Theoretically, Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam where no matches are played on the Middle Sunday. However, till date, matches have been played on the Middle Sunday only 3 times (1991, 1997, 2004) due to rain.
Players, fans, and patrons of tennis eagerly wait for an event in the months of June and July. The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply known as the Wimbledon, is the third Grand Slam in a calendar year (the others being Australian Open, French Open, and the US Open). It is held at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, United Kingdom. This international tennis tournament has a rich tradition, just like all things English. We have listed the 10 most interesting things about Wimbledon in this SportsAspire article.
Top Wimbledon Traditions and Rituals
When at Wimbledon, you will miss the funky colorful outfits of the players, because of the all-white or all-nearly-white dress code. Solid, block, dark, fluorescent colors are a complete no-no. You can have very light pastels, or light-colored accents on your white clothing. Recently, Roger Federer's orange-soled shoes were banned by Wimbledon authorities as they violated the all-white dress code.
At Wimbledon, everything is prim, proper and civilized, just like its unique naming tradition. Earlier, female players were named with the titles Miss. or Mrs. whereas, amateur male players were referred to, with the title Mr.. Professional male players were named with their full name and not with their title. Today, all players are referred to, with their first and last names.
Naming the Events
Unlike other Grand Slam events, naming of the events at Wimbledon is also traditional and elaborate. Hence, we have Gentlemen's Singles/Doubles (for men's singles/doubles) and Ladies' Singles/Doubles (for women's singles/doubles). This is so peculiarly British!
Wimbledon is the only major tennis championship played on the grass court till date. Earlier, all the Grand Slam events were played on grass courts, but, have switched to hard or clay court, with an exception of Wimbledon. As still played on grass, it is ideally still known as lawn-tennis. 100% Perennial Ryegrass is sown for the courts. The total area of the grounds is 42 acres (including the car parking).
The Royal Family
It is the only tennis tournament in the world patronized by the British Royal Family. Presently, HRH The Duke of Kent is the President of the Club. You will often find members of the British Royal Family attending matches. The Royal Box is specifically used by the royal family members, members of the overseas royal families, other heads of government, etc. The Duke and Duchess of Kent present the trophies to the winners.
Ball Boys and Girls
A total of 250 ball boys and ball girls (known as BBGs) are selected, the average age being 15 years. They begin their training in February. The applicants must pass a physical as well as a theoretical test. Total four teams are selected (of 6 members each) for the no.1 courts. Did you know that earlier there were only ball boys, and the ball girls were introduced in 1977?
What you will probably notice at Wimbledon is the absence of any sponsors or advertisements around the courts. So, you have no flashy colors or billboards around. This is strictly a game, a fair tournament, and its ancient rules are followed till date.
The Wimbledon is also probably the only place in the world where thousands gather, wait, and camp overnight in a queue to gain tickets for the matches. There is no rush, no uncontrolled mob, or uncouth behavior. Around 500 seats are available for each court. People are given color-coded wristbands according to the corresponding court.
Strawberries and Cream
Last, but not the least, strawberries and cream is often associated with Wimbledon. This is because, in the United Kingdom, both, specifically symbolize the summer season. The exact date marking the beginning of this tradition is unknown. It is sold at the stands and also served at the Wimbledon breakfast. An estimated 28,000 kg strawberries are consumed in the Wimbledon tournament.
Apart from the interesting traditions mentioned above, there are a couple of things typically found here, like the presence of the hawk, maintained at the grounds specifically to scare off the pigeons. Secondly, Wimbledon also boasts of a retractable roof, that reduces the number of matches being suspended due to rain.
Pete Sampras and Roger Federer hold the record for being the winner of most Gentlemen's Singles titles; while Martina Navratilova holds the title for being the winner of most Ladies' Singles titles, in the open era. The winner of Gentlemen's Singles receives a silver cup, while ladies' Singles winner receives a silver dish, known as the 'Rosewater Dish'.
There is no doubt that the Wimbledon is one of the most glorious events not only in the United Kingdom, but all over the world. If you ever get a chance to enjoy it, do not think twice!