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Life / Sport / Tennis
Watch or play tennis in the UK
  Boodles Challenge (Stoke Park Club)
  AEGON Championships (Queen's Club)
  International Women's Open (Devonshire Park, Eastbourne)
  Davis Cup
  Grand Slam tournaments
  Further information


A brief guide to tennis in the UK.

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The Williams sisters (Venus & Serena) playing at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is a famous international tennis competition (played on grass courts) in south-west London. It lasts for two weeks, in late June / early July each year. For detailed information see the official Wimbledon website: The Order of Play for the following day is here: Usually there are three or four games on each court during the day, and the timing depends on when the previous games scheduled on that court have been completed. For news from the competition or to listen to live commentary on the internet, see the BBC's website: Major games are shown live on television on BBC1 or BBC2, and there is a programme of highlights each evening.

The location is shown on this map. Southfields or Wimbledon underground stations are nearest to the courts. The nearest train station is Wimbledon. There are special buses to the courts from both Southfields and Wimbledon stations (you have to pay extra for these), and some buses from Victoria coach station in central London. Reports often refer to the location as SW19, because this is the first part of the postcode of Wimbledon.

To get tickets for the show courts (centre court, court 1 and court 2) is difficult. One way to get tickets is to enter a public ballot organised by the AELTC (the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club). You can enter this ballot between August 1st until December 31st by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to AELTC, P.O. Box 98, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5AE. The ballot takes place in January, and the winners are usually informed in February. Do not buy tickets which are advertised on the internet (people are not allowed to re-sell tickets unless they are special expensive "debenture" tickets, so you may find that you are refused access if you buy other types of ticket in this way).

A small number of tickets for the show courts (about 500 tickets for each of the three courts) are sold on the day of the match (they are not available during the final four days of the competition) - people queue overnight to get these. It is more common to get a Ground Admission ticket, which will let you see games on the non-show courts or the standing area of Court 2 (about 6000 of these tickets are available each day) - you may need to arrive very early (for example, at 7 o'clock in the morning) and will probably have to wait for a few hours. A ticket allows you to watch tennis all day. Cheaper tickets are available after 5pm. Note that there are restrictions on bags - you should only take one small bag with you (hard-sided hampers, coolboxes and briefcases are not allowed).

If you buy a Ground Admission ticket you are also allowed access to Aorangi Picnic Terrace (this area is popularly known as "Henman Hill" or "Murray Mount" because a lot of British fans have gathered there when British players Tim Henman or Andy Murray have been playing). The terrace is an area of sloped ground which overlooks the courts - if you sit there you can follow play by watching giant screens which are set up here.

Doubles game

Tennis umpire

Strawberries and cream

Wimbledon 2007
Author: Neil Harman
Publisher: PPL Sport & Leisure Ltd
Date: August 2007

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The Boodles Challenge is a one-week exhibition men's tennis event which takes place each year in mid-June, during the week before Wimbledon. This is an excellent opportunity to see some of the world's top tennis players and to enjoy an upmarket social occasion in a beautiful location. Each match is only two sets - if players each win 1 set there is a match tie-break, with the winner being the first to reach 10 points and to have at least 2 points more than the other player. Three games are played each afternoon, on the same court.

This event is hosted by Stoke Park Club. This is a luxury hotel, golf/sports club and spa in Buckinghamshire (featured in the golf scene in the James Bond film "Goldfinger"). For a map: click here. To get to Stoke Park Club from London, take a train from London Paddington to Slough (fast trains take about 20 minutes) and then use the free bus shuttle service which operates during the event (or take a taxi). You could also take a taxi from Uxbridge (the final station on one of the branches of the Metropolitan line).

Tickets go on sale at the start of May. The dress code is smart or smart casual. A "Stadium and Garden Pass" allows you entry to the gardens and to the tennis for one afternoon. More expensive hospitality packages are also available.

The photos below were taken during the first day at the 2008 Boodles Challenge:

to the 2008 Boodles Challenge ...

... held in the grounds
of Stoke Park Club

Alan Mills attended the event:
he was referee at Wimbledon for 23 years

Andy Murray (from Scotland)
arrived for the first game at 2:15pm ...

... he won the first set 6-3
(playing Janko Tipsarevic from Serbia) ...

... but lost the second set 5-7.
In the match tie-break Andy won 12-10.

David Nalbandian (from Argentina)
played Robby Ginepri (from Georgia)

Nalbandian is shown preparing to receive
Ginepri's serve

Annabel Croft interviewed
the winning player (David) after the match

Enjoying a jug of Pimm's
on the lawns at Stoke Park Club

Several reception areas have been set up near the courts,
including this one provided by Champagne Pommery

The luxury car company Bentley
displayed some of its latest models

Related links:

The Boodles Challenge:
Stoke Park Club:

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There is a 1-week grass court championship held in June (two weeks before Wimbledon) at The Queen’s Club in London (nearest Tube: Barons Court; map).
Starting in 2009 the name of the tournament has beeen the AEGON Championships.

Related links:

The Queen's Club:
AEGON Championships:

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The International Women's Open is a 1-week grass court women's championship held in the middle of June, generally during the week before Wimbledon, at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne (on the south coast of England).
Tickets go on sale in March.

Related links:

International Women's Open:
Eastbourne tennis:

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The Davis Cup is a competition between national tennis teams. The top 16 countries form the World Group and take part in a knock-out competition to win the cup. Each country has 4 players and they play both singles and doubles matches.

Related links:

Davis Cup:

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The Grand Slam tournaments are four major tennis competitions throughout the year, in different locations and on different surfaces:
- The French Open (late May/early June, in Paris, on clay courts):
- Wimbledon (late June/early July, in London, on grass courts):
- The US Open (late August/early September, in New York, on hard courts):
- The Australian Open (late January/early February, in Melbourne, on hard courts):

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Guide to tennis vocabulary:

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Lawn Tennis Association:
To find a tennis tournament in the UK, see:

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum:

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Sport in the UK: Life/Sport
Monthly guide to events in the UK: Ideas/Events

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