Wimbledon Tells Tennis Fans ‘Don’t Come’ As Queues Exceed 9 Hours

Is it time to get rid of the Queue?

Wimbledon Tells Tennis Fans ‘Don’t Come’ As Queues Exceed 9 Hours

Image: Getty

As visitors to South West London reached their highest in almost 10 years, Wimbledon’s organisers told fans don’t bother turning up to queue for the tournament – with some waiting for over nine hours in the British summer heat, missing matches even though they had already bought tickets.

Historically, the English love a queue, and for Wimbledon – a sports competition that is so intrinsically linked to the traditions of British culture – the Queue to enter the grounds has long been a prominent feature for one of the oldest tennis competitions in the world.

Wimbledon is held over two weeks in a small borough of South West London every year, with more than half a million fans from all over the world travelling to witness the best tennis players in the world all compete on historic grass courts. For years, fans who are eagerly waiting to get into Wimbledon for a full day of tennis are encouraged to arrive as early as possible in order to guarantee a place inside.

“If you arrive in The Queue by 9am, you should have a good chance of getting in, although we can’t guarantee availability of course.”

Wimbledon Championships

The Queue has since become such an important part of the Wimbledon experience, that people have, for years, begun to queue as early as the night before, with local fans able to camp out in the nearby park down the road to guarantee their place the next morning.

Wimbledon Tennis fans will camp overnight in the nearby park to guarantee their tickets to the Grounds. Image: PA

As the 2023 Wimbledon Championships commenced this week, fans were reportedly waiting for over nine hours as the Queue began to swell to its highest number since 2015. Over 42,000 fans arrived at the fabled courts of SW19 hoping to see the opening day of the tennis, and the overall capacity in the Wimbledon Grounds is 42,000 spectators at any one time.

Fans had arrived from all over the world and began queueing in the early hours to ensure their spot inside. Some fans had even bought tickets for specific matches on Court 2 and were stuck waiting outside when the play began. Communication for the organisers was inadequate and disgruntled fans were expressing their frustration online, until at midday, Wimbledon finally tweeted telling fans not to come to the Queue.

Wimbledon only published this tweet at 12 pm midday.

Wimbledon is, and always has been, one of the few tournaments in the world that permits visitors to buy tickets on the day of the match, selling seats on a first come first serve basis. Entry to the Grounds costs £27 and permits you entry into the Grounds and access to all but three of the courts inside. Thousands of tickets are still available for Centre Court, Court 1 and Court 2 at the start of the day, opening up the premium tennis experience to every fan, and not just limited to the privileged few.

Tickets for Centre Court, Court 1 and 2 are sold online prior to the tournament via a Ballot, but spaces are limited and nothing is guaranteed. It’s clear that with recent miscommunications, missed matches and a nightmare start to what should be one of the most exciting sports events on the calendar, it could be time to address the Queue’s obvious flaws.