Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Tennis at Wimbledon

Sunday Brad and I headed to Wimbledon to watch some Olympic tennis! I somehow managed to land tickets to the second day of the first round on the Olympic ticket web site. We didn't know what matches we would be seeing until the night before, but found out it would be some Polish chick and some German chick.... followed by Andy Murray!! Playing someone from the Swiss team. 

Each Olympic ticket comes with a free transit pass to get you from where you are to the game, so we took the tube down to Wimbledon. Seeing Wimbledon was a first for both of us. The station is about a 15 minute walk through town to get to the club, which is huge! We walked from Gate 1 to Gate 7 in the hope of a shorter security line and it took about 20 minutes.  Just amazingly big for a tennis club. 

The web sites and emails said to bring as little as possible, since we would be going through airport style security screening to get into the venue. The weather said it wouldn't rain until the afternoon. Both of these pieces of information resulted in Kara and Brad standing unprepared in a downpour waiting to get through security. Good times. Love that London weather.

We finally got through and did a little souvenir shopping and got some lunch (typical awful British food). Then we headed in to find our seats. Behold, the view from our seats: 
I can't tell you how excited I was when we sat down. I couldn't believe some random clicking on a web site could lead to such greatness! Olympic tickets are sold in categories (AA, A, B, C, D) depending on the event. Ours were category B. I enjoyed taking credit for our good seats, even though it was really blind luck. We were across from the Royal box, but it just looked like a bunch of different government officials. No actual royals. 

The women's match was fun to watch as they were very evenly matched. As such, it went on forever. 2 1/2 hours? Maybe more? It was scheduled for 2 hours. People (i.e. Me) were getting antsy for the men's match to begin towards the end. Me especially because we had a babysitter watching Charlie just until 5! 

Finally the German chick beat the Polish chick - barely - though Poland had cuter uniforms. Then the men arrived for their match. I didn't know this at the time, but the Swiss player that Murray was up against was Roger Federer's doubles partner in 2008 when they won gold! So, needless to say, a great player. He had an amazing serve. Many aces. Not that Andy didn't have plenty of his own! 
I would hate to be the person (or people) playing Andy Murray in London, though. The fans were 95% Murray supporters it felt like and very vocal. Well, apart from some kid up in the stands that kept yelling for Warwinka. When it became apparent Andy was going to win the first set and the crowd was enthusiastically cheering, this little boy took a quiet moment to shout out "It's only the first set!" - I mean, adorable. 
Wimbledon has a new retractable roof that was recently added (this year I think?) and it might be my favorite thing in the whole world. It kept thunderstorming all afternoon but we were nice and dry inside, with no rain delays. 

In fact, for most of the afternoon, the only tennis happening at Wimbledon was at Centre Court because of the weather. Djokovic's match on Court one was delayed several hours. Andy Roddick was also supposed to play on Court 2. 

When we left around 4:30, they were just starting to roll back the tarps outside... but by the time we were at the train station it was pouring again. Olympic tennis may have to go on long after the closing ceremony at this rate! 

Anyways, the match was so exciting to see in person, I didn't move from my seat once it started. Brad left the stands for a coffee right before the second set and when he came back told me to look closely across the stadium, above the scoreboard. He overheard people talking in line for his coffee. When I did, this is what I saw:
Yes ladies and gentlemen, I was in the very same building as Roger Federer. I just about hyperventilated.

He was with his wife, who is sitting next to him. I wanted to go over and ask where the twins were?? Roger and his wife are very sweet together, constantly leaning in their heads to talk. At one point he laid his head down on that ledge with it turned towards her and they talked for awhile. I melted.
While Warwinka did not give up without a fight, it became pretty clear Andy was going to have this wrapped up in two sets. I could have stayed and watched all day! I really didn't want it to end. It was so exciting watching tennis of that caliber in person. The serves and hits were so powerful. It was never boring.
I have to admit, while he is incredibly popular here (obviously), I don't find Andy to be the most magnetic person when he's not playing. He is often stone faced or even looks mad. He seemed to get annoyed when the cheering got excessive because it slowed down the match. I'm sure this was out of courtesy to his opponent. But even after he won he didn't crack a smile. He's very serious it seems like. Maybe not your #1 tennis player to invite over for a party. He did stay out a while and sign giant tennis balls for the kids, though, which was sweet. I can see us getting Charlie a big tennis ball for player autographs one day! 
While it was very easy getting to Wimbledon in the morning, transit getting home was a mess. The tube line we needed to take for most of the journey was running slow and single tracking at a station. Such is travel during the games I guess!

Now that we have been to the Olympics, I think we are becoming ticket junkies. We have tickets to the men's gold medal soccer match, but are dying to get some for swimming or diving so we can see the Olympic village. I'm starting to feel like an addict who can't stop checking the ticket web site! Brad and I have a new joint hobby - checking the web site for additional ticket releases.

I'm grateful for what we got to do, though and if we get no other tickets, I still count myself very, very lucky. It will be a day I will always remember.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

That's your hair after getting caught in a downpour? Well done!

So glad you got such a cool Olympic experience!