Normally a summer tradition in the borough of Merton, Wimbledon was sorely missed by many in 2020 after falling victim to the pandemic, but you could say that's made this year's return all the sweeter.

People travelled from all over the country to attend this year's Championships, so the Wimbledon Times tagged along for a day to see what all the fuss was about.

A massive event for tennis fans and part of life for locals, this year's event saw large crowds, face masks off and some brilliant tennis, here's what we found.

Travelling to and from the Championships through Wimbledon Station, every pub, shop, station platform to lamppost is covered in flags, logos or tennis items of some kind.

Wimbledon Times:

Whilst the large increase in traffic must be a pain for some locals, you do get the sense of a true festival atmosphere, if quite a middle-class one at that.

An army of stewards and bus diversions greeted you upon entrance, but the sheer grandeur and sense of greatness, from the ivy decorating the buildings to the iconic sights of Centre Court and even the Order of Play sign.

Whilst quiet at first except for camera men and officials dotted around, the crowds quickly grew, and an hour before Djokovic took to Centre Court Henman's Hill was close to full, and long streams of people walking Pimms in hand filled every walkway.

Wimbledon Times:

The maximum capacity of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club is around 42,000, but this year that has been capped to around 22,000 for social distancing.

But despite the crowd capacity, once you'd presented proof of a negative lateral flow test and entered the grounds, you would have been entirely forgiven for forgetting there was a pandemic ongoing.

And due to it being part of a Government Pilot, once sat down watching tennis there are no mask requirements. For the second day running, Centre Court housed a full crowd of 15,000, an emotional moment for the fans and players of the sport.

We also spoke to some of the lucky attendees on the Wednesday of the Championships, who had come from across the country to attend tennis's most prestigious event.

One couple said they'd travelled from Epsom to attend in celebration of a birthday.

Susan had just turned 67 on the day of the Men's quarter-finals, and partner Rhett, 72, said it was "such a great way to celebrate."

Wimbledon Times:

"The quality of play and the amazing grounds, it's very good to be back."

But the couple did say that facing such large crowds for the first time in at least 18 months had been a little bit of a shock.

"It's a little scary, we haven't crowds like this in so long.

"It is a little bit uncomfortable, you're meant to be wearing face masks everywhere except sitting down on court or when eating, but of course no is really policing those rules."

Susan added: "But we expected it, and after it's so great to be back, and for my birthday!"

The furthest traveller the Wimbledon Times spoke to, and also the most excited to attend this year's Wimbledon, was 59-year-old Ivan Porteous, who travelled down for Stockon-on-Tees.

And trekking around 280 miles to attend for the first ever time, he told his wife the night before that it "felt like Christmas Eve did when I was six."

Wearing in an England top, Ivan said there was "no chance he'd be leaving early" if the games continued past the start of England's 8pm match against Denmark.

Wimbledon Times:

"It's so brilliant, I've been waiting so long to come and this year they had the ballot.

"It is odd, love to see the crowds. To be honest the busiest bit was the Tube on the way here, and that's to be expected."

As part of the day, we did try some strawberries and cream out of a sense of duty, and despite the large queues for the iconic Wimbledon snack, you can't argue with the taste.

Many of those attending were dressed to the nines, with many of them attending their first sporting event in over two years.

And it was a wonderful day for it, with the rain staving off for the men's quarter finals, which saw Djokovic trounce Hungary's Fucsovics and and Federer losing to Hurkacz in possibly his last ever Wimbledon.

Jonathan, 50, and Sioux, 48, travelled from Hampshire to attend for their third time, and said it was "really good to be back."

Wimbledon Times:

The couple said it had been "some time" since they had been in London, but both know the event well, with Jonathan previously living in Wimbledon Village and Sioux in Southfields.

"It's Wimbledon, no one ever had a problem with it being local because it's just such an iconic event," said Jonathan.

Sioux added that they "absolutely loved" being here, mainly thanks to the atmosphere and sheer quality of tennis played.

Helen, in her 50s, was working at the event as a steward, controlling the crowds and offering help, and despite not catching much of the tennis due to work, she was "really enjoying it."

"It's so lovely to see people again, so many excited faces and it's lovely, especially as we're outside so you feel you can breathe."

Taking about the crowd sizes, she said: "I think people are very happy with the 50% capacity inside the grounds, and feel much safer for it.

"Today has been the worst (July 7), and right now, an hour before the Centre Match, is the worst, lots of bottlenecks! But it's still so much fun."