Wimbledon’s Queue: Embracing The Joy Of Tennis


The queue for Wimbledon is an institution in England, “an experience in its own right” praise aficionados. Early Friday, as London woke up, thousands of people were already in “the queue”, ready to wait for hours in a good mood to reach the tennis courts.

Impatient abstain. The English Linda Truin and her friend Sharon Davison, 70 and 72, are clearly not among them.

These two retirees, ex-secretaries, arrived Thursday at 09:00 to have places for the Central. This is Linda’s 26th time in line. “Only” the 20th for Sharon.

“It’s so nice. We meet new people. We have our champagne in the cooler,” says Sharon, having breakfast in front of their tent. She came especially from the southwest of France, where she has lived for seven years.

“It’s better organized every year,” boasts Linda.

With friends or family

Because this line, which extends over a large expanse of grass not far from the tennis courts, is anything but improvised. On the Wimbledon website, there is also a code of conduct to be respected. Numbers are distributed: no need to try to double.

There are toilets, stalls where to buy food. Stewards are there to answer questions.

This queue allows those who do not have tickets to access the courts on the same day. The first 500 people can get a ticket for the Central, at a cost Friday of 130 pounds sterling (152.3 euros).

Friday, at 10:00 a.m., more than 13,000 people were in line.

“It’s unique. It’s so un-American,” said John Worthington, a 52-year-old American from Atlanta, amused. “The British love queuing,” replies Linda Truin.

The world discovered this singularity last September. More than 250,000 people then waited for hours, queuing for several kilometers in London, to gather in front of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II in the days preceding her funeral.

In the queue for Wimbledon, the atmosphere is of course more joyful. Many come with friends or family. Children play on the lawn while their parents wait. Under the sun, Friday, there is an air of summer vacation.

Sip a Pimm’s

A group of friends in their thirties sip early morning glasses of Pimm’s, a Wimbledon classic.

Amanda Groves, 61, came with her 29-year-old daughter Polly. “I really like the atmosphere. The people are friendly,” says the first. “I don’t even know who’s playing today. I really don’t care,” her daughter continues.

Even Kate Middleton, wife of William, the heir to the throne, said this week that she stood in line as a child with her family. “We were there from dawn, maybe not all night, but from dawn,” she said.

Player Emma Raducanu, who won the US Open in 2021 at 18, was present at 7:30 am Monday, for the first day of the tournament. Her way of participating in Wimbledon, being injured.

But the week got off to a bad start.

On Monday, the queue was even longer than usual as security checks were increased, angering many in line. The bags were searched extremely thoroughly to prevent environmental activists from disrupting matches.

This did not prevent activists from the group Just Stop Oil, which calls for the cessation of all new oil and gas projects, from managing to enter a court on Wednesday and throw confetti on the most famous lawn in the world. orange spangles and puzzle pieces, interrupting a match.

This article is originally published on france24.com



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