WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — For Viv Kean, and thousands of tennis fans like her, the Wimbledon experience always starts in a tent.
In a small park across from the tournament grounds, they gather to camp out for days. The reward is being woken up at 5 a.m. by stewards, then spending hours standing patiently in line to get herded into the All England Club.
And hopefully, after all that waiting, a ticket to Centre Court.
That’s life in “The Queue,” a decades-old Wimbledon tradition that has grown to become its own phenomenon, as much a part of the tennis tournament as strawberries and cream.
Kean, a 69-year-old from northwest London, wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“I’ve been coming every year since 1983, except one,” Kean said, sitting in a camping chair outside her tent. “I spent my 50th birthday and my 60th birthday out here. It’s almost more about the queue than about the tennis these days.”
Kean was among more than 2,000 people who showed up to Wimbledon Park last Friday night hoping to be there early enough to get tickets to one of the top courts. Not for Saturday’s third-round matches — but Monday’s fourth round.
For some of them, even that wasn’t early enough. Only about…