Bloomsbury Bear goes to Wimbledon

Stacy Simpson reports on a first trip to Wimbledon for Bloomsbury Bear
Bloomsbury Bear at Wimbledon
Bloomsbury Bear making himself at home at the All England Club
We marched up to Murray Mount and claimed our spot for the day, picnicking with the thousands of others waiting to see the start of play

Once every four years, the beautiful game of football has the power to bring a nation together as one, as portrayed in We Are One (Ole Ola) & We Are Ready. Fortunately, following the swift exit of England from the World Cup, this summer offers a variety of sporting events. In true British fashion we always seem to muster up the nerve to seek out the next rollercoaster of emotion; this time it is in the form of Andy Murray (mania) at Wimbledon.

Bloomsbury at WimbledonAfter a very popular (and late) UK Alumni event at the House of Commons, Bloomsbury Bear and I woke ourselves up at dawn and travelled to the All England Club, London SW19. The scene was set; just before 7:00am we joined the queue at number 3425 of the 128th edition of the Wimbledon Championships. This was going to be a long day!

We talked to the various nationalities waiting in line, some travelling from other countries just to see their sporting heroes. Andy Murray became just that last year when he was the first British man to win the championship and lift the Wimbledon Cup since Fred Perry, 77 years previously. This year, as defending champion and seeded third of 128 players, Murray was keeping his fans' hopes and dreams alive.

The smell of newly cut grass was nearing; the thought of a strawberries and cream treat was keeping our faith. We were closing in on the gates. After three and a half hours of anticipation, we were in!

Absorbing the occasion we realised that there is nothing like Wimbledon, with all of its traditions. As the oldest tennis tournament in the world, organisers still enforce an all-white dress code which is maintained by players around the globe because of their love of this event. Bloomsbury and I were starting to feel that love too.

The cheers, jubilation and roars of enthusiasm echoed around the outer courts until the main attraction of the day was here. 

We marched up to Murray Mount and claimed our spot for the day, picnicking with the thousands of others waiting to see the start of play. After a few short showers, the sun broke through the clouds and blue skies were here to stay. Murray was playing his third round draw against Roberto Bautista Agut, although he was the third match of the day on Centre Court – the waiting of a nation continued.

The cheers, jubilation and roars of enthusiasm echoed around the outer courts until the main attraction of the day was here. Spectators screamed out Murray’s name as his entrance on to Centre increased the volume to deafening decibels. The atmosphere was electric. Poor Bloomsbury was a bag of nerves, he was thinking of all the UoLIP students who must similarly be feeling anxious until their exam results are revealed (fingers crossed for you all). Emotions eased when Murray won one set, then a massive sigh of relief came when the second set was secured. Finally, an ecstatic round of applause immersed SW19 when the final shot was declared in and Andy secured his place in the next round, taking him in to week two of the Championships.

As both players departed the show court the Murray mania enthusiasts started to disperse and the grounds became calm again. Bloomsbury and I packed away feeling sad that the day had ended, anticipating a repeat of the tensions very soon. Walking back to the station and watching the sun set over Wimbledon we were tentatively dreaming that another Championship may not be beyond Murray’s grasp.

The excitement was obviously all too much for Murray as he crashed out of his quarter final match, leaving the hopes and dreams of a nation to another time.

  • Images of Bloomsbury courtesy of Lisa Pierre.