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Interesting Facts About Wimbledon
Summer in Britain is heralded every June by a two-week tennis competition known as The Championships, Wimbledon. Wimbledon, as it is commonly known, is held by the All England Club in the Wimbledon area, a suburb of London. Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. The Wimbledon tournament in early summer is considered the oldest and most respected tennis tournament in the world.
Wimbledon started modestly in 1877. A total of 200 spectators paid a shilling each to watch Spencer Gore defeat William Marshall in the final to become the first Wimbledon champion. Gore failed to defend his title the following year when Frank Headow, the inventor of the lob shot, defeated him in the final. After the defeat, Gore immediately retired from tournament tennis. Since then, 64 men have won the gentleman’s title.
More than a century later, 32,036 people gathered on the final day of Wimbledon to watch Spain’s Rafael Nadal successfully defend his title against Tomas Berdych. The total attendance for the two weeks of the 2010 tournament was around half a million, with another five million watching around the world on television. Wimbledon was first televised in 1937 by the British Broadcasting Corporation, which still owns the rights to broadcast Wimbledon. The British government wants the finals to be shown live on television.
Wimbledon consists of singles and doubles competitions. While most people are familiar with Wimbledon’s high-profile men’s and women’s events, there are also categories for juniors, seniors and wheelchair users. A total of fourteen different types of championships are held.
There are many tennis legends in the list of Wimbledon champions. The record for most men’s singles titles is seven, shared by William Renshaw and Pete Sampras. Sampras won his titles in the modern open era, when professionals were allowed to compete at Wimbledon. Until 1968, only amateurs participated in it. Martina Navritalova holds the record for the number of titles in women’s singles – nine. She has achieved six consecutive years in a row. Other notable champions include seven-time winner Steffi Graf and six-time winners Roger Federer and Billie Jean King. Bjorn Borg and Venus Williams each won Wimbledon five times.
There are many traditions at Wimbledon. The most important of these traditions are the grass courts where the championships are held. Wimbledon is the last of the major tennis tournaments to be played on grass, a hard, unpredictable surface favored by big hitters. The traditional colors of Wimbledon are green and purple. Until 2006, all officials were dressed in green. Players must wear white clothing, although some color accents are gradually creeping onto the court. A delicious edible tradition at Wimbledon is devouring strawberries and cream. Thousands of pounds of strawberries and gallons of ice cream are eaten at Wimbledon every summer. Wimbledon even has a literary tradition. On their way to Center Court, players must pass under two lines from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “When”. And of course it wouldn’t be England without rain. Only six championships have been held without rain since 1922.
All sports have their main events. Baseball is playing in the World Series. Hockey teams compete in the Stanley Cup. Winning the Masters is considered the highest achievement in golf. But none of these events can compare to the long history, colorful traditions and legendary tennis champions of Wimbledon.
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