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Wimbledon (Tennis)

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom England London Wimbledon

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Introduction

A Shadow of a Serve

A Shadow of a Serve

© All Rights Reserved GregW

With your Pimms No. 1 in a cup, strawberries and cream in hand you take a seat at court number 18, getting ready to watch two of the top ranked tennis players in the world battle it out at the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. It's the fortnight. It's the Championships. It's Wimbledon.

The Championships, Wimbledon (commonly referred to as Wimbledon) is the oldest tennis championship in the world. Began in 1877, Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the only one played on grass courts. The tournament is held annually from late June to early July in the London suburb of Wimbledon. The tournament ends on the second Sunday of July and begins on the Monday, 13 days earlier.

Unlike the other tennis gland slams, Wimbledon keeps a set of tickets available for all comers on the day of play. There are approximately 500 tickets each for the Centre Court, Court 1 and Court 2 action, and an additional 6000 tickets available for ground admissions. Ground passes allow you onto the ground and you can see any match at any of the other 16 courts, as well as giving you the option to line up for standing room for Court 2, and the opportunity to watch action from centre court and court 1 on the large TV attached to court 1.

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Tickets

Public Ballot

As early as 1924, the majority of tickets for Centre, No.1 and No.2 courts are sold in advance via a public ballot where it has always been substantially oversubscribed. Entry into the Ballot does not guarantee applicants to tickets for Wimbledon, but a place in the draw for a pair of tickets. Successful applicants are selected at random by computer. It is not possible to request tickets for specific days or courts, as the day and court offered are also chosen randomly.

To enter the draw for next year's ballot you must first obtain an application form which will be available from August. Received applications postmarked later than 31 December will not be entered into the ballot. The first main ballot will take place in January and successful applicants will be notified the following month. There are a number of smaller, successive ballots and applicants will be notified if successful in these ballots.

Queuing Tickets

The Queue For Wimbledon

The Queue For Wimbledon

© All Rights Reserved GregW

Wimbledon is one of the very few major sporting events in the UK and the only major grand slam where you can still buy tickets premium tickets on the match day. About 500 tickets for each of the Centre (except for the final four days), No.1 and No.2 courts are reserved as queuing tickets.

Up to 6000 Ground Admission tickets are available each day for entry to the Grounds, including the No.2 Court standing enclosure and unreserved seating and standing on Courts 3–19. This number may vary depending on the number of people already in the grounds, the number of courts in play and the weather.

For show court tickets, you will need to camp overnight. On joining the queue, you can set up your camping facilities. Wimbledon requests that tents be no larger than 2 man tents. At about 06:00 in the morning, you will be woken by the Stewards, asked to dismantle camping equipment, move cars to the car parks and then close up into tighter formation to create space for those joining the queue on the day. There are toilet facilities as well as food and drink shops on the camping grounds.

Prices

Ticket prices range from £5 to £91, depending on the time you arrive, the day you go and what type of tickets you get.

Ground passes for the first few days cost £20, and from there the price slides down to £8, to reflect the lower number of courts in play as the tournament progresses.

There is a discount for arriving after 5 pm.

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Opening Hours

Andrea Hlavackova CZE and Olga Savchuk UKR

Andrea Hlavackova CZE and Olga Savchuk UKR

© All Rights Reserved GregW

For those with tickets, the grounds open at 10:30 am.

For those queuing, the turnstiles will open at approximately 9:30am, except for the two finals days, although, with the exception of some catering and shopping outlets, toilets and the bank, most of the Grounds will not be accessible until the scheduled opening time at 10:30am. Once Ground capacity (36 000) has been reached, queuers will be admitted on a ‘one out, one in’ basis only as spectators finally leave the Grounds. Non-Ticket Holders will not be admitted after 8pm.

Grounds are open until one hour after close of play (no later than 10pm).

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Getting There

By London Underground

Take a west bound District Line train that terminates at Wimbledon. Trains leave Earls Court every 4 minutes. At Southfields Station, board the connecting London General shuttle bus service direct to The Championships or, alternatively, walk south via Wimbledon Park Road (about 15 minutes).

By Train

South-West Trains run a regular service from London Waterloo to Wimbledon Station. In addition many other long distance trains call at Wimbledon from stations such as Portsmouth, Havant, Winchester, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole, Basingstoke, Andover, Salisbury and Exeter.

At Wimbledon Station board the connecting London General shuttle bus service direct to the grounds. Buses depart about every five minutes.

By Car

Travellers are advised not to drive to Wimbledon and to use one of the public transportation options. Traffic can be bad and car park is limited.

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Eat and Drink

There are a number of options for food and drink within the grounds.

Note that spectators cannot leave after entry, however self-catering is allowed, so to save on money you can pack your own lunch.

For those buying at the site, options range from sit-down restaurants to hot buffet to sausage and pizza stands.

Alcohol is available on site.

Strawberries and Cream

Wimbledon tradition - Strawberries and Cream

Wimbledon tradition - Strawberries and Cream

© All Rights Reserved GregW

As the Wimbledon tournament coincides with the season for British grown strawberries, the event and the small berry have become interlocked in tradition. The New York Times offers this explanation of the connection:

The tradition actually dates from around the time of the first Wimbledon tournament in 1877, according to Audrey Snell, a librarian at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. Strawberries and tennis, she said, both signaled the arrival of summer[1]

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