Wimbledon starts today, with all its fervent discussion about Andy Murray, the weather and the price of strawberries. I had the pleasing experience a couple of weeks ago of going to a Wimbledon warm-up tennis tournament, the Aegon Classic, courtesy of the kind people at the Lawn Tennis Association. There was no Andy Murray (it was a women’s tournament) nor any sign of strawberries. But we did have weather, alas.
It was super easy to get to leafy Edgbaston where the tennis club is. As you drive from our parish the suburbs get gradually smarter until you get to Edgbaston, full of wide avenues lined with enormous Edwardian mansions, university halls of residence and independent schools. We were pleasingly able to park for free on one of the wide avenues by the club. A good start.
Once there we were able to take our seats with great views of the centre court without any queuing or stress. Then we enjoyed some great tennis – Daniela Hantuchova played Kristina Mladenovic. I spent some time transcribing Hantuchova’s grunts of effort. Her baseline noise is ‘Woo-ee’. And her service is accompanied by a ‘Uh-ee’. Transcribing them distracted me from the irritation of the noise. A little. Mladenovic won the first set and then, about half way into the second set, the rain arrived. As it was lunchtime we took shelter in one of the cafe tents. It was pretty squashed, but we found a spot to sit down amongst the damp tennis fans. It was Ladies Day, so a few spectators were decked out in impressive hats. We’d opted for smartish trousers and tunic combinations – a wise move I felt, as we sat on the floor to eat our sandwiches.
Sadly, it rained for the next couple of hours so we ended up returning home feeling rather undertennissed. But the tournament continued over the week and Hantuchova eventually triumphed. So thank you Lawn Tennis Association. I’d love tickets again next year. And now to get my Wimbledon head on…