On the first day of Wimbledon 2023, fans endured exceptionally long queues and expressed their dissatisfaction with the organization as heightened security checks slowed down the entry process, leading to frustrated attendees leaving the event.
Over 12,000 people patiently queued in Wimbledon Park, adjacent to the grounds, with some even camping overnight to secure their place in line.
Wimbledon officials explained that the increased security measures were implemented in response to protests from the Just Stop Oil group during recent sporting events.
Chrys Meade, one of the disappointed fans, shared her experience with the BBC, stating, “We have missed a whole day of play. I would never ever do it again. We were told it was unexpected numbers, but why are you letting people in to queue? Then they are telling us security was not enough to cope with the numbers. We’re just obviously disappointed. It’s four o’clock, and we are nowhere near the front yet.”
Although play began at 11:00 BST, organizers advised potential attendees not to travel to join the queue shortly before noon.
The queue has traditionally been a part of the Wimbledon experience, with 500 tickets available for each of the main three courts—Centre Court, Court One, and Court Two. Additional fans have the option to purchase ground passes to watch matches on the outside courts.
Last year, the queue returned to Wimbledon after being unused in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 tournament.
Previously, Just Stop Oil activists disrupted the first day of the second Ashes Test between England and Australia at Lord’s. They also staged similar protests at the rugby union Premiership final, the World Snooker Championship, and caused a delay at the Grand National race this year.
An All England Club spokesperson acknowledged that the increased security measures had slowed down the entry process, stating, “There has been high demand from members of the public to join the queue on day one at Wimbledon. Understandably, our security team on the gates are conducting an enhanced bag check operation. While there has been a steady stream of guests entering the grounds since gates opened at 10am, entry via the queue has been at a slower rate than in previous years as a result of these checks. We sincerely thank guests in the queue for their patience and understanding.”
The Wimbledon Twitter account also advised potential attendees not to travel to Wimbledon, as the grounds were expected to reach capacity, meaning those already in the queue would face several hours of waiting for admission.
Some fans criticized the lack of communication and facilities available. Becky Deeming, who arrived to queue at 3:45 am, gained entry to the grounds at 1:15 pm. She shared her experience with the PA news agency, stating, “There was no water, nowhere to sit, it was the longest queue. Everyone around us had done it multiple times, and they said, ‘We have never seen it like this.’ People were getting up and leaving.”
Play was suspended on all courts for a rain delay on Monday afternoon.
Despite the frustrations and disappointments, Wimbledon will continue until July 16, featuring matches involving seven-time men’s champion Novak Djokovic, five-time women’s champion Venus Williams, and other notable players such as Andy Murray and Elena Rybakina.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wimbledon 2023, queue delays, frustration, security checks
What caused the long entry delays at Wimbledon 2023?
The long entry delays at Wimbledon 2023 were primarily caused by increased security checks implemented in response to protests by the Just Stop Oil group during recent sporting events. The organizers prioritized the safety and security of attendees, resulting in a slower entry process.
Why did frustrated fans leave the queue?
Frustrated fans left the queue at Wimbledon 2023 due to the lengthy delays and heightened security checks. Some attendees felt disappointed and chose to leave the event as they felt the wait was too long and the facilities provided were inadequate.
How did the protests by the Just Stop Oil group impact Wimbledon?
The protests by the Just Stop Oil group at various sporting events, including Wimbledon, led to an increase in security measures. These measures were implemented to ensure the safety of the event and its attendees, but they also resulted in longer queues and entry delays.
What was the response from Wimbledon officials regarding the entry delays?
Wimbledon officials acknowledged the challenges faced by attendees due to the entry delays. They explained that the enhanced bag check operation and increased security measures led to a slower entry rate than in previous years. The officials expressed their gratitude to the fans for their patience and understanding.
Were there any other disruptions during the first day of Wimbledon 2023?
Apart from the entry delays, there was also a rain delay on the first day of Wimbledon 2023. Play was suspended on all courts for more than an hour due to the unfavorable weather conditions. This further added to the challenges faced by organizers and attendees.
More about Wimbledon 2023, queue delays, frustration, security checks
- BBC: Wimbledon 2023: Queue criticised by fans after long entry delays on day one
- Wimbledon Official Website
- Just Stop Oil group protests
- Metropolitan Police statement
- [Train travel disruption warning](provide relevant link if available)