When I bought my Olympic tickets nearly a year ago the main selling point was that I would have the chance to experience the famous courts of Wimbledon. What I wasn’t expecting however was to be able to witness easily the greatest sporting event I have ever seen live.
It was an early start for my flatmate Sam and me as we made the cross London trek to Wimbledon with the intention of beating the inevitable rush but once we got there we were able to spend time walking around the famous grounds of the All English Lawn Tennis Club. It was a surreal experience seeing all the sites I had only ever seen on TV, especially as we managed to talk a volunteer into letting us roam around Centre Court and take a few pictures.
Our tickets for the day were for Court No. 1 and we were excited as the feature match was scheduled to be Andy Murray and Laura Robson playing mixed doubles for Great Britain. This match was scheduled to be fourth but the catch was that Murray was also booked to play in the Men’s semi final against Novak Djokovic earlier in the day on Centre Court. This didn’t concern Sam and I too much as the only way this would lead to a problem was if the first men’s semi final on Centre Court went long, and with Roger Federer playing the odds of that were slim.
The first matches of the day began, after a short rain delay, about 12:30. We were watching the Czech Republic play the USA in women’s doubles and Centre Court began watching Federer. Our match ended quickly and we rushed out to the famous Henman Hill to see what was going on. Roger Federer was being pushed to the absolute limit by his Argentinian opponent, Juan Martin del Potro, and as the match entered the third set we had to rush back into court one to watch the women’s semi final. As Maria Sharapova began dominating her Russian opponent we kept checking the score on Centre Court. We could hear the reaction from the hill on every break point or every long rally. It became quite a tense atmosphere as we realized, this match isn’t ending.
Our third match of the day began shortly after Sharapova`s victory and as Spain battled France in Men`s Doubles. Despite seeing world class players such as Jo Wilfred Tsonga and David Ferrer the buzz in court 1 had become all about what was going on next door. My friend Andrew was lucky enough to be in Centre Court and we were texting back and forth as the Federer match continued. He was texting me update after update and as Federer finally prevailed the cheers could be heard all around the Wimbledon grounds.
It was after this match that Centre Court began to empty out. Despite Serena Williams being featured in the Women`s Semi Final much of the crowd needed a break after the longest match in Olympic history. It was also at this point that Sam and I decided to try our luck at getting on to Centre Court! We knew that we were going to miss Andy Murray altogether if we didn`t try so we made the move and successfully managed to find some seats near Andrew.
What a fortunate move this turned out to be! The atmosphere on Centre Court as the players appeared was unbelievable and the tension built up as the players stayed on serve through the first 11 games of the first set. It was in the twelfth game that the match reached his peak with Murray breaking Djokovic to win the first set! Chants of “Murray, Murray” were reverberating around Centre Court for much of the second set which played out in exactly the same fashion, causing the place to erupt as Murray clinched the match and a medal for Team GB.
This was truly a memorable day for me as I was not only able to visit the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon but was also able to watch two of the top players on the planet compete for an Olympic medal!