What makes Britain great #18

Posted on February 1, 2020

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships, commonly known as simply ‘Wimbledon’, is another great British institution. The first Wimbledon championship took place back in 1877, making it the oldest tennis tournament in the world although Men’s Singles was the only event played that year. Ladies’ Singles and Men’s Doubles events didn’t arrive there until 1884. Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles events were added to the tournament in 1913.

The tournament traditionally took place over two weeks in late June and early July, starting on the last Monday in June and culminating with the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals, scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday at the end of the second week. However recent changes to the tennis calendar have seen the event moved back by a week to begin in early July.

Wimbledon traditions include some firm rules and regulations including a strict dress code for competitors: All players must be dressed almost entirely in white. Shorts, skirts, tracksuit bottoms, shoes (including the soles) must be completely white. Players are allowed a single trim of colour down the outside seam, but any trim must be no wider than one centimetre.

Umpires can ask a player to change if they don’t meet the dress code. In fact, in 2013, Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was told to change his shoes for his next match because they had orange soles.

Another famous Wimbledon tradition is strawberries and cream. Around 9000 punnets are consumed daily throughout the tournament and standards are high: strawberries are Grade I berries from Kent and there must be no less than 10 berries in each portion. They’re picked the day before sale and arrive at the grounds around 5.30am, where they’re inspected and hulled — ensuring only the most perfect make it into the mouths of spectators. Yummy!

The prize for winning the tournament?  The 2018 Mens and Ladies Singles winners enjoyed prizes of £2.25m each.  If I were a tennis player I think it might be worth abiding by a few rules, however pernickity they seem …

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