Game, set and match
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Better known as Wimbledon, the London suburb where this sporting mecca stands.
For two weeks of the year, all eyes are turned in this direction for the grand slam championships played on neatly clipped grass courts.
Dermot and I decided to take a tour, with Andy Murray’s famous victory a recent memory. We found it slumbering after its moment in the sunshine, bereft of tennis players, their fans and the whole media hubbub.
This was a lesson in how the magic of television changes perceptions. Hallowed Centre Court, a temple of tennis achievement with its great retractable roof, was a mere shadow with its seating snugly swaddled. And it looks considerably smaller in the flesh. Oddly enough, neighbouring Court One feels more capacious and like a sporting stadium.
And Henman Hill (or is it Murray Mound?) which is packed with big screen spectators during the championships, seemed empty with its manicured lawns and water features fully exposed – and hugely downsized compared to the wide angle marvels rendered by TV cameras.
It’s a complex that’s been changed and expanded down the years, and didn’t feel as familiar out of season and in real life. But it remains a sporting treasure and one we are lucky to have here in London.