Monday marks the start of Wimbledon, the sporting event synonymous with Tim Henman, strawberries and cream, queuing, and like all things British…rain.
So what makes the Championships such a British institution? Here at Myvitamins, we’re about to serve you an ace-list of everything you need to know. (Sorry).
1. Wimbledon isn’t actually its official name. The name comes from its location – Wimbledon, a district of southwest London. ‘The Championships’ to give them their formal title were established in 1877 making the event the oldest tennis tournament in the world at the grand old age of 139. The current site moved to its current location on Church Road, SW19 in 1922.
2.There’s a reason the balls are yellow. When the first Championship was televised by the BBC on 21 June 1937, traditional white balls were used. These were replaced in 1986 by the iconic luminous yellow versions to make them more visible to TV cameras.
3. Speaking of balls. During the tournament, 54, 250 tennis balls are used. The balls are replaced after every seven to nine games to make sure they’re in perfect shape throughout the match. They are stored at cool 20oC to ensure maximum bounce-ablity.
4. The grass is always greener. Literally. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event in the world still played on real grass. Perennial rye grass to be exact. A dedicated grounds team ensures the courts are kept in tip-top condition all year round, keeping it at a consistent height of 8mm.
5. Wimbledon is the largest single annual sporting catering operation in Europe. 1800 staff will serve 330,000 cups of tea and coffee, 320,000 glasses of Pimm’s and 25,000 scones over Wimbledon fortnight.
6. The longest tennis match ever played lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. In 2010 a first round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut lasted 3 days, earning a world record for the longest tennis match to ever take place. The final score 70-68 was in favour of American pro John Isner.
7. The winners don’t get to keep the trophy. Both the women’s salver and the men’s cup remain on display at the All England Club’s museum. The champions are given a scaled-down replica to take home.
8. They do get a total of 26 million pounds instead. Both the men’s and women’s singles winner will pocket over £2 million this year, with the total prize money now almost double the £14.6m figure it was 5 years ago.
9. Heads up. The record for fastest recorded serve at Wimbledon was a whopping 238 kph by American Taylor Dent. For the girls, Venus Williams holds the current record at at 205 kph.
10. There’s still time to get tickets. You just have to join the queue. Wimbledon remains one of the very few major UK sporting events where you can still buy premium tickets on the day of play. There is one Queue for the on-day sale of tickets and they are sold strictly on the basis of one per person.
So what are you waiting for? Get out on the court and start practicing your serve. We promise you’ll 40-love it.