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Strawberries and Cream – The 3rd Holy Grail

All through our middle leg of the UK sojourn, we knew that the week we ended our trip in London was the same week when Wimbledon 2019 would start. I had already tried my luck at the Ballot, but to no avail; and we were on the lookout for ways to get to witness live tennis at SW19.

A friend who had stayed in the UK told me that the cheapest possible option was to line-up early morning and ‘Join the Queue’, with a decent chance to get into the inner courts and watch games live on a first-come-first-serve basis. This seemed like a feasible ‘last resort’ of sorts, but we were pretty fixated on stretching our budget to get a change to visit Wimbledon.

And stretch it we did. Writing this today, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, I can say with confidence that it was one of the best decisions we took. We learned that AELTC members who get Debenture tickets for over a period of 5 years put up day-tickets for sale on Viagogo. Since they are Debenture tickets, these are usually for the Center court or Court No. 1; which means they cost a bomb!

I would recommend this option only for those who are either as crazy as us or those who have an inflated budget :P

Once we had made up our minds that Debenture re-sale would be out go-to option, we started following the daily draws.

We would be in London to get a chance to see action on Day 4. The draws seemed to indicate one of Federer and Nadal would play on the Center Court, the other playing on Court No. 1. Either way, we were setup for an epic day of tennis and we took hold of the Center Court tickets, hoping Federer would be drawn at the Center Court.

The approach to Wimbledon is a mix of a ride through the Underground till Southfields station and then a walk towards the AELTC. The entire walk is pretty well laid out with barricades and walk ways demarcated as you cross through the fields where everyone lines up for THE QUEUE. As we walked past that, we could see the towering structures of Court No. 1 and the Center Court, with the inner courts in between these two legendary structures. 

You can’t help but notice the class and charm of the place and the people inside the place, as you enter through the ticketing barricades. If you have the budget to push for it, gaining access of a Debenture ticket is worth all the money and more! Each ticket holder has access to a private Debenture lounge just below the access to the courts. This lounge has tables lined up against a viewing window or a viewing deck from where you can see all the matches going on live at the inner courts.

The fact that the inner courts do no have seating plans but you get seated on a first-come-first-serve basis means that watching the action from the lounge is akin to luxury.

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