Intro to London 2016: To See a GOAT on Grass
American Airlines Business Class Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR)
Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Leicester Square
The May Fair Hotel
Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Dining in London
Brexit, London Street Scenes and Red bus tour
British Airways Business Class London (LHR) to Chicago (ORD)
One of the main reasons for this entire trip to London was to attend Wimbledon’s annual tennis tournament. It’s the the most prestigious tennis event in the world. I really wanted to see Roger Federer on Centre Court Wimbledon. He is getting older and you never know how many years he has left. I am a big Rafa Nadal fan but I can respect Federer and his accomplishments as the GOAT(greatest of all time) of tennis.
I went to London with no tickets hoping I could score some while over there. In the past I have attended the Aussie Open and French Open and was able to easily score tickets ahead of time but Wimbledon is different. There are just a few ways to get tickets to Wimbledon for the common folks. One way is to enter your name into a raffle in November and they will let you know a few months later if your entry was selected. I did this but did not get selected. Another way is to “queue”. Literally wait in line overnight or arrive very early 4-5am and wait in line until 10am. For popular matches the queue actually sells out. Yup the line is so long they tell people to not even bother coming down to get tickets!! There are days were the grounds are at capacity and you cannot even get a grounds pass!!!! That part was amazing to me. The third way and how I got my ticket was to go onto the UK’s ticketmaster website the day before the day you want to attend. They release a few hundred tickets at 9am and you just have to be lucky to score Centre Court tickets. I did this and after several attempts at around 9:07am I scored 1 ticket for $100 or 70ish British Pounds.
My wife and child went to Harrods while I went to Wimbledon. Our baby could not enter Centre Court for obvious reasons so there was really no point for him or my wife to come. I took the tube/train from our hotel (The May Fair) and it was a fairly easy trip with only one connection and about 45 minutes ride.
Once you get off the train at the station your in a bustling suburb of London with people everywhere. For some reason I followed some people on my train that I thought were attending the tournament but after walking the wrong way for 10 minutes I realized they weren’t going to see the tennis and turned around. Once back to the train station I asked where are the shuttle buses and I was directed just down the street from the station. I paid about 2 pounds one way for a ride to the tournament. I had to use entrance 7 for prepaid ticketmaster tickets. I also had to show my ID and my credit card I used to purchase the tickets. After that I was in!!!
Shots from around the grounds
It was a cloudy, rainy day and a lot of the tennis action was suspended/delayed due to the rain. Since I had Centre Court tickets I knew I was ok since they have a retractable roof. I got to the tournament later than I anticipated and the first of three matches was nearing completion (ladies match that I didn’t care for). I decided to walk around just a bit and get a taste of the atmosphere! Since many of the matches were suspended a lot of people were trying to stay out of the rain, thus packing the shops and restaurants.
I didn’t bring anything really warm for the vacation to London seeing it was summer time. I was dressed in a short sleeve polo shirt and I knew I would be cold. So one of my first stops was the main shop to pick up a hoodie or jacket of some sort. Wow it was so packed it was hard to move or check out the items. I quickly picked out a hoodie and found a side register that was less busy and checked out.
After throwing on my new hoodie I went to find my seat quickly. I knew I didn’t have the greatest of seats but most courts aren’t so large that you will have a bad seat. The show courts are pretty intimate (except Arthur Ashe in NYC). I was like 6-7 rows from the last row but I was just excited to be in the building!
I would be treated to seeing two of tennis’ biggest stars in back to back matches: Novak Djokovic in the first mens match on Centre Court and then Roger Federer who just happen to be taking on a Brit and the crowd was excited!
When you watch Wimbledon on TV you don’t even realize how far up the seats go back and how much of an overhang covers the seating area. It was pretty dark under the overhang but the court was perfectly unobstructed the view was nice.
I decided to watch the first set of the Djokovic match then I wanted to grab something to eat and drink. I grabbed a Pimms cup (Pimms liquer and lemonade) and I had a sausage. The Pimms was really good and so on the way back to my seat I grabbed another one.
When I got back to my seat it was starting the third set and it turned out to be the final set as Novak beat Adrian Mannarino in straight sets.
In between matches I went down closer to the court to get a better view and perspective of Centre Court. I asked a few people if they could take my photo and then I waited down lower to see Federer come out of the tunnel and on the court with his opponent Marcus Willis.
The crowd was really excited for this match. They were cheering for the Brit Marcus Willis because he was a huge underdog and well, he was a Brit too! At the same time they were cheering for Federer just because he is so popular.
It was an entertaining match to be sure. Marcus Willis played up the crowd after he got off to a bad start. When he one his first game the crowd went crazy for him.
In the beginning of the third set with Federer up 2-0 sets I decided I should probably get going as it was getting late and had no way of communicating with my wife and wanted to check in on her and the baby.
On the way out the rain stopped and I took 5 minutes to watch two matches going on on the outside courts. I wasn’t familiar with the players but it’s so nice to get so close to the courts and the players on the outside courts.
I wish the weather would have been better but overall I had a great time at Wimbledon! I accomplished my main goal to see Roger Federer Play on Centre Court and I have now attended 3 of the 4 grand slam tournaments. Strangely enough I am only missing the US Open which is the closest to me but I will get there soon enough!
Even if your not a tennis fan I would encourage you to visit Wimbledon for a day as it’s such a big event and a unique experience! I will always remember my visit to Wimbledon!
Let me know if you have any questions or your thoughts on attending Wimbledon.