Rolland Garros is over and it is time for the most famous tennis tournament of them all. Wimbledon, one of the biggest sporting events held each year on the grass courts of All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Tradition and history of Wimbledon – above everything else
Even if you are not a tennis fan, this event is something special. Its hypnotizing history and exciting present lure thousands of visitors to this London neighborhood to be a part of this exceptional 135 year old event.
The first tournament was held in 1877 and Spencer Gore was the first Wimbledon winner. The tournament had to take a break only twice, during the world wars and especially in 1945 when the central court was demolished in bombarding.
Through its rich history Wimbledon tournament rouse above all other tennis tournaments and became, without a doubt, biggest in the world.
Rolland Garros is more difficult to win, because of the sheer physical exhaustion that is due to clay surface on which it is played, Wimbledon is number one in all other aspects.
A tradition that is so preserved and rooted in English people is visible in every corner of All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club gets a new meaning during the tournament.
Even the younger generations that are used to novelty which sometimes excluded historic importance, must be impressed with the wonderful stories that can be heard and experienced in the most famous tennis club in the world.
Passing through the main gate in Wimbledon you are entering the world of magical attraction which will hypnotize every tennis fan. Youngsters can relive the magical history in one of the most impressive sports museums in the world, which connects the spirit of the tennis beginnings with the technological wonders of the modern times.
Through the museum you are guided by the hologram of John McEnroe that presents the last 40 years of this tournament in his own unique way.
Visiting the statue of Fred Perry, the last Englishman that won the tournament, way back in 1936, is a must for every tourist. Positioned near the central court it reminds the British of their glorious history but it is also a reminder of how long have they been without the English born Wimbledon winner.
For the British people, winning any other Grand Slam tournament is not important as winning the Wimbledon.
Today the grass surface on which it is played is slower than it used to be, but the fast grass was not everyone’s favorite surface. Ivan Lendl one of the biggest names in the world of tennis never won Wimbledon tournament. “Grass is for cows” he once stated. Two times he played in the finals and both times he lost. Once against Boris Becker in 1986 and the other time against Pat Cash in 1987.
Most memorable Wimbledon finals were between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in 1980, famous for the long tie break in the fourth set which McEnroe won 18-16, but still he lost the match in the fifth set, or classic final match between Nadal and Federer in 2008. The longest match in the history of the Wimbledon was in 2010 between John Isner and Nicholas Mahtu which was 11 hours long.
Only three times the final match was held on the Monday. In 1919, 1922 and in 2001 when Croatian Goran Ivanisevic won in the memorable final match as a lowest ranked player in the history that won the tournament. He was invited to play the tournament since his career was at the ending and Wimbledon officials gave him another shot at the title since he lost his first two finals in mid 90’s.
- The hill behind the central court on which the crowd without the tickets can sit and watch the matches on big screen is called Henman Hill
- Wimbledon grass is a natural grass and each year there is a new surface for all of the courts. On the parts of the court where there is no direct sunlight it is being warmed with the special lamps imported from the Netherlands. The grass is cut at exactly 8mm.
- Visitors consume around 28.000 kg of strawberries and around 7000 liters of whipped cream. Strawberries with whipped cream are the most famous Wimbledon delicacy and the legend states that the Cardinal Wolsey brought the strawberries into the British high society while he was adviser of King Henry VIII in the 16th century.
- Wimbledon is the only tournament where the tickets are transferred, meaning that the visitors without the tickets can buy the reserved tickets that were not collected on time.
- Also the Wimbledon is the only tournament that has “Middle Sunday” which is a day off on the first Sunday of the tournament. All other tournaments are held in two consecutive weeks without stopping.
- Wimbledon’s tradition of announcing players with Mrs. or Mr. before the surname has its roots in the Victorian age. This is why the tournaments are called Ladie’s and Gentlemen’s instead of women’s and men’s.