Sunny skies, a British defending champion make for happy 'Queue' at Wimbledon

Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:43am EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - The rare combination of sunny skies and a British defending champion has made tickets for this year's Wimbledon tennis tournament even more in demand than usual.

Stuart Bere, a gardener from Lincolnshire, England was first in "The Queue" for tickets on Monday, ensuring he would get to see last year's men's singles champion and local favorite, Andy Murray, play on the tournament's opening day.

"The Queue", a tradition dating back to the 1920s, allows people who haven't been able to buy tickets through a lottery-like ballot, or as part of the Wimbledon debenture scheme, to line up at the All England Club in south London for a ticket.

"I'm here to see Andy Murray and watch some great tennis," said Bere, 39, who had been waiting since 7:30 a.m. on Saturday when "The Queue" officially opened.

By just after 8 a.m. on Sunday, it was full, said Henry O'Grady of the Wimbledon press department.

"We know that when Murray's playing when the weather's good it fills up pretty quickly. Also, he's the champion and there are quite a lot of people saying in 'The Queue' they have to come down and support him," O'Grady said.

Some 500 people were lucky enough to get one-day tickets for Center Court on Monday, where Murray - the first Briton to return as defending men's champion since Fred Perry in 1936 - successfully began his title defense by winning in straight sets against Belgian David Goffin.

"He (Murray) did what was expected," said Eric Gross of Exeter, who attended the match with his wife.   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his men's singles tennis match against David Goffin of Belgium at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 23, 2014.                    REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth