When my sister moved to London last year, I began planning my trip for Wimbledon, 2008. It had always been a dream of mine to have Fish n' Chips on Henman Hill, and I was finally able to experience my dream.
My sister and I arrived at the "queue" at 7am among over 6,000 people, and just a few hours later, we entered through the gates. I felt right at home, as if I belonged at Wimbledon, until I walked up the right side of the steps and crashed into several people.
The first round match between Guillermo Canas and Tommy Haas, both former top 10 players, was an amazing way to start my Wimbledon experience. Haas' shirt changes alone were worth the price of admission. A few hours and four sets later, Haas was victorious. We spent the rest of the day jumping from court to court, and were treated to several impressive matches.
I decided to go back to Wimbledon the following day, but this time, I went alone. Solo seats are available everywhere, which gave me the opportunity to sit in the front row for Bolelli vs. Gonzalez. I sat directly in front of Bolelli's parents, who were so into the match that I found myself cheering for him on every point. After Bolelli's hard fought, second round victory, he shook his opponent's hand, and came over to embrace his parents. His mother was crying and his father was beaming with pride; I became an instant Bolelli fan.
The most exciting part was being given access to the practice courts, where I learned that although his abs are still in tact, Andy Roddick's shoulder was "just not the same," and Hantuchova's footwork felt "awkward." Both of these statements were validated the following day with losses by Roddick and Hantuchova.
Overall, Wimbledon was an amazing experience, and if you are a tennis fan, I highly recommend it. At this point, no American men are left in London, not even me!
- Matt Coin