Wimbledon supporters have voiced their criticism of the queue organization due to the implementation of heightened security checks, resulting in slow entry and prompting some fans to leave.
Over 12,000 individuals were waiting in the queue at Wimbledon Park, adjacent to the grounds, with several having camped overnight.
Wimbledon officials explained that the security measures were intensified following protests by the Just Stop Oil group at previous sporting events.
Chrys Meade expressed disappointment, stating, “We have missed an entire day of play, and I would never do it again.”
Despite play commencing at 11:00 BST, organizers advised people not to travel to join the queue shortly before midday.
The queue has become a cherished Wimbledon tradition, offering 500 tickets for the main courts (Centre Court, Court One, and Court Two), with additional ground passes available for the outside courts.
Last year, the queue was reinstated after being unused in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also led to the cancellation of the 2020 tournament.
Just Stop Oil activists previously disrupted the second Ashes Test between England and Australia at Lord’s, in addition to protesting at the rugby union Premiership final, the World Snooker Championship, and causing a delay during the Grand National race this year.
An All England Club spokesperson acknowledged that the increased security measures were contributing to slower entry, expressing gratitude for the patience and understanding of guests in the queue.
However, some fans criticized the lack of communication and inadequate facilities. Becky Deeming, who arrived at 3:45 am, shared her experience of the longest queue without access to water or seating, witnessing others leaving in frustration.
Wimbledon’s Operations Director, Michelle Dite, attributed the delays to additional bag checks conducted by security.
Dite emphasized the thorough review of operations and expedited ticket sales to ensure a smoother process.
Sally Bolton, Chief Executive of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, assured journalists that there is a 100% bag search and selective body search at all gates, with security measures enhanced throughout the grounds.
The Wimbledon Twitter account warned that those already in the queue could expect several hours of waiting due to the grounds reaching capacity.
The Metropolitan Police announced a comprehensive policing operation for the championships to prevent crime and disorder and respond effectively to any incidents.
Train travel disruptions were also anticipated as the train drivers’ union, Aslef, announced the withdrawal of non-contractual overtime with 16 of the country’s 35 rail operators for six days starting Monday.
Despite a rain delay that halted play on Centre Court and the outside courts for over an hour, seven-time men’s champion Novak Djokovic and five-time women’s champion Venus Williams participated in matches on Monday.
The Wimbledon tournament will continue until July 16, featuring two-time champion Andy Murray and reigning women’s champion Elena Rybakina among the participants on Tuesday.
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