Also known as The Championships, Wimbledon is considered by many as the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. It is also the world’s oldest tennis tournament, having been held every year at the All England Club in London since 1877. It comprises the Grand Slam tournaments together with the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open.
Other than its long history, Wimbledon takes its appeal from its traditions, the pomp and ceremony surrounding the event, and the setting. To date, it is the only large-scale tennis tournament that still uses natural grass as its playing field, which is the game’s original surface. Among the most notable traditions that have become trademarks of Wimbledon are the eating of strawberries and cream, a stricter dress code for players, the no-match rule on the middle Sunday, Royal patronage, and the ban on sponsor advertising around the courts.
Originally created sometime during the 12th century in France, it was in Britain in the 1800s that the sport of tennis finally took the modern form that we know today. And throughout its history, Wimbledon has played a major role, particularly in transforming the sport into a highly skilled egalitarian competition now enjoyed by millions all over the world. In 2009, spectators and players alike were delighted when a retractable roof was installed over Center Court to reduce the amount of playing time lost due to rain.
Played over a fortnight from late June to early July, the tournament broke tradition this year, when it was held a week later, extending the break between the end of the French Open and the start of Wimbledon from two weeks to three. This year’s champions for the five main events are Novak Djokovic (Gentlemen’s Singles), Serena Williams (Ladies’ Singles), Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau (Men’s Doubles), Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza (Women’s Doubles), and Leander Paes/Martina Hingis (Mixed Doubles).