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Everything You Need To Know To Have The Ultimate Wimbledon Experience


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Everything You Need To Know To Have The Ultimate Wimbledon Experience

Wimbledon is not just an English tourist destination…to us tennis players, it’s THE destination of the Grand Slam event unlike any other…the event at the very top of our bucket lists…the experience of a lifetime.

This year’s Wimbledon (2018) will take place from July 2 – July 15th, and for those lucky enough to attend, here are some great tips on tickets, prices, food, alcohol, fashion, and entertainment to help make your experience the BEST ever!

How to purchase tickets

If you’re wondering how to get Wimbledon tickets, you’re going to need two things: patience and a willingness to spend money. On the upside, it is one of the few major sporting events where there is an outside chance of getting a ticket at the last minute. Here’s our grand plan for how to get Wimbledon tickets.

Purchase tickets online. Ticketmaster is the only legit online seller for Wimbledon tickets. About 300 Centre Court and No 3 Court tickets are released to the site around 9am on the day before play. The tickets disappear insanely fast, so you’ll need to glue yourself to your computer. Then there’s the resale of debenture seats (those for business types and investors) on and (a branch of Ticketmaster.) These are usually excellent (and a bit pricey) seats and do not include any food or beverages, so it’s a no-go for anyone on a budget.

You’ve finally made it to Wimbledon…for at least one day, treat yourself to the Wimbledon hospitality you deserve.  Sold through corporate and ‘overseas’ packages, hospitality tickets are available through Keith Prowse, an officially licensed agent of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC). His company accommodates groups of as many as 34 people, offering ticket packages which include great seats, a private marquee, food, and drinks (including beer and wine), starting at around £416 (about $585) per person. They also offer ticket packages which include resale debenture tickets.

Enter the Queue. Around 500 premium tickets (one per person and cash only) are available daily for Centre Court, No. 1 Court and No. 2 Court, except for the last four days on Centre Court, when all are sold in advance. Many people camp overnight in tents at Wimbledon Park to get their place near the front of the queue, while others arrive in early that morning. There are also several thousand grounds passes available each day for £25 (about $35) to watch the action on the outside courts, where there is unreserved seating and standing room on Courts No.3-18. Also, the Queue is not without rules, which can be found HERE.

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If all else fails, try the ballot. The Public Ballot, introduced in 1924, has always been substantially oversubscribed. Entry does not automatically entitle applicants to tickets for Wimbledon, but to a place in the draw for tickets (I know, right?!) It is not possible to request tickets for specific days or courts, as the day and court offered are chosen randomly by a computerized selection process. Be warned, this is not an online ‘add to basket’ situation, oh no. To apply, you need to fill in a public ballot application form on ACTUAL PHYSICAL PAPER, and send it along with a stamped, self-addressed (DL-sized) envelope to AELTC, PO BOX 98, London, SW19 5AE. Once it’s received, they’ll send you ANOTHER application form to fill out and send to AELTC, PO BOX 67611, London, SW19 9DT. If you’re successful, you’ll be able to pay for your ticket online using your debit or credit card. You can read the full details HERE.

UPDATE: The ballot for Wimbledon 2018 tickets ended in December 2017, but the 2019 run will be open again September 1st. 

Also, tennis fans willing to pay a bit more can purchase resale debenture tickets from and (a branch of Ticketmaster.) Prices vary depending on demand – Centre Court tickets in the later stages of the competition come at a hefty cost, but tickets for less sought-after seats can be snapped up for competitive prices.

How do I get to the tennis grounds?

The best way to get to the Championships is by shuttle bus from Southfields tube station, which is on the District Line. There are also shuttle buses from Wimbledon station, though it is marginally further from the site. Both stations are walking distance from the site (15-20 minutes), or you could splash out on a taxi. Be prepared to shuffle up and share your taxi during peak times, though – it’s faster, cheaper and you may make yourself some picnic buddies for lunchtime.

Is there a dress code?

Only the competitors have a strict dress code (an all-white kit); spectators typically come in comfy casual wear. While it’s tradition for spectators to be more dressed up at Centre Court and in hospitality areas (men wearing suits with ties, and the ladies in nice dresses) most wear comfortable “dressy casual” attire. Just be sure to wear layers – the average high temp is around 74F with lows around 59F.

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What is the proper crowd etiquette?

Swearing, booing and heckling frowned upon at Wimbledon (not that the players adhere to that.) It is acceptable however to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ and of course, to cheer when the Hawk-Eye replay appears on the screen. You should also never applaud double faults or unforced errors, even if you hear others doing it.

What do I if I catch a stray ball?

The players only have 6 balls with which to play at a time, so the ball MUST be thrown back to a ball boy or girl, but never during play. If you’d like to have a ball as a souvenir, there are numerous reputable online sources like Amazon which have authentic Wimbledon player gear including unused court towels and balls, as well as authenticated autographed balls and other collectibles.

What happens if it rains?

In 2009 a retractable roof was installed on Centre Court, enabling play to continue during rain, but if you’re watching on any other court, rain will always disturb play. Court 1 is expected to have its retractable roof finished by Wimbledon 2019.

You can take shelter in the museum and in the few merchandise shops, as well as the restaurants and cafés around the site. Other than that, the grounds are quite exposed, so be sure to check your weather app daily and take an umbrella.

Can I take my own food to eat?

Food on the grounds isn’t cheap, so taking a picnic is a thrifty way to eat at the tournament…plus you’ll avoid waiting for restaurant seating. Only one bag per person is permitted on the grounds and it must measure no more than 16″ x 12″ x 12″ (40cm x 30cm x 30cm.) No hard-sided picnic baskets or ice chests are allowed, so use a disposable bag that you can throw away once you’ve eaten your lunch. You’re also allowed one bottle of wine or Champagne (750ml) or two cans of beer (500ml) per person.

4.5 USTA rated/open champion level tennis player, vegan, fitness freak, animal lover, and smart ass who firmly believes that champagne is anathema for all ills. Right now I'm either up to my eyeballs in paint swatches and fabric samples, or kicking some butt on a tennis court (hopefully the latter).

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