The Wimbledon Tennis Championships is as British as fish and chips. From Panama hats and Pimm's to strawberries and cream, this sporting event epitomises British summertime.
Started in 1877, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. Back then, The Championships was a men’s tennis tournament held at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. In the first competition, there were 22 competitors, 200 spectators and the prize money was 12 guineas.
Today, The Championships is considered one of the most prestigious tennis events in the world, with prize money totalling over £28million, 500,000 spectators over the two weeks and 1,000 athletes, including juniors, seniors and wheelchair players.
Here are some other ace Wimbledon facts for you…
1. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam played on grass.
2. In 1995, Tim Henman became the first person to be disqualified from the tournament. He smashed a ball in a fit of anger and hit a ball girl in the head. He later apologised with flowers.
3. Centre Court holds 15,000 spectators.
4. 250 ball boys and girls are employed in the tournament, earning £150 for the two weeks they work.
5. 290 million tennis balls could fit in the Centre Court with the roof covered.
6. In 1985, Boris Becker achieved three feats. He became the youngest male to become Single’s Champion, he was the first German and the first unseeded.
7. Fastest serve by a man was Taylor Dent in 2010 at 148mph.
8. Fastest serve by a woman was Venus Williams in 2008 at 129mph.
9. The last wooden racquet was used in 1987.
10. Nicolas Mahut’s and John Isner’s match in 2010 lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes – the longest in Wimbledon history.
11. Maria Sharapova recorded the loudest grunt in 2009 at 105 decibels, the equivalent of a jet taking off at 305m.
12. 15,000 bananas are consumed by players each tournament.
13. Goran Ivanisevic hit 212 aces in 2001, a record.
14. It takes 16 people and 30 seconds to deploy the Centre Court cover.
15. Wimbledon turf is cut to a height of exactly 8mm.
16. A Harris Hawk called Rufus is employed to scare away pigeons from the courts. He flies for one hour most mornings during The Championship at 9am before the gates open.
17. In WWII, five bombs hit Centre Court and it took nine years to fully restore.
18. In 2007, equal prize money was introduced.
19. Wimbledon always starts on the sixth Monday before the first Monday of August.
20. 54,250 balls are used in a tournament.
21. 28,000kg of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream are consumed in the fortnight.
22. 7,500 Wimbledon umbrellas would be needed to cover the same area as the retractable roof.
23. All tournament tennis balls are stored at 68 degrees F.
When it comes to tennis, are you a love it or loathe it type? Let us know below…