All the news from the 2014 Wimbledon tennis championships

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  • Hello everyone and welcome to my blog.
  • I will be covering the world-famous tennis championships from a different perspective.
  • I will be soaking up the atmosphere, speaking to people who have been lucky enough to get tickets, and investigating what makes the championships tick.
  • I want your photos as well! Email pictures of you and your family enjoying the tennis this year, whether it is in your own home or at the All England Club.
  • Send them to Rebecca.middleton@London.newsquest.co.uk, tag me on Twitter @beckysmiddleton or on the Wimbledon Guardian Facebook page.
  • I look forward to seeing them!

6:37pm

I have been lucky enough to play tennis with former world number one Martina Hingis today.

It was part of a session at the Wimbledon Club with Wimbledon head coach Dan Bloxham hosted by Maui Jim sunglasses.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Me, Martina Hingis and James Lawrenson.

What an awesome day. It started with Pimms and scones, then my boyfriend and I got our trainers on for an intense two hour training session with Martina, Dan and lots of other players, many of them club members and therefore pretty good.

We did warm-up exercises, rallies and games with coaches and other players.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Having not played for literally years, it was quite a daunting prospect to get on court with a Grand Slam champion - she makes it look so effortless!

But she was lovely, and very encouraging.

She gave lots of great advice on how to serve well, how to hold yourself on the court and said you have to move your feet to keep ahead of the next shot coming your way, as well as a few bits of behind-the-scenes insight.

Maria Sharapova doesn't grunt in practice, apparently, and she tips her for a Wimbledon win this year.

"She's confident and really sharp," she said.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

 

Dan Bloxham, left, a man from Maui Jim and Martina Hingis, right.

We all had turns at one-on-ones with the coaches and Martina, who served balls for us to return.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Me versus former world number one Martina Hingis.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

James versus Martina.

As we were on the court, Martina Navratilova snuck past into the clubhouse in sunglasses and a hat, hoping not to be noticed.

Busted.

Anyway, I will be having a longer chat with Dan this week for another behind-the-scenes feature.

He and some of the top seed players were watching the Brazil vs Chile penalties last night.

It's good to see it's not all about tennis.

3:20pm

It's much wetter today, as this aerial shot from the MPS helicopter shows:

3:19pm

These were some of the many photographers in front of the hill to catch the crowds. Richmond and Twickenham Times:

3:17pm

Sunnier times: This was Murray Mound last night. Richmond and Twickenham Times: Richmond and Twickenham Times: Richmond and Twickenham Times:

1:41pm

So it looks like rain has stopped play at Wimbledon today.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Sadly I'm not there today, but let this picture brighten your day! Courtesy of Wimbledon Village Stables.

8:20pm

Incredible atmosphere on Murray Mound for his game this evening.

It's just finished.

The hill was absolutely packed with people.

We were squished onto some steps dug into the hill by the front, and were perched trying to avoid ice-cream spillages and empty cups.

There was hardly room to move.

Everyone was cheering and clapping as Murray won, which was a great thing to be part of.

He even got a standing ovation.

Photographers and cameramen were hovering by the big screen, capturing everyone cheering at various points.

They must have got some great shots, as the weather is beautiful tonight.

I'll add mine to this blog tomorrow.

There were some girls in tennis ball bikini tops who sat in front of us. All the photographers were crowding round.

I think they will be in The Sun tomorrow!

As I left to come back to the press centre, there was a mass exodus towards the gates.

I think I'll find some food and head home when it has died down a bit.

7:13pm

A few technical problems mean I can't upload pictures on this blog today. Please follow me on Twitter @beckysmiddleton to see some pictures of today's events.

7:10pm

Have been soaking up the atmosphere this afternoon.

I've discovered parts of the grounds that I haven't seen yet and found by mistake.

Like the statue of Fred Perry and the Wimbledon shop. I dare not go in to the shop. I doubt I could afford even the tiniest of souvenirs given the price of everything else (£2.50 for some water?! I'll stick to free orange squash ta.)

Maybe I'll head in later - just for research purposes of course.

Murray's match has started. There was at least an hour and a half long queue for re-sale tickets next to court 18 earlier.

That's dedication.

Bumped into some friends, Josie and Jen enjoying a day on a ground pass.

They have been sipping Pimms and soaking up the sun, which is what it's all about.

 

 

 

5:32pm

Murray Mound is absolutely packed this afternoon - it's the busiest I've seen it so far this week.

On court at the moment is Venus Williams, so that might explain it.

Murray is meant to be on after their match, so I doubt it will get any less busy as the evening goes on.

I'm just glad the rain has held off (so far.)

4:32pm

Walking through the gates each day never gets boring.

There is still a buzz to the event that it doesn't matter how many times you leave and come back it is still exciting to be a part of.

A jaded security guard I was talking to is very much 'over' the whole thing, but even he admits it was pretty cool the first time he arrived at the All England Club to work. The atmosphere is infectious.

There's always a cheer in the background or the soft thwack of a ball being struck, or Pimms wielding tennis-goers to dodge.

But that's what makes Wimbledon what it is.

The best tennis tournament in the world.

2:26pm

Merton Council is giving Freedom of the Boroughs out to anyone these days. 

First it was Andy Murray last week, now it's Ladies champions Virginia Wade, Ann Haydon-Jones and Angela Mortimer! 

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Great news, though. 

2:21pm

Unfortunately looks like not everyone is a happy bunny today at Wimbledon.

12:13pm

I have noticed the grass on some of the courts is starting to get worn after all the playing this week.

I mentioned I bumped into head groundsman Neil Stubley earlier this week, well here is my interview with him.

Grass courts really are an art form!

 

9:36am

Rain is forecast for this afternoon so bring your brolly if you're heading to Wimbledon this afternoon!

7:12pm

I found some scandal - the price of food and drink! A sandwich will set you back £6 or more, a small dish with four strawberries and a drizzle of cream £2.50, and a glass of Pimms £7! That was a mistake venturing into the food court. Good job we get a food allowance, but it's all about being savvy with what you order to maximise what you get. I'm working my way through the menu. I'd recommend the carrot cake. Right, I'm off to ask Maria Sharapova some questions. Or I might just sit there in awe, we'll see.

6:06pm

Just got out of a small press conference with Ross Hutchins and Colin Fleming.

They were really nice and friendly.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

When I asked my question about how determined were they to get back in the top rankings Ross gave a comprehensive answer, and didn't seem to mind answering questions.

Unlike *cough* Andy Murray. It's interesting seeing the players off the court.

You get a sense of what they are like and whether they are genuine or not.

Federer got everyone on side with a few jokes and sharing news of his little twins, whereas Murray didn't make eye contact and steered away questions not relevant to tennis (like my labradoodle question!) which made him seem not willing to play ball, per se.

I'll be down here for a little while yet, so let's hope I find some scandal (and tea) to write about. Ciao for now.

5:29pm

Having been here for three days now I have explored a range of transport options.

The best, if most expensive, is the direct bus service from Wimbledon train station to gate 13 on Somerset Road at the championships.

If you are travelling from Wimbledon station, the district line to Southfields is brilliant as well, as long as you don't mind the packed 15 minute walk to other end.

Oh, and the long queue when it's all finished to get back on the underground. Pavements are a standstill as people are ground to a halt in Southfields waiting to get on the tube.

Weirdly, once you get on the platform it's quite quick.

So I'd recommend that option for a day or two, and if you like a stroll.

But if like me, you have aching feet, get the bus! It's worth it!

Having said that, I may go back to trekking tomorrow.

I'm not made of money after all.

5:01pm

I managed to catch the last ten minutes of Wimbledon resident Ross Hutchins' game with Colin Fleming on Court 11.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

They unfortunately lost but they looked like they were doing well for a while. This is Ross' first tournament back after battling leukemia last year.

I was lucky enough to interview him a few weeks ago in the build up to this, and he was lovely. I am just waiting in the press centre for an announcement.

Ross and Colin will be doing a press conference shortly.

All the players seem to, but they don't schedule the times very far in advance, so it's a case of waiting around for an announcement.

But I have enough tea and Robinson's orange squash I can ask for, so I'm happy to wait.

In the interview room now is Tsonga, who I caught on the warm-up courts last week. He's huge! I need to catch one of his proper games soon.

There's so much to do here!

Follow me on Twitter @beckysmiddleton for more photos of Ross and Colin's game.

3:59pm

I won't be able to stay in here long as tickets for the big courts are shared between a group of news reporters.

 

3:57pm

So I'm back at the All England Club this afternoon and have snuck onto Court 1 for Stan Wawrinka vs Yen-Hsun Lu. It's a tense game with lots of challenges on whether a ball is out or not. I think I prefer this court to Centre as it's much smaller so you can see the players and court better.

1:49pm

Rafael Nadal on Centre Court.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

1:46pm

Here's the photo of St Mary's Church spire overlooking the championships from the other night.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

12:20pm

Out and about in Wimbledon town centre yesterday and there were lots of freebies to be had.

We enjoyed small dishes of strawberries and cream, strawberries and meringue and shot glasses of juice and Pimms!

This coupled with the free open air screen in the piazza next to Wahaca and Morrisons (or Murrisons, as it is at the moment) mean anyone not heading to Wimbledon is missing out.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

12:11pm

Have you noticed the excellent work the Wimbledon ball girls and boys are doing on the court everyday?

Click here to see a behind-the-scenes nose at their training - it's strict!

8:33pm

It's starting to get dark now. Those black clouds haven't helped and everyone is waiting for the rain to start. Last night got rained off at about 8pm, so I think I'll head home before the downpour. Don't forget, I want to see your photos! Also follow me on Twitter @Beckysmiddleton for pictures and updates throughout the day.

7:37pm

Wimbledon looks stunning in the dusk. I wandered towards the church to get a snap, which I'll post soon, and stumbled across Tara Moore vs Vera Zvonareva which was about to start. Great game so far. Moore has a lot of supporters, including Judy Murray who is sitting a few rows ahead of me. She's wearing cream jeans and a coral jumper and looks just like she does on TV. I think that's Jamie sat with her too. She's got a few pals in who are happily chatting together. One of the ball girls I interviewed, Grace, is working on this game. Great to see her put her skills into practice so expertly.

7:03pm

Nadal came straight off the court and into a press conference this evening. Unfortunately they don't let you take photos in there or I'd have some great ones. Federer earlier had the ladies swooning as he talked about bringing his kids along with him. He was very nice and friendly. Other journalists gave Nadal a hard time about his previous losses, not talking much about the cool win a few minutes earlier. Not sure he was expecting that but he dealt with it well. Now I'm at Court 4. Can see the stunning spire of St Mary's Church from here. Recently unveiled might I add. I'll go and get a photo.

 

5:49pm

It's all very civilised on Murray Mound. There's a Pimms tent, bar and er, fried chicken. A lot of people on the move after Nadal's win just now. Spoke to friends Leah and Gemma who have been enjoying a day in the sun. It's the first time they have been to Wimbledon and they will be back. Provided they get tickets of course.

5:28pm

I'm seeing Nadal from a different perspective having left Centre Court. Murray Mound! or Henman Hill- or what was the other one? Maybe Federer something but nothing rhymes with F. What a dilemma. suggestions on a postcard please. Nadal's still smashing it, whichever angle I see him from.

5:25pm

I'm seeing Nadal from a different perspective having left Centre Court. Murray Mound! or Henman Hill- or what was the other one? Maybe Federer something but nothing rhymes with F. What a dilemma. suggestions on a postcard please. Nadal's still smashing it, whichever angle I see him from.

4:31pm

So I'm back at the championships again this afternoon after a busy morning on deadline at Guardian HQ. Currently watching Nadal thrash Klizan on Centre Court. Bumped into Head Groundsman Neil Stubley on my way in. He was pleased with Andy Murrays comments in the press conference yesterday that the grass was perfect.

2:13pm

Anyone recognise this familiar face?

Even tennis stars need to go food shopping, and it seems Wimbledon Village deli Bayley & Sage is a favourite haunt.

Maria Sharapova was in there the day after this photo was taken.Richmond and Twickenham Times:

11:47am

Ball girls and boys did an excellent job on the first day. St John Ambulance were on hand to help one who fainted though.

11:46am

A lot of celebrities are heading to Wimbledon this year. Today Kimberley Walsh will be in the crowd.

10:15am

So my first day at Wimbledon passed without incident.

I managed to get on Centre Court to see Djokovic win his first game and asked Andy Murray a few questions in a press conference.

Read all about it here.

I'll be back there later. 

3:46pm

Most of my stories in the last few weeks have been about the tennis.

This is one of the more unusual. Read it here.

3:35pm

Anyway, Andy Murray has won his first match. Here are a few statistics on just how he did it:

3:28pm

I have been in Wimbledon Park this morning. I was surprised how many people were there - up to 8,000 and counting! Here's my story, with pictures. Are you in them?

3:23pm

Hello everyone and welcome to the first post of my blog. I am Becky Middleton, chief reporter at the Wimbledon Guardian. I will be covering the world-famous tennis championships over the next two weeks from a different perspective. I will be soaking up the atmosphere, speaking to people who have been lucky enough to get tickets, and investigating what makes the championships tick. I have started already, and will post some of my stories on here for you to read. I want your photos as well! Email pictures of you and your family enjoying the tennis this year, whether it is in your own home or at the All England Club. Send them to Rebecca.middleton@London.newsquest.co.uk, tag me on Twitter @beckysmiddleton or on the Wimbledon Guardian Facebook page. I look forward to seeing them!

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