Thursday 22 March 2018

US tennis fan's spontaneous 36-hour Wimbledon trip to see Serena sail to victory

Allison Creekmore, 41, from New York flew overnight from her home city to London after buying a ticket for Centre Court
Allison Creekmore, 41, from New York flew overnight from her home city to London after buying a ticket for Centre Court

A diehard Serena Williams fan cancelled her own tennis matches and jetted across the Atlantic to watch the defending champion in action after snapping up a last-minute ticket for Wimbledon's People's Sunday.

Allison Creekmore soaked up the atmosphere on Centre Court after flying from her home in New York on Saturday evening for a whistlestop 36-hour trip to London.

The 41-year-old American had been due to play against two friends over the weekend, but dropped everything after managing to get a ticket.

She jumped on an overnight flight at 7pm local time and after landing at Heathrow at 6.30am on Sunday, dropped her bags at a nearby hotel before dashing to SW19 for the day's play - her first time to Wimbledon.

After seeing US 27th seed Coco Vandeweghe overcome Italian Roberta Vinci, she settled in to watch Williams take on Germany's Annika Beck.

But the world number one dismantled Beck in just 51 minutes, 6-3, 6-0.

Despite it taking Miss Creekmore 10 times longer to get Wimbledon from her Manhattan home than it did for Williams to demolish Beck, she had no sour grapes that the star did not stretch the match out longer.

She said: "Who cares - I'm happy just to see her win and advance. It's been a fun Wimbledon to watch so far, and I certainly didn't imagine yesterday morning when I woke up that I would be watching today's in person."

She added: "I am a big fan of Serena's, I have been for years. I love the fire in the way she plays, I love the way that she has a strong, athletic body, and she serves as inspiration for us recreational players on the court. It's always fun to see her play."

Miss Creekmore, who works for a sports website group, made her impulsive decision on Saturday morning after seeing a tweet suggesting people had time to buy a ticket and hop on a plane.

She said: "I thought, 'Oh, I could totally do that'. So when the tickets went on sale at 3pm British time I went on Ticketmaster and tried to get one."

She initially tried for Court 1 tickets but eventually managed to get one for Centre Court.

She was even willing to come over for just a grounds ticket, despite the chance of another washout, but was delighted with her Centre Court result.

Miss Creekmore said: "With all the rain there's been this past week, knowing that I'd have matches to watch, even if the skies opened up today, was a big relief."

She added: "It was crazy. I'm not necessarily a spontaneous person, it might be one of the craziest things I've ever done, but I've always wanted to come to Wimbledon.

"I'm a huge tennis fan, I play a lot of tennis and had to reschedule two different tennis matches I was supposed to play with friends over the weekend to come here.

"But the best excuse I think for bailing on people to play tennis is to say, 'Hey, I'm going to Wimbledon.' They all understood."

Her first trip to Wimbledon left her with the same impression formed by millions of other overseas visitors.

"It's very British," she said. "There's lots of ivy everywhere and it's quite small compared to the Arthur Ashe stadium at the US Open."

But she has already taken the Championships' traditions to her heart, saying: "The Pimm's is excellent. I understand now why the guys I sat next to had two each."

After her brief visit, Miss Creekmore will catch a plane home at 5pm on Monday, back just in time for work on Tuesday morning.

Press Association

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