Tennis is one of the most exciting sports to watch. Long rallies, loud grunts and the spectacle put on by the players is enough to have you on the edge of your seat from the first game. With Open season in full swing, we are fast approaching arguably the most popular tournament in the world, Wimbledon.
With the first tournament taking place in July 1877, Wimbledon is the oldest and most prestigious tournament in the world. Taking place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club each year, the tournament is played on grass which is cut to precisely 8mm in length.
While you might know the players, and even have a favourite, here are some interesting facts about Wimbledon that may surprise you.
Almost 500,000 people attended in 2018
Image source: isportconnect.com
As arguably the most famous tournament in the world, a ticket to Wimbledon is highly sought after and even harder to come by. Especially if you’re hoping to catch the action taking place on center court.
473,169 people attended the Championships in 2018 over 13 days – an average of just over 36,000 people per day – which means that more people watched Wimbledon last year than watched some popular football games.
Often among the crowd are members of the royal family, famous actors and actresses, famous singers and other famous sportsmen and women.
Millions watched around the world
Image source: digital.tv
Not only did the tournament see almost half a million spectators come through the gates, but also saw millions of tennis fans tune into the action from all over the world.
BBC reached a cumulative audience of 26 million, which peaked at 6.54 million during the third round thriller between Novak Djokovic and Kyle Edmund.
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BBC’s coverage of the Singles Finals peaked at 4.6 million for the Ladies' Singles Final and 4.5 million for the Gentlemen's Singles Final.
In America, ESPN had a cumulative reach of 29.42 million, with their highest peak for the Ladies' Singles Final reaching almost 3 million.
Tons of strawberries are ordered for Wimbledon each year
Image source: times.co.uk
Strawberries and Wimbledon go together like thunder and lightning. Nobody really knows why strawberries are the fruit of choice for the Grand Slam tournament, but it is likely that they were just in season at the time of the first ever tournament.
What is fascinating is just how many strawberries are consumed during Wimbledon. At the 2018 tournament, some 34,000 kilograms of the tasty fruit were served with cream, adding up to more than 166,000 portions.
A pineapple sits on top of the trophy
Image source: espn.com
While strawberries might be the food of choice at Wimbledon, the trophy is topped with a pineapple. As with the strawberries, the reasoning behind the pineapple remains a mystery, but there are a couple of theories floating around. The most popular being that the pineapple was used as a symbol of honour, welcoming and celebration. Pineapples were impossible to grow in the UK and had to be imported, so being presented with one was seen as a great compliment.
Strict clothing rules
Image source: businessinsider.com
In order to maintain the prestigious reputation of Wimbledon, a strict dress code was introduced in 1963. The rule stated that players must play in “predominately white” attire and the rule is enforced as soon as the player enters the court surrounds.
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In 1995 the wording of the dress code was changed and stated that players must be dressed “almost entirely in white”. In 2014 it was again amended to include playing accessories such as sweat bands and caps.
The strict clothing rule hasn’t always gone down well with players, and saw two-time Wimbledon champion, Andre Agassi, boycott the tournament for three years before finally caving and adhering to the regulations.
53,000 balls used throughout the Championships
Image source: lovellracket.co.uk
Part of the longest partnership in sporting goods history, Slazenger has been the Official Supplier of tennis balls to Wimbledon since 1902.
53,000 tennis balls are used throughout the tournament and are stored at a very precise 68 degrees Fahrenheit. New balls are introduced after the first seven games, and then after every nine games. At the start of the day, 48 tins are taken onto the center court and court number 1, and 24 tins are taken onto all other courts.
The balls aren’t just discarded after they have been used, instead, they are sold for £2.50 per can of three with all proceeds going to the Wimbledon Foundation.
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