Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wimbledon 2015: Game, Set and Match

Centre Court

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club 
"The Tennis Garden"
Wimbledon SW19

A Great Day at the Home of Tennis
A visit to Wimbledon is a perfect way to spend an entire day, especially if you're a player or fan of this great sport. The club was a "must-see" on my recent UK trip, so I booked the Wimbledon Museum and Tour tickets in advance. The town of Wimbledon is about 25 minutes via taxi from central London, and even in late winter, the All England Club looks amazing.

Our two-hour guided walking tour was led by Keith, an affable Englishman, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the Club and its famous tournament was impressive. He peppered his commentary with dry humor and fun facts, all while keeping a swift pace. The weather was in the 40s, a bit chilly for Californians!

The first stop was Court 1, a pristine stadium with comfortable green seats. Rolex clocks are the only "ads" on the club's grounds, refreshingly different from American stadiums. A light standard over the court ensured perfect, even growth of the famous ryegrass.

The Hill, AKA 'Murray Mound' or 'Henman Hill'
We walked to the top of the Hill via gently curving, paved pathways. During the Championships, jumbo screens are set up here and thousands of patrons with grounds passes enjoy strawberries and cream and Pimm's in picnics on the Hill. On this early March day, a lone mallard was the only visitor to the reflecting pool. Wait until June!

Many of the outer courts can be seen from the club's terraces. Our group took a seat in the stands of Court 18, where the longest game in tennis history took place (John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut, 2010).

We walked the club's perimeter, and then across the only "grass" we were allowed to touch, artificial turf. Yes, Wimbledon has installed this surface for tea parties on the terrace. Then we headed down into the BBC Broadcast Centre, where international journalists cover the Championships.

Finally, we headed to Centre Court. A hush came over our group as we entered the empty stadium. Seats were protected for the winter, the roof was open, and like Court 1, a light standard was installed above the grass to encourage even blade growth. We sat down and enjoyed the view. Beautiful. The final tallies on two scoreboards (gentlemen's and ladies' singles matches) remained on display from the 2014 tournament, a Wimbledon tradition.

Apparently, the grass isn't always greener… Hard courts occupy a section of the grounds. A small croquet pitch is here, too, a nod to the original club which offered both croquet and tennis. After the tour, lunch at Wingfield Café, then a visit to the museum and shop.

Wimbledon Museum
The Wimbledon Museum is really impressive. An audio tour brings the vintage tennis displays to life and the 3D film about the 2014 Championships is incredibly realistic. You feel as if you are sitting on Centre Court. Brilliant!

After a lengthy museum visit, we stopped into the gift shop, where merchandise was arranged artfully and windows beautifully designed. Everything at the All England Club is just right. Classic, yet modern.

The Club's membership roster is a closely guarded secret. We did learn that Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is a recent member. She's often seen in the Royal Box during the Championships.

Until we reach royal status, we'll enjoy watching the tournament on TV!

Wimbledon — Elegant. Classic. Timeless. Visit the official website here: www.wimbledon.com

Contact Emilie for elegant websites, stylish corporate identity, and effective marketing materials. E-mail studio@emiliepallosdesign.com or call (818) 242-9055. Visit our website: www.emiliepallosdesign.com.

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Keith, our smartly-dressed, witty tour guide

Terraces on the extensive grounds

Court 18, where John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut in the longest match in tennis history (11 hrs. 5 min.)

BBC Broadcast Centre Press Room
The carriage entrance

Museum: Early tennis balls and packaging

There's a poodle in the shop window!

Topiary atop the BBC Broadcast Centre. Dad Vic takes my picture!

Museum: vintage poster
Best dressed — Rene Lacoste's elegant blazer and driving cap

Always elegant — Roger Federer's stylish outfit (2012)

The origins of tennis scoring
Fred Perry statue adjacent to Centre Court

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