TOUR OF WIMBLEDON LAWN TENNIS CLUB – June 2019
Six ladies from Molesey WI joined a tour of The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis club after a well deserved hot drink and cake from our walk from the station. Our tour guide Caroline was very knowledgeable and welcoming as our group consisted of people from India, Australia, Sussex, the Midlands, Hampshire and us from Surrey. The grounds felt full of an enthusiastic atmosphere as staff were preparing for the up and coming championships. All the flowers in the colour scheme of purple, white and green of which unfortunately there is no historic reason for why this is. You can only get a ticket to the championships if you apply in a ballot, queue which sounded fun or win the championships – must practice harder!
So we first visited Court number 1 with its new retractable roof and ground staff when required can pull the covers back in 22 seconds any faster and the players wouldn’t have left the court. It then takes 20 minutes once the roof has closed for play to commence to balance the correct atmospheric conditions. They return to the locker room which they share – some limber up, others sit in silence or read the paper! The grass is kept in immaculate condition throughout the fortnight as the head grounds man keeps a very close eye on the weather and has a very efficient team behind him.
We also saw Henman Hill which houses a huge screen. The spectators are vey well looked after, Pimms, Prosecco, strawberries which are picked off the farm at 4am in Kent and delivered by 8am to be served that day! As well as tennis to watch all day.
We visited a studio where the players are interviewed within 30 minutes of finishing their match, if they don’t attend they can be fined. Next was the players area, where they collect their prize money and since 2007 men and women’s prize money has been the same. Also they can have their hair and nails done, a travel agency, bar and food area of which their guests can join them too.
As well as sitting in the press seats of Centre Court and sitting opposite the Royal box – felt so special – which in the roof contains 66 commentary boxes and Jeanette (autographs are given with consent) remembered exactly where she had sat for the men’s final one year and we not only saw her on video in the amazing museum of which we spent 1 1/4 hours as it is just full of interesting facts, treasures donated by famous players and their memories. Especially interesting is John McEnroe’s ghost in the men’s locker room. You can just visit the museum if you so wish.
After having had an amazing tour and exhausted ourselves with knowledge in the museum we retraced our steps back to Wimbledon train station and just happened to pop in for lunch and a cocktail in one of the many establishments down the thoroughfare. Such a perfect ending to a very interesting and enjoyable day out – thank you so much Jeanette for organising and Jacqueline for your suggestion. Text courtesy of Miranda Ingold / Molesey Women’s Institute President.
A 90 minute tour of the grounds and go behind the scenes at the All England Tennis club, the worlds most famous tennis club.
Get up close to the Trophies, see John McEnroe’s ghost and learn about the history, traditions and legends of the game. This is an unforgettable experience : walk through the same doors as the players, sit in their seats in the media centre and learn what it takes to grow a perfect grass tennis court.You are also able to get a free of charge audio guide available in the museum.
We will be travelling by public transport from Hampton court (or you can meet us there if easier) and hoping to finish off with a lunch in the Village if you wish to join us. Travel and lunch plans to be finalised nearer the time.
The date planned is:
Saturday 15th June 2019 and aiming for the 11.30 time-slot (TBC)
The cost is £25 each.