I need to start off by saying that I don’t technically live in Wimbledon, I live in Mitcham, CR4. But Wimbledon town centre is just a five-minute drive from my house so I still get the full gist of the annual Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, I just don’t have a swanky SW19 address.
I’m a huge tennis fan, but I do not go to watch Wimbledon. Why? Because to me, every year in late June and early July going to my local shopping centre turns into an expedition from which I feel like may never return from.
Have you ever sat on the M25 during rush hour, not moving because of the bumper to bumper congestion spread out in front of you? Imagine that– but instead of sitting in a car, you’re standing at traffic lights trying to cross or you’re lining up in Subway just to get to the counter.
“If you live in WImbledon you can go anywhere in the world and somebody will know it.”
Then you find out that the weird guy in front of you with a big stomach popping out the bottom of his crisp white polo, covering the top of his crisp white shorts and a white sweatband across his head, took the last of the meatballs.
On the subject of Subways, if you’re thinking about using public transport then dream on. You see, the biggest problem with Wimbledon is that for some reason, the majority of the buses that go around are single decker.
That doesn’t really help much when there are literally 100 people standing at a bus stop that only has two routes on it. Prepare to sweat so much you become dehydrated and get cramp.
If, like myself you’re blessed enough to have a car, when Wimbledon is on you may as well trade it for your little nephews micro-scooter, at least you can weave in and out of the traffic that confronts you as soon as you hit Haydons Road.
BLESSING AND A CURSE
Trying to go out for a nice meal? Forget it unless you called them three weeks in advance, and thats just for Nando’s, I once heard a story of a friend that was turned away from the McDonalds in the Centre Court shopping centre because they didn’t have a reservation, but I can’t verify that.
I’ve done a lot of complaining so far, and that’s because the tennis causes a lot of inconvenience to my everyday life, but admittedly as a sports journalist, to have the most prestigious tennis tournament right on my doorstep is a blessing.
The whole atmosphere changes, it becomes a carnival, for two weeks it feels as though Wimbledon is the centre of the universe and how many other people can say that about where they live?
Every year I head to Wimbledon Park, which is where everybody queues for tickets onto centre court, yes, it takes me 45 minutes to find a parking space, and yes I sit worrying that there is going to be a parking ticket waiting when I return, but I’m am lucky.
Wimbledon is the one they all want to win, its the most prestigious, well known and highly viewed tennis competition in the world.
A mid-sized town in South-West London becomes the centre of the sporting world, and as a sports journalist and as a resident I love it. If you live in Wimbledon you can go anywhere in the world and somebody will know it.
The tennis makes Wimbledon inconvenient for two weeks of the year, but it has made it world renowned forever.
What is it like living in Wimbledon during the tennis? Special.