The Wimbledon Championship easily ranks as the most reputed tennis tournament worldwide. Yet, as much as it is renowned today, going back in history shows us that it started from humble beginnings.
So, how did this tournament climb the charts to become the tennis world's equivalent of the Super Bowl?
First, let's take a look at what this popular event is all about.
Origins Of Wimbledon Championship
Wimbledon Championships get their name from the locality of Wimbledon in London, England. The tournament is played on the courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and has been the hosting location for this tournament ever since it started in 1877
The first tournament was held on the croquet lawns of the same club, originally known as the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club.
The tournament was expanded to introduce a women's championship in 1884, followed by a men's doubles championship, which was moved to Oxford.
Initially, the Wimbledon Championships were quite different from the format played today. Hence, the field consisted of 22 amateur players who would pay to enter the tournament for 11 shillings.
Furthermore, roughly 200 spectators watched the final match, as Spencer Gore won this first-ever iteration of Wimbledon.
In the tennis world, four other significant tournaments are classified as majors:
- The US Open
- The Australian Open
- The French Open
The British version refrains from assuming the nation's name because Wimbledon has its own traditions that set it apart from the other three tournaments.
For instance, it is the only major tournament with strictly grass-court action since its inception in 1877. In contrast, the American and Australian competitions take place on harder surfaces.
Meanwhile, the French Open happens on a red clay surface.
While the initial years are deemed the amateur period, most records in modern Wimbledon history are recorded from 1968.
This time was called the Open period, and Roger Federer from Switzerland holds the record for the most Wimbledon men winners with eight titles.
In the amateur period, William Renshaw is notable for seven titles. In comparison, Rod Lavers won two titles before and two titles during the Open.
In the ladies' singles, Martina Navratilova dominates with nine major championships. Helen Wills Moody dominates in the amateur period with eight victories.
Perhaps a legend among the rest, Billie Jean King won two titles in the amateur era and four in the open era among Wimbledon women winners.
Although the main event for most spectators is the men and women's singles finals, Wimbledon hosts five events, including:
- Women's doubles
- Men's doubles
- Mixed doubles
There are also junior events, which include the singles and doubles for boys and girls.
In total, the Wimbledon Championships host 675 matches, and the championships last for 14 days, starting from a Monday and ending on a Sunday.
Additionally, the grounds open at 10:30 am, and play usually begins at 11:00 am for most matches. However, most spectators start lining up at 5 am to get their hands on center court tickets.
Prize Money, Trophy And The Centre Court
What is the prize money for Wimbledon? The accumulated prize money for the 2021 Wimbledon championships was £35,016,000.
The winners of the men's singles and the ladies' singles earned £1,700,000 while the men's and women's doubles won £480,000 per pair, and the mixed doubles won £100,000 per pair.
The famous Centre Court is probably the most popular and renowned tennis court globally and is the court that hosts the men's and ladies finals, with the seating capacity being 14,979 currently.
It dates back to 1922 and has served as the central court of Wimbledon, hosting some of the most popular matches in history.
If you're looking for the best seats, you're sure to find them at the debenture, which is considered the finest ticket at the Center. They offer a fantastic view and exclusive access to restaurants and lounges.
The playing surface for Wimbledon is Ryegrass, and the court is maintained throughout the year for optimal playing conditions. Moreover, the grass height is kept at 8mm and cut every day by 1mm per week.
Wimbledon wouldn't be the same without the Royal Family making an appearance. They're a regular feature at the Wimbledon matches, usually watching from the Royal Box, overlooking the Central Court.
The Royal Box houses 74 seats, not exclusively for royals, but used to host government heads and other dignitaries attending the matches.
What is the Wimbledon trophy made of? You'd be surprised to know it's not made of gold, but rather sterling silver.
With events as old as Wimbledon, there are bound to be several traditions:
Unlike other sporting events in the world, Wimbledon features very minimal advertisements on the court.
The few ads that do appear are small, black and white logos that do not clash with the green aesthetic of the lawn. In addition, Wimbledon only allows a few select sponsors like:
Furthermore, the Middle Sunday, or the Sunday between the first and second week, is counted as a day of rest for the players and spectators, with no matches held on that day.
However, if there are rescheduled matches due to rain, they can be accommodated on this day. As of 2022, Wimbledon is expected to do away with this interval.
Wimbledon is notable for the high number of celebrities that make an appearance annually. Every year, many prominent celebrities frequent the tournaments, watching from the Royal Box or elsewhere.
The last tournament held in 2021 boasted a star-studded audience list, including Priyanka Chopra, David Beckham, Tom Cruise, Alexa Chung, Hugh Grant, and others.
The dress code for Wimbledon attendees is generally an all-white ensemble, and social etiquette demands that the audience sticks to it. However, particular requirements might have changed over the years.
However, the dress code is much stricter for the players, with the club taking things very seriously for on-court etiquette.
The playing attire has been pretty standard, with an overall white outfit, with more specific restrictions such as keeping color limited to a single trim no wider than one centimeter.
Wimbledon's white dress code dates back to the 19th century and its Victorian roots. At that time, it was considered improper, especially for ladies, to have any signs of sweat on their clothes.
The white clothes helped conceal signs of sweating and were preferred since they helped keep the player's cooler.
To date, the dress code persists, and it is so strict that players must even wear white undergarments!
Although there isn't such a stringent dress code for the audience, they are expected to keep in line with the theme and dress smartly, preferably in white.
For specific courts, like Court One and Centre, the dress code is smart casual, with jackets and ties being standard. Clothing items like cutoff shorts and active sportswear are not allowed.
Getting To Wimbledon
Securing tickets for Wimbledon is not an easy task since it's one of the most sought-after events in the sporting world.
Wimbledon winners are considered the best tennis stars globally, so it's natural it's an exclusive event.
The organizers opened the public ballots for Wimbledon tickets for British residents in September and international residents in December.
Only a limited percentage of applicants are selected from the ballot and offered seats for their designated day. The selection is made randomly by a computer.
A few hundred tickets for each day are made available on Ticketmaster, which usually sell out within minutes. Besides this, there is the option to queue for tickets every morning.
During the tournament, the traffic around Wimbledon can get quite cumbersome. To avoid congestion, it is recommended to use public transport to get to the location.
You can always take the underground, taking the District Line to Southfields Station and then taking a 5-minute walk to Wimbledon Park.
London General also operates bus services from Euston, Baker Street, Victoria, and Marble Arch to Wimbledon.
And if you're traveling by car, the Wimbledon car park opens daily at 6 am, while there is also a valet option at Morden Park.
There are some other attractions for visitors to Wimbledon, and you can try your hand at some of these things when you're not watching matches.
Wimbledon is rich in history, and you can spend your trip to the court as a way to tour London, stay at fine hotels, and eat great food.
People who want to attend Wimbledon without spending too much money, consider buying tickets at the end of the second week.
During this time, you won't be able to see all the Wimbledon champions, but you might see many of the rising stars.
For those who want a feel for the real deal, consider queuing up for tickets. Also, remember to bring along plenty of snacks since you'll be waiting a long time.
The experience might be tedious, but you'll get tickets at much lower prices compared to pre-order prices.
Learn Tennis With A Professional Tennis Coach
Tennis is a regal sport, maybe not as much as cricket, but it does get the attention of the Royal Family! To become part of this rich culture and get an invite to Wimbledon someday, you will have to learn it.
Learning tennis is just as hard as learning any other sport; you will need conviction, willpower, and a desire to succeed. However, to become a future champion, you will need one more thing: a coach.
Visit Superprof and find an in-depth directory of tennis coaches in your area. All you have to do is sign up, add your preferences, and select one that meets your criteria.
Next, buy a racket, and get started!
The platform that connects tutors and students