Wimbledon Facts and Trivia
The Championships, Wimbledon (as it’s supposed to be called) is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It takes place in London, England, and is the only Grand Slam tournament to be played on a grass court. Those are easy Wimbledon facts, though. Let’s get into some interesting ones.
As well as being Grand Slam played on grass, Wimbledon is also the only Slam to enforce a dress code. Competitors must dress almost entirely in white and sponsorship logos are not allowed. Umpires have the authority to penalise players who do not adhere to the dress code, and nobody is exempt. Even Wimbledon favourite, and all round nice guy Roger Federer was asked to change his shoes in 2013.
Because they had orange soles.
Speaking of Federer…
Roger Federer has enjoyed more success at Wimbledon than any of the other Slams… and he’s enjoyed a lot of success at the other Slams! Federer has won the title at the All England Club a record equalling seven times. He shares this record with fellow-great, Pete Sampras (and William Renshaw if you count Amateur Era stats), but Federer has reached the final a total of ten times to Sampras’ seven.
Sticking with its theme of doing things differently, Wimbledon is also the only Grand Slam to have a day off on the middle Sunday. This routine has been broken from time to time, however, such as when rain delays have postponed so many matches that the organisers are forced to schedule matches for the middle Sunday just to catch up.
This is England, after all.
Perhaps one of the more unusual Wimbledon facts has to do with the locals. The British tournament has had a particularly hard time of it when it comes to homegrown talent. Obviously in the early days of the tournament the victors were all British (because the competitors were all British). But in 1910 Anthony Wilding—a player from New Zealand—took the Wimbledon crown away from the Brits. It would be a twenty four year wait before another Brit would become champion.
That wasn’t the end of it, however. The aforementioned British champion, Fred Perry, would go on to win again in 1935 and 1936, and then nothing. No British winners for three quarters of a century. Britain would have to wait until 2013 for another homegrown winner when Andy Murray finally lifted the trophy.
The longest match in tennis history took place at the 2010 Wimbledon championships. It was a first round tie between American John Isner and French Nicholas Mahut. The match lasted a ridiculous eleven hours and five minutes, taking place over three days and totalling 183 games. The final set tie break was finally won 70–68 by Isner, who went to get absolutely destroyed in second round.
Presumably because he could barely stand.
Though the All England Club is technically a private members club through the year, the Centre Court itself is only used for the Wimbledon Championships. There was an exception to this rule in 2012 when London hosted the Olympic Games and Wimbledon served as the venue for the Olympic tennis competition. This took place just weeks after the 2012 Wimbledon tournament, so I can imagine there was a disgruntled groundskeeper or two.
Part of the Wimbledon venue by the name of Aorangi Terrace is affectionately referred to as “Henman Hill”. Aorangi Terrace tends to fill up with eager spectators who couldn’t get tickets for the the big courts, but can watch the play on the big screen erected at the bottom of the hill. The unofficial name, Henman Hill, comes from the fact that Tim Henman—who was seen as Britain’s best shot at a homegrown champion for a long time—would typically have a small army of fans watching his matches from the hill.
The hill will occasionally be referred to as other things when British players are in action, such as Murray Mound for Andy Murray, and Robson Green for Laura Robson, but Henman Hill seems to have stuck the most, despite Andy Murray finally achieving what Henman couldn’t. Henman once joked that Murray “…can have all those grand slams he’s going to win but I’m keeping my hill.”
That’s all your facts and trivia for now. I’ll keep this post updated so if you know any new facts, any trivia I’ve missed, or any errors in the existing info, drop a comment below.