Wimbledon fans rally together in queue after ramped-up security checks left hundreds waiting for 9 HOURS with no toilets | The Sun

WIMBLEDON fans have rallied together after ramped-up security checks forced them to queue for nine hours with no toilets – as more disruption was forecast ahead of today's play.

Many people missed out on seeing any action on the annual tennis showpiece event's opening day due to a security crackdown aimed at preventing any Just Stop Oil protests.

And similar problems are expected today as two-time Wimbledon champion Sir Andy Murray gets into action on Centre Court in his first round match against fellow Brit Ryan Peniston.

People patiently waiting to get into the All England Lawn Tennis Club grounds also face the prospect of getting soaked with the Met Office predicting heavy downpours.

Yet spectators tried to keep each other's spirits up despite the queue for on-the-day tickets being condemned as a "complete shambles".

Some even brought along a sofa to sit on while waiting, eating strawberries in style as per tournament tradition.

Read More On Wimbledon

Murray on Centre Court TODAY in all-Brit clash, Katie Boulter in action

Reigning champ Novak Djokovic practises with son on first day of Wimbledon

This year's extra airport-style security measures include a "100 per cent bag search" and "selective body search" at all gates.

The crackdown comes amid fears of protests by climate change activists following recent stunts such as at the 2nd Ashes cricket Test between England and Australia at Lord's last week.

That saw England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow lift up and carry away an orange powder-wielding intruder.

There were similar scenes at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield in April.

Most read in The Sun


Amy Nuttall is BACK with love rat husband and issues seven rules he must obey


Capt Tom Moore's daughter 'used charity name to build spa complex at pad'


Moment man tries to smash into home after chasing woman he attacked inside


UK's richest TV presenter revealed with £18m fortune – and it isn't Ant or Dec

Wimbledon officials were checking for paint, coloured powders and glue after adding them to a banned list for the first time this year.

They have also reportedly been confiscating sun cream, deodorant and metal water bottles from people on the way in at SW19.

Undercover police spotters were also on the scene, but Wimbledon regulars described the queues and delays as the "worst they have ever seen".

Some frustrated fans even ultimately chose to give up and go home.

Queuers' "patience and understanding" was praised, however, by the AELTC, who said: "Understandably, our security team on the gates are conducting an enhanced bag check operation.

"While there has been a steady stream of guests entering the grounds since gates opened at 10am, entry via the queue has been at a slower rate than in previous years as a result of these checks.'"

The club's chief executive Sally Bolton said: "As we've seen at other sporting events, we can't guarantee anything.

"But we're extremely confident that the measures we've got in place are the right measures and we are ready to deal with something if it happens."

Yet 30-year-old Filip Reha, who flew to London from the Czech Republic for a fifth Wimbledon visit, said: "This is the worst time I've seen.

"Normally we went here around 8am in the morning and got inside around 12.30pm. This time it's terrible."

The worst queuing experience of my life

Melissa Donaldson, 28 and from Guildford in Surrey, was queuing there for the first time – but eventually gave up in disappointment.

She said: "I was assured by friends, if we get there by 8am then we'd max wait about three hours to get in and would be able to make the first matches,

"I live in Surrey, was up at 5.30am, on a train by 6.30 and arrived at 8am.

"We didn't move from our original spot in the queue for five-and-a-half hours. There was no communication from staff, no statements from Wimbledon. 

"I was number 9,898 in the queue and by 1pm I heard that they hadn't even reached 3,000 so we left. 

"I've been a tennis fan for decades, finally decided to commit to the event, and it was the worst queuing experience of my life.

"It's making us question whether to even bother for future years."

And events manager Becky Deeming, 29 and from London, said she was also put off coming back in future after queuing from 3.45am to 1.15pm with "no water, nowhere to sit".

She added: "Everyone around us had done it multiple times and they said, We have never seen it like this. People were getting up and leaving."

Among those arriving this morning was 40-year-old Nicola Yeadon, from Liverpool, along with mother Val Ormerod, 69, and 37-year-old sister Clare Ormerod.

Nicola, who was around number 1,200 in the queue, said they were hoping to get tickets for Court Two after arriving just before 5am.

She said: "So far it's been moving.

"We were reading all the tweets from yesterday. We've done it for a few years and so far it's the same."

All three are braced for rain with "brollies and macs" at the ready, she added.

Monday saw play suspended on some courts due to afternoon rain, with leaf blowers used on Centre Court to dry the surface for defending champion Novak Djokovic's match against Pedro Cachin – and more is likely to follow.

The Met Office predicted "a mixed day today, with showers or longer spells of rain in places".

It added: "The rain could be heavy at times for southern counties of England in particular.

"Winds lighter than Monday, but still on the cool side for early July."

Read More On The Sun

I made a joke about Ryanair’s cramped seats…I didn’t expect such a savage response

Expert shares five shoes that make you look tacky – Uggs need to go immediately

Among today's other matches are a Court One encounter between British number one Cameron Norrie and the Czech Republic's Tomas Machac.

Other Brits due in action include Katie Boulter, Sonay Kartal, George Loffhagen and Heather Watson.

Source: Read Full Article