Wimbledon Journal

Ten Fun Facts About Wimbledon Tennis

Jan 11, 2024

While we still have to wait about 6 months to go to the next Championships to be held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in July 2024, we thought we would divert you in the meantime with some fun facts about Wimbledon Tennis.

  1. Strawberries and cream spring to mind when people think about Wimbledon. It is no wonder, as they have been served there since the very first tournament back in 1877 when there were just 200 people in attendance. More than 38 tons of strawberries were served in 2023, that is around 200,000 punnets 🍓🍓🍓 10,000 litres of cream were needed to go with the strawberries!
  2. While we still have to wait about 6 months to go to the next Championships to be held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in July 2024, we thought we would divert you in the meantime with some fun facts about Wimbledon Tennis. you know why the colour of tennis balls used at Wimbledon was changed from white to yellow? It was all down to the advent of colour television – white didn’t show up well enough on the small screen when colour came in. Mind you, Wimbledon held out longer than the other Grand Slams and waited until 1986 before they finally agreed to use yellow tennis balls. Tradition is very important at the Club and they do not easily agree to change. 🎾 🎾🎾
  3. Wimbledon Tennis Championship Grounds have had help from the same hawk for the last 15 years to scare the pigeons away and make sure they do not disturb the great tennis stars on court. Rufus the Harris Hawk has become so famous that he even has his own Wikipedia page and Instagram Account. Rufus used to have his own security pass to get into Wimbledon – job title: bird scarer! He has also been included in the official receiving line for Royal visitors. It is said that he does not let all this attention go to his head and just concentrates on the job in hand. Good to know Rufus. 😊
  4. Before 1922, the reigning champion had to play just one match, the Final itself to defend their title. The Championships only became a challenger tournament from 1922 onwards. Can you imagine if the current champions only had to play in the final and not make their way up through the early rounds, quarter-finals and semi-finals? It would certainly be interesting. 🎉🎉🎉
  5. A future King of England once competed at Wimbledon – the Duke of York (who subsequently became King George VI in 1936 after his brother King Edward VIII abdicated) played in the first round of the men’s doubles in 1922 with Wing Commander Louis Greig (who later became the chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club in 1937). No member of the British Royal Family has competed in The Championships since then. 🙁
  6. If mowing the lawn is not your favourite task, then have some sympathy for the ground staff team at Wimbledon. The grass courts are reseeded every year and allowed to grow to 15 mm before they are cut for the first time. During The Championships, the grounds team must ensure they are trimmed to just 8mm – this means they must be cut with great precision and every day! 👩‍🌾👩‍🌾👩‍🌾
  7. Nowadays, there are around 250 Ball Boys and Girls who work at The Championships. Ball Boys were drawn from Shaftesbury Homes in the 1920’s and ‘30s and then later from local schools and institutions. Ball Girls were not introduced at Wimbledon until 1977. It took a further 8 years before they were seen on Centre Court for the first time and only from 1980 onwards were there mixed teams of Ball Boys and Girls. As we said earlier, tradition in Wimbledon means new practices are not rushed into! 👧👧👧
  8. There used to be no upper limit on the number of games that could be played in a set. After the longest match in 2010, a tie-break system was brought in. No wonder, as that match in 2010 between John Isner (USA) and Nicholas Mahut (France) went on for a staggering 11 hours and 5 minutes played over 3 consecutive days. A total of 183 games! It is unbelievable that they managed to play for so long. 🙌🙌🙌
  9. For over 90 years, no prize money was allowed for the winners at Wimbledon. It is only since the so-called Open Era began in 1968 allowing professional players to compete with amateurs, that prize money was introduced to The Championships. As the Men’s Singles’ champion, you could expect £2,000 back then and for the Ladies’ Singles Champion a mere £750. The £1,000,000 barrier was reached for both men and women in 2010 and this year it reached an amazing £2,350,000. Better get out on the courts and start practicing!
  10. So, you have practised hard all year and you have won your Wimbledon Title. You can collect your prize money and you can’t wait to put the trophy on your mantelpiece BUT you don’t get to take it home. You are presented with the trophy and you even have your name engraved on it but the trophy itself, stays at Wimbledon and you just get a replica. What a shame…

We hope you have appreciated learning about Wimbledon. Also, if you know any fun facts yourself, please do write to us and let us know. We would love to hear from you 😊

1 Comment

  1. Ali

    Really looking forward to this year’s Championships. Thanks for the 10 interesting facts. I had no idea that once upon a time the reigning champion had to only play the final!


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