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Ever thought about going to watch Tennis at Wimbledon during the Championships are on?
Whether you are a seasoned tennis fan or just curious a day out in Wimbledon fortnight is a treat and well worth the experience. Here are some top tips for your day out
1 Pick a dry day.
If you have any choice at all, pick a sunny day. Wimbledon fortnight is notorious for rain! When it rains during the two weeks of the tennis tournament it absolutely pours down and for hours on end.
2 Choose the second week
Unless you have tickets for centre court or dearly wish to see one particular player, it is generally less crowded in week two from Monday to Thursday.
During week one it is true that you are more likely to see the more famous tennis players on one of the smaller courts as they play their way up through the qualifying rounds. However, lots of tennis fans will come on the first week for this reason.
3 Plan your visit and arrive early
If you have not got pre-booked tickets or are a guest of a member, you should prepare for a long queue to get to the ticket gates - I mean a really long queue. Such is the fervor of some fans that they literally camp out overnight for days in the lead up to some matches. As a day out, you should arrive as early as possible to reduce queuing time and extend the time you have in the ...... taking in the atmosphere and experience the sights and sounds of the extensive grounds.
By 9.00 am the queue is several rows deep and the single line stage of the queue starts at the marquee at the far end of the picture. It can take hours to get from this point to the entrance gates so be prepared with a good book or friends and a picnic breakfast.
4 Day card and map.
Once you have entered the grounds, you will see immediately the information desks. Here you can get a small folded map of the grounds and a day card which gives the scheduled matches and approximate times.
It is worth just walking around the courts first to get your bearings. Though there are xxx courts, the total area is relatively small. There are plenty of toilet facilities throughout the courts as well as drinking water points where you can top up your water bottle. Having commented on the potential for rain above, there are also some extremely sunny and hot days and it is important to keep hydrated throughout your visit. Once you are watching an exciting match time can pass and thirst waits unquenched while points are scored and the sets accumulate.
There are plenty of outlets within the grounds serving a wide variety of food throughout the day. However, many choose to take a picnic and sit on Henman Hill with a mini bottle of champagne in a tennis ball cooler or a tumbler of Pimms. Top tip, if you go to the top right hand side of Henmans Hill there are some staging seats which, for those of us of a certain age, are more comfortable and afford a clear line of sight to the huge screen which shows key matches of the day.
6 Access to the Courts.
Centre Court, Courts 1 and 2 are ticket only. Most of the tickets will have been sold on issue and many are brought for corporate events. There are some options for the public to bid for tickets. However, this will tie you to a specific day and it may rain. Wimbledon is almost as famous for 'Rain Stopped Play' as for John Macenroes cries of 'The Ball was In' or ..... grunts.
If you are lucky, you may know someone who is authorised to take you for a tour of Wimbledon Tennis Club and the various courts before the play starts. Centre Court can be eerily quite as pre match checks are made to ensure the security of the players and spectators alike.
Although closing the roof of Centre Court can happen relatively quickly, time is then added on for the admospheric changes to settle before play can resume.
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