Saturday, July 4, 2015

Extra Memories: All England Tennis and Croquet Club

As I sat in Scotland watching BBC’s live showing of the Andy Murray vs Andreas Seppi and I thought I'd share my experience at Wimbledon when I visited and took a tour. It was back in May when I took the tour. The day had started out very rainy but since my tour was in the afternoon, by the time I reached the grounds, most of the courts had dried.

As was often the case with me, I got out of the train station and proceeded to read the signs incorrectly. I had gotten off at the Southfields station because it's closer to the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club. I ended taking a turn I shouldn't have and worse still, it was all uphill. I finally asked a woman who was leaving her house. She was so nice to me, she walked me back to the main road and told me to walk straight ahead and when I come to a “Y” on the road, I should stay to the left. She assured me it was only 10 minutes or so.

This was at the start of my trip and I'll admit, I was not in the best shape, so there was a lot of huffing, puffing and sweating. But as I walked along the road, I passed some very nice houses with beautiful gardens. It was a lovely consolation prize for having to walk all the way to the club. I learned later that the area of Wimbledon is actually considered "posh". I can understand why.

As I watched the game on center court, I saw the damage to the grass court that only one week has done to it. Six weeks before Wimbledon, the grass was bright green and they hadn't even put the lines on center court yet.

The care that they take on the grass is immense. I watched how the edges were absolutely perfect. Only the best can tend to the grounds.

But any tennis fan must take the tour if they are in London. They took us behind the scenes, for instance we were taken to the players entrance and to their lounge. 

We also toured the media center where the players have to go for their post-match interviews. We were allowed to sit in the player’s seat to get a feel of what they see when they are being interviewed.

I was fascinated by the press room where different of news services are given a cubicle where they can watch the inside feeds around the club so they can report from the comforts of an air conditioned room instead of running from court to court.
This desk is assigned to Sports Illustrated.

After the tour of the grounds you must go to the museum which is on the lower level of the gift shop. But you can see the actual trophies that the men's and women's champions raise above their heads. And in both trophies, the names of each champion is etched into them and I read the names and tried to remember their matches. 

When the championship matches will be played and I'll be back in Chicago watching them with a smile on my face with strawberries and cream.

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