Is Wimbledon really "THE" Championships? Do all the players really think that Wimbledon is the most important? That’s the question I keep getting asked by all of the transportation drivers. I guess that’s the perception here in the UK.
To the purists, I’d say yes, but it all depends on your perspective. To most of the Spanish speaking players, Roland Garros is the be all and end all. And the Americans will argue that the U.S. Open is the biggest and the best! The Australians are just chillin’ and don’t want to argue.
Personally, I think Wimbledon has the most prestige and tradition and that’s what makes coming here so special. What other tournament do the fans camp out in line, overnight, just to get a chance to watch the next day’s matches? The actual process of getting here, that’s a different story.
Last Thursday we packed up all our stuff (again!) and got ready to leave the five-star hotel that the tournament had put us up in. The concierges, well polished in their white gloves and top hats, carried our bags while Jason and I boarded the private coach hired for the players. Wimbledon, here we come. But as we get closer to the All England Club the bus comes to an abrupt stop. Next thing I know, all the players (Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Vasalisa Bardina, Tatiana Poutchek and myself) and coaches are in the middle of the city with all our bags lined up alongside the road. The driver said he couldn’t go any further even though the site was two miles away!
"Get a taxi" is the only advice he can get out of his mouth before he drives off into the sunset. Ummm ok So you want us to drag our 50 bags through the streets to find the 10 taxis we will all need to get all of our bags in? I guess, with all our stuff combined we could’ve set up a pretty ridiculous tennis pro shop right there. We go from a five-star resort to homeless tennis players hitchhiking their way to Wimbledon.
If it wasn’t for Vasalisa Bardina, who had the only UK cell phone to call transportation with, we could have been there a while. It was no surprise when I found out that Bardina was my first-round opponent. It seems inevitable that you will play someone who you have been spending a lot of time with. It is not rare to travel thousands of miles and you end up playing a friend that you practice with every day.
Speaking of friends, Jamea Jackson has replaced me as the player lucky enough to play the defending champion on centre court to open up the tournament. I should see if she wants to borrow some of my socks! Well, once I knew who I was playing, it was time to get the last loose ends tied up before I play my first round on Tuesday.
Stop number 1: Shopping! In this case, it’s off to Tabio to pick up my socks for the fortnight. Everyone needs cool socks to complete their outfit! The only thing is, the store’s inventory contains 95 percent crazy colors and patterns. That definitely won’t fly at the All England Club. Believe it or not, there is a sign in the players’ locker room that says if you do not comply with the dress code you will be asked to vacate the premises. The All England Club will kick you out no matter who you are. Ouch!
Stop number 2: Practice. But it's England, and it rains. A lot. So instead of tennis, it’s block breaker on my blackberry. It may just be a video game, but I’m still working on my eye-hand coordination, reflexes, and concentration. At least that’s how I’m rationalizing it. And since the forecast for the next five days is rain, rain, and more rain, I have a good chance of beating all 34 levels.
Stop number 3: The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s spa for a nice relaxing massage. OK, so maybe it’s not as glamorous as I just made it sound. WTA massage therapists must be motivated by inflicting serious amounts of pain. Don’t be fooled by these nice, petite women. They have a knack for finding all your painful spots and digging in with their pointy little elbows as if their life depended on it.
As much fun as this day is sounding, try not to be jealous. Now it’s back to the hotel where I will make my final selections for the match clothes I’ll wear Tuesday.
A nice blog posted on GM :D
Jun 26th, 2007, 09:30 PM
Love the photo!!
I'm soo happy she finally won a match in MD GS!!!!! :bounce: :bounce:
Jun 26th, 2007, 09:31 PM
Also good luck in doubles with Bryanne Stewart!! :D
Jun 26th, 2007, 09:47 PM
A beautiful win from Bethanie!:bounce: Welcome to the Top 100 :kiss: :worship:
Jun 27th, 2007, 04:28 PM
Congratulations to Bethanie on her first main draw GS win.