Fans find a way to Wimbledon despite London rail strike

Thu Jul 9, 2015 9:21am EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Diehard Wimbledon tennis fans are used to queueing for hours, if not days, for tickets and a 24-hour strike by London's underground rail network was not going to stop them getting to the tournament on Thursday.

It seemed like business as usual at the grasscourt championship in south London, although many of the spectators arriving at the main gates had to battle delays and traffic congestion to get there.

"I don't live anywhere near this side of the world," said Yvonne Westcarr, an accountant from north London, who drove with three friends for two hours through heavy traffic and paid 30 pounds ($46) to park for the day.

She said it was worth it to see American top seed Serena Williams play Russian Maria Sharapova in the women's semi-final on Centre Court.

"It was the worst of all possible scenarios, but it's all for Serena," Westcarr said.

Gill Hughes and Liz Elder, who travel down to Wimbledon every year from Liverpool in north-west England, had picked a London hotel close to an underground 'Tube' line running direct to the tennis.

"This is the first year we've got a hotel right on a Tube line direct to Wimbledon, and of course, no tubes," Hughes said, lounging on the grass of Henman Hill while waiting for play to begin on Centre Court.

"The hotel advised us to get a bus but the buses were so full we just got a taxi down, for 32 pounds," said Hughes, who vowed to return next year despite the hassle.   Continued...