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Strawberries lavishly served with cream, corduroy trousers and boat jackets, the finest demi bottles of champagne at the most inflated prices... Wimbledon should be well underway by now, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, SW19′s prestigious courts are shuttered for the summer.
And the thing that Wimbledon fans are missing the most – aside from serving their boldest sartorial choices court side – is that famous entry queue, where tennis obsessives compete for their chance to bag a ticket to the top courts.
So entrenched is queueing etiquette in the culture of the Championships that a ‘Guide to Queueing’ is actually handed out to these ticket hopefuls each year as they wind around Wimbledon Park – which either epitomises British wit or is a sobering reminder that we all need to take ourselves a bit less seriously.
Some tennis fans are feeling nostalgic enough to share memories of their time in line, online – pictures of them either crammed into tents overnight or arriving, full of hope, just as dawn breaks on the All England Club.
Another fan has shared an image of the park that typically houses the queue, now empty of all the people sitting around patiently on camping chairs as they wait to be filed into the tournament grounds.
Of course, the irony is that lockdown has made professional queuers of us all – with social distancing meaning we’ve all had to get used to snaking half way round the block just to get into the supermarket and pick up a pint of milk.
Whether you’ve found spending double the time shopping tiresome or have used it as justification to leave the house, queuing is central to our new normal.
Forget toilet roll, pasta and eggs – supermarkets are now reporting bulk buying of strawberries. Fans are stockpiling them to watch classic coverage of Wimbledons past on the BBC in lieu of this year’s cancelled tournament.
Reruns will include the 1968 women’s final between Ann Jones and Billie Jean King, the 1992 men’s final between Goran Ivanisevic and Andre Agassi, last year’s epic battle between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer – and a whole weekend of Andy Murray’s greatest hits.
People are already using the hashtag #WimbledonAtHome to share their lockdown tennis viewing paired, naturally, with strawberries and cream – and the BBC itself has revealed that sales of strawberries are up by a fifth.
Some 27 tons of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream are consumed by fans during the regular tournament, so they have some catching up to do.
Recreating cancelled live events seems to have become a trend, as nostalgic lockdowners attempt to drum up the excitement of the summer season at home.
Wimbledon follows hot on the heels (or wellies) of the #GlastonburyAtHome hashtag, as thousands of Glasto goers recreated the festival in their own gardens and front rooms to watch the legends, and look ahead to summer 2021.