There are few sporting events which have such a wide-reaching impact as Wimbledon, and the All England Club is the regular host for this annual fortnight of tennis action! Ahead of the event getting underway, here’s all you need to know about the venue…
What is the All England Club?
The All England Club is the most prestigious tennis club in Britain. It currently has 375 full-time members, and around 100 temporary members, alongside many figures who have been made honorary members of the club as a result of winning at Wimbledon or serving the club in a notable way.
The All England Club is the host for the Wimbledon Championships – which is now the only Grand Slam event held on grass. The club is private, but opens to the public for special events and matches. Joining the club is as exclusive as one might expect, requiring approval from several current members and selection by an internal committee.
The current patron of the All England Club is the famously tennis-loving Royal, the Duchess of Cambridge. For sports fans staying at hotels near Paddington Station, this is one of the top places to see a traditionally British sporting event during your time in the city.
Early History of the Club
The All England Club has a long history of supporting tennis, and was originally founded by six people on 23rd July 1868. Despite this tennis-centric past and present, it was first the host of croquet matches, hosting its earliest croquet competition during 1870.
Originally, the All England Club was situated on another site in Wimbledon, and began to introduce lawn tennis in 1875. By the early 1880s, croquet had been replaced by tennis as the main sport at the club, coinciding with the growth of the sport throughout the country.
In 1908, the All England Club was chosen as the venue for that year’s Summer Olympics tennis events, helping to solidify its reputation as the premier venue of its kind. Guests at hotels near Paddington Station who share this passion for tennis will delight at discovering more of the clubs history on their own visit.
All England Club Facilities
The club contains eighteen grass courts for tournaments, as well as two acrylic courts, eight clay courts and 22 practice courts which are used by competing athletes during Wimbledon. The Centre Court is the largest of the tennis courts, and includes an extract from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ written above the player entrance, inspiring great sportspeople to compete at the best of their ability. It seats 15,000 spectators, following an expansion in 2008 to accommodate growing demand. There is now a retractable roof to provide waterproofing, and visitors can also enjoy a browse at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum as an additional activity before heading back to their nearby hotel for a massage in Paddington.
How do I see a match?
Getting tickets for matches like Wimbledon can be difficult, as there is high demand. Tickets are initially provided via public ballot (with the exception of tennis club members). Tickets can also be found on reputable re-sale platforms.