New Balls Please! – My Maiden Wimbledon!

You Evening all!

Anyone who knows me, also knows that I am a HUGE fan of tennis. I will literally watch tennis all day, non-stop.

I first fell in love with this exquisite, skilful and competitive sport when my mum was watching the US Open one summer and decided I’d sit with her and watch too. Pat Rafter was playing…it was circa 1998/9 I think. So I’d have been about 16/17 at the time. At the time, it wasn’t so much the tennis I was interested in, but rather, it was Pat Rafter.

Dont judge me…I was a teenager and didn’t crush on people that often, but for some reason Rafter’s (then) chiselled face was LIFE!

Anywho, after I’d gotten over my teen-crush on the handsome Aussie, I actually started taking a real interest in tennis. So much so, I began watching all of the Grand Slams and some of the ATP/WTA tournaments too.

My love of this sport really took off around 2000 when Venus Williams arrived on the Wimbledon scene, bringing with her a new style of play – powerful, strong and graceful. Then along came, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal et al and I haven’t stopped watching these tennis Demi-gods since.

Fast forward to 5th July 2017, when I got to go to Wimbledon for the first time, thanks to a very special (and extremely kind) friend of mine.

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Order of play Board outside Centre Court, Wimbledon

It was sunny, hot and a day full of second round matches at SE19. As we approached the infamous green gates, decorated with the stunning violet and ivory flowers, I felt overwhelmed at being there. Having watched this Grand Slam on television for the past 18 odd years, to finally be there in person was more than a dream come true.

I had two previous opportunities to go to Wimbledon via ballot tickets – once in 2007, which I missed due to sodden off on holiday to St Kitts and the second was last year, when my was but only days old. Obviously I missed out on both chances but, they do say 3rd time lucky don’t they?

After having our bags checked at the entrance gates, our group headed to the plush and fancy Renshaw Restaurant for lunch.

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Smoked Fennel to start and Cod for main at the Renshaw Restaurant, Wimbledon 

Typically posh nosh, the plates were light but they were tasty! I didn’t feel any kind of way taking pics of my food either…can’t take me anywhere! 🤣

After a lovely lunch date, off we went in search of some tennis. First up was Nishikori on No.1 Court. You have to wait until there is a break in between games before the stewards will let you into the court to take your seats, but there are plenty of screens and benches outside the courts for you to watch play,  to you’re allowed in.

Once in and seated, I had to pinch myself to believe I was sitting inside Court No.1 Watching live tennis. The attach of the flying ants soon woke me up though!

Whilst we were enjoying Nishikori, we were really waiting for two matches; Venus Williams and the World Number One women’s doubles players Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova aka Team Bucie.

We had some time before these matches would start so we headed to a lovely cafe/cakerie restaurant overlooking No.1 Court for some afternoon tea and cake…and of course, the obligatory strawberries and cream. All were delish and of the standard you wld expect at this prestigious event, full English pomp and pageantry.

On came Venus to No.1 Court, so off we went to watch. This was a true bucket list moment for me; watching Venus Williams live a Wimbledon!

A set in to the match, Venus was a set down after the first set but came back to win the next two and the match comfortably. I’ve never cheered so loudly in my life! What a moment to witness live!

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Centre Court in the foreground and the beautiful Wimbledon flowers

Whlst Venus was demolishing Weng on No.1 Court, the women’s doubles match with Team Bucie was underway on Court 8, so off I went in search of more tennis. I managed to take a pic of the stunning flower arrangements which adorn the grounds at SE19. You can tell a lot of effort goes in to preparing for Wimbledon. The grounds are simply breathtakingly beautiful, especially in the rare British sun.

By 7:30pm, Team Bucie had dispatched their opponents with relative ease and so it was time for us to bid farewell to Wimbledon and head home.

Its about a week since I had this amazing experience and I am still smlng at every memory. I’ve been watching the rest of the tournament on telly, obvs, but having witnessed it first hand, I can truly say that Wimbledon is everything it is hyped up to be, and more! If you, like me, enjoy tennis either as a spectator or a player, this is a tournament you MUST visit.

The Wimbledon ballot usually opens for applications in December each year, for tickets for the following years’ Championships. Be sure to get your application in before the deadline as those receive afterwards won’t be put in the ballot for drawing! Tickets aren’t guaranteed, but it’s free to enter and worth a shot – I’ll be applying again this year for 2018, no doubt about it!

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