Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wimbledon Centre Court - Andy Murray in action, three games and all done in straight sets

Those who are with me on Twitter would know that I was there when Andy Murray thrashed Ernests Gulbis at the Wimbledon's Centre Court. Don't ask me how I managed to get the tickets to Centre Court, I just did. In fact, the person who got me the tickets threatened me with unimaginable consequences should I let the cat out of the bag, so...

Anyway, it was quite an experience to be at Wimbledon itself never mind the Centre Court witnessing Britain's only hope to beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon in action. I was basically behaving like when I first step into London…

Southfields Tube Station, not Wimbledon Station, is the closest to the Tennis Lawns

"Hey, that's the road sign that points towards Wimbledon Tennis Lawn, where's my camera?" Snap!

"The gate itself! Oh… hey, did you see the score display board?"

The famed Wimbledon Centre Court

It took me quite some time to go through all the other courts. Well, the fact that I was there way before the first Centre Court match helps as matches in the other courts start an hour earlier. Truth to be told, the courts look much smaller in real life as compared to that on tv and the players look… ahem, more athletic.

Ladies doubles at Court 19

Crowds built up around the lesser courts and players entered the arena to a smattering of applause as the clock struck 12. The crowds were just getting warmed up. After a couple of minutes of warming up, the players got into the game proper. Being so near to the court, I could basically hear the swishing of the rackets as they cut through the warm afternoon air. The beads of sweat that dripped down the players' arms, the frustration and agony for missing an easy ball and the determination etched on the faces were evident for all to see.

China's Yan Zi and Zheng Jie at Court 19

That's the difference between watching it live and catching the action on BBC2 while demolishing a bag of crisps on the couch.

The calm before the storm at Centre Court

A close up of the Centre Court, opened since 1922

The opening game at Wimbledon's Centre Court for the day started with thunderous applause when Hewitt and Del Porto marched onto the greens. To my surprise, there were many empty seats among the spectators. Apparently, the latecomers would only be allowed entry during the intervals between each game point. I guess most of us were really there for the game of the day between Andy Murray and Ernests Gulbris, which was appropriately scheduled towards the end of the day.

Despite being rather evenly matched to the untrained eye, Hewitt, the former 2002 Wimbledon champion, managed to clinch the game with three straight sets. Del Porto showed his frustrations more than once by smashing his racket into his bag during breaktime. There was this band of Hewitt supporters in yellow seated a mere 20m away from the players and they sure made their presence felt throughout the game. It became pretty clear towards the end of the third set that the spectators wouldn't be treated to a fourth.

I went off before the ladies single's game to stretch my legs a bit. Didn't think that I would leave my seat during the Murray vs Gulbris game.

After some strawberries and cream, and a sausage in a bun that cost way too much, I was back in my seat in time to catch the last set of the ladies single. If anything, I was very much amused by the grunting by Kirilenko and the feeble attempt at doing the same by Wozniacki. The grunter eventually crashed out just after two sets. Another no show.

Andy Murray vs Ernests Gulbris

Murray in the far left with Gulbris in the foreground psyching themselves up

The crowds were waited with abated breath for the star of the day to emerge from the dressing room. "Oh, there he is" the lady from Manchester seated behind me screeched. The cheers were deafening. One would have thought that Murray just won Wimbledon 2009. The game of the day started pretty early, perhaps I could hope to get my dinner before 8pm after all.

The toss up

The first set was wrapped up in just 25min with Murray bagging it in with a decent score of 6-2. To Gulbris, it was a matter of being outclassed, outgunned and outmaneuvered. Murray's lanky frame seemed to be all over the court returning Gulbris' smashes at impossible angles.

Murray during game warm ups, gearing for action

So far so good. Murray gave the spectators what they came for. And his fans returned in kind.

"Go Murray!"

"Come on, Andy!"

"Marry me, Andy!"

"Go England!!" The crowds broke into laughter at that. Well, the Scots are a forgiving lot.

Take care of my sweat towel will ye?

Gulbris put up a brave fight in the second set despite having the entire Centre Court standing firmly behind his opponent. Fighting Murray with tooth and nail, he succumbed to Murray's slicing rallies with a score of 7-6.

That seemed to have broke that camel's back. For he conceded the third set with just 6-3. Felt a bit sorry for him really. Throughout the entire game, there was only a single soul who cheered for him and even that was made in jest.

Here goes another of my wristband...

The ever obliging Murray...

The entire game was wrapped up in just 89 minutes. It was just another day for Murray as he strolled into the 3rd round. I made it in time for an early dinner after all.

Stony faced even after the win...

Still in the thick of action outside Centre Court

The aftermath at the Grounds with still more people streaming in...

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*lynne* said...

I am (purple and) green with envy!! :) Been to Wimbledon only once, back in '95. I wanna go back! Totally not following the players anymore, though - hadn't heard of the players you talk about... back in the day, my hear was torn between Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg :)

*lynne* said...

hearT! :p

Lilliy said...

Its a dream of mine to attend A Wimbledon Match on my to do list of the things I want to do before I die..
I want to be one of those women with straight faces, big sunglasses, hats and sunscreen watching very calmly and very chic enjoying a game of tennis of the best players in the world..
great seat I am envy..nice photos..

C K said...

Am watching Murray vs another Swiss (whose name I cannot pronounce), this time on tv.

If possible, consider coming down to Wimbledon next year. The Centre Court roof is quite a sight.

Becker is now a frequent tennis commentator, isn't he? Can't miss his mop of blond hair. :)

It's really hot... you'll need the hat, sunglasses, sunscreen AND a glass of lemonade.