Old friends hold court in queue for Wimbledon: As the tennis championships open, Charles Oulton finds out why it is fun to be part of the crowd
Tuesday 21 June 1994
Even when it is raining or the tennis is dull, being part of the crowd is part of the fun of the championships, which opened yesterday under the grey skies traditionally reserved - although not last year - for the first few days.
Mr James may have been more of a tennis connoisseur than some fellow watchers, but prowess on court is not what Wimbledon crowds are about. It is more about resilience, endurance, the ability to sleep overnight on pavements to secure that centre-court seat. And good humour above all, particularly when you're number 501 in the queue and only the first 500 get in.
There was plenty of good humour, notably from a veteran watcher of 15 years from Egypt, Sayed Ali. It costs him pounds 3,000 to fly over for the championships, a price worth paying, he says, for the renewed acquaintances alone. 'Nothing but trouble, that one,' smiled a policeman, after bounding up to the Egyptian to say 'hello'.
A few hours earlier, Karen Davies had been in jocular mood, drinking champagne and Liebfraumilch with three former colleagues from a Rank Xerox factory in Buckinghamshire. It is an annual reunion and the laughter rang out, despite a distressing incident shortly after 6am when a motorcylist collided with a car only a few yards away from the women and was taken to hospital with a serious injury.
Richard Farnfield, sitting a few yards away in the picnicking area of Aorangi Park, was more concerned about his revision. He was preparing for his last Spanish examination tomorrow at Kingston University, and will then be able to concentrate on his duties as a cleaner at the championships.
The tennis provides thousands of temporary jobs over the fortnight, mostly taken by students - some so they can watch free tennis; but many others are content to earn money for summer holidays. Not all of them are students, however. Brenda Shew has been selling programmes for 25 years, working daily from 9.30 to 6.30. 'I watch the tennis on the telly when I get home,' she said.
A 36-year-old man appeared in court yesterday charged with making multiple applications for Wimbledon men's final day tickets. Eamonn Montague, of Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, was remanded by Wimbledon magistrates on unconditional bail until 11 July.
He was charged with three counts of deception relating to multiple applications for last year's championships and three counts of attempted deception in March this year.
The 107 pairs of tickets at pounds 98 per pair - allegedly at the centre of the case - would have been worth more than pounds 267,000 at black market prices.
Wimbledon, pages 35 & 36
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot
Winter Solstice marks shortest day of the year
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 6 Teacher - Gilli...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of English - S...
£59999 - £80001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top 10 firm in ...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...