29 June 2018

Our lucky Wimbledon Ballot winners!

Jill McLaughlin, Simon Gravatt, Linda Watson

Every year we invite our BTM registered players to take part in the BTM Wimbledon Ballot. Now you may be thinking what are the chances of success? Well this year 268 Local Tennis League players won the chance to buy a pair of tickets. We caught up with some of our lucky winners to find out how their excitement is building. 

Jill McLaughlin (pictured above) played in our very first round in Highbury Fields in 2005, and has been participating in the leagues ever since. Having been fortunate enough to attend Wimbledon several times before, Jill gives us an insight into her typical day out at the Championships. 

"I have been lucky enough to go several times  - I first went as a teenager back in the early 70's on a trip organised by my school. I have also been to the US and Australian Open tennis, both of which are great, but I still love Wimbledon, it is such a good day out…provided the good weather holds.

I am most looking forward to seeing good tennis both on Court 1 where I have tickets but also on the outside courts.  I also enjoy watching doubles. And of course, we will be taking an Ottolenghi picnic to enjoy with a glass of Pimms!

I enjoy watching all the leading players, providing they don’t grunt too much or serve so strongly that it is just boring.  A good exciting game with some clever net play and a little humour - fantastic.  

Taking part in my Local Tennis League has not only given me the chance to win Wimbledon tickets but also provided me with an opportunity to play tennis with different people.  I am particularly enjoying the seniors league at Highbury and Highgate, I call it the Freedom Pass League! I also enjoy the doubles - it is fabulous exercise and good fun."

Simon Gravatt (pictured right) has tested his tennis playing credentials in several of our London leagues, and was delighted to see  his success on the court replicated in the Wimbledon ballot. 

"I’ve been fortunate to go to Wimbledon many times before. I have queued from the early hours of the morning, I have had hospitality seats, been lucky in the public ballot and, best of all, this is the third time I’ve got tickets through the Local Leagues ballot. It will be the first time I’ve had seats on Court 2 though, which I’m looking forward to.

It is always exciting to think you could be seeing a future champion play their first ever Wimbledon. Alongside this I enjoy watching the British players and junior or lower ranked players close-up on the outside courts. It’s a salutary reminder that, high though the standard of the Wandsworth local league tennis may be, it is not quite at the same level.

Like the professionals at Wimbledon, I do enjoy winning. I particularly enjoy the increasingly rare occasions when I manage to scrap a victory against a better player who is twenty or thirty years my junior. The great thing about Local Leagues is the opportunity to play competitive tennis at your own level and in your time."

Linda Watson, a long standing Meadows League, Edinburgh player, seems to have luck on her side when it comes to Wimbledon tickets, as she explains:

I started singing "I'm so lucky" when I realised I had been successful in the Ballot for the 5th year running! I've seen some fantastic tennis over the years but what I look forward to most is soaking up the fantastic atmosphere throughout the day.

My favourite player is Dustin Brown, I love his unique style and the many trick shots he plays are always entertaining to watch... Of course, it is always great to see the big stars too. 

I joined my first league eight years ago and have enjoyed playing a diverse range of opposition during this time. I met the LTL team on a tennis holiday in Italy which was also great fun.

So how do you ensure you’re included in the 2019 Ballot?

There are just four easy steps you need to follow:

  1. Sign up for  British Tennis Membership (if you don’t already have one).
  2. Associate your British Tennis Membership with Local Tennis Leagues on the LTA website.
  3. Make sure you have played in one of our leagues since the middle of February of the previous year.
  4. Don't forget to opt in to the ballot, when prompted, on the LTA website via your British Tennis Membership account.

Good luck!