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Wimbledon 2005 June 28, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Uncategorized.

I love Wimbledon
Originally uploaded by keatl.

Photos can be seen here.

Ah, Wimbledon. The one period of the year when the this country remembers the sport of tennis and another British hopeful tugs on English hearts. Slightly later than planned, I made my annual pilgrimage to the mecca of tennis.

Being at Wimbledon is like taking a mini-holiday. The sheer scale of the event, the history, the tradition, is intoxicating. On a marvellous day you can be swept up in the smile of the sun, the glamour of the stars, the sparkling of talent and the good-will of thousands on a daytrip mentality. Waking early is never a problem.

A likely combination predicted storms, a less star-studded line-up and the early departure of Tim Henman probably contributed to a queue half the size of the usual. For a few moments we thought we might even get Court No.1 tickets, but no chance with Sharapova playing. Luck was on our side. At 10am the clouds parted and the sun shone across clear blue skies. The gates of the All England Club opened for another day of dreams.

People home in on the order of play board, then zoom off, homing in on one of the 21 courts: Williams on Centre, MacEnroe on Court 2, Martinez on Court 3. Nothing matches the intimacy that Wimbledon offers. Nowhere else can you watch one match, with at least three others in line of sight. Sitting sometimes just a metre away, you can practically smell the players and the proximity to the famous is giddying.

We settled on quiet little Court 16 to watch a girl’s juniors match, since Vik thought ‘any Russian girl must be fit’. Her tennis was certainly good and Alisa Kleybanova thoroughly destroyed a rather feeble Elena Barry from New Zealand (I had no idea NZ even had tennis courts).

We watched, we got sunburnt. We weaved through the structures of centre court, past the rich-man’s debenture, past the BBC studios and up St Mary’s walk, where the stars walk to practice. The masses gathered at Henman Hill, now Murrayfield, to worship Maria. Nadia Petrova gave her a tough ride, but her luck held through and a smile broke to match the overhead sun.

We broke out the ice cream. It was over to Court 18 to commiserate Miss Petrova by supporting her in the doubles. At least she won one match that day. We ogled Marion Bartoli and applauded Elena Likhovtseva. A cold beer on a warm day and I dozed, woken by the sudden influx of clouds, a cold wind and the appearance of the attractive Ana Ivanovic. At that point we thought that we should probably watch some men’s tennis and departed to catch Jonas Bjorkman on Court 13.

At which point the rain came down – no Wimbledon is complete without one. We waited patiently. The covers came off and right back on. A storm was predicted and a storm we got, just in time for the journey home. I stopped to show Vik and Kishore around Centre Court and Court No.1. Just for a feel of the place, just for the experience.

I love Wimbledon. For me, it’s like half-time for the year. Now I’m ready for the second half.



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