Tennis fans will queue at Wimbledon gate for tickets to first Saturday matches


Last summer, bad weather at Wimbledon made an unscheduled day of tennis necessary. On that day, a Sunday, all seats were sold to those who lined up for them.

The spectators were less formal and more enthusiastic than the usual Wimbledon crowd -- they even did the wave -- and the players and organizers were delighted, according to John Curry, chairman of the All England Club.

Seeking to re-create something of that atmosphere, the organizers of Wimbledon will make 2,000 of the 13,100 center court tickets available for June 27, the first Saturday of this year's tournament, to those who queue (to use the Briticism) to buy them that day.

Each day Wimbledon puts about 11,000 of the 28,000 tickets for that day on sale at the gate, but only 600 to 800 are for center court.

The center-court seats are sold at the gate only through Wednesday of the second week (none for the last four days).

The gates open at 10:30 a.m., but those who want a seat generally need to be in line by 6 a.m., those familiar with the tournament say. However, the organizers anticipate that queuing for June 27 will begin the evening before.

A spokesman for Wimbledon said he did not expect all 2,000 places in line to be claimed on Friday. Only one ticket is sold to a customer and holding a spot for someone is considered poor sportsmanship.

More information: The All England Tennis & Croquet Club Wimbledon, Church Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 5AE; telephone (81) 944-1066.

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