Stephen Fry, a Wimbledon lover himself, once said that when you visited New York for the first time it was exactly what you were expecting but this wasn’t a disappointment. He meant that every wonderful thing you had ever seen and imagined about New York – the sky scrapers, the yellow taxis, the mass of humanity – were all there and were only enhanced in real life.
The same, I believe, is true of Wimbledon. I grew up in a country town in Australia watching highlights of The Championships late at night and early in the morning. Unlike any other sports event in the world, with the exception of a Lord’s Test match, I felt I understood Wimbledon. And on my first visit to the All England Club in 2001, I was right.
Having to queue for several hours was completely expected and if the British were to make queuing their national sport then the queue at Wimbledon would be, well, the Wimbledon of queuing. The courts, especially in the first couple of days, looked immaculate, like billiard tables. And all the players wore white; again this is no surprise, but when you see the contrast of white on green you wonder why players would want to wear any other colour anyway.
What do you remember about your first visit to Wimbledon? Any advice for people making their first trip this year? Or perhaps you are one of those people coming here for the first time in 2010?