One of my favourite things about attending tennis tournaments is watching matches on the outside courts. Over the past couple of years, i’ve been lucky enough to have a whole range of tickets at Wimbledon and to be honest, some of my favourite days have been on the first days of the Championships where I spent almost the entirety of the day happily watching matches around the grounds and ticking off players i’d never seen before. I thought it would be neat to recap some of the matches I watched on the outside courts as well as the viewing experience.
Safarova d. Pavlyuchenkova, 7-6(6) 7-6(9) (Whole match)
Kerber d. Babos, 6-0 6-1 (Whole match)
Watson d. Johansson, 6-4 7-5 (Second set)
I watched three matches on court 2 and I think this was my favourite court in the grounds. It has a really intimate feeling and all three matches I saw had a great atmosphere. It was also straightforward in getting a seat, which wasn’t the case elsewhere! I think I was lucky on all three occasions. For the Lucie-Pavs and Watson v Johansson matches, they were both towards the end of the day when it was a little quieter, while for the Kerber v Babos match, I made the decision to get in a long queue. Thankfully I was lucky as the match before featuring Fabio Fognini finished quickly and then the crowd emptied out.
The Lucie v Pavs match was great to see for obvious reasons and you can read my dedicated post and how I nearly didn’t make it through that match (haha) HERE. Although it was one-sided, I quite enjoyed Kerber-Babos. It was pretty quick as Kerber managed to go up a set and a break in the time it took me to eat two sandwiches. There was plenty of support from the German fans who really got behind Kerber. At the end, I completely failed in trying to get a victory shot as so many people stood up and before the match had even ended, everyone was congregating at the side of court in preparation of getting a Kerber autograph.
Babos was fed up for much of the match but she didn’t play badly at all in the first set. She left the building towards the end, but Kerber was going for her shots and making most of them. It reminded me a little of her match against Sharapova at Stuttgart. It was just a great day at the office and i’m a little surprised that she then went out in the third round. Anyway, I think it might work best for her as she has a couple of weeks to prepare for the grass, which I think is her best surface. Kerber could be a real dark horse for Wimby.
Towards the end of day 2 at RG, I went and watched the second set of the match between Heather Watson and Mathilde Johansson. It was a fun atmosphere and the crowd were really getting behind Mathilde. I haven’t seen Johansson much of late but I distinctively remember that she was a nervous closer. That thought held true as she failed to serve out the second set and then imploded a little as Watson, the more solid player, came back to win in straight sets.
Coric d. Querrey, 7-6(8) 6-3 0-6 6-3 (First set)
Pliskova d. Zhang, 7-6(4) 6-4 (First set)
Court 6 is located next to Phillipe Chatrier court and you can also see the ITV studio from it. The light was great on this court and I was able to get some nice photos. The seats though were extremely uncomfortable and barely any space for legs! One set maximum was all I could handle before going for a wander. The first set of Coric v Querrey was great. Querrey was dictating most of the rallies but Coric did so well to stay in and his defence was sublime. Querrey isn’t the most stable player mentally and that definitely seemed to get in his head a bit. The first set tiebreak was pretty thrilling. Coric was up 5-1 but Querrey knucked down to win five straight points. There were some loud American fans in the crowd and one of them was even shouting tips such as “come on sam, big serve down the tee now”. I’m sure I saw a little smile from Sam.
There was a funny moment at 6-6 in the tiebreak when Coric stepped up to serve and this lorry passed by on the road directly behind court 6. Coric asked could he wait until it passed through. He won the tiebreak on another long point. Querrey should have done better on the last point although it’s bit of a blur to me now!
I also watched the first set of the match between Karolina Pliskova and Shuai Zhang. The pair exchanged breaks in the middle of the set with Pliskova working really hard to get the break in a nine deuce game. However, she gave it straight back very tamely. Zhang was the better player and really committed well to the match with some nice hitting and good passing shots. Pliskova made a lot of tame errors into the net but it was her serving in the tiebreak with two big serves at the end that saw her win the opening set.
The crowd for this match was lifeless. I was the only one clapping on some points. I also sat in front of the most annoying humans in the world. I’m a bit of tennis snob (haha) but this American couple behind me really had no clue what was going on. They were talking about Sharapova’s straight sets win over Kaia Kanepi in three sets… They also kept lamenting the line calls. There was one rally where the ball was called in and Zhang questioned it but looked at the mark and accepted the ball had caught the line. This woman behind me was convinced it was out. Absolutely convinced.
Court 17 is right in the corner on the western side of the grounds. It’s a nice court and I think it’s the one that Ben Rothenberg keeps tweeting that he likes. I was chuffed to get in for Thanasi Kokkinakis‘s match with Nikoloz Basilashvili. There’s a big stand there, but it’s just weird! It is disengaged from the actual court and it’s not ramped up enough so you can only see half of the court and the views is also blocked by people’s heads. It doesn’t help i’m a short person! People in the stands weren’t paying much attention to the tennis and were reading newpapers and not really watching what was going on. It was weird and we left after a set.
It was nice to watch Kokkinakis for the first time even if I felt miles away! He was pretty pissed at how he was playing and it wasn’t his best tennis although he did well to tough it out in four sets. His reaction to winning the second set was amusing. I’m annoyed I didn’t get the shot below in focus…
Practices on the outside courts
I’m losing track of courts but I think saw Karin Knapp and Roberta Vinci practising on this court. I wanted to watch the match between Carina Witthoeft and Katerina Siniakova but the queues were long every time I walked past.
Courts 9 and 11
These courts are next to Suzanne Lenglen Court and adjacent to each other with a walkway between them. Players were practising on these courts before play started on both Sunday and Monday. On the Sunday, I saw Radek Stepanek and Lukas Lacko practising together and Marcos Baghdatis. On the Monday, I just caught the end of Yanina Wickmayer and Johanna Larsson.
Court 12 is on the western side of the grounds on the other side of the Suzanne Lenglen court. These courts were generally a little less busy. Court 12 doesn’t have any stands so people took alternative measures when Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov were practising. Everyone was standing on the back row of seats of court 14 looking over court 12. I followed everyone else haha! Murray and Dimitrov were both out with their respective coaches, Amelie Mauresmo and Roger Rasheed. Both were practising their volleys. I hadn’t seen Dimitrov for a few years so it was nice to get some shots.
I did make sure to watch and get some snaps of poor Petra Cetkovska who no-one was watching as the crowd were more interested in Murray and Dimitrov on the adjacent court!
This court only seems to be used as a practice court. Agnieszka Radwanska was practising here on Sunday. I’ve never seen Radwanska practising with other players when i’ve been at the tennis. Tsvetana Pironkova was also here on the Monday.