Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wimbledon: Birthplace of Tennis

Since we are still pretty new here and don't have many friends to hang out with, it is especially fun to have visitors.  It gives us a chance to do some of the touristy stuff we haven't done yet and someone new to do it with.  So I was excited to meet my friend Robin at the Wimbledon tube station on Monday afternoon. She and I worked together at Discovery for many years, so when I heard she was planning a trip to London, I offered her a place to stay. Robin is an avid tennis player, so she was very interested to visit the home of the Wimbledon tennis championships. After we dropped off her things at my house, we took a taxi up to the All England Lawn Tennis Club to visit the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and take a tour of the grounds.
Museum/Shop entrance
The museum was surprisingly large and informative.  I was intrigued to learn that tennis was actually INVENTED at Wimbledon, back when it was just a croquet club near the train station.  We had just made our way to the exhibit on tennis clothing through the ages, with sparkly blue hot pants and frilly briefs, when we had to run back upstairs for the 2:30 tour.  Hopefully another tennis buff will visit so I can go back and spend more time in the museum.

The tour was led by a very professional and knowledgeable Blue Badge guide, who lead us around the grounds for 90 minutes, answered all our questions, and taught us about the history of the club and the tennis championships.  After being there during the event, which is attended by over 38,000 people each day, it was nice to explore the grounds when they were nearly empty.  We just had three restrictions: 1) Stay with the group, 2) Don't touch the lawn, and 3) Don't photograph any of the club members.

No. 1 Court

Centre Court
Topiary cameraman on the Press building
View of London skyline from atop Henman Hill
Robin & I pose in front of 2011 logo on Henman Hill
View from Member's Lounge
Robin takes questions from the press
We sat next to John Isner at dinner a couple weeks ago.
It was a great tour, and I'm looking forward to attending the tournament again next summer.  The application period for 2012 tickets opens in August...

We met Josh back at home and took the bus down to New Malden to meet the sister of a friend of Robin's. Iresha is from Sri Lanka, and lives in a group house with 5 other Sri Lankans. She cooked us a fantastic meal, and then she and her housemates stood and watched us while we ate. It was a little odd, but delicious!  We Skyped with Iresha's brother back in DC and thanked him for suggesting that Robin pay her a visit while she was in London.  It's not every day you get a home-cooked Sri Lankan dinner!

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