There was so much to see on the Wimbledon visit I had recently that I had to seperate it into two parts. This post will focus on the guided tour (you can find my experience of the shop here), which takes you around different courts and the overall area. As there was so much to see, I’ve reviewed the tour in a non-linear way so as to group the photographs better.
You’ll meet at a designated location just near the shop. The lady tour guide was super friendly and made it clear she would be happy to answer any questions along the way. After explaining about the Fred Perry statue and the scoreboards, you are moved inside. You go through the corridors where you walk past the broadcasting rooms, including ESPN and Fox Sports. You also get to see the room where the journalists write their copy. You also get to be in studio that the BBC, the host broadcaster, uses and even sit in the press conference that the players use.
You really do get the sense of history even through the walls. You realise how many great champions have created a legacy within these special courts. While my trip happened soon after Garbine Murguruza won the Women’s Singles and Roger Federer won the Men’s Singles (again!), their photos weren’t up on the walls. This was explained as both winners had yet to give approval for the photo to be used at that point.
One of the joys from the tour is the detail the guide gives on the courts and different landmarks within the Wimbledon area. This includes ‘Henman Hill’, as named after the English tennis player Tim Henman, who made four semi-finals within 1998 – 2002. Officially, the title is Aorangi Park, after the London New Zealand Rugby Club’s grounds, which were on the site until 1981. You can see the work going on for stadium 1, which will be the second Wimbledon stadium to have a roof, after Centre Court. You really do get a great view of the famous patch of grass, last scoreboards included. The tour also includes a view of the balcony that the players will use when showing off the trophy to the crowds for the first time.
It’s a shame you don’t get to go into the changing rooms, but you do get to see a lot of what the players do. That includes the outside entrance, what they see when they enter and images and of course, the winners board. You’ll certainly see some famous names in there. Although not all of them. Greats like Monica Seles, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and Jim Courier never got to hold the trophy. I got close though. The tour lasts around 90 minutes, you can take photographs and ask questions throughout and you really do find out a lot of wonderful trivia. If you’re even a casual tennis fan, you won’t fail to love it. For more information relating to times and prices click here.
Once more I enjoyed reading your post on Wimbledon… and the icing on the cake, those photos of the early 20th century tennis players, weren’t they classy? Thanks for sharing, Alex!
They really were. Wimbledon sure is classy and full of tradition. There was so much wonderful trivia. They have worked very hard to ensure taht has always been kept. There is so much detail. What I found curious is that the tour isn’t mentioned more during the championships, or indeed, on London tourist attractions.
Looks like great fun for a pro like you. I’m surprised you didn’t kiss the trophy. Ha!
Well I could do that Rafa Nadal thing and bit he but I like to think I’d come up with my own signature look.
What a great tour, thank you for sharing! I’d love to attend one of the Grand Slam championships and Wimbledon would be at the top of the list!
I imagine the US Open one would be nice. It’s always hard to watch because of the time difference but have stayed up into the early hours more than a few times to see some legendary matches.
That would be the most achievable for me. I’m not all that far from NYC! I feel that way (the time difference) about the World Cup – although it’s kind of cool to get up and having ‘football’ with my early morning coffee!
You have to go and let me know what you think. And keep a look out for 1968 when Arthur Ashe won it, and 2012 for Andy Murray.
I most definitely will!
A wonderful tour of this special place!
Thanks. I reallt wanted to show how special the tour was.
Brill pictures and write up. I don’t have much time for sport these days, but I used to watch a lot of tennis back when Hingis was dominating the WTA.
Glad to hear that a second roof is getting installed. Given how often it rains in the UK, the frequent match interruptions can get annoying.
Roland Garros doesn’t even have one. It really has proved difficult for them to get permission for. I always loved watching Martina Hingis. Such flair and penache. Shame she didn’t have the power side of the game. A delight she had so much success in doubles later on.
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