Now we've got that terrible joke out the way, which coincidentally followed me round Wimbledon in the form of Dan and Louie, let's move on to the tennis(h).
I suppose I should also warn you there's lots of talk about food, but no actual food pictures in this post. Just in case you've got used to me as a food blogger, I'm going to take down those boundaries now.
Frequent readers will know Dan as my long term (it's almost 7 years, where did that time go?!) man friend and you might recall Louie from him being mentioned in some of my previous posts such as this write up about our competitive foodie friendship aka a visit to Raw Food Cafe Nama, and this post about his and Dan's bro love featuring Maitre Choux eclairs.
Two weeks ago on a night out with friends at Dinerama in Street Feast, several chilli backs (tequilla and chilli) down, Louie, Dan and I hatched a plan to go to Wimbledon on Friday. It was a drunken, spontaneous plan, but some of the best ones are. As the week wore on and Wimbledon began we realised that rocking up at 6.30am to try and get grounds tickets wasn't going to be an option. As the queue for tickets was closing at 7am and those at the back of the queue didn't get in till 5pm. So last Thursday, after the hottest day of the year so far, Dan and I grabbed a tent, a single sleeping bag (this becomes important later), lots of picnic food (aka wine, crackers and brie) and our toothbrushes, and caught the quick train to our old home town of Wimbledon to meet Louie at 10pm outside the grounds. It's fair to say we were thoroughly unprepared for a night's camping.
Arriving at Southfields (the closest tube to Wimbledon Tennis grounds) we realised we needed to stock up on our food supplies so we bought more wine, some blue cheese and a pack of blueberries. Oh and two cheese straws, for emergencies. Louie was already waiting for us outside in his buisness suit looking suitably dressed for a night's camping, along with additional supplies of more wine, brownies and a packet of pringles. We'd camped before a couple of years ago and got offered Court One tickets so we were pretty excited about this possibility. But when we walked to the camping site and were given our queue cards that dictated where we were in the queue we were 1557th. 500 tickets are available for each court as tickets for purchase for those first 1500 in the queue each day.
We were gutted thinking we'd missed out on court tickets, but we pitched our tents, Louie realised he'd bought a child's one, he's 6 ft 4 so yeah that was funny, and settled in for a night of wine, ghost stories and eating all our provisions for the following day. When we actually went to sleep, Dan and I realised our mistake. Because it had been a hot day we assumed we'd be in for a warm night so had bought 0 pyjamas, jumpers etc. and one sleeping bag between the two of us. Oh my Lord it was cold, worst night's sleep of my life, can you even call it sleep when you're awake every 20 minutes? When we got up at 5am we saw a lot of people had obviously found themselves in the same trouble and left during the night, one guy who didn't bring a tent was wrapped in about 4 emergency foil blankets. Bacon sarnie and lots of coffee in hand we packed up our tents and got in the queue.
We couldn't have picked a better day for Wimbledon, the weather was so good that's right I'm rocking a Summer tan. And the best news was we got Court One tickets.Turns out a lot of people were camping for Centre Court tickets to see Murray and loads of people left during the night. Not only did we get Court One tickets but we only bloody well got the best tickets in the house! I mean I don't want to brag (this whole post is one long brag), but we were front row, behind the umpire, right behind one of the players' seats, which just happened to be the seat for Stan Wawrinka, Maria Sharapova and John Isner! A lot of people don't believe in luck, but it happened guys, we were some lucky tennis fans. So the queue snuck round in a nice way though, there's things enroute, free coffee and soft drinks, some fellow queuers had cracked out a couple of beers early doors, it had a festival atmosphere, and then finally we were in.
As we'd eaten all our picnic food the night before we preceded to Murray Mound for a snooze, and honestly we fell asleep with the mound empty and woke up to being packed in on all sides...I also had sunburn. It was the sexy, lobster-red-style look I was going for. We quickly ate some more food, fairly decent burgers and fries, and some pretty disappointing strawberries and cream. Disappointing in that Dan and Louie ate all the strawberries before I could even look at them. Then we headed over to our seats in Court one.
What we witnessed were three incredible matches.
First Stan Wawrinka versus Fernando Verdasco. We'd all recently watched the final of the French Open together when Wawrinka won, so we were excited. Despite Wawrinka winning in straight sets it was an awesome match made even better because we were sitting directly behind him. He's a really smooth player and his composure throughout the match was intense. I'm gushing. Wawrinka I'm your biggest fan! We also have the whole Swiss thing going on so yeah he was my fave.
Second we witnessed Maria Sharapova versus Irina-Camelia Begu. In what wasn't reflected in the score was a really tough match where Begu chipped away at Sharapova. I didn't realise how obsessive Sharapova was with her serve routine, it was really precise and if anything upset that she'd start again. Clearly she shone as a very professional sportswoman as she took the match in straight sets.
Finally, the best match of the day/night was John Isner against Marin Cilic, whose name I struggle to pronounce. It was a very evenly matched...match. The serves were incredible and at first I thought that was all we were going to get in the first set where there were very little rallys but there were some spectacular rallys to come. At 6ft 10 Isner made Cilic look small, which is a feat in itself as Cilic is 6 ft 6. The match went on to a 5th set and finished at 9pm due to low light with the players on even points for the tie break. It was 4 hours of the best tennis I've seen. Cilic beat Isner the next day and went on to go out in the quarter finals to the don. Novak Djokovic.
Wimbledon is such a great occasion, I'd recommend you go even for grounds tickets just to watch the semi's or final on Murray Mound, but if I were you I'd get there early, camp the night before, take a picnic, eat it all at night, you'll love it.
Has anyone else been to Wimbledon this year? Would love to know what your highlight was. I just watched Wawrinka versus Gasquet, such a great match. I really wanted to Wawrinka to win! Have you got a favourite tennis player?