*This article was updated on 22/08/2022*
Summer in Britain isn’t complete without Wimbledon, a unique British tradition!
The Wimbledon Championships will take place from 3rd July to 16th July 2023 and 1st July to 14th July 2024.
During the Championships, we can watch the best players in the world competing in the oldest tennis tournament in the world (and is arguably regarded as the most prestigious).
Founded in 1877 it takes place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London SW19.
It is one of the 4 ‘Grand Slams’, the other 3 being:
- Australian Open
- French Open
- US Open
…but Wimbledon is the only one played on all grass.
It attracts over 500,000 spectators and millions of TV viewers worldwide.
No wonder many of us feel a bit ‘giddy’ when Wimbledon’s starting! People even book annual leave to watch it, either at home or at Wimbledon.
Ok, let’s start with some important facts about winners!
The FIRST EVER Wimbledon champion in 1877 was Spencer Gore, a 27 year old from Wandsworth!
Current Record holders:
- Most Men’s Singles titles – Roger Federer (8), Switzerland.
- Most Double’s titles – Todd Woodbridge (9), Australia.
- Most Women’s Single titles – Martina Navratilova (9), Czech Rep, USA.
- Most Women’s Doubles titles – Elizabeth Ryan (12), USA.
Hall of Fame – Winning British Players!
- Fred Perry 1936
- Andy Murray (2013, 2016)
- Virginia Wade 1977
- Annabel Croft 1984 (Girls’ Championship)
- Laura Robson 2008 (Girls’ Championship)
Here are some traditions that have made it so famous:
- A strict all-white dress code for competitors.
- Strawberries and cream are traditionally eaten.
- Pimm’s and Champagne are traditionally drunk.
- Ball Boys and Ball Girls (known as BBGs).
- BBGs wear navy blue and cream coloured uniforms.
- It’s traditional to refer to the men’s and women’s competitions as ‘Gentlemens’ and Ladies’.
- The juniors are referred to as ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’.
- Players are required to bow or curtsey to the Royal Box if the Prince of Wales or the Queen is present.
Are you feeling the Wimbledon Vibe yet?
So, does just thinking of that noise the ball makes on the court on a sunny summer afternoon make you feel all Wimbledon-y?
Does the sight of people enjoying their strawberries and drinking their cold glasses of refreshing Pimm’s make you feel like you’re missing out?
Well, there’s no need to miss out completely!
Try one of our summery hampers for a taste of Wimbledon… or send a hamper to your friends and family and treat them to an impressive collection of award-winning treats sourced from Britain’s leading artisan producers.
You can enjoy them whilst watching the tennis at home or take on a picnic.
Our top 4 Wimbledon hampers
Includes Pimm’s No 1 Cup, lemonade, scones, jam and clotted cream and other treats.
Did you know?
- Tennis has its origins in a 13th-century French handball game called Jeu de Paume (game of the palm).
- Until 1922 the reigning champion only played in the final.
- Centre Court is so named because originally the principal court was in the middle with the others arranged around it. From 1922 it changed to a non-central position. Then in 1980 4 more courts were opened and once again it became central.
- Until 1968 professional players could not participate.
- It was first televised in 1937.
- There is capacity for 42,000 spectators.
- The 250 BGGs are recruited from local schools, are in years 9/10 and have to undertake tests on tennis rules, fitness and mobility. Competition is fierce.
- The 2021 Wimbledon Champion took home £1,700,000.
Has the tournament taken place every year since 1877?
No. There were no tournaments between 1915-1918 and 1940-1945 due to the World Wars.
And in 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic meant no tournament.
What’s the secret behind the pristine grounds?
The grounds are owned by the All England Lawn Tennis Ground plc and the total area covers over 42 acres. This includes 20 practice courts and 18 championship courts.
Since 2001 the courts are sown with 100% Perennial Ryegrass. This makes them strong and durable. Nine tonnes of seed are used each year.
The courts are rolled and covered regularly to keep them firm and dry. A huge amount of maintenance is required throughout the whole year and all courts are renovated in September.
- Since weather records started in 1922, only 7 championships have been recorded without rain interruptions!
- Around 54,000 tennis balls are used in the tournament.
- Slazenger have supplied all Wimbledon tennis balls since 1902.
- The amount a ball bounces is largely determined by the soil, not the grass.
- The fastest serve of all time was from Taylor Dent (USA) who managed a whizzing 148mph in 2010!
- Robinson’s fruit drink brand has been sponsors of Wimbledon since 1935.
- In 2017 23 tonnes of strawberries and 7000L of fresh cream were consumed.
- Each year an average of 235,000 glasses of Pimm’s are enjoyed.
- And 28,000 bottles of champagne!
- And let’s finish on a REALLY fun fact….
- Every morning Rufus, a harrier hawk, is set free to circle the sky over the Wimbledon grounds! This is to deter pigeons who can disrupt games.