The atmosphere is changing here at The Championships as the tournament heads towards its final weekend. Most outer courts have no play on them except for the juniors — who draw viewers from the crowds milling around the grounds. Doubles matches have moved from the outer courts to the show courts. But there’s still Pimms to be drunk and expensive towels to be bought and the feeling of being at “Wmbldn” to seep in.
However, have to confess that on Centre Court, I have seen that people bring their own boxes of strawberries from their favourite supermarket... tradition does not perhaps dictate that you have to buy the tournament’s signature fruit from the vendors on the grounds!
Short Skirts & Shorts
The warning announcements at Southfields station are petering out and instead we have weather forecasts and discussions on tennis as you step on to the green platform.
And the weather has changed from cloudy to hot. The sun has taken over and so has the humidity. This means that the fashion at Wimbledon has changed considerably and we have short shorts and short skirts all around and of course I’m not talking about the players. And although the players have to wear white, almost no one else does.
Fashionistas will note that it’s all about lace, dots, stripes, dresses, strapless tops and dresses, strappy kaftans, well-manicured feet and I wish I was talking about the men here!
Some of the best missed opportunities at a tennis tournament of this calibre are the doubles matches. A rare exception was the semi-final between the Bryan brothers and Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Court No 1 on Thursday which was pretty full. But even there, for a set and a half, I was the only person on the press seats!
At the semi-final between Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek against Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, there was a smattering of people. And again, I was alone in the press section for two sets.
The tournament organisers ought to perhaps allow people without court tickets to enter empty courts after one set. Paes however is talked about quite frequently by tennis fans as the star doubles player to watch. The chicken korma legend?
Que sera sera
The daily check on the number of people who visited Wimbledon is running neck and neck with last year — sort of. The opening Monday in 2013 saw 42,615 people compared to 39,526 in 2012. But on the second Wednesday, it was 36,795 this year compared to 36,908 in 2012.
The numbers do dwindle in the second week, which as we’ve said is evident on the grounds. However, the view of “The Queue” as you pass by on a double decker bus always looks formidable!