Overheard at Wimbledon

Far too much conversation and not enough attention being paid to this sign:

I appear to have the knack of always sitting in front of talkative people – whether it’s at the theatre, in church or at the tennis – people who chatter away, pointlessly, despite it being hugely inappropriate. In a sporting situation, the usual grumpiness (e.g. “how much longer do you think this sermon will go on for?”) is replaced by armchair punditry. All of a sudden, the world and his wife is as knowledgeable as McEnroe, Becker, Barker and Lloyd combined.

The couple sat behind me and K were appalling. In fact, had we not left our seats at the same time as them, I’d have been tempted to tell them to shut up (though possibly in a nicer way, more appropriate to the genteel lawns of SW19). They didn’t stop talking – at all. Comments were varied and included (but were not exclusive to) the following:
“She won two years ago, but doesn’t seem to have done much since.” [Referring to 2008 Girls Champion Laura Robson who in fact reached the 2nd round of the Ladies tournament last year.]
“She’s not moving very fast. If she’d run faster she’d have made that ball.”
“What she really needs to do is vary her shots.” 
“Well done Laura, keep it up!” [Not at all patronising.]
“Why isn’t she wearing a hat?” 
“It’s the wind at that end of the court, that’s the problem…”

Goodness me, it was flipping irritating! Oh, and the older lady sat next to K (who’d had a doze before the players appeared and then took a dose of pro-plus to keep herself going) then spent a considerable amount of time unwrapping toffees in crinkly wrappers, before nodding off again. We were surrounded by people who seemed to be totally unaware of their actions – apart from a nice Australian man who valiantly cheered on the Aussie who defeated the Brit in the Boys semi-final despite being the only one doing that in a very partisan crowd.

When we moved on to Henman Hill (a part of me can’t bear to call it ‘Murray Mound’) to watch Murray’s seemingly inevitable defeat to Nadal, we found a spot with a decent(ish) view right at the top of the hill. Unfortunately, because we were so far back, it became the party zone and we were soon surrounded by drunken revellers. I hadn’t realised people came to Wimbledon to drink – personally, I go for the tennis and the Pimms is a side bonus. Ho hum…

As a side note, if you’ve often been tempted to head to Wimbledon but never quite got around to it – go. This was my first visit since 2004 and I’d forgotten just how much I love it. (Possibly because 2004’s visit was literally a total wash-out – not a ball was played.) The idea of queuing can be daunting, but it’s fun – just make sure you pick a sunny day and have a good, interesting friend in tow. There’s usually a range of suitably interesting distractions, this year included a photo booth courtesy of HSBC and a history of Wimbledon through the eyes of Robinson’s Barley Water, so the time can pass quickly. Take a bag of food and some Pimms in a can and you have all the ingredients for a perfect day. A bonus is that ground passes are rather good value too – today it was just £15, a total bargain.

Cheesy photo booth – got to love it, at 8am on very little sleep…


  1. Those gentiles..

  2. Took me a while to get your comment – what an appalling spelling mistake! Well-spotted.

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