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Fans and tourists queue early for Wimbledon 2018

Fans and tourists queue early for Wimbledon 2018

Dedicated tennis fans, in the forms of locals and tourists, have been camping well ahead of the opening of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2018 to get their hands on coveted tickets. They have been lucky this year with the weather; the glorious sunshine has made queuing much less of an ordeal. They are also being served a treat by Serena Williams’s sponsor, Tempur, which has spotted a promotional opportunity by helping Wimbledon fans get a better night’s sleep under the stars with the handout of free travel pillows. By Sunday morning, there were almost 150 tents in #TheQueue. Tempur’s pillow giveaway will continue on Monday for those planning to pitch up for Day 2.

The Wimbledon Queue at the All England Club is as much a part of the British summer as Pimm’s or strawberries & cream. Fans have traveled hundreds of miles to pitch their tents in perfect queue formation in their determination to get the best tickets. Queuing for Wimbledon has become a social media phenomenon in its own right, thanks to #TheQueue hashtag.

This year, 24-year-old tennis-mad fan Darius Platt-Vowles, who, having traveled 115 miles from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, pitched up at Wimbledon Park at 2 pm on Friday, June 29. Darius has camped out in the queue 5 times before, but this year, determined to get the number one spot, he arrived a whole 3 days ahead of the first day of play. Camping for 2 nights and enduring temperatures as high as 28°, Darius has enjoyed pride of place at the very front of the Wimbledon Queue in order to bag himself the most coveted center court tickets for opening day.

Darius Platt-Vowles - Photo credit Joe Newman, Pinpep MediaDarius Platt-Vowles – Photo credit Joe Newman, Pinpep Media

Tempur spoke to a number of Wimbledon queuers as they provided pillows.

“Wimbledon is part of my annual pilgrimage to visit family in Switzerland,” says 33-year-old Swiss-American Monique Hefti, second in the queue. Monique has traveled all the way from Wales in Massachusetts, USA, and it’s her 4th time camping out for tickets. She and no.1 queuer, Darius, have become queue buddies, having met 3 years ago in Wimbledon Park, and she knows 50 people in the queue this year. Guaranteed center court tickets on Monday, she is looking forward to seeing fellow Swiss, Federer.

Monique Hefti - Photo credit Joe Newman, Pinpep MediaMonique Hefti – Photo credit Joe Newman, Pinpep Media

Tempur also chatted to queuer, Andy Murray. Yes, that’s his real name! Traveling from Liverpool, Andy arrived at 11:30 pm on Friday. A queue first-timer, he loves the atmosphere, saying, “It’s not a queue, it’s a big, fun, moving campsite!” Andy’s must-have item to survive the queue is his beer bucket for ice.

Andy Murray - Photo credit Jon Newman, Pinpep MediaAndy Murray – Photo credit Jon Newman, Pinpep Media

Coming from Woodbury, Connecticut, USA, Sarah Cassidy-Seyarm has been to all the grand slams and loves being rewarded for being a crazy tennis fan by getting the best seats in the house. She fashioned her tennis ball hat in 2016 – the no. 1 Wilson ball on the top is signed by Federer. Her 4th time in the queue, Sarah’s advice for those considering joining is to “embrace the whole experience, even the queue for the ladies’ bathroom, and have fun!”

Sarah Cassidy-Seyarm - Photo credit Joe Newman, Pinpep MediaSarah Cassidy-Seyarm – Photo credit Joe Newman, Pinpep Media

This year is the 39th queue experience for Ally Martin, 51, from Guilford. A dedicated Wimbledon fan, Ally first went to Wimbledon at age 12 with her school, and she has been camping out since she was 16, showing off her Wimbledon tattoo which she got 21 years ago. Joined by her sister, son, and son’s fiancé, it’s a family affair this year.

Ally Martin- Photo Credit Joe Newman, Pinpep MediaAlly Martin- Photo Credit Joe Newman, Pinpep Media

For anyone else planning on joining #TheQueue over the coming week, Tempur has put together the following tips to help get the best from the experience this year:

• Choose the right station. The Queue entrance is a five-minute walk down Wimbledon Park Road from Southfields tube station; don’t go to Wimbledon or Wimbledon Park if you want to avoid a longer journey laden with camping gear.

• Get there early. For Center Court or Court 1 you need to ideally be among the first 1,000 to guarantee your ticket.

• Wait for your queue card and keep it safe! You may have to wait some time in the queue before you receive the queue card, however, don’t be tempted to leave until you have it safely stashed away. It is the only thing that registers your place in the line and entitles you to get your tickets. Once you have been issued a queue card, it’ll allow you to pop away from camp to stretch your legs, buy food, nip to the pub, or visit fellow queuers.

• Bring the right-sized tent. While it’s a great experience to be a part of, it’s not a party, so don’t bring a family-sized tent or you won’t be able to pitch it. Tent size is restricted to two-person tents only.

• Prepare for all weathers. It’s July, and the weather has been glorious, but it is England. Pack sun protection, sunglasses, and shorts, but also waterproofs in case of a summer storm or downpour, and if it’s sunny, don’t let the daytime temperatures fool you. Fleeces, socks, and blankets will help you get comfortably through the invariably chilly nights.

• Other packing essentials. Torch (for night-time toilet visits), small bag of toiletries and hand towel, wellies (if rain is forecast), compact picnic blanket, pack of cards, wireless phone charger.

• Alcohol. Cans of G&T, Pimms, or Prosecco are a packing essential, but this is Wimbledon, and it’s civilized so don’t overdo it, as (1) drunk and disorderly behavior is not tolerated, and (2) you’re only allowed one bottle of wine or 2 500-ml cans per person once you get into the grounds.

• Meals in #TheQueue. Once you have your queue card, you can peel off to get food, but temporary absences from your place in The Queue are restricted to 30 minutes, so it’s advisable to bring a picnic. You can also order a delivery, but make sure it arrives at the Wimbledon Park Road gate by 10 pm. And don’t forget to pack supplies for breakfast!

• There are rules to abide by, including no BBQs, no loud music, no smoking or vaping, and no anti-social or drunken behavior. This is a very British queue after all.

• Take cash. Cards are not accepted for the queue-on-the-day tickets.

• Beware of banned items once in the grounds. Leave the selfie sticks, Tees brandishing political slogans, flasks, and big camera lenses behind.

• Prepare for an early start! Get an early night (stewards will be ushering you to bed around 10 pm). Make sure you have all you need to get a good night’s rest – ear plugs, travel pillow, warm bedding – and prepare for an early start. Many are packing up their tents from as early as 5 am, and if the noise doesn’t wake you, you’ll be woken by the stewards at around 6 am.

• As well as giving away pillows in Wimbledon Park (the team will continue to deliver comfort to those pitching up tomorrow), Tempur is offering the chance to win a mattress (worth up to £2,499) this Wimbledon season, regardless of whether you make it down to #TheQueue.


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