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A Beginners Guide to Wimbledon
Everyone has heard of Wimbledon, and if you haven’t, then we’ve got the perfect beginners guide to Wimbledon for you. But how much do we really know about this prestigious event. Being set to kick off for the next fortnight, Host thought it would be a great time to get everyone up to speed.
What is Wimbledon?
It is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, being held at the All-England Club in Wimbledon since 1877. It is one of four Grand Slams, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US open. This year, Wimbledon will be the third grand slam of the year, starting on Monday, June 27 and ending on Sunday, July 10.
The History of Wimbledon
In 1876, an outdoor version of tennis was added to the activities of a special club. This club was the “All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club”, a private club founded in 1868 and their first ground was at Nursery Road off Worple Road, Wimbledon. The outdoor version was labelled “lawn tennis” and was devised by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield around a year prior.
The club was then renamed “The All-England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club” in 1877, followed by instituting the first Lawn Tennis Championship. This event had a new code of laws drawn up, which are very similar to the rules we have today.
Gentlemen’s singles was the only event to be held during the inaugural 1877 Wimbledon Championship on 9 July 1977. 22 men paid a guinea each to enter the tournament, that was supposed to last five days. Due to bad weather, the event was delayed, and the winner was decided on 19 July 1977, after eventually being able to play the final. Spencer Gore was the winner, being presented with the silver challenge cup and a prize of 12 guineas.
Andy Murray was the last Brit to win Wimbledon back in 2016, and in 2013. The last female Brit was Virginia Wade, who won it back in 1977. Between Fred Perry in 1936 and Andy Murray in 2013, no British man had won the singles event, highlighting the immense talent on show.
The ground lawns were arranged so that the principal court was in the middle, with the others around it, thus the name “Centre Court”. When the club moved in 1922 the name remained but was not a true description. It wasn’t until new courts were added in 1980, that the name reigned true again.
The Ladies’ Singles competition was added in 1884, with the Gentlemen’s Doubles also being transferred from the Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club. Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles events were not added until 1913. The first black player competed in the year of 1924, and was an amateur called Bertrand Milbourne Clark from Jamaica.
There are now five main events, four junior events and seven invitation events.
Wimbledon is the oldest international tennis event to be held in the world, therefore it’s safe to think there will be a few traditions.
Out of all four Grand Slam events, Wimbledon is the only one to still be played on its original surface, grass. The Australian Open and US open now use hard courts, with the French Open using clay.
Male and female players are still referred to as “gentlemen” and “ladies”, with female players also referred to as per their marital status. Male players are not referenced as “Mr” though.
A strict dress code takes place for Wimbledon, stricter than all other Grand Slam tennis events. Players have to wear white. In 2014 the All-England Club issued a 10-part decree guiding all players as what they can wear i.e., there can only be “a single trim of colour no wider than 1 cm”.
Strawberries and cream are the epitome of Wimbledon, being a major tradition. 9,000 servings are prepared each day, with 28.000 kg of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream consumed.
The Royal Family are patrons of the event and are eager supporters of the Championships, turning up many times. The Queen is also the sponsor of the All-England Club, often visiting Wimbledon and meeting the players.
When it comes to tradition, the Wimbledon queue is full of it. Every year a consistent dress code, orderliness and etiquette is upheld during the exciting wait for that event day’s tickets. Tickets remain cheaply priced, even on the day. This is why there are always such long queues (and even people camping) for the tickets.
For further ways to get tickets, go the official site page.
If you are attending a Tennis event this summer and want somewhere to stay, check our summer accommodation options.
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