Summer in the UK means different things to different people. Holidays. Music festivals. Hayfever. Pimms. Ice cream. Finally getting out the flip flops after the longest winter in history.
But for me, the day I know summer has arrived (because, let’s face it, it’s not like I can rely on the weather for clues) is the first day of Wimbledon.
Having grown up in a family of tennis fans, it’s probably no surprise that I love Wimbledon fortnight. The sights, the sounds, the way everyone in the country pulls together to cheer on Andy Murray to the bitter (and sometimes tearful) end. It’s a perfect excuse to eat strawberries and cream, and watch TV for hours guilt-free, because it’s exercise, and exercise is good for you – even if you’re not the one running around.
This year I decided, in my wisdom, to book a holiday that meant I was away the first three days of Wimbledon, telling myself confidently that nothing important would happen so early in the tournament. And naturally, I missed the most dramatic opening three days in the tournament’s history, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova going out and no fewer than seven players withdrawing in one day through injury.
But yesterday I made up for it by spending the day at Wimbledon with my mum. We had tickets in the very back row on Court 1, where it was quite dark and cold, and the court seemed a very long way away. But we were there, with 11,000 other fans, to watch Britain’s new star, Laura Robson, in her fourth round match. And even though the match didn’t go the way we hoped, it was an amazing feeling to be cheering on a Brit at Wimbledon.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Andy Murray’s match, which was over on Centre Court. Because the internet signal was a bit intermittent up where we were, our only way to gauge how he was doing was by the cheers coming from Henman Hill/Murray Mount, which is just outside Court 1. We’d already heard the roar that went up at the end of Serena Williams’ match, and the volume went up another notch for Andy, so we could always tell when he did something good (even if we didn’t necessarily know what it was).
Meanwhile, we were treated to two more great matches: Juan Martin Del Potro against Andreas Seppi, followed by the confusion that was Tomas Berdych v Bernard Tomic. Trying to distinguish if the crowd were cheering for ‘Bernie’ or ‘Berdych’, ‘Tommy’ or ‘Tomic’ proved an impossible task, so in the end we gave up and assumed that everyone was supporting both players equally.
Besides the matches on Court 1, we also enjoyed the beginning of a doubles match featuring last year’s champion, Johnny Marray, with one of my favourites, Colin Fleming (based on his talent as a tennis player, obviously, and nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that he’s Scottish and really rather lovely to look at). It was on one of the outer courts, and we were packed in like sardines, but the atmosphere was great, and it was nice to get a bit of sunshine before retiring to the shadows of Court 1.
Plus, I got to have a lovely day out with my mum 🙂
I don’t care what anyone says, summer is officially here.