Anyone for tennis?

Ah Wimbledon! Like most Brits, I only think about tennis for two weeks of the year, when the BBC fill our screens with wall to wall Sue Barker. This year however we will get a double dose when the Olympic tennis starts at the end of July.

We pin our hopes on any Brit getting though the first round; usually to see them dashed in the next round. Of course there is always one player in each generation that breaks the mould and he (it’s normally a he) has to carry the weight of unjustified expectation on his shoulders.

Currently it’s Andy Murray, in recent memory it’s been Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski (who was really Canadian) & Jeremy Bates.

Anyway all this tennis is an excuse to post my photos from when I went on the Wimbledon tour a few months back.

Click each photo for a larger version.

This is the first view I got as I walked down the hill towards the complex.

Court Number 1 – Has a capacity of 11,429 and like Centre Court doesn’t seem as big as it does on TV.

This is Court 18 where the longest ever tennis match took place in 2010. John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut after 11 hours of play.

On the tour this is the closest you get to the grass, if I’d taken one step forward I would have been on the hallowed turf – I would have then been taken out by a sniper…okay not a sniper but when you ‘do’ the tour, there is a guide and another person. This other person is there to make sure that no one attempts to touch the grass. We were told at the outset that anyone attempting to do so would be removed, with force if necessary, they take their grass seriously at Wimbledon.

via

Outside Court Number 1 is this lovely topiary ‘Wimbledon’ behind me when I took this shot is Henman Hill or as it’s been called if he does well enough: Murray Mount. I didn’t take a photo the hill/mount as it’s just a grass hill!

If you watch the TV coverage and they show the hill/mount and you can see a giant TV screen, this is where that screen is.

Finally the big one, Centre Court, again not as big as you would think, even with a capacity of 15,000. To the right of the picture is the Royal Box, and of course at the top is the roof. One of the other people on the tour asked the guide “where is the roof”.

If you go to Wimbledon out of the Championships and don’t fancy the tour (not sure why you’d go all that way and not do it though?), you can go into the museum, shop and the rather good cafe, whilst in the cafe you can go onto the viewing platform you can see in the picture above.

I would heartily recommend the tour, even if you’re not a tennis fan, it’s quite fun to see behind the scenes at one of the worlds most respected sports venues.

I shall finish with this last picture, which is of a quote from Goran Ivanisevic, the quote is displayed at the entrance to the cafe.