It’s the Little Things That Make Wimbledon Great

Community Spirit

SG Buckley

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Photo by SG Buckley

I walk out my front door and run into my friend Tina. She’s rushing off for the first day of a new job: Wimbledon Driver. Like other people I know, Tina will be carting around the world’s greatest tennis players for the tournament, which starts on July 3.

Locals are always involved in this Grand Slam event. Kids sell lemonade; shops and restaurants decorate windows (see photo above); people in our nameless neighbourhood — so close to the club it should be called Wimbledon Gardens — rent parking spots. Lots of people put up players in their homes.

Our friends, the Hamiltons, let their house to Rafael Nadal in 2010, the year he won his second single’s title. The family took off to Spain where, surrounded by other British tourists, they cheered on Nadal even against UK hero Andy Murray. Nadal was their house guest after all.

Other neighbours have hosted Novak Djokovic, Martina Navratilova, Daniil Medvedev, Conchita Martinez (the year she won) and many others. For more than twenty years, a friend has rented her place to Chris Evert and family. She says her kids have known Chris Evert’s kids since they were little.

All of this gives one of the four Grand Slam tournaments a distinctly small-town feel.

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SG Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.