WIMBLEDON, England—It may be easier to get a seat on Centre Court for today’s gentleman’s final than on Henman Hill, though parting with thousands of pounds is never as easy thing.
The buzz of a possible Andy Murray win at Wimbledon has sent fans to what may permanently be known as Murray Mound in droves; at 12:45 local time, 75 minutes before his match with Novak Djokovic, there wasn’t a patch of vacated grass. As for the coveted tickets, the Sunday Times reported that a pair was being offered for £84,000 yesterday, with the cheapest available for £5,000.
And so, in near 30-degree Celcius temperatures (86 degrees Fahrenheit), the suntan lotion is being lathered, picnics are well underway, and the Pimm’s have been poured, drank, and refilled many times over already. “There isn’t any space!”, one man said incredulously, climbing the staircase to the upper portion of the hill. While there is more shade at the top, the view of the big screen—if there’s a view of it at all—is impaired, and it’s similarly full of grounds-pass holders. When a young lady tried to sit on the baking concrete at the bottom of the hill, a steward sternly told her, with a bit of John McEnroe in his voice: “You cannot sit here!”
There’s another reason for the overcrowding: There’s not much else going on at the All England Club right now. Only three matches are taking place on outer courts, and the wheelchair doubles contest on Court 14 was standing-room only.
Two ladies who won’t have any trouble getting into Centre Court, the significant others of Murray and Djokovic, were also highlighted in a Sunday Times tale-of-the-tape. Djokovic’s girlfriend, Jelena Ristic, has a style the paper describes as “intellectual but hot,” while Kim Sears, the 25-year-old companion of Murray, is more of a “Home Counties girl.”
Enjoy the tennis—I’ll be back with a Racquet Reaction after the match, and Steve Tignor will have a full report. You can also follow the final as it happens in our live chat.