Rising senior Tristen Dewar visited London and attended Wimbledon for the first time earlier this month. Read about and see pictures from her experience below.
Wednesday, July 1
I was lying on my suitcase completely lifeless in the middle of the Tel Aviv airport when I felt a nudge from my dad. He was waking me up because we had to board our flight to London. I had never been to London before, so I was up all night with excitement to experience this beautiful city and watch some professional tennis. My dad, mom, brother and I finally arrived in London after a quick 5-hour flight and we were exhausted. That didn’t stop us, though, from swiftly putting our bags down and walking to the nearest fish and chips restaurant we could find. The walk was actually quite unpleasant because we had landed in London on the hottest day of the year. It was so hot, in fact, that many places, including our own hotel’s, air conditioning system couldn’t handle the heat causing our room to stay very warm throughout the day and night. We didn’t spend much time there so that didn’t really matter in the end. After having lunch, my brother headed back to the hotel while my mom, dad and I did our best to figure out the underground train system. We took the first train we could to the All-England Club in Wimbledon Village. As soon as we arrived, we realized that we were definitely in one of the biggest tennis capitals of the world.
We walked over to this gigantic field where what the English call queuing up was going on. Essentially, this is where thousands of people were waiting to get into the grounds of Wimbledon. We only had to wait about 2 hours, which surprisingly isn’t very long to be waiting in the queuing area. Bear in mind that we got in after only 2 hours of waiting on a Wednesday evening at around 6 p.m. Because of the date and time, it was a little bit less of a wait than usual. By the time we got in, we were only able to see one match, between Sara Errani and Aleksandra Krunic.
As you can imagine, my family and I were extremely fatigued by the end of that day. We decided the next day, rather than going to Wimbledon again, we would relax for a moment and go sightseeing (even though, sightseeing isn’t all that relaxing).
We ended up enjoying the London Eye and taking in a river cruise. We saw Big Ben and pretty much the entire city of London. I was completely in awe of the city and its beauty.
After having such a great day, we headed back to the hotel, ate dinner at an amazing curry place and went to bed.
We were back up at 4 a.m. the next day ready to catch the 5 a.m. train. This time, we were anticipating a full day of some fabulous professional tennis at the best tournament in the world. Unfortunately, something happened to the train that was supposed to take us to Wimbledon Village, so we didn’t leave until 6:45 a.m. This minor setback didn’t stop us from running to the queue to get the best spot that we could in line. The queue is so serious that people camp out the night before to get in the next day. They treat it like Clemson fans treat Clemson football games. The day’s matches started at 11 a.m. and we got in around 12 p.m. Yes, we waited in line for close to 5 hours. You’re probably thinking, ‘Well, couldn’t you get tickets online or something?’ We tried to the previous day but the transaction just wouldn’t go through.
It was a bit chilly that morning while waiting in the queue so you can probably picture my happiness upon realizing that we were finally heading inside the grounds, while the temperatures began to heat up. Wimbledon was an unforgettable adventure. It was like no other professional tournament I have ever watched or played in. I played in the Junior U.S. Open four years ago and had a pass to get into every common area just like the professionals, but this was different. It felt good to be a spectator for a minute, take in the sights and sounds and just learn from the best in the world. I watched a little bit of Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, John Isner, Bethanie Mattek-Sands as well as a couple of doubles matches that day.
Wimbledon was an entirely tremendous experience I will never forget. Even though, I was a little bit disappointed in their strawberries and cream, I was thoroughly delighted with my surroundings. Being surrounded by tennis players and fans alike, I felt very much at home because of the number of years I’ve dedicated to the game. Getting to watch players that I have admired for so long in real life will definitely help me with my own game and career at Clemson and beyond.
Wimbledon won’t just be a once in a lifetime occurrence for me, because I undoubtedly want to enjoy it again; whether as a spectator or a player, we shall see in the future.
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