x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Tennis is king for one week a year

Second home The Queen's Club in Kensington has a special place in the hearts of many who live in that part of West London.

It is a wonderfully intimate venue which makes Wimbledon, seemingly the most twee of big tennis tournaments, seem like a ravenous sporting behemoth. The Queen's Club in Kensington has a special place in the hearts of many who live in that part of West London. I will not for a minute suggest that it has a universal appeal, or is accessible to everyone. But for some, like myself, it is a like piece of sporting history which seems to only grab the headlines for one week a year when it hosts a warm-up event for Wimbledon.

The Club was founded back in 1866 and was the first multi-purpose sporting venue the world has ever seen. It was named after Queen Victoria, its first patron, and over the years has hosted 25 different sports. Baseball, rugby, international football and ice skating have all taken place there, but tennis is still king. Until 2007 it was home to the headquarters of the Lawn Tennis Association, who sold the club a year earlier for £35 million (Dh212m).

Thankfully, the faces remain the same. This week I have been catching up with people who are strangers for the other 51 weeks of the year, enjoying being able to watch players like Andy Murray at such close quarters and appreciating the beautiful Victorian architecture of the clubhouse. Many people who spend the fortnight in London SW19 like Wimbledon because it is Wimbledon. The people who have been at Queen's this week like tennis, and that is why I love being there.

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