Having a ball! Wimbledon snapper serves up photo ace

Quirky moments of Wimbledon spectators from outside the champagne and strawberries set craning to catch a glimpse of centre court have been captured by an award-winning photographer.

Photojournalist Kieran Doherty won 1st prize in the World Press Photo Sports stories category for his chronicling of the shadowy corners and spaces packed out with tennis fans.

Mr Doherty snaps not the courtside spectators, or those in hospitality tents and shaded stadiums – he finds the die-hard fans who haven’t managed to nab a ticket and make do with a ground pass.

They start at the crack of dawn, taking their place in a British rite of passage – the Wimbledon queue – and once inside the All England Lawn Tennis Club, drama, tragedy and rain are never far away.

Mr Doherty said: “A ball flying above a fence is often the first glimpse a Ground Admissions pass-holder will have before setting eyes on a court at the Wimbledon Championships.”

Wimbledon Kieran Doherty

Capturing unique moments in an event that tends towards eccentricity is a photographer’s joy and Mr Doherty is clearly inspired by depicting ordinary people as they try to snap a memory or enjoy a finely honed forehand winner.

World Press Photo’s annual acknowledgement of the world’s best photojournalism brings together images laden with depth and emotion.

Searching through the foreground of shaded fedoras an outstretched back hand of a lowly doubles player fails to return the ball.

Wimbledon Kieran Doherty fedoras

Juxtaposing light and shade through a one-off angle is made even more dramatic as the famous foliage of Centre Court dominates the background.

Most ground pass holders can judge the success of their day by the quality of their spot on Henman hill. Or Murray mound as some prefer.

A whole day can be spent fighting gravity as you slide bottom first into your neighbour’s picnic below.

When Murray is on Centre Court expect raucous patriotism that may spill over into pimms fuelled cries of despair.

Wimbledon Kieran crowd

This photograph showing the breaking sun through grey clouds could be symbolic of Murray’s 2013 Wimbledon success following 77 years of hurt.

Positioning himself at Court Three’s gangway entrance, Mr Doherty steps back to include the spectators and their urgent pressing of camera shutters.

It’s a nod to the moments fans hysterically try to capture a moment of tennis history despite their poor view points.

Wimbledon Kieron court three

The gangway perfectly frames the release of the player’s toss in sharp focus, representing the clarity of televised tennis and the blurred, unseen masses who gather before it.

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