Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Day at Wimbledon

I fell in love with tennis in a musty antique furniture store when I was eleven years old.  Like any good country club kid, my summers had been full of tennis lessons and matches since I was four or five years old.  Over those few years, I had loved to serve and to do backhands and to volley at the net, but I was still getting a handle on what remains for me an unwieldy forehand.  Other than that, I didn't have much interest in the larger game.

But there I was in a dark, crowded store; waiting seemingly forever for my mom to pick out some piece of furniture, and then I saw a television in corner.  I walked over, sat down on a red oriental carpet and began watching a Wimbledon semifinal match between Boris Becker and Pete Sampras.  What an introduction to tennis.  A couple of years prior, Sampras had won the U.S. Open, but he was young and inexperienced and, not surprisingly, had not won another Grand Slam.   But now I was getting to watch a mature, fully-formed Pete Sampras, who was about to embark on one of the most dominating streaks in tennis history.

Even then, I recognized the perfection of Sampras's serve, the elegance of his classic strokes.  I admired him more when I read that he looked up to the tennis greats Ken Rosewell and Rod Laver and studied reels of them playing tennis.  To me, tennis is such a refined, beautiful sport; and I appreciated Sampras's quiet and respectful on court demeanor.

After awhile, my mom selected the pieces of furniture and was ready to leave the store before the match was completed.  So we raced home so I could watch the end of the semifinal match.  After Sampras won, I became obsessed with all things tennis.  I subscribed to Tennis magazine, purchased Bud Collins's tennis encyclopedia, and explored the nooks and crannies of ESPN2 to watch matches that were playing in faraway countries.

So here I am now, sitting in the stands at Wimbledon, transported back to that afternoon in the antiques store, looking for the next perfect serve.
We watched the Bryan Brothers play Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Court No. 1.  The Bryan brothers were the number one seed and eventually won the Championships.  As we attended Wimbledon on the Fourth of July, it was especially nice to root for Americans!  We also frequently could hear the roar of cheers coming from Centre Court and Murray Mound.
The Bryan brothers are twins and have uncannily similar habits.  Using towels at the same time, drinking water the same way and at the same time, eating sports bars at the same time -- the list could go on and on.  Also, one brother is right-handed and the other brother is left-handed -- meaning their court coverage is incredible.
We were able to take part in the Debenture facilities which included a bar, a lounge and the Veranda restaurant.  We had a delightful lunch at the Veranda and were able to overlook some of the remaining matches being played on the outer courts.  Quite the experience!
And, of course, there was lots of Pimm's Cups and Strawberries and Cream to be had!  The Pimm's Cup consists of Pimm's (which is a gin-based liqueur), lemonade, mint, strawberries, cucumbers and apples -- and it's carbonated.  The perfect refreshment for a warm Wimbledon afternoon.
The grounds are covered with green, white and purple plants -- as purple and green are the official colors of Wimbledon.  It was quite striking seeing all the beautiful plants in the same colors.


  1. It's kind of hilarious how the guy in the last pic if grinning so big.

    Thanks for taking me with you! xo

    1. He posed for me! I was so happy to have you there with me :)

  2. Looks like such an amazing time, great pictures!

    1. It was awesome! Remember back in the day when we practically died in the sweltering heat of Rockhill tennis lessons and then jumped in the pool?!

  3. Oh goodness. This is great! I'm jealous and know nothing about tennis.

    but I guess I could always ask you since you had a subscription to Tennis magazine.

    1. To be fair, I no longer have a subscription. But yes, I know a little bit too much information about tennis.


Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.