Regardless of if you’re a rugby aficionado or a football enthusiast, you’re sure to have heard of a little game of tennis called the Wimbledon. Held every summer in England, this year it begins on July 1st and ends on July 14th and it is sure to attract quite the crowd.
The pinnacle of the sport, Wimbledon represents tradition and prestige in the sporting world. While it is one of the four Grand Slams, Wimbledon on its own has a reputation large enough to bring half a million spectators each year. If you’re lucky enough to watch the heated matches (even if just from your sofa) here’s what you should know.
It’s officially called “The Championships, Wimbledon”
Not often called by the tournament’s given name, it usually goes by either Wimbledon or “The Wimbledon Championships.”
Back in 1877 it was called “Lawn Tennis” and took place at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. The tournament was implemented as the club needed to repair the equipment used to roll the lawns, and competition could bring in money to do so.
If you go to the Wimbledon arena off-season, you can attend one of the Wimbledon tours for more information on the heritage championship and get the scoop on the incredibly interesting history behind the name.
The Grand Slam Includes Wimbledon, it’s one of the four tournaments
The other three Grand Slam events are the Australian Open, Roland Garros (French Open), and the US Open.
The Grand Slam offers the highest-ranking points, the most prize money as well as the highest level of public recognition from the media and the general public. Of course, that’s probably why you’ve heard of it!
Wimbledon is the oldest Grand Slam tournament as well as the oldest tennis tournament in the whole world. As such, the traditions of the heritage sport are taken with great seriousness and respect. Players have the same dress code as they did when it began in 1877. They are required to wear all white. No exceptions.
Due to grass, it is a difficult tournament
Originally, tennis was played on grass, but hard courts and red clay is used more popularly on tennis courts globally today. Players with a powerful serve benefit from grass, though, because balls skid off a grass court more quickly than other surfaces. As such, the opponent has less reaction time.
Here’s another fun fact for you: Red clay slows down the ball. This allows the players to be more tactical throughout the game. Therefore, players strengths can really be tested depending on the surface of the court. The true test of a good player is adapting to different situations!
Wimbledon has Doubles games, wheelchair games, junior competitions and many more
Both men and women’s competitions are the most popular events at Wimbledon. But they have more matches than that.
There are games of mixed doubles for both men and women, wheelchair singles and doubles for both men and women, as well as juniors competitions for boys and girls – they too have singles and doubles.
Singles implies that one player engages in a match against another. Doubles is when both sides have two players. Regardless of the type of game, players and teams advance or are eliminated in a bracket-style competition.
You must rank the top 100 to 105 players in the world to join
There are three ways to qualify for the Wimbledon games. To start, can either rank in the top 100 to 105 players in the world. Easy right? Let’s just say it’s no trip to the Chilworth London Paddington spa to get to the top…
Alternatively, you could receive a so-called “wild card.” As the name suggests, it is given to up-and-coming players who haven’t ranked in the top 100 to 105 players in the world (yet) but who are predicted to do well.
The third and last option is for players to enter though winning in the qualifying tournament. It’s held before Wimbledon, and it’s usually composed of players who rank very close to the top 100.
The Games attract over half a million spectators each year
As mentioned, more than half a million spectators attend the tennis games each year.
To put that into perspective, that’s all the guests staying at a hotel like the Chilworth London Paddington multiple times over. Given this, it should come as no surprise that the game is one of London’s most significant and most exciting events.
Wimbledon doesn’t only have traditions for its players, the spectators have their fair share of customs. It is popular for many of these visitors to drink Pimm’s, wear large hats, and let’s not forget about eating strawberries and cream!