Hailed as lawn tennis’s biggest Grand Slam Tournament, the Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon Fortnight, or just ‘Wimbledon’ is a favourite with royalty, the rich and the famous.
Held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in South West London, the two-week tennis extravaganza starts every year on the Monday between the 20th and 26th June. Strict club rules requiring the wearing of all white clothing by players, social rules demanding the eating of strawberries and cream and the quaffing of champagne by visitors and the fact it is the only Grand Slam tournament played on grass make Wimbledon a must go to for spectators and a must win for players.
Wimbledon has produced some amazing tennis and rivalries over the years: Borg v McEnroe; Navratilova v Evert; Becker v Agassi; and more recently Federer v Nadal. Despite it being a British event, no man British man has won Wimbledon since 1936. The last UK women’s champ was in 1977
Other factors that set Wimbledon apart from other tournaments include its unique green and purple colour scheme, ball boys and girls recruited from local schools, stewards recruited from the armed forces and emergency services and a notable absence of advertising at courtside.
The Royal Box is a specially reserved seating area on Centre Court for royal personages, but high profile sports people and Great Britons can often be seen here cavorting with princes and princesses. Club tradition dictates that players must nod, bow or curtsy to royals when coming onto court.
In the past, Wimbledon has been famous for stoppages due to rain, which has led to many light-hearted moments which are replayed time and time again on the BBC every year. However, in 2009 a cover was fitted over Centre Court in allowing uninterrupted play of finals.
Tickets for the main courts are issued every year by computer generated ballot. Tickets for the outer, show courts can usually be obtained by queuing before 9am, with many camping out overnight.
Queen’s Club Championships
Held every year just after the French Open, the Queen’s Club in Kensington hosts what is seen by many as the warm up event for Wimbledon.
Formerly known as the Stella Artois Championships (1979-2009), the tournament is now the more blandly but much more socially acceptable AEGON Championships. It is the largest lawn tennis Championships after Wimbledon and is part of the ATP Tour.