Oh, to return to Wimbledon and its ivy

Curt Yeomans

Curt Yeomans

So Wimbledon started this week, and I’ve gotta say I’m missing those hallowed grounds.

Yes, I am going there. Sports and travel in the same column. Boo-ya.

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of watching tennis at Wimbledon during this little-known competition known as the Olympics.

Despite it raining most of the day, it was an amazing experience that everyone should experience. There is no bad seat at Wimbledon — at least not in Court No. 1 — so you can really enjoy tennis in what feels like a really intimate setting.

When I was there, I got to see Novak Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini in what has to be one of the longest matches ever. It started at about noon and then the rain came so it didn’t end until after 6 p.m.

The Williams sisters were supposed to play after them but it got postponed to another day because of the rain.

Plus, it’s tennis at Wimbledon. If watching world-class athletes compete against each other isn’t enough to satisfy you, there are the buildings covered in ivy, and the general feeling of being in a classical setting.

It’s like being on the campus of an Ivy League college and not feeling dumb if you didn’t have the grades to be admitted as a student.

Wimbledon is so typically British, and I’m not saying that just because it is in Britain. Once you pass through its gates, you enter a world that is like a small tennis city and a large English garden at the same time.

There is greenery everywhere with the ivy clinging to the brick walls. There are busts of famous people from throughout Wimbledon’s history. There are small manicured spots of flowers every where. There are hedges carved to look like works of art.

And yet, all of that is worked around tall buildings steeped in history.

It’s a real parallel for nearby London.

So many places in London are steeped in history, including the sports facilities. It was like going to watch Olympic archery at Lord’s Cricket Grounds the day before going to Wimbledon. You’re watching a modern event, but you can’t help but be swept up in the grandeur and spectacle of your surroundings.

Lord’s Cricket Grounds is another place that is just amazing and to die for, by the way.

But Wimbledon is different. It’s world famous. You say that name and everyone — whether they are tennis fans or not — immediately thinks of that sport, that place and that storied history.

What gets lost is that Wimbledon is not just a tennis facility. It’s a whole community, a town basically, that surrounds those courts.

If you’re staying in London, you have to take a train down to Wimbledon station. Then you have to take a bus down to the courts. It’s either that or walk 20 minutes.

But it’s an experience that you’ll never forget, and you’ll always want to go back.

I know I do.

Curt Yeomans is the digital journalist for the Henry Daily Herald and Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via email at cyeomans@news-daily.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.