Tennis fans line up all night for Wimbledon tickets

Excited tennis fans are expected to queue overnight to get their hands on Wimbledon opening day tickets as the tournament returns to normal service after two years affected by the pandemic.

Hundreds of people are camping outside the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in south west London after traveling from around the world to watch the tournament which starts on Monday.

Novak Djokovic will begin his defense of the men’s singles title on center court on the opening day of the championship, followed by cheering appearances from British players Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.

The tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and was held at just 50% capacity in its first week in 2021, and required visitors to be fully vaccinated or have tested negative 48 hours before attending.

Californian Brett Pham was first in line for a ticket of the day for the 2022 tournament after joining the queue around 11 p.m. Friday.

He told the PA news agency he was very excited to see Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams play, but added: “I want Nadal to win but I think Djokovic will win.”

Second in line is Doug Verbena, also from California, who hopes Nadal will win the men’s title this year: “I like that he is such a good sportsman. You know, he’s a humble guy.

“I mean, he’s what the sport should be, he’s not so obsessed with himself and he treats people like people.”

Meanwhile, Danilo, from Naples, Italy, arrived on Saturday hoping to secure tickets for the tournament.

Brent Pham, from California, started the queue Friday night (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The hardcore tennis fan sports a large tattoo of Roger Federer on his left calf but, with Federer not playing this year due to a knee injury, Danilo is backing Italian hopefuls Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini.

He said queuing for tickets “is one of the best experiences of my life because here you can feel the real taste of tennis”, adding: “Because here there are 1,000 people waiting the same time with you and you can share your feeling, your emotion for tennis.

Norma Rossillo, from Mexico, joined the queue on Sunday morning with her mother.

She estimates she is around 170th in line and is very happy to see Andy Murray and fellow Mexican Fernanda Contreras Gomez play.

She told PA: “It’s exciting for us, we tried it two years ago and decided to come back again this year.

“I’ve also been to the US Open, it’s a lot better, a lot more fun definitely. The whole queuing experience, it’s cool.

Wimbledon 2022 Preview – Sunday June 26 – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Campers form the queue for the night before the 2022 Wimbledon Championship (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Phillip Nelson, from Chester, first lined up for Wimbledon tickets in 1978 and has done so every year since the mid-1990s.

He has queued for tickets every day for every tournament since the mid-2000s and sat with his friend Simon Edwards, from Gloucestershire, whom he met while queuing for Wimbledon tickets over the years.

Mr Nelson said of the queuing experience: ‘In the early 2000s, provided you showed up before midnight the night before, you got a ticket to center court, but now it is noon the day before, probably earlier.”

He added that he was very happy to see new women’s world number one Iga Swiatek of Poland and Nadal this year.

“It’s the first opportunity he has to win the Grand Slam on the calendar, so he won Australia and France in the same season for the first time. So it could be a good final, especially s he faces Djokovic,” he said.

Wimbledon begins on Monday June 27, with the women’s singles final scheduled for Saturday July 9 and the men’s singles final on Sunday July 10.

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