CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Where the tennis stars eat, drink and sleep at Wimbledon

PUBLISHED: 12:13 24 June 2013 | UPDATED: 07:52 05 July 2013

An aerial shot of the world famous tennis grounds (Photo AELTC)

An aerial shot of the world famous tennis grounds (Photo AELTC)

Various

Every June, the bars, restaurants and boutiques of Wimbledon Village buzz with the stars of the sport

Need to know:

What: The Championships Wimbledon

Where: The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Church Road, Wimbledon SW19 5AE

When: Monday June 24 to Sunday July 7

How: Each day, approximately 500 Centre, No.1 and No.2 Court tickets are specifically reserved for sale at the turnstiles (with the exception of the last four days) along with ground tickets. Grounds open at 10.30am each day. Ticket re-sales start from 3pm with the money donated to charity. In addition, several hundred Centre and No.3 Court tickets will be sold online on the day before play via Ticketmaster (on sale at 9am).

More info at: www.wimbledon.com

***

For 50 weeks a year, Wimbledon Village is so charmingly sleepy it’s difficult to comprehend that it’s only 20 minutes from central London.

Sure, the chic shops, quaint cafés and bustling bars are deserving of a trendy corner of the capital, but trundle past those and you’ll soon be enveloped by the sparse countryside of Wimbledon Common, where locals ride horses and Wellington-boot wearing dog walkers launch sticks in all directions. That unique ‘town meets country’ feel is just as strong during the Wimbledon fortnight, even if it does feel like the capital has deposited all its residents there.

Across the two weeks, tens of thousands of people turn the Village into a mini-metropolis during their trip to the world’s greatest tennis tournament, in their search for food, drink and shopping. Naturally, that makes things rather more hectic in this historic Georgian and Victorian conservation area, but it’s a time that local businesses very much look forward to.

“It’s really fantastic,” says Adrian Mills, who owns restaurant Thai Tho with his wife, Nicky. “Having the focus of the world on your particular small area for a tournament that is so revered is phenomenal. But then I’m biased because I love tennis and it’s brilliant for business.”

Village people

Even in spite of the volume of fans that descend on the Village either side of play at the All England Club, the players – who are usually accustomed to city-based tournaments – are just as appreciative of the Village community and all it has to offer. Many are restaurant regulars in and around the fortnight, satisfying their enormous appetites after a hard day’s hitting on those famous lawns.

“Venus Williams called Thai Tho her favourite restaurant in Wimbledon Village,” beams Mills, pointing to a small article in the window that verifies his claim before dropping another big name. “Maria Sharapova came here for the first time in 2004,” he continues. “She came every single night with her father (stir fried beef and egg fried rice was the chosen dish), and each time she came she won her next game. She went on to win the tournament that year and as a result she’s got very fond memories. She comes back every year.”

A tennis fan who played the game socially for many years “until age caught up with me”, Mills is adamant that players are treated in exactly the same way as any other customer. He recounts one memory where Serena and Venus Williams were repeatedly turned away because his restaurant was full, only for the pair – who have numerous Wimbledon titles between them – to continue to loiter outside until they finally got their table. “The golden rule is that everybody is treated exactly the same,” insists Mills. “You may well be a megastar tennis player, but you will get the same level of service, the same courtesy, the same quality as every other customer.”

That may well be the case, but Mills does admit to one occasion where he couldn’t help but feel a little star-struck.

“We had one particular day when we had Sharapova, Serena and Venus, Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Brad Gilbert all in at the same time, plus probably half a dozen other players that I’ve seen but I can’t name,” he remembers. “I said to my wife, ‘it will never get better than this moment’.

“What’s really nice is that the players don’t get harassed. You don’t have autograph books constantly thrust in front of them. They come out, have a nice meal, say ‘I’ll be back’ – and they are.” Game on For many years, that’s exactly what some of the biggest names in tennis have enjoyed most about the idyllic Village within a mile of their grass battleground. An easy escape from their frantic world, it’s a place that leaves them perfectly-primed to get back to business the next day.

*** With thanks to tennishead for their help with this article (see www.tennishead.net).

***

Star-spotting in the Village…

“The benefit of being the only four-star boutique hotel so close to the courts is that a number of tennis players and their families have either visited or stayed here in the past – the Williams sisters, the Bryan Brothers, Maria Sharapova, Tim Henman. Boris Becker and his family quite often pop in for drinks too.“

- Isabel Hargreaves, director of sales and marketing, Cannizaro House

“Last year, Roger Federer had an epic five-set match and the player that almost beat him was in here after. We’ve had Jamie Murray visit us too. The players we know best though are the Williams sisters. Last time, Serena was in here a few times having a quiet, healthy green tea. Then, after winning both the singles and the doubles, the sisters celebrated with all their friends, family and tennis team.”

- Mike Mitchell, director and general manager, Hemingways lounge bar

“A lot of the players’ wives, girlfriends and coaches come riding with us during the fortnight. Martina Hinges, who had her own horses at home, would come riding every year during the tournament. It was so exciting the year that she won! Boris Becker’s young daughter has ridden here as well. ”

- Carol Andrews, owner, the Wimbledon Village Stables

More from Surrey Life

Yesterday, 16:06

Education expert Dr Ryan Hinchey, Coordinator of College Counselling at ACS International School, with campuses in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, answers your questions

Read more
Yesterday, 11:34

Surrounded by reservoirs and located on the banks of the famous river from which it takes its name, Staines-upon-Thames (as it is now called) is a town working to reshape its future and celebrate its picturesque riverside setting

Read more
Mon, 16:30

She may have recently moved to the seaside, but Surrey still holds a uniquely “precious” place in the heart of legendary children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson – not to mention the crucial role the county played in bringing everyone’s favourite and newly-returning feisty foster-kid to life

Read more
Mon, 11:59

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (23, 24 and 25 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search