Once a year, London plays host to the oldest tennis tournament in the world: Wimbledon – or, to give it its full title: The Championships, Wimbledon.
Steeped in tradition and regarded by many as the most prestigious sporting event in the British social calendar, attending this historic sporting event comes highly recommended.
Here’s our rundown of everything you need to know about this exclusive and quintessentially British tournament, which starts Monday 1st July 2019 through to Sunday 14th July 2019.
Five fun facts about Wimbledon
- Wimbledon is the only tennis Grand Slam event in the world to be played on grass. The courts are sown with 100% perennial ryegrass.
- Wimbledon is the world’s oldest tennis tournament dating back to 1877.
- The tournament’s name comes from its location – Wimbledon, a district of southwest London.
- During the tournament over 50,000 tennis balls are used.
- Tennis balls at Wimbledon were originally white but, in 1986, they were replaced with the yellow balls used today – it’s believed this was so they’d be more visible on TV.
Who are the top seeds in this year’s tournament?
2019 Seeds: Gentlemen’s Singles
The reigning champion of the grass-court Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic will be the top seed for the sixth time. Fan favourite and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is seeded second, with last year’s semi-finalist and two-time Wimbledon champion, Rafael Nadal making up the top three.
2018 finalist, Kevin Anderson is seeded fourth, followed by Dominic Thiem seeded fifth.
- Novak Djokovic
- Roger Federer
- Rafael Nadal
- Kevin Anderson
- Dominic Thiem
2019 Seeds: Ladies’ Singles
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty is placed at the summit for the Wimbledon Championships 2019, followed by Japan’s, Naomi Osaka as seed two. Karolína Plíšková and Kiki Bertens are seeded third and fourth respectively. The reigning champion, Angelique Kerber takes the fifth seed spot. Last years finalist and seven-time champion, Serena Williams is seeded 11th.
- Ashleigh Barty
- Naomi Osaka
- Karolína Plíšková
- Kiki Bertens
- Angelique Kerber
A royal event
Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors and Royal patronage. By tradition, players were required to bow or curtsy to members of the Royal family seated in the Royal Box upon entering or leaving Centre Court. However, in 2003, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent took a more modern view to the special event, by adapting this requirement to only bowing or curtsying when The Queen and Prince of Wales are in attendance.
An established menu
Wimbledon is famous for strawberries and cream, with roughly 28,000 kilos of strawberries and 9,000 litres of cream eaten during the Wimbledon Championships, which makes up approximately 166,000 portions.
It is believed that the famous winning combination was served at the first ever Wimbledon tournament in 1877 and has gone from strength to strength.
Historians have suggested that the combination of strawberries and cream dates back as far as the 1500s and Tudor England.
Game, set and match
Matches can go on for hours and hours – and sometimes even days! The longest ever Wimbledon match was at the 2010 tournament, where John Isner of the United States was triumphant against Frances Nicolas Mahut. The match lasted an impressive 11 hours and five minutes. A rethink of the format took place after last years tournament and a final set tie-break at 12-12 will be introduced at this year’s tournament.
When are the Finals?
The Ladies’ Singles Final will be played on Saturday 13th July, with the Gentlemen’s Singles Final the following day on Sunday 14th July.
The prize pot for the tournament is believed to have increased this year with the winner of the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s competitions, each receiving £2.35 million – up from £2.25 million in 2018.