You can’t help but feel particularly British when you go to Wimbledon.
Is it the tradition? Maybe the strawberries and cream? It definitely wasn’t the weather, which was well above 30C on day two of the 2015 championships.
Perhaps the most quintessentially British thing we did on the day was to queue, and there was a lot to do.
Arriving in good time for a grounds admission ticket at 07:30 we were flabbergasted to see the grounds already at capacity with our queue card informing us we were 8,702nd and 8,703rd in what Wimbledon terms ‘The Queue’.
We faced an eight hour wait. We were not amused. All of this while the sun was frazzling our necks, arms and faces and getting hotter all the time.
Our spirits were lifted while in The Queue by people offering free coffee, water and squash – very welcome in the heat where shade was at a premium.
There were even paper boys and girls trying to shift copies of the Guardian and Telegraph, complete with free gift. It’s fair to say they were flogging a dead horse. It would have been more popular if that gift was a ticket to end the misery of waiting.
Still, with honorary stewards telling us we wouldn’t get in until five or six o’clock, we were delighted to make it in by half-past three, with eight hours of queuing behind us and a generous six hours of play still to go.
Once inside it’s amazing to see how compact the outer courts are.
We first set eyes on Ajla Tomljanovic against Klara Koukalova, but just yards away Jelena Jankovic was capturing a large crowd on court 17.
On our way to watching Andy Murray on Murray Mount (or should that be Henman Hill?) we even had time to glimpse Ernests Gulbis playing Lukas Rosol.
Trying to get a seat on said Mount (or Hill) was tough, with security quickly preventing anyone from lurking on a walkway. Eventually, we found a rare piece of SW19 real estate to park ourselves on and we settled down to enjoy Murray’s game on the big screen along with thousands of others.
After that we watched an entertaining men’s doubles match on court four before investing the last part of our day on court three with Madison Keys taking on Stefanie Voegele.
This was the pick of the matches we saw as Voegele took the first set before Keys staged a fightback to level at one set apiece.
With Keys hitting some beautiful winners in the setting sun it was surprising when she complained about the light at ten-past nine when she had just levelled at 2-2 in the third.
Voegele wasn’t best pleased, understandably, but the tactic paid off for Keys as she won through earlier today.
So, after a combination of sun, lots of queuing and finally some wonderful tennis everything turned out fine.
Maybe we’ll camp next year, though.
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