Summer is in full swing in London and that can only mean one thing – Wimbledon is around the corner! We’ve gathered our top ten facts about Wimbledon championships that will amaze even the most dedicated of fans.
1. Wimbledon is the oldest tennis championship in the world
Widely considered to be the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon championships have taken place at the All England Lawn Tennis Club
since 1877 and have been at the current ground since the 1922 tournament.
Since then the site has grown and developed. New courts have been built, including the 11,500-seat No. 1 Court as well as courts 18 and 19, and the famous “Henman Hill” with its large TV screen has become a Wimbledon staple.
2. Most aces of all time
As the finest stage in world tennis, Wimbledon sees the world’s best players come together to fight for the championship title. The matches are incredibly entertaining, and spectators marvel at the speed and accuracy with which the players serve up ace after ace!
In 2001, while awaiting surgery on his left shoulder, wildcard Goran Ivanišević, who was ranked 125th
in the world, beat all odds and won the championship, smashing out 212 aces along the way! In the semi-final he served up 35 aces and in the final a further 27.
An incredibly powerful player, Serena Williams is the winner of the most grand slam tournaments of all time. In 2015, she served up a total of 80 aces across the tournament with serving speeds of over 125 miles an hour!
3. Over 50,000 tennis balls!
With 256 players and 254 matches in the singles tournaments alone, Wimbledon needs a lot of tennis balls! Balls are changed after the first seven games and then each subsequent ninth game. Last year, 54,250 balls were used across the Wimbledon championships. That’s the equivalent of 24 cans of balls per day for each outside court, and 48 cans per day for Centre Court and also for Court No. 1.
At the Wimbledon Foundation Kiosk near Court 14, you can buy used tennis balls to commemorate your visit and support the Wimbledon Foundation.
4. 28,000 kg of strawberries and 10,000 litres of cream are consumed during Wimbledon
Wimbledon is synonymous with strawberries. That’s why, every year, over 140,000 bowls of strawberries and cream are dished out for the spectators and players. But did you know that all the fruit comes from one farm in Kent? Every morning before dawn, two teams of 40 pickers arrive at the farm to pick over 100,000 strawberries for one day’s consumption.
5. Fastest serve of all time
With the world’s greatest tennis stars in action at the Wimbledon championships, each match guarantees a lot of highlights. The overarm serve favoured by most players today was first used at Wimbledon by Arthur Thomas Myers in 1878 and quickly became popular as a way to increase serve speed.
In 2010, Taylor Dent smashed the Wimbledon record for the fastest serve of all time during his match against Novak Djokovic, serving a mind-blowing 148 mph! Venus Williams still holds the record for the fastest serve by a female player of 129 mph which she set in 2008 in her match against her sister Serena. Until that point the sisters had shared the record of 126 mph.
6. Rufus the Harris Hawk has his own All-England Club ID card
Rufus has been protecting the Wimbledon courts for the past 10 years. He flies above them every morning to scare away any pigeons from the grounds. He also works at Northampton Saints rugby ground, Fulham Football Club and Westminster Abbey and is busy training a new hawk, Pollux, teaching him how to become accustomed to the TV cameras and equipment.
7. Longest match
On the second day of the tournament in 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut arrived onto the court shortly after 6pm ready to play their first-round singles match. A little after 9pm, the players had secured two sets each and play was suspended until the next day. The following afternoon at 2pm, they began the fifth set.
3 hours 40 minutes later, the match became the longest in tennis history, with the scores tied at 32-32. As the score reached 47-47, the scoreboard stopped working! At just after 9pm, with the score at 59-59, the match was once again suspended until the following day.
The following afternoon, after a further hour of play, Isner emerged victorious with a score of 70-68. With the final set lasting over 8 hours, the longest ever match now consisted of 183 games and a running time of 11 hours 5 minutes!
8. Caring for the grass
As the only Grand Slam championship played on grass, Wimbledon takes a rest day in the middle of the tournament. Why? To let the grass recover! Ground staff take the opportunity to water the grass and prepare it for the second week of matches.
Four weeks before the tournament begins, the grass is cut down to 8 mm in height, the optimum height for playing. Every day during the competition, the ground staff repaint the lines and mow the lawn to ensure it stays at 8 mm. A short seven days after the championship ends, preparations begin for next year’s grass!
9. Most titles won
There have been some long winning streaks at Wimbledon, but who has won the most singles titles? Martina Navratilova won 9 times between 1978 and 1990 and continued playing until 2006. She also won doubles and mixed doubles tournaments!
For the men’s singles title, three men currently hold the title of most wins. William Renshaw set the record of 7 championship wins back in 1889 which wasn’t matched until Pete Sampras reached 7 wins in 2000. In 2012, Roger Federer became the third player to equal the record.
10. Prize money
The winners of the ladies’ and gentlemen’s single championships will each receive £2.2 million, but did you know that winners of every round receive prize money as well? Ranging from £1500 for the winner of the first round of mixed doubles, up to £1.1 million for the runner-up in the final, the Wimbledon championships will dish out £31.6 million this year in prize money!
Gather your friends and test their knowledge of the Wimbledon championships with our top ten facts as you watch the tournaments!