So today was the day. After being in London for a couple of days, days that revolved around excess drinking, it was time to reconnect with oneself and bask in the beauty of the world and all that is holy.
That's right, it was time to visit the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon.
But first things first. After I powered down some homemade eggs, back rashers, and toast, it was off to the Gloucester Station to take the tube to the Wimbledon station, where I was set to meet Maz. It's always fun to actually meet FDers in person and as has been the case with every FDer I've met, Maz was frickin' awesome. We had a nice chat over tea and she handed over, what I would later discover, was an impossibly delicious homemade pavlova (or as I have come to call it, a Pavlyluchenkova). She hand whipped the cream, people! It was delicious and if y'all want to know how to make one, head over to Maz and Kristin's food blog, Coconut Dreamz. Thanks, Maz!
Once Maz and I said our tearful goodbyes, Donkeygrooming and I hopped back on the train to head to the Southfields station. You'd think the AELTC would be at the Wimbledon or Wimbledon Park station, but you'd be wrong. After a 15 minute walk we soon found ourselves at Gate 3, which is the entrance for the Wimbledon museum and the tour. When you walk in, you're greeted by this:
The tour started at Court 1, where our tour guide told us that AELTC members can play on any of the courts other than Center Court, Court 1, and Court 2. He said Court 1 is occasionally used for other tennis matches, namely Davis Cup, and he sheepishly informed us that a rather forgettable Davis Cup tie was played there a few months ago. "We lost. We lost badly." No shit, Sherlock.
This is a pony roller. It was used to smooth the grass to get the courts ready for play. It broke and the AELTC were just going to ask the members for money to fix it or buy a new one. But then they had a better idea: Let's have a tournament where we charge the players a pound to play and invite spectators to watch (and charge them too, obviously). They did, players did, spectators did, and thus, The Championships at Wimbledon were born. Cool story, no? If that pony roller doesn't break, who knows what would have happened.
Pristine and beautiful Court 1. The lawns have been reseeded so the grass was looking particularly lovely. It's currently surrounded by an electric fence to keep the foxes from destroying the new grass. Hilariously, the tour guide asked the group what they thought the fence was for. "To keep the pigeons out?" "Nice try, love, but can't they fly?" I sniggered like a jackass.
From there it was on to Henman Hill, or Murray's Mound. I'm sticking with Henman Hill. The tour guide kept referring to Andy as being in the Top 3, to which DG and I muttered, "uh...top 4". It was actually pretty hard not to want to correct the guy whenever he got into actual tennis details.
The big TV basically goes up in that gap and extends higher than the stadium. Pretty rad.
Betcha 10 quid that Pimmy skinnydips in this fountain next year. No takers? Yeah, wise.
After a walk past Court 18 and the BBC broadcast area, we were taken up to the player's cafeteria area to see the new Court 2 (it's that bowl) and new construction. They're rebuilding the old Court 2 and turning it into a new Court 3. Unclear whether it will have a helipad built in.
A walk past this...whatever...
And then it was Center Court. So awesome. Unfortunately the scoreboards had been taken down so I didn't get to see the Fed/Roddick scoreline.
But the Wimbledon gods totally made up for it when all of a sudden the roof started to close. It wasn't scheduled to happen but they were doing some tests. It was pretty cool.
And that was the extent of the tour. I also visited the Wimbledon Museum, which was hilarious for so many reasons. Will deal with that in a separate post. Right now I gotta eat my shepherd's pie and then run off to see La Cage Aux Folles. Hopefully I come home a bit tipsy. Because a drunken me blogging about the Wimby Museum could be good.