Thursday, 11 July 2019

Experiencing Centre Court at Wimbledon 2019.

I first went to Wimbledon 12 years ago when I was 16. It was just a few weeks before we moved to Australia, so my mum took me and we queued up to try our luck for tickets. Unfortunately there weren't any No.1 or Centre Court tickets left so we had to settle for No.2 tickets, but thankfully because of the rain that year a lot of the matches had been cancelled, which meant Rafael Nadal was playing against Mikhail Youzhny on Court No.2! After an epic five set match Nadal won, and I was hooked. 

Since then I've often tried to get Centre Court tickets and failed, and after seeing both Nadal vs Federer and Venus Williams vs Serena Williams in the Australian Open finals in 2017, and Djokovic vs Berdych in the ATP Tennis World Tour in 2015, I FINALLY got to Centre Court yesterday! So I thought I'd tell you a little bit more about the day...

All last week I tried to get returns and resell tickets on Ticketmaster and failed miserably, and then Scott messaged and said he had a spare ticket and did I want to go - erm, HELL YES. I'm disgustingly sick right now and have had the worst cold all week, but no way was I going to miss this opportunity after 12 years of trying to get Wimbledon Centre Court tickets!! So I stocked up with cold & flu tablets, cough sweets, hand sanitizer, and tissues in Sainsbury's and jumped in an Uber to Wimbledon!

We arrived around 10:30am and picked up our tickets from Gate 4, then headed to the practice courts. Sadly the queue for the practice courts was around 40minutes, so we decided to skip that and head to the American Express lounge. 

The Wimbledon American Express Lounge

Both Scott and I have AMEX cards (as you'll already know if you've read my guide on how I earned 180,000 airmiles to pay for my First Class round-the-world ticket), but each AMEX card holder can take in a guest, so if only one of us had an AMEX card we still could have gone inside. There was a small queue for the lounge but it moved quickly, and after signing in we headed upstairs to their terrace. Naturally I wore my 'Wimbledon green' dress...

You do have to pay for drinks  - it isn't like an airport lounge - so we got a Pimms each and a blueberry muffin and sat by the window overlooking the balcony and smaller courts. The lounge is air-conditioned, and has loads of charging points with chargers for the three main USB types so it doesn't matter if you forgot yours!

Pimms at Wimbledon
American Express Terrace Lounge at Wimbledon
Sue Barker at Wimbledon
American Express Lounge at Wimbledon

We were also given a complimentary mini ear-radio to listen to all of the commentary throughout the day which was actually really great! AND we saw Sue Barker on the balcony practising her lines!!

Eating at Wimbledon

We thought it would be a good idea to get some proper food before heading to Centre Court for the first match at 1pm, but as I wasn't feeling well I didn't want anything too heavy. There are lots of food areas dotted around, but we found the one underneath Court No.1 was the best for a good selection of different types of food. Also, on our way to get food we saw Roger Federer practising on one of the smaller outside courts!!

Roger Federer practising at Wimbledon

Anyway, I just got a sandwich, but the fish & chips looked amazing and the pizzas smelled insanely good! The only downside was the lack of seating, so we ended up perching near a flowerbed. 

After my delish tuna & cucumber sandwich we wandered over to the Strawberries & Cream area opposite Centre Court. We had full intentions to just get strawberries & cream (which was a reasonable 2.50), but then we saw the Strawberry Sundae...and seeing as I haven't been eating much this week I decided to treat myself. It was made up of strawberries, natural frozen yoghurt, strawberry sauce, and a bit of meringue, so it wasn't tooooo calorific, but SO delicious!

Strawberry Sundae at Wimbledon

Also, you can take a picnic in if you want, it just can't be in a hard-sided cooler bag or box, and you can't take in opaque drinks bottles and flasks that are over 500ml.

Experiencing Wimbledon's Centre Court 

So, Centre Court!! I vividly remember my mum and I sneaking into the outside part of Centre Court and watching a bit of the action from the open doorway - we saw a glimpse of Lleyton Hewitt and got crazy excited - so it was super surreal actually sitting in Centre Court rather than peeking through the door! I really wish I got tickets myself so I could have taken my mum, but maybe next year.

Scott and I took our seats in Block 310, which was a similar view to the view Sid and I had at the Australian Open. It was great because we were able to watch the match from an amazing vantage point without having to flick our heads from side-to-side with each hit. We also had great fun playing eye-spy in the Royal Box - we spotted Camilla Parker-Bowles, aka the Duchess of Cornwall, and Shirley Bassey!

Centre Court at Wimbledon
Centre Court at Wimbledon Royal Box

Djokovic vs Goffin

The first match we saw was Djokovic vs Goffin! I'd seen Djokovic play back in 2015 and the match was just as quick, with Djokovic winning within 3 sets and just under 2 hours. The first set Goffin was way ahead and smashing Djokovic, and then in the second set it totally switched!

Centre Court at Wimbledon Djokovic vs Goffin
Centre Court at Wimbledon Djokovic vs Goffin
Centre Court at Wimbledon Djokovic vs Goffin
Centre Court at Wimbledon Djokovic vs Goffin

Federer vs Nishikori

The Federer vs Nishikori match was SO INTENSE! Omg, the entire way through the 3 sets and 3 hours it was so close the entire time - Nishikori was really incredible, but ultimately Federer just had far more stamina and Nishikori got super tired after the second set. After two insanely close sets, where we frequently thought Nishikori could actually beat Federer, in the third set Federer just started ramping things up and the final game ended within minutes!

Centre Court at Wimbledon Federer vs Nishikori
Centre Court at Wimbledon Federer vs Nishikori
Centre Court at Wimbledon Federer vs Nishikori
Centre Court at Wimbledon Federer vs Nishikori
Centre Court at Wimbledon Federer vs Nishikori
Centre Court at Wimbledon Federer vs Nishikori

The atmosphere was electric and although I love watching Wimbledon on TV, nothing can beat actually being there in Centre Court in person! For me, it was well worth the money and I'm hoping next year I can finally get tickets to take my mum with me!!


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