Nadine Truong, Thursday 14 June 2012
If like me you didn't get tickets to the Wimbledon Championships this year, then joining the Queue at Wimbledon is one of the best ways to get tickets to watch top class tennis at one of the best Grand Slam tournaments in the world.
It's one of the very few major UK sporting events where you can still buy premium tickets on the day of play. I’ve always been an avid fan of Wimbledon but it was only last year that I decided to queue – and camp overnight at Wimbledon Park – to get tickets to the tournament. The second Monday (2 July this year) is one of the best days to go as by then you’re more likely to see the top seeds playing, having played a week of the tournament already. In the latter stages of week two the queue will only be for ground passes and it’s usually a lot quicker to get in. Here’s my rough guide to The Queue:
Arrive early if you want to get show court tickets. You will most certainly need to camp overnight for these tickets. Around 500 tickets are allocated per show court each day (except the last four days) so if you want Centre Court tickets you need to be in the first 500 people in the queue, Court No 1 the next 500, and so on. Once these tickets have been allocated you will only be able to get Ground Passes, although you can watch matches on Courts 4-19 where seats are unreserved, and sit on Henman Hill/Murray Mound of course, though you may struggle to find a free patch.
Everyone will be handed a dated and numbered queue card upon joining the queue to prevent queue jumping and tents will be set up in rows - you'll be shown where to set up by a steward. Those in the front will be handed wristbands on the morning of play for the show courts. Last year I got Court No. 2 tickets on the second Monday having joined the queue the day before at around 3pm (not bad as I got to watch Sharapova’s fourth round match, and the then no. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki get knocked out, also in her fourth round match). People right at the front of the queue had started queuing on Friday evening – that’s dedication for you! If you want to get Ground Passes then joining the queue on the day is fine – still get there early though, you can queue from around 7am when campers dismantle their tents.
Be prepared if you’re planning to camp overnight. Take a tent (maximum two person tent is the guideline) and sleeping bag! Large items can be deposited at the left luggage facilities in the morning for £1 an item (stewards will wake everyone up at around 6-7am to dismantle tents and form a standing queue). With the unpredictable British weather you should also consider taking a waterproof jacket and umbrella (but make sure your brolly has no branding on it or it won’t be let inside the grounds) - or, if we get tropical temperatures like when I went last year, make sure you have sun screen, plenty of water and a hat to keep cool. A picnic blanket will come in handy too.
Cash is all they accept at the turnstiles when you buy your ticket so make sure you have enough. For ticket prices check out the website here. It will also be handy to have cash for buying food and drink both inside and outside of the grounds.
Food and drink. You could take your own food and drink into the camping grounds and inside (limit on alcohol is a bottle of wine or two 500ml cans of beer per person into the Grounds). It’s a good idea if you’re planning to stay around the camping area to get food, snacks and refreshments – take a cooler bag. Or you could order a take away and get it delivered to the Wimbledon Park Road gate. Alternatively, venture into the wonderful Wimbledon Village for a bite to eat, or grab something from the food vendors on site.
Lastly, don't forget to soak in the Wimbledon atmosphere, get a Pimm's and lemonade, strawberries and cream and enjoy world class tennis on your doorstep.
The 2012 Wimbledon Championships take place from Monday 25 June to Sunday 8 July. www.wimbledon.com