It’s that time of the year again – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club becomes alive again and the center of tennis world’s attention. No tournament, including other Grand Slams, creates such an atmosphere as Wimbledon. And there are numerous reasons why, including the feeling of nobility in the air, attending the same event as The Queen and the Royal Family, players bowing toward the Royal Box, referring to competitors as ‘Gentlemen’s’ and ‘Ladies’ instead of Men’s and Women’s...
The qualification period will take place between Monday, 26th June and Thursday 29th June. The Championships will last from Monday, 3rd July to Sunday, 16th July.
The Ladies’ Singles final is scheduled for Saturday, 15th July (together with Ladies’ & Gentlemen’s Doubles final), and Gentlemen’s Singles final on Sunday, 16th July (together with Mixed Doubles final).
Full orders of play will be published on Wimbledon’s official website the night before the next day’s play.
This year, both ladies and gentlemen will be competing for £2.2 million each (more than $2.8m), which is an increase of 10% compared to the previous year. Singles runner-ups will receive £1.1 million (approx. $1.4m) each, semi-finalists £550k (approx. $700k), and quarter-finalists £275k (approx. $350k)
The total prize money is £31,600,000 in total (over $40.4) which is a significant increase of 12.5% compared to 2016 (2016 prize money saw increase of just 5% compared to 2015). According to The Telegraph, the Singles money prizes doubled in 6 years since Djokovic and Kvitova took home £1.1m.
Andy Murray, the world no. 1 and the two-time champion, will play on his home court, for his entire nation, and when you think that he brought the trophy back home for the first time after 77 years of foreign champions, the pressure must be very high. He exited Roland Garros in the semi-final on 9th June, so he probably had time to prepare both mentally and physically.
Roger Federer is chasing records. The victory would mean his historic 8th Wimbledon title, which would be more than any player won in both Amateur and Open Eras. It would also mean 19th Grand Slam title (he currently holds 18, which is already a record for any male player in history). Federer seemed to pick his battles this year, skipping Roland Garros and Nadal altogether. Perhaps we will benefit from the long break, especially considering that he was in tremendous form before that, some claimed in the best form of his career. So, we can say that Federer and Murray are main favorites this year.
The three-times Wimbledon champion and no. 4, Novak Djokovic, seems to have real motivational issues and a psychological crisis. After getting eliminated by Dominic Thiem in the Roland Garros quarter-final in three sets (last one being 6-0 for Thiem), it seems highly unlikely that he’ll have the mental strength to win the Championships.
The King of Clay, the two-time Wimbledon champ and three-times runner-up, Rafael Nadal, is a serious threat. He hasn’t made it past the fourth round since 2011, and the grass change hasn’t been benefiting his knees. However, Nadal is coming to Wimbledon in amazing shape, after triumphing at Roland Garros, so he’ll be a serious threat. He said himself that it will be complicated and that it will depend on the behavior of his knee, but that he is motivated. It would also be his 16th Grand Slam title - he would move 2 titles away from Pete Sampras’ record and another title closer to Federer.
A lot of other players won’t make it easy for any of these guys, including Wawrinka (current no. 3; two-times quarter-finalist), Milos Raonic (no. 6, last year’s runner-up and 73% matches won at the tournament), Marin Cilic (no. 7 and three-times quarter-finalist), J.W. Tsonga (no. 10 and two-times semi-finalist).
David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta confirmed absence, the first one due to ankle injury, and the other one due to abdominal injury. Nick Kyrgios reported hip injury yesterday, so Wimbledon participation is currently uncertain.
With 7-times champion, Serena Williams, being absent due to pregnancy, the draw is wide open. Venus Williams is in, and the victory would mean adding the sixth title to her record, which would be a big deal. However, being 37 and competing against world top 10 20-something players (exception Kuznetsova who is 31), is going to make it extremely difficult for her to win.
The last year’s runner-up is the current no. 1, Angelique Kerber, but except reaching quarter-final in 2014 and semi-final in 2012, her Wimbledon record is not that impressive, nor is her performance during this year.
The no. 3, Karolina Pliskova, has a truly poor Wimbledon record, especially considering the last four years. However, due to excellent serve and volley tactics (game suited for grass), she may represent a serious opponent, but unlikely a winner.
The two-times champion, Petra Kvitova, is also in, but she didn’t get very far at Roland Garros. This can mean that she took the time she needed to prepare for Wimbledon, and perhaps that’s just what she needed, especially after a comeback from the attack that she suffered.
The no. 2, Simona Halep, and no. 6, Dominika Cibulkova, made in to the quarter-final last year, Johanna Konta has the home support and has performed well this year, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
It’s THE tournament. The most prestigious tournament of all. Every player dreams of winning the title above all titles. Every tennis fan dreams of attending the oldest tennis tournament in the world - tournament where records like no other were set, matches like no other were played and where the history was made. Every single soul in the world of tennis wishes to experience the atmosphere, charged with the feeling of nobility and elegance that surrounds this second most British institution after the Royal family. The reason why the tournament carries this special, unique vibe, is that it’s about tennis as much as it is about class and off-court indulgence. It’s about fashion, exceptional gourmet and enjoying elegant, unparalleled atmosphere and environment of the Wimbledon Park Golf Club. Which sport event besides Wimbledon serves strawberries, champagne, cream teas, tennis nuts and Pimms? The answer is: none!
The prestige comes from tournament’s longevity and long-lasting traditions. By staying true to cultural and social norms of the past, spectators feel obliged to treat the event and other participants with outmost respect, while players express modesty and play with honor. Some rules have become less strict than before, as it was necessary to adapt to the forever changing conditions of modern society. However, tradition and identity is something that was cherished and protected, so the event kept some rules, of course, while modifying what thought acceptable.
Currently, it is the only Grand Slam that is played on grass, which is at the same time the tournament’s original surface – always cut to precisely 8mm. Other majors switched surfaces over time, but not Wimbledon – it needs to be grass like it has always been, and the tournament prides itself for the tradition it carries.
The grass court makes this tournament even more special considering that it is more difficult to practice and prepare for it due to the lack of other grass courts. Grass is considered to be the surface for all types of players, but the unique bounces of the ball and movements represent a true challenge, so in the end, truly the best man/woman will win.
It is the only major tournament that still requires a certain dress code. Namely, players are required to wear preferably all-white or almost all-white clothing with no commercial brand logos other than the designer’s. The idea is to have all players enter the courts as equals. Their clothes shouldn’t be what draws attention, but their exceptional play. The policy of the event is also not to have any sponsored advertisements anywhere else around the courts. Ball boys and girls, linesmen and chair umpire all wore green until 2005, when Ralph Loren, the first foreign designer in Wimbledon’s history, designed cream and navy-blue uniforms.
As for the spectators, they must dress respectfully – smart but casual. T-shirts and jeans became acceptable in 2014, however, classic jeans, no ripped or anything of the sort. Basically, anything as long as not ripped, filthy and running. Those at Centre Court and Number One Court must follow a stricter dress code, especially considering that the premium seats are reserved for royalty, nobles, well-heeled and celebrities, so one must rise to the occasion.
Ball boys and girls also need to behave in a certain way – most importantly to stand quietly in the background and to avoid attracting attention to themselves. As for the players, they know that they must leave their egos behind, give their best performance for audience’s sake and for proving themselves worthy of participation.
The silver gilt cup with inscription "All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World" which has been awarded to Gentlemen’s Singles champions since 1887, stays in the All England Club museum, while the winner is awarded with a smaller replica trophy.
The actual Ladies’ Singles trophy remains the property of the museum as well, while the champion receives the smaller replica of the “Venus Rosewater Dish” – the only Grand Slam trophy that is not a cup. The mythological themes on the silver dish represent glorious history of Great Britain.
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament that awards each doubles player with individual trophies – silver cups. The trophies are presented to the champions by The Duke of Kent himself.
BBC is celebrating 90 years of broadcasting Wimbledon this year, so fans are offered more live action by adding qualifying matches to the repertoire. The first radio broadcast of the tournament was in 1927, and the first television broadcast was 10 years later, in 1937. This was the first television transmission of any sport event in the UK in history, and it also occurred one month after the first outside broadcast – the Coronation of King George VI.
The strict tradition of referring female tennis players on scoreboards by titles “Miss” if unmarried, or “Mrs” followed by their husbands’ names was respected until 2009 tournament, when female players could see their full first and last names on the scoreboards for the first time. The male players are referred to without the “Mr” title on scoreboards, as long as the player is a professional. So, the titles are used for female players and male amateurs.
The difference between prize money of Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ champions existed since 1968, when it was presented to winners for the first time in history. The prize money for the men’s singles champions was £2,000 and £750 for the women’s singles. The tradition of awarding male players with more money lasted until 2007, when male and female players were named equal in terms of the rewards. The reason for the difference came from idea that men spend more time at the courts than women (best out of 5 sets, instead of best out of 3), so the difference was logical.
The players were once obligated to bow or curtsy to the members of the Royal family upon entering or leaving the Centre Court, and it was a practice that lasted until 2003. The tradition was discontinued by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, and today, the players are obligated to bow only if The Queen or The Price of Wales are present.
Similar like in the case of Roland Garros, Brits weren’t very successful in winning their home tournament since the Open Era started. The only British player to win in the final was the current no. 1, Andy Murray. He listed the Wimbledon trophies in 2013 (which was, at the same time, the first win for the Brits since 1936) and last year. The country with most Open Era men’s singles titles is USA (15), followed by Sweden and Switzerland (each 7), Australia (6) and Germany (4).
When it comes to British Ladies’ Singles champions, USA gave most champions in the Open Era (29), followed by Germany (7), Australia and Czech Republic (3 each). UK had only two champions in the Open Era - Ann Jones in 1969 and Virginia Wade in 1977.
Record for most Gentlemen’s Singles titles in the Open Era hold Pete Sampras and Roger Federer – 7 titles each. It will be interested to see if Federer will win his historic 8th Wimbledon title, which would make him the single player with most Wimbledon titles in history and he would also be the oldest Wimbledon champion in the Open Era. Federer also holds the record for most numbers of times to reach the finals considering both Amateur and Open Eras and both female and male players (total number of 10).
He shares first place with Bjorn Borg when it comes to most consecutive Gentlemen’s Singles titles won – both 5: between 2003 and 2007, and between 1976 and 1980, respectively.
The youngest Gentlemen’s Singles champion was Boris Becker (17 years and 227 days) when he won his first of three titles back in 1985. He shares the 3rd place with John McEnroe and Novak Djokovic when it comes to the number of titles won. Next in line are Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray with two.
When it comes to ladies, Martina Navratilova is the absolute Queen of Wimbledon with 9 Ladies’ Singles titles and, also, most consecutive ones (6). This is an all-time record, both in Amateur and in Open Eras. She also holds the record for most Ladies’ doubles titles in Open Era (7), most Mixed Doubles titles (4), and a record as the winner of most Championships – 20. Billi Jean King also won 20, but if taking both eras in consideration. For comparison, the Gentlemen’s winner of most Championships, Todd Woodbrigde won 10 titles in total in the Open Era. She is also the oldest ever major champion (together with Paes she won the 2003 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles title aged 46 and 8 months) and the oldest player to win a professional singles match in Open Era ('04, 1st round at 47).
Looking at the Open Era only, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams share the second place when it comes to most Ladies’ Singles titles – 7 each. If she had participated and won, Serena Williams, would have also become the oldest player to win – at the age 35. This way, Navratilova stays the oldest Ladies’ Singles champion (33 in 1990).
Next in line are Venus Williams with 5 titles and Billie Jean King (4 Open Era, 2 Amateur Era), then Chris Evert with 3 (she was runner-up 7 times), and Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Petra Kvitova (2).
The youngest Ladies’ Singles winner considering both eras is Lottie Dod (15 years and 285 days) in 1887, and Martina Hingis became the youngest Ladies’ champion in Open Era in 1997 (16 years and 10 months).
The Borg – McEnroe rivalry was titled “Fire and Ice”, term used to describe their completely opposite personalities. Borg was known for his coolness and emotionless behavior, while McEnroe was booed by the crowed numerous times for his on-court tantrums and outbursts. In 1980 Borg was aiming for his 5th consecutive Wimbledon title, and McEnroe entered the final for the first time in his career. At that point the score between the two of them was 7-7. At the end Borg defeated McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6 and took his 5th straight title. One of the most memorable parts of the match is the legendary 22-minute tiebreaker in the fourth set.
In 1988 Navratilova had 8 Wimbledon titles, the most titles any man or women have won before, as well as 6 consecutive titles. She was going for her 9th title and 7th consecutive crown, while the 18-year old Graf was fighting for her first. The final score was 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 for Graf who raised her arms and screamed, while the commentator declared her victory: “That’s it! The Queen is dead, long live the new Queen, Steffi Graf – the new Wimbledon champion.” The match had even more meaning for Graf’s career, as it was her third completed goal towards winning her Calendar Year Golden Slam, which she did. It was also her first of a total of 7 Wimbledon crowns.
“Pistol Pete”, 7 times champion of Wimbledon, got defeated in the second round by no. 145 “lucky loser” Bastl. He dropped the final set and lost 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6. After losing in the fourth round to Federer in 2001, no one imagined that the King would exit his kingdom in such a way, in the second round. While Bastl was celebrating his victory, Sampras remained seated for a while before walking off the court with his head down. He won the US Open title later that year (def. Agassi in the final), became the first man to win 14 Grand Slam titles, and retired, without ever returning to Wimbledon.
As for Bastl, he lost in the next round to Nalbaldian, that year’s runner-up, and he never again won another match in any of the majors.
This Gentlemen’s Singles final took the title as The Greatest Match Ever Played 28 years after Borg-McEnroe final match. Federer and Nadal were two highest players at that time and Federer was shooting for his 6th consecutive title, which would be an historic moment and all-time record. Nadal never won Wimbledon before, so it was similar situation like in 1980. However, instead of winning, Federer lost to the King of Clay 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7, so his chance to brake this record was forever lost. The match itself broke the record as the longest lasting Wimbledon final match – it lasted for 4 hours and 48 minutes.
Believe or not, this was during the first round, and the match began on 22nd June, was played on the following day and finally finished on 24th June with Isner’s victory 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 (total of 11 hours and 5 minutes). It is referred to as “the endless match” as it is the longest match in tennis history both in terms of time and games (183 games).
Isner and Mahut set numerous other tennis records including the longest set (final set – 8 hours and 11 minutes), most aces in a match, both by one player (Isner – 113) and in total (both players served a total of 216 aces) and most points in a match (980).