The world's greatest tennis tournament may be known for elite athletes, celebrity spectators and strawberries and cream, but for many Wimbledon is also about queues, tents and takeaways.
It's one of the few sporting events that holds premium tickets to be sold on the day of play, and a little knowledge and patience can land you a courtside seat for some of the tournament's biggest matches. From the order of play to getting your hands on those tickets, here's what you need to know about Wimbledon in 2022.
When is Wimbledon?
The two-week event, hosted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, begins this year on Monday June 27 and runs to Sunday July 10. It's watched by millions around the world, and by up to 39,000 spectators each day. You can become one of the latter by joining the Queue – so important it gets its own capital letter – on the day of play or (for the very best tickets) the day before. There was no public ballot for tickets in 2022, with successful applicants from 2020's cancelled event being offered tickets instead. If you're one of the lucky ticket holders from the 2020 ballot, be sure to have access to your myWimbledon account or app on your smart phone and bring photo ID with you.
What's new in 2022?
The Championships have been held since 1877, and tennis's oldest tournament is steeped in history and tradition. One big change this year is that the event will take place over 14 days, with play happening on the Middle Sunday, a day where play was previously not scheduled to take place. There will also be no Russian or Belarusian players at the tournament, as they have been banned from taking part following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The 14&U Junior Championships will take place for the first time with play happening in the second week. There's also a centenary to celebrate: the iconic Centre Court – the centerpiece of Wimbledon's drama – is honored in the 100 Years of Change exhibit, recognizing the social and cultural progress that has taken place since the court opened in this location in 1922. It's free to ticket holders.
Who is playing where?
To find out where (and roughly when) particular players are on court, search the following day's scheduled matches on the Order of Play, which is published on the tournament's website each evening. Foul weather can scupper the best-laid plans, unless they involve Centre Court or Court No.1 – retractable roofs have guaranteed play on each since 2009 and 2019 respectively.
It's currently not clear if eight-time champion Roger Federer will be playing at Wimbledon this year, and an appearance from Andy Murray, who sustained an injury in the recent final of the Stuttgart Open, is also not confirmed. Novak Djokovic, winner of six Wimbledon Men's Singles titles and reigning champion, is expected to play, as is Rafael Nadal, who has won two Grand Slams already in 2022.
Following a recent injury, London local Emma Raducanu's appearance is still uncertain. Serena Williams will be playing in the singles tournament after a year off. She could be up against players such as Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova and Naomi Osaka. A full list of competitors will be available from June 27.
What are the different types of Wimbledon tickets?
Every day at the Championships there are thousands of "Grounds Admission" passes available, allowing incredibly close access to all 14 of the non-ticketed "outside" courts. If budget is key, the most affordable option is the grounds pass. During the first six days of play, when the "outside" courts are alive with big names, the pass costs just £27. Prices drop after 5pm and during the second week when fewer matches are on display.
During each of the first nine days of play, there are 500 or so of the best courtside seats within the famed Centre Court held for sale (with similar allocations for Court No.1 and Court No.2). The tickets for these three "show" courts are good for the entire day, which typically means three matches. Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of interest.
How do you get a ticket on the day through the Queue?
Queuing is a marvelous British institution and, as one would expect at the All England Club, it is done with style and grace. If you hope to purchase tickets on the day, head to the lush lawns of Wimbledon Park (opposite the All England Club), where charming stewards politely guide visitors into the Queue. Once the embossed queue card is in hand, it's simply a waiting game.
You can arrive throughout the day if you're hoping to procure grounds passes, but it's advisable to get in line a few hours before the grounds open at 10am if you want to catch a full day of matches. It is possible to fit in a full day of work and still catch some evening matches if you arrive shortly after 5pm, though this depends on the weather (it's less busy when cloudy) and who is on court (Federer, Nadal and Serena Williams clog the turnstiles).
What about waiting overnight for Centre Court and Court No.1 tickets?
The demand for Centre Court and Court No.1 tickets is such that it is necessary to join the Queue the day before play (by 7am for a chance at Centre Court) – come prepared with toiletries, a small two-person tent, mattress and sleeping bag. Campers are well catered for on the lawns, with numerous toilets and various options for hot food, including patrolling salespeople for takeaways (they deliver right to the park gate). Once you've set up camp you can enjoy the park's surroundings (weather permitting) – throw a Frisbee, play football, or simply lounge on the grass by your tent with a good book. It's also possible to nip into Southfields for a coffee, quick meal or to buy groceries, but check in with a steward beforehand.
A cheery blue-blazer brigade of stewards will wake campers at precisely 6am. It doesn't matter if they've had a poor night's sleep, excitement and anticipation is everywhere. After the tents have come down and camping kit has been safely stored in the park's left luggage facility (£5 charge, card only), colored wristbands are issued for each of the show courts. If you're in the first 500 in the Queue your choice of court is almost guaranteed, while those further down are relying on a little luck.
As everyone is now aware who they'll be watching on court, the enthusiasm continues to build within the lines of soon-to-be spectators as they meander closer and closer to the entry gates. Note: payments must be made by credit or debit card. With money spent, tickets in hand and giggles in tow, you should spill through the turnstiles and into the grounds at 10:30am. Matches begin on the outside courts at 11am, with show courts starting at 1pm.
In 2022, the Queue for the Championship starts at 2pm on Sunday June 26.
How much are tickets?
Prices vary depending on which court and where you're sitting (there are two price bands). Whether you are longing to see your favorite player in action, or more interested in simply taking in the historic atmosphere of Wimbledon's most celebrated court, keep in mind that ticket prices for show courts increase each successive day. The cost of a seat on Centre Court rises from £75 on the opening Monday to £240 on the final days of the tournament. If money is no object, you can buy resale Debenture Seating tickets, which start from £1000.
What's it like once you're in?
Stroll around the outside courts to absorb the atmosphere, whether observing the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Sharapova warming up, or by watching other players doing battle on the grass in early matches. As 1pm approaches, take a big breath and walk into tennis' most hallowed ground. Relish in all that internal oohing and ahhing as your eyes race around the historic surroundings – you made it!
How is COVID-19 affecting Wimbledon 2022?
In 2021, Wimbledon ran as part of the Government's Events Research Programme, with strict entry requirements relating to COVID-19. This year, as part of the Conditions of Entry, ticket holders must acknowledge that the risk of catching COVID-19 remains.
When is the public ballot for Wimbledon 2023?
Wimbledon 2023 is scheduled to take place from Monday July 3 to Sunday July 16. Information about the public ballot will be available online and through myWimbledon accounts from August 2022.