My journey to Wimbledon 2011 started not in June, but in the cold winter months of 2010 when I filled in an application form for the annual All England Club ticket ballot.
As I sent off my form in anticipation in November, I knew it would be weeks and months before I would find out if I was successful or not.
Although I have been at Wimbledon 6 times before, I had only applied for the Ballot one other year – for the 2009 Championships. I was fortunate to gain Centre Court seats for the ladies final (and secure bonus points being able to take my sister there for her 30th Birthday!), but I didn’t know if my luck had run out getting that lucky before.
Christmas came and went, snow fell and fell some more and the dreaded month of January passed with the only glimmer of tennis hope and heat coming from the Australian Open.
By February, I knew from the Facebook updates of Wimbledon that letters were being sent out to those lucky to get offered golden passes for the cream of tennis tournaments.
I had received a few letters from the All England Club, bearing their new refined logo, as I had applied for some jobs during the winter. When my position was made redundant in January (see what I mean by dreaded?), I had threw my hat in for the posts of Deputy Press Officer and Marketing Manager, just for the laugh.
There was no way I would even be shortlisted competing with plenty of London talent, but like the ballot – if you’re not in, you can’t win! The expected disappointment of two regret letters, meant that I wasn’t holding out much hope for having any luck with the Ballot, but I did get a sneaky look at the rebrand before many others did (Ha!).
So, one day in March I got a letter, that whilst unbranded, did have a postmark from SW19! Feeling like Charlie from Chocolate Factory/Roald Dahl fame, I peeled back the envelope and scanned down the page to the part where it mentioned I was … successful! I had won a pair of tickets to the matches to be played on Centre Court on Day 5 of The Championships 2011.
Joy swept over me and in my head; I started to plan out my trip to SW19. Hotels to be checked according to a tube map, flights to be booked and a pair of Wimbledon tickets to be paid for!
Volume II to follow…