Saturday, July 04, 2009
Ode to Wimbledon!
Yesterday, I made a spontaneous trip to Wimbledon with Keenan’s Dad who is visiting from California for an afternoon of world-class tennis. And by spontaneous, I mean, we woke up Friday morning and decided to try our luck with Wimbledon tickets. Well, we knew we wouldn’t be able to score Centre Court tickets for the semi-final match-up between Roger Federer vs. Tommy Haas and the much-anticipated game between Andy Murray vs. Andy Roddick, we would be happy to enter the gates and “kiss the ground” as my father-in-law puts it. To be honest, I was quite dreading the long queues and the traffic getting to Wimbledon, but we were pleasantly surprised to find no traffic, no queues and tickets still available for Court No. 1 with the Williams sisters playing in the Semi-Final Ladies Doubles. Double score! Too bad Keenan was stuck at work!
Wimbledon is the oldest, and therefore considered the most prestigious of the four Grand Slam tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open, and the U.S. Open. Here, decorum and tradition reigns supreme on this beautifully landscaped tennis lawn, including:
-- Devouring Strawberries and Cream
-- Royal Patronage
-- Strict Dress Code for Competitors
-- Sipping Pimms & Lemonade
-- Drinking Champagne
Etiquette is strictly enforced when you take part in this quintessential British experience:
-- Do not make noise during a rally or while serving
-- Do not applaud a net cord or double fault
-- No flash photography
-- No entry or exiting the stands except a change of ends
-- No babies in arms into any show court
Normally, the weather (read: rain) is a major concern at these Wimbledon games, but with the new retractable roof in Centre Court, problem solved! And, no complaints this year– the weather has been simply brilliant the last week.
So, Vik and I arrived to Wimbeldon after a detour to Clapham Junction to pick up some snacks around 10:30 AM. As we were strolling, we noticed a sizeable crowd around Court No. 16. Who could it be – Roddick? Federer? Murray? Who? It turns out it was Roger Federer warming up for his 1:00 PM game against Haas. We squeezed through the crowds for this photo op:
We parked our bums in front of Centre Court and look who walks by. It’s Tommy Haas! Little did he know that he was going to get squashed by Federer, 7-6, 7-5, 6-3:
Moving on to Court No. 1, we had great seats – five rows from the court. I was really excited to see the Williams sisters play after watching them both in their respective semi-final bracket the day before. These two ladies are my heros. They have achieved the dream -- the American dream -- growing up in Compton and now the most talented athletes in tennis.
Here’s a brief highlight from the game.
The next game in Court No. 1 was a fun ladies double invitational with the old-time players:
Martina Navratilova(USA)/Helena Sukova(CZE) vs. Tracy Austin(USA)/Kathy Rinaldi (USA)
Wow. These ladies still got some game!
In between I had to sneak away from my seat to "Murray Hill" to watch the Roddick/Murray match-up. The crowd was unbelievable, packed to the brim, and so much energy -- very exciting! Check this scene out:
We had a great time out in Wimbledon! Looking forward to this weekend’s finals. Of course, I am going for Andy Roddick, and congratulations on making it to the finals -- your reward is your nemesis, Roger Federer. As for the ladies finals, well, this is a tough one. Either way, they are both winners in my books!
And indeed, Ode to Wimby.