Wimbledon is one of the world’s most celebrated tennis events. Taking place at the All England Club in London, it runs for two weeks and attracts over 500,000 spectators.
1. The Grass Is Always Greener
Wimbledon is one of four tennis Grand Slam events held each year. These tournaments are considered the most important competitions of the tennis season. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event to be played on grass courts. The grass is tended to year-round. And during the event, it’s cut to a height of exactly 8 mm.
2. It Goes Way Back
The first Wimbledon championship took place in 1877, making it the oldest tennis tournament in the world. Men’s Singles was the only event played that year. Ladies’ Singles and Men’s Doubles events came on the scene in 1884. And, in 1913, the Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles events were added to the tournament.
3. Strict Dress Code
Wimbledon rules state that all players must be dressed almost entirely in white. Umpires can ask a player to change if they don’t meet the dress code. For instance, in 2013, Wimbledon champ Roger Federer was told to switch his shoes for his next match because they had orange soles.
4. It’s All About the Ball
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. Those not in use are even stored in a refrigerated container to keep them in tip-top condition. Interestingly, Wimbledon once used white tennis balls. But they were replaced with yellow balls in 1986 to make them more visible to TV cameras.
5. On the Job
About 250 ball boys and girls - known as BBGs - have the tough job of keeping track of all those fast-moving tennis balls. Months before the tournament, BBGs go through intense training sessions to prepare for Wimbledon.
6. We Are the Champions
The record for the most Wimbledon titles in Ladies’ Singles belongs to retired Czech and American player Martina Navratilova with nine victories. In Men’s Singles, the record for most titles is shared by William Renshaw, Pete Sampras, and Roger Federer, who each won the event seven times.
7. Bring on the Trophy
In 2014, the Men’s and Ladies’ Singles Champions each took home a prize of about $3 million. Aside from cash winnings, champs are also presented with a trophy. The Ladies’ winner is awarded a round platter called a salver that was made in 1864. And the Men’s champion receives a golden cup that dates back to 1887. Neither winner keeps the trophy. They remain on display at the All England Club’s museum. But winners do go home with a small replica of the trophy.
8. Are You Tired Yet?
The longest match ever played at Wimbledon took place at the 2010 tournament. John Isner of the United States defeated French player Nicolas Mahut in a match that lasted 11 hours and five minutes and was played over the course of three days.
9. Look Out!
The record for fastest men’s serve at Wimbledon belongs to US player Taylor Dent, whose ball clocked in at 238 kph. And American Venus Williams holds the record for the fastest women’s serve after smashing a tennis ball about 205 kph.
10. An Earsplitting Sound
Some tennis players let out a loud grunt on the court while hitting the ball. The loudest known grunt during Wimbledon came from Russia’s Maria Sharapova in 2009. It reached about 105 decibels - the equivalent of standing beside an accelerating motorcycle!