Wimbledon Tennis Championship
Warm up for two weeks of strawberries, Pimm's – and thrilling tennis, of course
- 'Not everyone can win'
- Meet Wimbledon's hawk, Rufus
- Watch the tennis on the big screen
- Wimbledos and Wimbledon'ts
- Where to go when the tennis stops
Whether you're a legitimate tennis fan or just in it for the Pimm's and oh-so-toned players, Wimbledon Tennis Championships are once again upon us (Mon June 23 – Sun Jul 6 2014) and it's time to get excited. If you missed out on tickets in the public ballot, here's our eight-step guide to camping, queueing and buying grounds passes on the day. Or if you're happy to witness all the tournament's action outside SW19, discover where to find the free live screenings across the capital.
How do I get tickets for this year’s Wimbledon?
Getting tickets to the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club does require a lot of forethought. Seats on Centre and Number 1 courts are distributed by ballot the preceding year, although die-hard tennis fans who queue on the day may well get the chance to gain entry. The ticket queue for this year’s Wimbledon officially opens at 8am on Sunday June 22, however hundreds of people will have been camping in line since the previous evening. Around 500 tickets every day are available at the Gate 3 turnstile for Centre Court (except for the last four days; tickets for those days are like gold dust) and court numbers 1 and 2, plus several thousand grounds tickets. If you’re intending to turn up to The Championships after work, the late entry queue opens at 5pm daily. You can often pay a reasonable rate for the seats of spectators who have left the venue early. Do note, tickets can only be purchased by cash.
How do I get to the tennis grounds?
The best way to get to the Championships is by shuttle bus from Southfields tube station, which is on the District Line. There are also shuttle buses from Wimbledon station, though it is marginally further from the site. Both stations are walking distance from the site (15-20 minutes), or you could splash out on a taxi. Be prepared to shuffle up and share your taxi during peak times, though – it's faster, cheaper and you may make yourself some picnic buddies for lunchtime.
What should I wear? Is there a dress code?
Only the competitors have a strict dress code (all white kit), spectators typically come in comfy casual wear. There are some posh frocks and blazers to be seen, particularly around the hospitality areas, but if you’re heading to the tournament more for the tennis and less for the strawberries, just be sure to wear layers – the day may begin with blazing sunshine but come the afternoon, it’ll most likely be sleeting. Bear in mind the British summer weather and take clothing suitable for all conditions.
Is it acceptable to heckle during the match?
Swearing, booing and heckling are not the done thing at Wimbledon (not that the players adhere to that), although a little tutting may be heard when one of the players throws a tantrum. It is acceptable however to 'ooh' and 'ahh', as if watching the New Year Eve’s fireworks, and then cheer when the Hawk-Eye replay appears on the screen. Never applaud double faults or unforced errors, even if they are the errors of Andy Murray’s opponent.
What's the etiquette when the ball lands among the spectators?
Spectators should throw the ball back to a ball boy or girl, but never during play. If you'd like to get hold of a ball as a souvenir, you'll have to cough up for a used one from the shop.
What happens if it rains?
In 2009 a retractable roof was installed on Centre Court, enabling play to continue during rain, but if you’re watching on any other court, rain will always disturb play. You can take shelter in the museum and there are a few merchandise shops as well as restaurants and cafés around the site. Other than that, the grounds are quite exposed, so be sure to take an umbrella.
Should I take my chances and queue for day tickets?
Camping out the night before is the best way to raise your chances of getting a court ticket. If you’re planning to head down on a day when Andy Murray is playing, the queue will inevitably be longer so you may need to set up camp even earlier.
Are there places to eat? Can I take a picnic?
Food within the grounds isn’t cheap so taking a picnic is a thrifty way to eat at the tournament, plus you’ll avoid any queues for the restaurants. Only one bag per person is permitted into the grounds and it must measure no more than 40 x 30 x 30cm. No hard-sided picnic hampers, coolboxes or briefcases are allowed, so take a disposable bag, which you can bin once you’ve eaten your lunch.
How do I get tickets for next year?
The majority of tickets are distributed via public ballot. The draw for this year’s Wimbledon closed last December (this is where the aforementioned ‘forethought’ comes in), but the ballot for the 2015 tournament will re-open later this summer – keep your eyes peeled for the exact date here. Holders of successful ballot entries are usually contacted by the following February.
Where can I watch Wimbledon?
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