Great days out in this amazing summer of tennis
It's been great to hear that many of our members have been out and about as spectators at major UK tennis tournaments this summer.
Earlier in June, Shirley attended the Rothesay Open in Nottingham, Sharon and Barbara were both at the International Eastbourne, and Fran attended the Cinch Championships at the Queen's Club, London.
This week, Jo and Matt attended Wimbledon on day three and day four on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, plus rumour has it that other lucky members will be attending during the next week and finals weekend.
We'd secured our two tickets for Number 2 Court on Wednesday 29th June for £56 each via the LTA Advantage Wimbledon ticket alert and booking system (you need to pre-register, it's easy and free for club members as our club is affiliated to the LTA). Apparently there were still tickets for No 2 Court available on the day.
The bus ride through Wimbledon Village to the AELTC was delightful; all the colours and flowers and window displays were fit for an internationally-esteemed festival of tennis.
On arrival, despite a bit of a rain delay, we were treated to a supercharged match between Norwegian Casper Ruud (ranked 3) and left-handed Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
It had rather an amusing start; Humbert arrived on court with no rackets (you can read more about that in this BBC report) but they finally arrived (phew!)
I was particularly taken by Ruud's cross-court backhand, so deft a manoeuvre, and so full of spin that returning it became almost impossible for Ugo. But despite this, the French underdog managed to win through, with a final score of 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.
(This leaves me with the perpetual vexed wondering... so who can beat Djokovic now?)
It was great to see so much activity, and so many people - young and old, and from all over the world - attending Wimbledon this year after two years of muddling through Covid-19. The queues for the extortionately priced food and drink were particularly thriving.
Wandering around among the smaller courts later, briefly alighting on ladies and men's games, singles and doubles, we stopped a bit longer to watch Nikoloz Basilashvili (ranked 22) from Georgia play against Quentin Halys (to cries of "allez Quentin!") on Court 16.
Basilashvili won 7-6, 0-6, 7-5, 7-6, and it was incredible to see both players so close-up, demonstrating immense power and precision. Gob-smacking, really.
To keep it real and not let any players get too big for their Nikes, both had to walk themselves off the court to the players' area through the hordes, much to the delight of everyone, and especially young autograph-chasers.
Later on, while Emma Raducanu was sadly losing on Centre Court (we heard the sighs but hey, she'll be back, she's only 19!) we watched Tallon Griekspoor (Netherlands) vs Carlos Alcaraz (Spain, ranked 5) back on No 2 Court (Alcaraz won 4-6, 6-7, 3-6).
Both players demonstrated huge power, but the young Spaniard's drive and punch was simply astounding.
On the journey there and back we took the incredible, almost futuristic, Elizabeth Line from Liverpool St station to Farringdon. It's probably about the same speed as one of Alcaraz's serves, the fastest we saw was 136mph!
So, a Great Day Out watching some astounding tennis, not necessarily the main Centre Court attractions but no less thrilling for it. Plus, we were really lucky with the weather.
And there's still so much more to come over the next week, watching from the comfort of our sofas.