A more civilised way to queue at Wimbledon

June 24, 2008

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queue11.jpgAt few other world sporting events do so many queue for so long.

Wimbledon , by dint of its allowing fans to just turn up on the day without booking, has always attracted vast numbers of the ticketless, either casual, after-work visitors or the more diehard types who come armed with tent and supplies to see the likes of Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova compete.

Draped with plastic sheets against the rain, bedded down on the hard pavement, those in for the long haul often insisted to interviewers — rather unconvincingly — that the wait was part of the fun.

Now, however, the queue has indeed become more civilised with the opening up of the nearby Wimbledon Park to tennis campers. The wide open spaces of this Capability Brown-designed gem, just a stone’s throw from the All England club, are a world away from the cramped pavements of Church Road. There are lockers to store tents and sleeping bags and plenty of space for all. Plenty of public tennis courts too. The only drawback is the strict 6 a.m. wake-up call.

The queue itself, however, remains a daunting beast, snaking around the park and the adjacent golf course, seemingly for miles. The All England club has even issued a Guide to Queuing handbook to lay down the ground rules. For queue information click here

Waiting patiently in line is of course a British speciality and some of the regulars do genuinely seem to enjoy the atmosphere — but for less patient souls, here’s all you need to know to enter the ballot next year and walk straight in.

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