, Carla Suarez Navarro, nice seeing you! (I love your backhand but I want you to lose first round. Predicaments before the tournament even started!) On the backside of the All England Tennis and Croquet Club, in Somerset Road, is the players’ exit and tournament cabs were lining up to give them a ride home after their practice. Peeping throught the bushes I spotted German player Dustin Brown and took a nice picture in the evening light. He liked the photo!
After that we made our way to Wimbledon Village, saw Lindsay Davenport on the way and had a beer at the famous Dog & Fox. They showed a football match!
Back in my hostel I tried to get some sleep – to no avail. Bit unfortunate when you are in a room with two snorers. I started Day 1 of the 126th Championships at 5.30 in the morning with zero hours of sleep.
Arriving at 6.30 at Southfields station it felt like rush hour. A line of people with picnic bags or backpacks made their way to Wimbledon Park.When you got out of the station cab drives loudly advertise their service to take you “to the tennis, right to the end of the queue!” We walked. Luckily for my sleep deprivation Dory brought folding camping chairs (all the way from Canada!) and as soon as we were handed our queue cards I had a little nap in the morning sun.
Basically you queue for about three to four hours and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. (Thanks to folding chairs and lots of nice people we met in the queue.)While you’re waiting in the queue there’s enough time to study the schedule of play to try to figure out on which court to start, how long the match might go, where to go next, when to stop for a quick strawberry and cream snack, if to queue again for refunded tickets, or – in my case – when to buy a toothbrush (which I had forgotten at home. On the map I had of Wimbledon I saw a pharmacy, but I never made it there. Tennis happened! In the end Dory gave me a spare toothbrush, only for me to lose my toothpaste in the showers. A very sweet Italian guy gave me of some of his every night. So nice!)
The first day of the tournament started with a big fave dilemma. Both of the players I wanted to see were scheduled at the same time. One had a really bad record on grass – Stosur, while the other seemed to be in a slump with four R1 losses in a row – Lisicki. Now, who did I want to see lose? Both, I decided. Stosur would get the first set from me, then I’d head over to Court 16 for Lisicki.
Once you’re on the grounds – run! Even though the voice from the loudspeaker tells you not to rush. But there are only so many unreserved seats on the bigger show courts, so we ran to Court 3 and were able to get good seats in the upper stands.
Announcing new No. 1 and French Open Champion Maria Sharapova as the runner-up must be the best Faux Pas of this year’s Roland Garros. I loved it. Mainly because it made Sara Errani smile again. Go to 7:30 for a laugh.
Stick to it for two nice speeches. Maria even speaks French. I’m told she didn’t swear this time.