Monday, June 30, 2008

Wimbledon – A real reckoner ready.

This reckoner is based with a lot of help from my memory and work put in to attend the Wimbledon / The championships on 28th June 2008 – Saturday.

What is Wimbledon?

There are two answers to this.

Answer 1: Wimbledon (pronounced /wImbaldan/) is a suburb of London, part of the London Borough of Merton and located 7 miles (11.3 km) south west of Charing Cross(another place close to London Waterloo). For most of the past one hundred years, Wimbledon has been internationally known as the home of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Etymology: The name Wimbledon means "Wynnman's hill", with the final element of the name being the Old English dun (hill). The current spelling appears to have been settled on relatively recently in the early 19th century, the last in a long line of variations. The village is referred to as "Wimbedounyng" in a charter signed by King Edgar the Peaceful in 967 and is shown on J Cary's 1786 map of the London area as "Wimbleton".

Wimbledon was not only famous for Tennis but also for football – Wimbledon football team which won the FA cup against Liverpool in 1988, but with teams like Chelsea and Fulham rapidly developing in close proximity saw this team decline rather rapidly.

Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer - English scientist and astronomer; joint discoverer of helium was one of the famous resident who has resided in Wimbledon.

Accessible by: Wimbledon station train, Wimbledon tube, Wimbledon bus.

Credits and for more information, my memory &

Answer 2: The Championships, Wimbledon (commonly referred to as Wimbledon) began in 1877 and is the oldest tennis championship in the world (four years older than the US Open). Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

The tournament is held in the London suburb of Wimbledon, England, at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. It is held annually from late June to early July. The tournament is calendared so that it ends on the second Sunday of July and begins on the Monday, 13 days earlier. It is the third Grand Slam tournament played each year.

Surface: It is preceded by the Australian Open, which is played on hard courts, and the French Open (Roland Garros), which is played on clay courts. It is followed by the U.S. Open, which is played on hard courts.

The Championships were first played under the control of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1877 at a ground near Worple Road, Wimbledon; the only event held was Gentlemen's Singles. In 1884, the All England Club added Ladies' Singles and Gentlemen's Doubles. Ladies' Doubles and Mixed Doubles were added in 1913. Until 1922, the reigning champion had to play only in the final, against whoever had won through to challenge him. Championships moved to their present location, at a ground near Church Road, in 1922. Britons are very proud of the tournament, though it is a source of national anguish and humour – no British man has won the singles event at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, and no British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977. The Championship was first televised in 1937.

The first Sunday is always considered to be a rest day, but if rain has disturbed any of the previous day’s matches, then on each of these occasions, Wimbledon has staged a "People's Sunday", with unreserved seating and readily available, inexpensive tickets, allowing those with more limited means to sit on the show courts. Additionally, if the tournament is not completed by the end of the second Sunday, all remaining matches are postponed until "People's Monday".

Wimbledon historian Richard Milward recounts how King George V opened the new courts. "He gave three blows on a gong, the tarpaulins were removed, the first match started - and the rain came down..." The club's old grounds continue to be used as the sports ground for Wimbledon High School.

Credits and for more information, my memory &,_Wimbledon

How many courts are available and what are the premier courts?

There is a center court, then courts 1-19. Center court, Court No 1 and Court No 2 are the premier courts.

What are the various ticket categories?

There are 4 varieties of tickets,

a) Center court – The most sought after ticket which allows entry and seating into/in the center court and then unreserved standing in the Court 2 and free access to Court 3-19. This ticket doesn’t allow you in Court No 1.

b) Court No 1 - The second most sought after ticket which allows entry and seating into/in the Court 1 and then unreserved standing in the Court 2 and free access to Court 3-19. This ticket doesn’t allow you in Center Court.

c) Court No 2 - The third most sought after ticket which allows entry and seating into/in the Court 2 and also unreserved standing in the Court 2 and free access to Court 3-19. This ticket doesn’t allow you in Center Court and Court No 1.

d) Ground passes – The only tickets which are obtainable by many people visiting the Wimbledon. It allows entry in the unreserved standing in the Court 2 and free access to Court 3-19. This ticket also allows you access to the Henman’s Hill.

How to buy tickets?

Many would think…What a stupid question; buy it like you would buy any other sporting ticket from specified centers, from online websites. THAT’S RIGHT AND WRONG! There are some different set of ticket buying rules that apply to the Wimbledon.

1) Debenture Tickets: These are the only Wimbledon tickets that can be transferred legally; all other tickets must be used by the original applicant. These are in the close range of 250 – 3000 GBP which is 20000 – 2, 40,000 INR. These can be bought from many online stores and other places.

2) Partners / Affiliated Organisations / Agents Tickets: There are certain quotas of tickets which are given to affiliated organizations to distribute to their members and the agents can sell it to their corporate clients or various other uses.

3) AELTC Public Ballot Tickets: Every household can apply for the draw of tickets of the premier courts. This only ensures a chance to be part of the draw to get few tickets from the draw. But members can’t decide day, time and place as this process is computerized. The application for next year’s ballot would be given out in the month of August.

4) Queue Tickets: The most interesting ticket ever possible. It gives every trier a fair chance to get a premier court ticket or a chance to get a ground pass. Will explain this in detail ahead.

5) Resale Tickets: Godsend option for the center court, premier court lovers. Will explain this in detail ahead.

If some decides to become generous they can also hand over their premier court tickets to you and leave.

Queue Tickets: For getting a chance to get the premier court tickets or to get the ground pass, one has to queue up. The tickets counters open at 10:30 every morning. If you really want a chance of the premier court tickets you will have to start queuing up on the previous day around 6:00 in the evening. This was achieved by camping on the pavements etc. From this year they have been allowed access to camp in the Wimbledon Park. So you can bring your own camp, sleeping bags etc and camp in the night, in the morning at 6:00 the stewards will wake you up and get you to remove your cars and remove the tents. I have heard that if you are in the top 300 – 500 you will get a fair chance to get the premier court tickets. Then on the day of the event, from 3 – 4 AM, people start coming to queue in the car park 10 / Wimbledon park, they also join the main queue. I left home by 6:00 in the morning and was there in the queue by 7:00 only to be dazzled by the number of snakelike queues, and immediately knew I was in for a worse than a roller coaster ride before I buy the tickets. The only beauty is it’s so well organized that it’s not a painful experience rather it lets you soak yourself in the Wimbledon tradition. As I sleep for an hour and by 8:30 the queue cards were given. Queue cards are a way by which they make sure you don’t reserve place/space for anyone else rolling in sleepy pleasures back home. My number was 4844 for all my best efforts of getting to the ground early. Anyways I had read somewhere that up to 6000 there is a very good chance of getting the ground passes. After getting a bit bored again I clicked a few pictures in the Wimbledon lake close by and joined the queue fast, because one should not be missing from the queue for a long time though no one bothers once given with a queue card. Then the slow moving of the queue bought joy to many once to realize quite soon that they were just being given some stretches and activity by the Stewards there, we moved from xx longitude to xy longitude. Another small snooze from moi and I joined some locals who were playing ball catches. Must bring to these queues are water, snacks, playing cards, books, paper to sleep/read, games etc.

Then by 11 we were finally in the security check area and then presto you are at the gates of the Wimbledon – ticket area, Sir one ground pass please…thank you…wow the Wimbledon arena. Magnificient!

The cost varies on each day.

People had started queuing for Monday’s match tickets on Saturday morning a cool 48 hours before.

Queue pictures

Queue Card with Mahesh Bhupathi's Signature

Ground pass

TODO: There is a central board across the entrance where the entire days draw is listed, you must make take a pen and note down which all matches you would like to watch, and ideally you can watch 4 short matches or 3 matches which are well fought out.

My match list along with the scores is as follows,

1) Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round – Court 3

Rainer Schuettler (GER) def Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)

6-2 6-3 6-4

2) Ladies' Doubles - 2nd Round – Court 4

Bethanie Mattek (USA)/Sania Mirza (IND) def Maria Kirilenko (RUS)/Flavia Pennetta (ITA)

6-3 6-4

3) Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round – Court 2

Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) def Radek Stepanek (CZE)

7-5 6-7(5) 6-4 6-7(4) 6-3

4) Ladies' Doubles - 2nd Round – Court 3

Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB)/Darya Kustova (BLR) def Anne Keothavong (GBR)/Melanie South (GBR)

6-4 4-6 7-5

5) Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round – Court 11.

Marin Cilic (CRO) def Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA)

6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 7-6(6)

6) Mixed Doubles - 2nd Round – Court 19

Igor Andreev (RUS)/Maria Kirilenko (RUS) def Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/Sania Mirza (IND)

7-6(4) 6-3

7) Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round – Center Court

Rafael Nadal (ESP) def Nicolas Kiefer (GER)

7-6(3) 6-2 6-3

It was a mixed day for India with Sania winning the ladies doubles, but losing in the mixed doubles with Bhupathi, and Paes losing in the mixed doubles too.

Resale Tickets: Now many of you reading this with a little bit of attention would notice that my list of matches also holds a star match of the center court, how did I with a ground pass get to watch this match. Yes by buying a resale ticket. When premier court ticket holders decide they have had enough and would like to get back home have an option of turning in the tickets at the counter which are processed again and resold again as resale tickets. These are priced at 5 GBP. What a steal, a ticket which could have cost 3000 GBP coming to you at 5 WoW. As we were watching Bhupathi and Sania lose we decided we will try for these tickets and we did get some real fast. I got one of the seats in the A row accessible by the P entrance, that’s the first row of the court, pretty close to Nadal and Kiefer, luck played a major role. Else you would get some very good seats too.

The best part of this concept is that the monetary funds go towards charitable causes. Whoa bravo effort.

Center Court ticket


1) Watching Rainer Schuettler GER who had won over James Blake in the second round.

2) Watching Sania Mirza win the ladies doubles match.

3) Watching R Stepanek and M Youzhny battle it out.

4) Watching Cilic score some cracking forehands.

5) Watching Anne Keothavong play well.

6) Watching B Bryan battle it out.

7) Getting an autograph from Mahesh Bhupathi.

8) Seeing Tim Henman.

9) Seeing Jelena Jankovic.

10) Seeing R Bopanna.

11) Seeing Alan Wilkins

12) Watching Nadal steam maul Kiefer badly. Kiefer played superbly though. Nadal is raising his game to new standards.

13) Watching the live challenges on center court, the Mexican wave etc.

14) Hearing Sania’s mom egg her on.

Must do’s and Tips:

1) Be early – worth the wait for at least few times.

2) Carry snacks for the queue.

3) By 5:00 in the evening be on the continuous watch out for the resale tickets.

4) Visit some of the premier courts.

5) Visit the Graveyard of courts - Court No 2, which has been dubbed the "Graveyard of Champions" due to its reputation as the court on which many seeded players have been eliminated during the early rounds. Famous players who have lost on the Graveyard during early round play include Joe Creedon, Ilie Nastase, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams.

6) Visit Henman hill - at the northern end of the grounds there is a giant television screen on which important matches are broadcast. Fans watch from an area of grass officially known as the Aorangi Terrace, but more commonly called Henman Hill. The "hill" takes its name from local favorites Tim Henman, who many fans once hoped would become the first British man to win the tournament since Fred Perry did so in 1936. Now they are watching on it for Andy Murray.

7) Eat Strawberry and Cream for the spectators, strawberries and cream is the traditional snack at Wimbledon. Approximately 28,123 kilograms (62,000 pounds) of strawberries and 7,000 litres (1,540 gallons) of cream are sold each year during the Championships. Strawberries are the only fruit which have it's seeds on the outside.

8) Another secret tip is if you want to watch any match in court 2 grab the last row seat of Court 3 as you can turn back and stand and watch the Court 2 proceedings with a clear view.

9) Similarly for court 19, you can view it from court 18 left most side.

10) You can also visit the Wimbledon shop or the Museum if you wish.

11) Take your camera; remember flash photography is not allowed.

12) Take the Wimbledon shuttle from the tube or station as it’s a time saver and helps in getting ahead by at least 500 positions in the queue. Try not walking because in most likeliness you would be standing for the major share of the day.

13) Take cash as cards are not accepted at the ticket counter.

14) Take a hat, cap, shades, sun screen and an umbrella would be quite helpful.

The quotation that meets each player while entering in Centre Court?
The quotation above the players’ entrance to Centre Court:
If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same
is an extract from If by Rudyard Kipling.

How do the electronic referees work?
The electronic referees at Wimbledon (called 'Cyclops') monitor the service line deciding if serves are in or out. The system resembles a burglar alarm, with beams of infrared light directed just beyond the line. When the ball interrupts the beam — as it must if the serve is long by a small margin — an alarm goes off. This produces an audible 'beep'. The electronic eye derives its name from the mythological Greek race of one-eyed giants and was invented by Bill Carlton of Malta. It was first introduced to Wimbledon in 1980 and is now used in many other major tennis tournaments around the world.
credit :

What is Hawk-Eye?
Hawk-Eye is a multi-camera system which electronically tracks the flight of a moving ball and has become part of the umpiring process on Centre Court and No.1 Court at Wimbledon. The 2007 tournament was the first time this technology was used at Wimbledon by players to challenge an umpire's decision.
credit :

Picture Gallery

Rainer Schuettler

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

Sania Mirza

Tim Henman

Moi in front of Court No 1

Me with Bhupathi

Anne Keothavong

Mikhail Youzhny

Radek Stepanek

Henman Hill

Mirza and Bhupathi

Alan Wilkins

R Nadal

N Kiefer

Me gracing the center court :)

Nadal at his aggressive best

Victory is sweet - Nadal

I have soaked myself in this great experience and hope this article helps you to get this experience in an easy manner. Contact me if any further details are needed.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Lake District - beyond words...

A secret plan was enveloping quick and fast between ‘BEYOND THE OBVIOUS’; ‘I think, therefore IBM’ and ‘Imagination Action Joy’. There was one member to represent Beyond the obvious, another to represent I think, therefore IBM and three members to represent Imagination Action Joy. Before you get the thought of a huge world record setting merger happening and running off to garner stocks from various sources, let me throw this disclaimer at you - I am not to be held for heralding false signs or awry information into your 1.4 kg brain.

As fear of getting caught under act 420.00 of cheating general public, act 420.10 of manipulating the stock markets, act 420.13 of playing with various countries economies, overtakes me I am ready to spill the beans right here… it was just a offline meeting between friends working in these different companies. The agenda of the meeting was to decide the final frontier to go during the May Bank holiday…after much thought we narrowed the choices down to Scotland or Lake District. We finally decided to drive down to Lake District which is about 300 + xx miles from Guildford the chief town in Surrey County.

First task was to find accommodation in LD, went ahead and typed and searched for cheap B & B in Lake District and ended up with only 2,220,000 results which totally combined would have been helpful to plan a trip in the year 2220, nevertheless we used the top 3 sites and Jagan and me send an email to more than 20 B & B owners for a night’s stay, thinking that I was very smart and on time by planning a week ahead just to get a thumbs down from most of the owners that their places have been booked out 2-8 months planning – a first blow to my ego thinking that my planning was good. Drastic action was needed so I started mailing the same owners for some known places which might be empty and thank goodness few friendly folks mailed back with some reco’s and finally a place called YHA had 5 vacancies and with much joy I called them to find out that the vacancies were for women…shucks persistent bad luck worse than leeches. 4 days before EDD (estimated day of departure) I called YHA again to ask for vacancies in a place little away from the center of LD and get a cool info from them that due to some cancellation there’s a vacancy for 5 guys and as I fold my fingers one by one in sheer respect to the art of counting - 1,2,3,4,5 we are also 5 guys, so we did an booking instantly and learnt that we are going to have bunker beds and relive our college lives …yippee!
Task 2: we got down to comparing the prices of various car rentals, we simultaneously Google’d the images of each and every car available on the car rental portal, after paying the rental which was a combination of car rent + weekend charges + young driver surcharge (young = below 25 yrs of age) + additional driver surcharge + zero responsibility insurance + fuel deposit + VAT + an hour of our time we reserved a car online. Now to get the pigeon’s direction sense right we approached Google maps and got the route exactly printed, but many advised us that unlike in India you can’t roll your windows down and ask for routes, so next in the action plan cropped the idea of getting a GPS device, buying one was the same as a one way ticket to India so renting became the only viable option so again came to our aid – ‘rent a gps’ …enter… payment successful, the internet has made life so simple.

May 2nd - We were waiting for the evening to get out of office and embark on our trip to LD, we winded up soon, went and collected a brand new Skoda Octavia Estate a diesel vehicle which had met its fate(me) just after 540 miles, got back home, drove it a bit, picked up Gopi and parked the car by 10 PM, only to take the car again at 12 to pick up the other merger partners Suresh and Bharthi, now the plan was to wake up at 2:45 and leave by 3 which ultimately became 4, so at 4 we left for the journey involving distance and great intrigue. As we hit the state highways and the motorways we were happy as the GPS and the google maps printout were synchronized among themselves, but the joy was short-lived as within an hour of travel we realized we were going quite far away from the route shown by google maps, now the problem lay in deciding whom to trust – the GPS or google maps, taking Gopi’s cue we decide to trust the GPS, though I was ever complaining that we were completely lost. The only consolation was that we were heading north nevertheless. Now the problem was that whenever we crossed 70 MPH the gps started screeching non stop with a police siren making us envision ourselves in hand cuffs and rudely waking up our back seats VIP’s who were enjoying a early morning snooze, we realized soon that reducing the volume on the gps was the key to our handcuffs. We decided over and again whether to take a break at the services joint, but the joy of meeting the unknown LD kept us going and with a 5 minute break over which ball catches were played we reached LD in a cool 5:15 minutes covering 305 miles and without a scratch.

YHA was a cool place facing a huge lake, and there were various bikers of a biker gang who were giving us company in that hostel with their 1000+cc vehicles. We went in confirmed our reservation and got our strategy chalked out with some help of some fliers.

The view from the hostel,

The lake view from the hostel,

Stop1 Bowness river side – Nice jacket potato with tuna brunch – the taste still lingers in my thoughts…got a ticket to visit Lakeside(a place) by boat and from there to visit Haverwaite by a steam engine powered train, the engine is from the 1911 era while the coach is from the 1951 era. The boat ride was good with a lot of photographs being taken of ourselves and the captivating beauty that was abundantly sprinkled all around us.
A good 45 minutes later we got off at Lakeside and wandered a bit to take the steam engine train, I must say it was very nice traveling in one of these with those ancient rail pulleys and the steam almost suffocating you. As it slowly rambled up the track one by one we fell victim to the legendary sleep, within 30 minutes we reached Haverwaite and we got off and visited a train museum and then jumped barbed wires to get to the top of a small hill to sit there for a while and then we got back down to board the next train back. Yet again we fell victim to the vicious sleep but we barely escaped doing a around trip as Bharati has set an alarm which promptly woke us up…
Now with the sun wide awake and enriching us with its bright sunshine we fall a victim to sleep a byproduct of tiredness and we enjoy the boat ride back in stillness.

Lake side life,

Midday Siesta,

Almost 100 yrs old,

Steaming away,

You are never alone,

United we stand alone we fall???

The view while on the cruise,

Click, Click, Click – paparazzi followed us…

Peaks, trees, water, birds what more?

The view while on the cruise,

A solitary moment,

As soon as we got off we bought a Frisbee and went to the car and got our cricket kit and started playing there in a nearby ground, we cracked sixes, fours much to the amusement of the onlookers who felt football was a more sensible option than barbarically whacking a ball and fielders running after it, the worst part is that dogs in this part of the earth are trained very well to field. After a tiring 45 minutes of play we set off in our car to YHA, mid way on my rear view mirror I see a towel waving happily to the tunes of the wind, yes it sounds like a lovely scene but not lovely when you realize that your car’s boot is wide open and no one has closed it so after taking care of that issue we continue to YHA,….check in dump the luggage, fresh in up and start our trek to the Stock Gyhll water falls, a nice 70 foot high waterfall where we can go up to the head of the waterfall and walk back down…after doing all of this we rambled out way to a Bengali restaurant in Ambleside, where they made us wait for 60 minutes after which we devoured on some tasty north Indian fare.

We got back to the room at around 10:45 and after a heated discussion headed by Jagan on who will wake up first and use the shower we all retired for a much needed break of senses.

Our acre of land,

The falls falling away,

Use me,

Almost too synchronized,

Our Bunker Beds,

Sunday the 4th of May – we all woke up at around 8 and we rushed for a nice English breakfast but unfortunately before Suresh could finish his normal count of 2 dozens of bread pieces the kitchen staff got tipped off and they started shutting down their counters saving the stock for a few more days…phew misery folks … We went running to reserve some Canoes and Kayaks and after getting enough assurances that we won’t drown and would live to see the night we ventured out on them, me and Gopi on a kayak and others on a canoe. Within 5 minutes we got accustomed to the gentle ruffles and ripples of the water and started enjoying the scenery from the center that much that we thought at a point that no one can take the kayak from us and we shall have a war over rights. Unforgettable moments were close to an island where there were nesting birds in plenty and mistaking us for their foes they tried chewing our brains out – long live the light weighted oars which came to us aid.
The days next stop was a town called Grasmere where we just went for a car ride and didn’t do much, but we stopped at a place called Loughriggs Terrace where we had a chance to view the extremely beautiful peaks and a lake which I call and remember as the Swiss connection of Lake District it was that beautiful and picture some. I am writing less so as the pictures can do the speaking and you will agree that they speak loud.

Next we were to go to a place called the Ullswater – Aira waterfall which was about 32 miles away, the catch being the 32 miles were winding small hill roads, it was real fun driving on those roads, and we missed our mark got few miles ahead and then got back to the waterfalls parking…immediately we decide to have a snack and it proves to be Jagan’s blessing in disguise and he meets this wonderful person at the counter after looking at that person he can’t differentiate between tuna sandwiches and tissue papers(yes its meant to be cryptic). As we walk and walk up the small hill in search of the prima donna here it being the water fall we stagger and falter at many places due to our tiredness…..yes and we meet the falls and snapped away to glory and at 5:30 we start the return journey of about 314 miles – 502 km’s and yes we touched 125 MPH often and all other motorway users gave way to us and in the entire stretch none overtook us, making us comment that we are the lords and other crap and we covered this distance in exactly 4 hrs i.e. 9:30 we reached our destination that is about 125 KMP or 80 MPH on an average… Did I ever realize there was something called speed guns? Speed cameras? None! We reached back went to Nandos – a place which comes close to our Tandoor joints and gorged ourselves on some superbly roasted chicken and went home at 11 and all gathered in our entertainment arena room aka Jagan’s room and watched Saichen …next day I wake up and realize that’s there was something wrong in the way that vehicles gave us way on the motorways in spite of having much more powerful engines, as I again googled my goof up and checked the scene in UK I realize that the speed limit was 70 MPH and I was often at 125 MPH that was a gross violation which can carry a 300GBP – 700 GBP fine(24000 – 56000 RS) as I sit and rue over this gross mistake committed and wonder when the fine would appear or whether any cop decides to personally deliver the ticket – lesson learnt irrespective of any road, any vehicle respect traffic rules at least slightly. Anyways no ticket has come till date and I pray that it doesn’t so a trip that began well has ended well and without a scratch the car has been returned. Hip hip hurray…

All dressed up…canoeing, Kayaking (brave warriors who got pecked by a few birds in the middle of the lake)

Race Leader - MIM,

Greenery – Are you doing enough to sustain it, Yes I am.

The Swiss connection,

Guys who formed the pentagon,

Swim anyone?

Winding roads to Ullswater – loved it,



Bits & Bytes!

For the entire set of pictures please visit