Why Wimbledon is so unique

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Did you know that the original name for tennis was 'Sphairistikè'?! We're not sure we can pronounce that, but we can say: WIMBLEDON! Yes it's that time of year when we hear tennis balls hitting turf and glasses of Pimms fizzing. But why exactly does Britain ace with the world's most recognised Championships (if not always on the court itself…)?!

Wimbledon Centre Court

It's where tennis began

Tennis, like football, cricket and rugby, is a globally popular sport that began life in Britain. The rules of the modern game originated in Birmingham, England, in the 19th century. The first (and now oldest) tennis tournament was held at Wimbledon in 1877 (it’s also thought that this was around the time people began to refer to the sport as tennis rather than Sphairistikè, which is ancient Greek for "the art of playing ball").

It's just so polite

In Wimbledon you don’t have men’s and women’s singles and doubles. You have Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s singles and doubles. Players don’t arrive on horseback to the sound of trumpeting, but they’re still given the option of bowing to the Royal Box when they appear on Centre Court.

The most prestigious tennis tournament in the world

Of the world's 4 Grand Slam tennis events, it’s Wimbledon that most captures the imagination of the players and spectators alike. The sense of history and occasion are second to none. It’s the only one of the major tournaments still played on the original grass surface, and it’s winning here - more than anywhere else - that really makes you a tennis legend.

The strawberries and cream

Strawberries and cream mmmmmm ©AELTC/Matthias Hangst

 

28,000kg of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream are consumed at Wimbledon.

The rain

Wimbledon's retractable roof. ©AELTC/Thomas Lovelock

 

It’s always a bit exciting when rain starts so the new retractable roof on Centre Court unfurls.

Rufus the hawk

Rufus the hawk! ©AELTC/Matthias Hangst

 

An important Wimbledon employee, he flies around the court each day to move on any trouble-making pigeons.

The Royals

Queen waving at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, London, Britain - 24 Jun 2010 ©Back Page Images/REX

 

The Duke of Kent is the president of the Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The Queen paid a visit in 2010.

It is in London

VB34141644 And we all know London is one of the most vibrant and historic cities on the planet.

It’s just a tiiinnny bit eccentrically British

Pet shop prepares for Wimbledon, London, Britain - 17 Jun 2015 ©AmerGhazzal/REX

 

See everything above..!   You can come to Wimbledon and experience the atmosphere at Centre Court throughout most of the year on the Wimbledon Tennis Museum & Tour. And if you want to explore the roots of the game even further, you can head to the incredible Hampton Court Palace, and visit the Royal Courts where you’ll discover all about a game played by King Henry VIII called Real Tennis, way back in the 15th century.

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