10 Terrific Titbits You Never Knew About Wonderful Wimbledon!

Wimbledon is here, the famous grass-court Grand Slam is back and we’ve got 10 fantastic facts to regale you with about the Championships!

There is no doubt that Wimbledon Championships retains a special place in tennis history. It is the only Grand Slam event to have always been played on the same surface.

Wimbledon, the oldest of all Grand Slam events, boasts some of the quirkiest rules – the famous all players must wear predominantly white rule being a good example!

However, there is so much more to this famous tournaments than rainy weather, strawberries and cream and Cliff Richard singing songs on Centre Court.

In this post, we will share ten facts about Wonderful Wimbledon that you may not know!

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With Euro 2024 still very much in progress, plus the Copa America 2024 also taking place in the United States, Wimbledon does have some competition on the schedules over the next fortnight.

But we’re sure fans will still love the chance to bet on the massive selection of matches taking place at the All England club! So, to help get you in the mood, here’s our list of ten quirky or amazing facts about Wimbledon.

Wimbledon

10 Quirky Facts About Wimbledon – The Grandest Slam of them All!

1.      Wimbledon Has Been Contested At Two Different Venues In Its History.

While Wimbledon has always been held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club since the first tournament in 1877, it has been played at two venues.

That is because from 1877 to 1921, the All England Club was based at Worple Road.

However, with the Championship expanding and greater numbers of competitors and fans in attendance, a larger venue was required. This saw the All England Club switch its HQ to nearby Church Road, where it remains to this day.

2.      Wimbledon Boasts The Longest Running Sporting Sponsorship Deal in History.

Sporting sponsorship deals are generally thought to be a recent phenomenon, really getting going from the 1970s and 1980s onwards.

However, Wimbledon boasts the longest-running sponsorship deal of any sport with the tennis ball provider Slazenger.

Slazenger has produced the official ball for Wimbledon for the past 122 years, since the 1902 tournament. This is believed to be the longest unbroken sponsorship deal in sports history.

However, it is one of just a number of official partnerships the tournament boasts alongside others such as; Rolex (official timekeeper since 1978), IBM (official technology partner since 1990), Lanson (official champagne since 2001) and Ralph Lauren (official outfitter since 2006).

3.      There Are A Total of 16 Different Tournaments Played at Wimbledon Each Year.

While many people are well aware of the men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles tournaments, there are actually 16 different tournaments contested at Wimbledon.

They cover a variety of age groups, as well as competitions for disabled athletes. The full list of competitions (with the number of competitors shown in brackets) is outlined below.

  • Gentleman Singles (128)
  • Ladies’ Singles (128)
  • Gentlemen’s Doubles (64)
  • Ladies’ Doubles (64)
  • Mixed Doubles (48)
  • Boys’ Singles (64)
  • Girls’ Singles (64)
  • Boys’ Doubles (32)
  • Girls’ Doubles (32)
  • Gentlemen’s Invitation Doubles (8 pairs)
  • Ladies’ Invitation Doubles (8 pairs)
  • Senior Gentlemen’s Invitational Doubles (8 pairs)
  • Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Singles
  • Ladies’ Wheelchair Singles
  • Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Doubles (4 pairs)
  • Ladies’ Wheelchair Doubles (4 pairs)

4.      The All-England Club Was Once A Target of the Suffragette Movement.

The All England Club was the target of a Suffragette bombing campaign in 1913. On 27th February 1913, a suffragette clambered over a hedge at the club armed with paraffin and wood shavings.

Her aim was to set fire to the grounds to highlight their campaign for women’s votes.

However, a groundsman spotted her climbing over the hedge and she was stopped a detained, later tried and given two months imprisonment.

5.      In Terms of Catering – Wimbledon is the Largest Sporting Event in Europe Each Year

Europe boasts many huge sporting events each year, but in terms of catering, Wimbledon is the biggest of them all. With over 500,000 visitors at the 2023 tournament, there is a huge operation to keep everyone fed and watered while on the grounds.

  • 335 Chefs with 2,200 other staff to support them, take orders, serve food etc.
  • 27 restaurants
  • 30 food stalls/trucks
  • 51 kitchens across the All England Club.

On average, the amount of food and drink consumed at Wimbledon in any given year is as follows:

  • 5 million Strawberries
  • 19,500 portions of fish and chips
  • 25,000 pizzas
  • 43,000 ice creams
  • 150,000 bottles of water
  • 300,000 cups of tea or coffee
  • 190,000 sandwiches
  • 150,000 bath buns, scones, pastries or doughnuts
  • 150,000 glasses of Pimms
  • 100,000 pints of beer or lager
  • 17,000 bottles of Champagne
  • 7,000 litres of cream

6.      The Longest Match in History at Wimbledon took over three days to complete

The longest Wimbledon match in history took place in 2010 on Court 18 between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

The game was played over three-days and lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes in total. The final set alone lasted 88 hours and 11 minutes.

The match was one hour and 38 minutes longer than the previous longest tennis match in history.

980 points were played, of which Mahut won 502 and Isner 478. The big-serving American also served 113 aces in a single match and a total of 123 balls were used in this match alone.

In the end it was Isner who won this marathon match 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68.

It was largely due to this match that new rules regarding final set tie-breaks were brought in.

7.      Wimbledon Singles Champions are also offered Honorary Membership of the All-England Club.

As well as the famous men’s trophy and ladies silver plate, the winners of the men’s and women’s singles titles at Wimbledon get another benefit, alongside a hefty cash payout.

That is the chance to become an honorary member of the All-England Club.

This is an exclusive honour, with a waiting list of over 1,000 people stretching back many years.

8.      Every year the stringing team at Wimbledon require 40 miles of string.

One of the hardest-working teams of people at Wimbledon, though hardly ever seen, is the team of racket stringers.

The team string an average of around 2000 rackets at each Championships, around 1,200 rackets for male players and 800 for female players.

That means over the 14-days of action, the team string an average of almost 143 rackets per day, and use around 40 miles of string over the course of a single Wimbledon Championships.

9.      There have only ever been nine Wimbledon Championships that have been completed without a rain interruption.

Rain is as customary a part of Wimbledon as tennis, or so it would seem. Almost every Wimbledon Championship will have one or more rain delay due to inclement weather.

This has led to a roof being built for centre courts and the use of the middle Sunday to catch up on matches postponed in the first week of action.

There have been only nine events in the 137 editions of Wimbledon that have not been affected by rain. 1922, 1931, 1976, 1977, 1993, 1995, 2009, 2010 and 2019.

10.    The signature traditional Wimbledon dish of Strawberries and Cream dates back to Henry VIII

Strawberries and cream is arguably the most traditional of all Wimbledon dishes.

However, it’s association with the Wimbledon Championships is somewhat tenuous at best and is believed to relate back to the time of King Henry VIII.

The king is believed to have paid his Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a visit at his Hampton Court home, located six miles from Wimbledon.

Wolsey’s cook reportedly served the king a dessert of wild strawberries and cream.

Because the king ate the dessert, it gained popularity and is believed to have become a popular food option at the tournament. Also, strawberries were in season, the preparation required to serve the dish was minimal, and it was relatively easy to procure for championship vendors.

So why not enjoy some Wimbledon action over the next fortnight with the knowledge that a lot more goes on behind the scenes at this historic tennis tournament?

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