As a fan of just about all sports, and a HUGE fan of John McEnroe, a trek to Wimbledon was a must do during my London vacation. I took the tube out of London to the village of Wimbledon assuming it would be relatively simple to find the hallowed grass courts of famed Wimbledon. Well...I got off probably one station further away than I needed to and after a good hour walk, I reached my destination. Admittedly, the walk was wonderful as I strolled neighborhoods, parks, and even the village itself.
As you enter the main visitors center there is a wall with all of the champions listed. Unless you actually have such a list to read, you might not realize how some players really seemed to own the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Names like Borg, Navratilova, Graf, and Sampras appear for several years in a row.
The history of tennis played on the grass courts of England can be followed as you walk through the museum and exhibit area of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis. They have done an outstanding job of telling the story of tennis throughout the ages. When I was there in 1999, the exhibits included old wooden tennis rackets and the outfits worn by past champions. The dress that Chris Evert Lloyd wore when she won in the mid 70’s was displayed. I never realized how small and petite she was. The white tennis dress looked to be about a size two! I really enjoyed watching the video clips of some of the greatest players ever, including Rod Laver and Jimmy Conners.
After taking the walking tour of the museum visitors are permitted to sit in the stands of Centre Court to see what your view would be if you were lucky enough to have tickets to attend during the fortnight. But alas, for me, it was just a fantasy to be such fortunate. I was surprised at how close I felt to the grass court. When you watch it on NBC, the fans seem so far away from the action.
There is a nice café on the premises where you can order the infamous strawberries and cream. For me, I opted for a light sandwich before heading back to the train station.