Saturday, 7 July 2012

Playing, Watching, and Drawing Tennis

Every year for a few brief weeks, tennis fever grips the nation as we proudly watch our British players try and inevitably fail to get to the final of Wimbledon. But whaddya know - THIS YEAR HE'S GONE AND DONE IT!!! Andy Murray is through to the final, and win or lose, he's achieved something special. As a true part-time tennis fan, I've picked up a racquet myself and gone out on my local courts, trying to emulate our British number one. My closest place to play is Hilly Fields, which is also a great place to sketch, there are some fantastic panoramas of surrounding London and Kent, and I'll be returning there soon when there's some good weather for more drawing.

I like the building in the background, which is actually a college.

I used to play tennis regularly, but its been a couple of years now since my last game. Living in London though, you can't beat the real thing, and Wimbledon is only 40 minutes away from me by tube/train. On Wednesday I went down there to try and see some of the men's quarter finals. I got to see Roger Federer warming up on an outside court, but the real attraction was Andy Murray's match.

To get in to Centre Court, unless you've booked way in advance, then you need to queue up for resales. Anyone who leaves early hands in their ticket, and they're then resold cheaply, with profits going to charity.

The sun sticker was a bit optimistic

We arrived at 10am, and were queuing all day. It was such a long wait that I felt I could attempt an ambitious drawing- the view from just above 'Henman Hill', of Centre Court and surrounding courts, with Wimbledon town in the background. I had a good feeling about this sketch, but unfortunately I didn't reckon on a) frequent bouts of pouring rain and b) I wasn't supposed to leave the resale queue for longer than 15 minutes at a time, so I didn't get to finish, which I was annoyed about.


But finally, at 5pm, we got tickets in time for the end of the 2nd set of Murray's quarter final, right at the turning point of the match. The atmosphere was electric, unlike anything I've been to before.

taken during a break, but the match itself was packed full

It was a very tense match, and it was hard to concentrate on drawing when the game was so absorbing, but I managed pretty well, doing the majority in between points and during a rain break. I finished the colour off at home.

This was my third time visiting Wimbledon, but the first on Centre Court, and it was definitely worth the queuing.

I may even go back down on Sunday just to sit on Henman Hill and watch the final, but I'm not sure I'll have the steadiness of nerves for more drawing - I'll be too busy shouting "Come on Andy!"



  1. Wonderful drawings Nathan - showing the true dedication of the urban sketcher - sketching while the ball is still in play!

    I'm going to share this post on my MakingAMark Facebook page.

  2. Really like this series of sketches.

  3. Beautiful sketches Nathan, tells a great story.


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