by Stephen Andrews
Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the UK and the annual Wimbledon tournament is the tennis highlight of the year.
2022 is the centenary, marking 100 years of Wimbledon in its current location. It’s been really exciting so far. But Britain has faced some disappointment with its two main players, Andy Murray, coming back since recovering from injury, knocked out, along with the popular female player, Emma Radacanu. Firm favourites to win the men’s tournament this year are Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, two of the best players in the world.
Wimbledon is the oldest ever tennis tournament and has been held since 1877. The four other Grand Slam tennis tournaments in the world are the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. But these are played on a clay surface and Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass, the traditional tennis-playing surface. If you’re a professional tennis player, then playing on Wimbledon’s Centre Court is probably the highlight of your career.
There are usually a few downpours of rain in the typical British summer and so, to let play continue, even when it’s raining, retractable roofs were built over the two main courts in 2009.
Wimbedon is regarded as being a very ‘English’ event and many customs that started years ago are maintained to this day.
For example, all tennis players participating in the tournament are required to wear all-white or at least almost all-white clothing when they’re playing.
Instead of being called The ‘Men's’ and ‘Women's’, competitions are referred to more formally as ‘Gentlemen's’ and ‘Ladies'.
Players are still required to bow or curtsy to the Royal Box (an exclusive area of seating) if the Royal Family is present.
If you’re a spectator or visitor, tucking into Pimm’s and strawberries and cream while watching a game is obligatory and also very delicious! In fact, on average, 190,900 portions of the dessert are consumed at the Championships annually.
The traditional drink at Wimbledon is called a ‘Pimm’s Cup’. A very British combination of Pimm's No. 1, lemonade, and fruit, it's a refreshing, low-alcohol drink that's perfect for sipping not only during the tennis, but all summer long. If you’re not lucky enough to be able to get to Wimbledon, here's exactly what you need to make the perfect tennis-watching refreshment.
1 3/4 oz. Pimm's No.1
5 oz. lemonade
Making a Pimm’s is easy, just mix everything into a tall glass and enjoy!
The Gentlemen's Singles winner is presented with a silver gilt cup. The trophy has been awarded since 1887 and bears the inscription: ‘All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World’.
The Ladies' Singles champion is presented with a sterling silver salver (or plate) commonly known as the ‘ Venues Rosewater Dish’, or simply the ‘Rosewater Dish’. The salver is decorated with figures from mythology.
Watching a tennis match being played at Wimbledon is really enjoyable, even on TV. Probably, that’s how most of us watch it because tickets to the tournament are very very difficult to get. A lot of people who haven’t got tickets go along anyway and watch the games from an area outside the courts called ‘Henman Hill’ after the famous player Tim Henman, where there’s a huge video screen showing all the matches. But a lot of people are prepared to do anything to get tickets, including queuing for hours even in the rain, to make sure they get one. Shigeri actually did this a few times and camped out all night long!