It was a monumental experience to be there for the whole day and witness the event unfolding in the cool summer of 2010. It was a frustrating day to some players and fans especially when Venus Williams lost against the Bulgarian player, Tsvetana Pironkova; and Kim Clijsters against Vera Zvonareva and of course the unexpected defeat of the defending champion, Roger Federer who lost against Tomas Berdych. Aside from Zvonareva who won against Pironkova, Serena Williams, Nadal and the British top player Andy Murray, including my favourite player Novak Djokovic advanced to the semis round. It was nice to watch new and unknown challengers during the final round of the tournament, but Nadal and S. Williams won the tournament.
I got a day ground pass for 17 pounds, inclusive of watching games from several courts, except for Centre Court, Courts 1 and 2. I was lucky to be in the queue for less than an hour and I immediately entered the Wimbledon premises, two hours away from the start of the games (12 noon). I toured around the playing ground and even went inside Court No.2 to snap some photos of the court. I also explored its facilities/amenities, including the souvenir and food shops. I bought some interesting postcards for 1 pound each, including yellow (ceramic flat ball) magnetic holders for presence. The most memorable part of the day tour was to have a free personal souvenir photo shot (with matching court at the background) sponsored by HSBC, and a single print (4X6 size) was ready in few minutes of waiting. HSBC was quite generous because people were also given individual coupons for free strawberry smoothies! Indeed, it was a fun day watching the rallies between players and hearing their growling/moaning inside the court!If you are interested to attend the 2011 championships slated on 20th June to 3rd July, you can apply for the PUBLIC BALLOT which allows you to watch the games at Centre Court, No.1 and No.2 courts. There are limited seats available on the eve of the day of the play for the Centre Court (on a daily basis), however it is very expensive and the queue is unbearable. The Public Ballot is open worldwide and the application form can be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope or an International Reply Coupon for foreign applicants starting from 1st August until 15th December 2010. Only one application per household and this public ballot does not automatically guarantee a seat or ticket. Tickets are by randomly allocated by the computer and not possible to request tickets for specific days or courts.
Some of the brief highlights happened inside the Wimbledon ground since the tournament started its international championship in 1900 (taken from various sources both online and prints):
- American player, May Sutton was the first Ladies champion in 1905 and won again in 1907
- Australian player, Norman Brooks was the first foreign Men’s champion in 1907
- In 2009 (June 30), the Central Court’s retractable roof was utilised for the first time
- In 2010, 48,949 minutes of tennis were played during the tournament before the first raindrops fell in the venue.
- For 2010 championships, the men’s and ladies’ singles winners receives 1,000,000 million pounds prize and the total winning money for the entire competition is 13,725,000 pounds
- Andy Roddick has the fastest serves record of 143 mph and Venus Williams of 124 mph- More than 54,200 Slazenger balls are used during the two weeks event
- Hats and caps are top selling souvenirs amounting to 36,632 pieces, including 22,100 tennis towels- Around 28,000 kg of strawberries are consumed at Wimbledon
- 11.2 million watched the event thru BBC One; and - 359 million page views of the official website
Generally, the Wimbledon ground has the complete amenities and support facilities to ensure players, guests and spectators will enjoy the games. It has big billboards fronting the main entrance of the ground that show the current standing of the players as well as the daily matches with the corresponding courts where the matches will be played.