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Centre court access to long-lasting Wimbledon traditions
Jun 30, 2022, 11:03:00 PM

Centre court access to long-lasting Wimbledon traditions

Out of all the sports in the world, tennis happens to be the one with the most traditions. Do these traditions have an effect on the Wimbledon tennis betting scene? Find out what they are and see if they really have a say in a game’s outcome.

These traditions might be an old wives tale at most, but some actually do make sense and have been a tradition for a long time. Tennis is such a wonderful sport with several traditions that makes it unique. 

What are the most common Wimbledon tennis traditions, more specifically, in Wimbledon, and why do you need to pay more attention to it? Here are some of the most widely known traditions in the history of Wimbledon tennis: 

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Wimbledon traditions you should know about

The Wimbledon tennis tournaments have maintained these customs for 138 years. Traditions are what separate Wimbledon from other Grand Slam tournaments. 

Wimbledon represents far more than just a single tournament—it represents a century of traditions. Here is a list of Wimbledon traditions that will make you more interested in tennis! 

The grass surface

In tennis, Wimbledon is the world's oldest tournament. There have been 129 Wimbledons since 1877. Unlike Wimbledon, the Australian Open and United States Open have since switched to hardcourts and clay courts, respectively. The phrase ‘lawn tennis’ was coined as a reference to this fact. 

Three of the four major tennis championships were played on grass when Don Budge achieved the inaugural Grand Slam in 1938. Also, Grass courts had a role in each of Rod Laver's Grand Slam victories in 1962 and 1969.

The majority of tournaments are not held on grass courts due to the difficulties of maintaining them and the shortage of grass locations.

The grass was replaced with clay in 1975, then hard courts three years later. However, the US Open returned to grass in 1980. The term ‘Lawn’ was omitted from the name of the US Lawn Tennis Association in 1975 since it was no longer relevant.

There has been a grass-based Wimbledon tournament every year since 1877, and this year marks the 128th. According to the Wimbledon website, the grass at Wimbledon is 100% Perennial Ryegrass and is trimmed to a height of eight millimetres (about one-third of an inch).

In a tournament, the only surface that varies considerably is the court. The courts are slick and smooth in the beginning of the tournament, but wear out in the latter stages, resulting in more poor bounces.

The most renowned tennis tournament in the world is played on a grass court, despite the fact that the majority of the population has never played on one. 

Ladies and gentlemen sections

Wimbledon refers to the men's and women's tournaments as ‘gentlemen's’ and ‘ladies’ competitions even after all these years, unlike other tennis tournaments. Miss and Mrs are used to refer to female athletes based on their marital status. However, there is no mention of any male players being referred to as ‘Mr’.

Dress codes throughout history

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament with a strict dress code. The competition requires all participants to wear white clothing. This regulation is taken seriously by the All-England Club. 

In the last several decades, the regulation has only become more stringent. All players must adhere to a 10-part ‘decree’ established by the club in 2014. Some of the guidelines are: 

  • Off-white or cream are not considered white. Simply, players should wear white. 
  • A single colour ‘no broader than 1 cm’ may be added.
  • It is forbidden to wear any (coloured) undergarments that can be seen during play.

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When the competition was first held, players had worn all-white outfits since 1877. In 2006, the whole crew of officials (umpires, linesmen and ball boys and girls) were required to wear green attire. 

After this, Ralph Lauren was invited by the club to create all of the official costumes in navy blue and cream for the first time.

Strawberries and cream delights

Strawberries and cream are the most common snacks during the event. This is a long-standing tradition at Wimbledon. In 1953, strawberries were first-served, and cream was introduced in 1970. 

Other sources, however, claim that strawberries were on the menu as far back as 1877. The appearance of both strawberries and tennis was a sure indicator that summer had arrived. 

Both of these players have grown to be vital to the event over time. Wimbledon prepares over 9,000 servings daily, all of which are made using the finest Kentish strawberries. 

Arriving at Wimbledon at about 5:30am, the berries are examined before they are removed from their hulls. Wimbledon consumes 28,000 kilos of strawberries and 7,000 gallons of cream per year.

The BBGs

BBGs, or ball boys and girls, are an integral part of Wimbledon's operation and are tasked to ensure that the event runs well. A competent BBG ‘should not be noticed’. 

They should go unnoticed and carry out their duties without raising suspicion. They operate in two teams, with two players on the net and four in the corners. Each team rotates for one hour on the court and one hour off throughout each day's play.

Approximately, 250 ball boys and girls are hired each year at Wimbledon. These teenagers, who typically work two weeks every month, have an average age of 15 and earn roughly £150 per week.

The Centre Court

Thousands of chairs were destroyed in Centre Court by five bombs during World War II. It took nine years to complete the restoration. Now, it can house 15,000 people. Rain delays may now be avoided thanks to a retractable cover on Centre Court.

The Royal Family visit

The Royal Family is the lone patron of this Grand Slam. They are long-time fans of the tournament and have attended several times in the past. 

The All England Club is sponsored by the Queen of Britain, and she often visits Wimbledon to see the players and facilities. Even Diana, Princess of Wales, was a regular visitor of Wimbledon until her tragic death. Wimbledon's Royal Box is home to members of the British Royal Family. As a result, players were expected to treat them with respect. 

All England Club president Prince Charles has halted this practice since 2003. Previously, civility was required only when the king or Prince of Wales was present.

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Queue Etiquette Guidebook

The British are the only ones who can tell how to stand in line for Wimbledon. Since the lines might be rather long, it's important to follow a few guidelines to make the time pass more quickly.

Excessive drinking will not be permitted. Those in line should wear suitable dress and footwear according to the handbook. There are also strong rules against ‘butting in line’ (queue-jumping).

The match scheduling 

With three scheduling guidelines, Wimbledon has established a long-standing tradition worth remembering.

As a first step, the tournament begins with the men's reigning champion playing his first match on Centre Court. Due to the retirement of 2013 champion Marion Bartoli, the tournament management had to pick another woman to commence play on the second day of Wimbledon. That accolade belonged to close runner-up, Sabine Lisicki.

It's also a custom that the third Sunday of the two-week celebration is a day of relaxation. Only the Grand Slam competition does not have any games scheduled on a day that would seem to be appealing to viewers. 

Only three times in the tournament's history (1991, 1997, and 2001) has Middle Sunday been utilised to make up for lost games due to bad weather.

The third ritual, albeit less prominent as a tradition, is still essential to many spectators. Quarterfinal matches for both women's and men's competitions will be held on the second Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Wimbledon trophies 

Even while the players who earn the championship trophies at Wimbledon may be more well-known, the trophies themselves are much more legendary.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single-Handed Champion of the World Cup has been handed to the male champion since 1887 and stands around 18 inches tall. 

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray have all won the championship with two-handed backhands. Thus, the trophy is a little out of date, but such is the destiny of old awards.

The trophy had the name of the winner etched on it. However, there were no names written in 2009. Names might then be placed on the black plinth with a silver ring as a consequence of this.

The Venus Rosewater Dish, named after Venus Williams, is given to the women's winner, who has won it five times.

The 18-inch diameter Venus Rosewater Dish, which is one year older than the men's trophy, was originally handed to Blanche Bingley Hillyard in 1886. It was when she won the championship wearing a dress that reached the floor.

An electrotype of the Louvre's pewter Temperantia dish was used to make this plate, which has legendary creatures engraved.

As of 1949, the players who won trophies are not allowed to keep them, but they have received smaller reproductions.

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The name of the tournament 

While the other Grand Slam tournaments are known as the ‘open’ competitions, Wimbledon is not.

When comparing the four Grand Slam events, Wimbledon is the only one that does not include the term ‘Open’ in its title and instead refers to itself by its geographical location. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which has hosted the event since its inception in 1877, is located in Wimbledon, a London suburb.

As a result of the tournament's official name, The Championships, Wimbledon is referred to as ‘the fortnight’. The Wimbledon neighbourhood of southwest London, where the venue is situated, is often referred to as SW19 in British publications. As a result, the tournament is never referred to as a British or an English Open.

Since 1978, the US Championships have been referred to as the ‘Forest Hills’ tournament because they were hosted in Forest Hills, New York, where the tournament was held until its relocation to Flushing Meadows in 1978.

On the ATP and WTA websites, however, the tournaments are referred to as the French Open and US Open.

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Words: Vonn Consul

Image: Alamy 

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