The Championships, Wimbledon
Hi friends! This time around hope you will be quite fascinated to read my latest article on the Wimbledon Championships.
We all know about the game of Lawn Tennis. The game has four major championships which are known as the grand slams across the globe. These four slams are the Wimbledon, Australian Open, French Open and the US Open.
The Wimbledon has its origin dating back to 1877. It is the oldest of the four slams and also considered the most prestigious by many legendary people. This slam is held in the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club in the district of Wimbledon. Lawn Tennis got its name from the idea that the game is played on grass. Out of the four grand slams Wimbledon is the only one which is played on grass. The US and the Australian Open are played on hard courts and the French on clay. The Wimbledon arena has a total of 19 courts including the centre court where the finals are held. The Wimbledon traditions include strict dress code for the participants and the royal patronage. One of the main distinguishing facts of Wimbledon from the other 3 slams is that there aren’t any sponsor advertisements around the courts. Dark green and purple (sometimes also referred to as mauve) are the traditional Wimbledon colours. All the participants in Wimbledon are required to wear white sportswear and gears. Wearing white clothing with some colour accents is also acceptable. Green clothing was worn by the chair umpire, linesmen, ball boys and ball girls until the 2005 Championships; however, beginning with the 2006 Championships, officials, ball boys and ball girls started wearing new navy blue and cream coloured uniforms as recommended by the All England Club. Previously, players bowed or curtsied to members of the Royal Family seated in the Royal Box upon entering or leaving Centre Court. In 2003, however, the President of the All England Club, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, decided to discontinue the tradition. Now, players are required to bow or curtsy only if Her Majesty the queen or the Prince of Wales is present.
When the Wimbledon championships first began in 1877 only one event was held and that was the Gentlemen’s singles title. This title was won by Spencer Gore who was an old Harrovian rackets player. The title match was watched by about 200 spectators at the cost of one shilling. Till the year 1922 the reigning champion had to play in the final only and against the player who had won the challenge to the champion. Wimbledon was contested by only top ranked amateur players until the advent of open era of tennis in 1968. No British man had won the championships since Fred Perry in 1936. The English tipped a few talented players like Tim Henman to win this prestigious event but was unlucky not to have won it and one of the latest one being Andy Murray who is presently ranked 4th in the Association of Tennis Professionals(ATP) rankings. The first and only British woman to have won the ladies singles title was Virginia Wade in 1977. The Wimbledon championships were first televised in the late 1930’s.
Every year the tournament begins in the month of June and it lasts for 13 days. A total of 128 players feature in each singles event, 64 pairs in each gentlemen’s and ladies doubles event, and 48 pairs in Mixed Doubles. Players and doubles pairs are admitted to the main events on the basis of their international rankings, with consideration also given to their previous performances at ATP(for men) and WTA(Women’s Tennis Association) events. Currently (since 2001) 32 male and female players are given seedings in the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ singles while 16 teams are seeded in the doubles events. The Wimbledon committee may allow a player to participate who doesn’t have a high enough ranking. This decision is taken on the basis of the player’s performance on previous tournaments and also on the fact that the player may be able to generate public interests on his/her participation. The player is given a wild card to play. The only wild card to have won the championships in gentlemen’s singles is Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.This time in the 2011 championships ladies category a German woman named Sabine Lisicki was given a wild card on the fact that she was once ranked as high as 22 in the WTA rankings a few years back. She went on to reach the semifinals while entertaining the spectators where she lost out to Maria Sharapova of Russia
The nineteen courts used in Wimbledon are purely of grass. The main show courts the centre court and court no. 1 are usually used only during the championships and the rest of the 17 courts are used all round the year for various local tournaments. The Wimbledon will host the tennis events for the 2012 London olympics. A retractable roof was installed in the centre court of Wimbledon in 2009 to prevent the disruption of the major matches during rain. The first match to be played under the closed roof of the centre court was between British number 1 Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland which Murray won in 5 sets. The centre court has a seating capacity of about 15000.The balls on the courts are controlled by the ball boys and girls commonly known as the BBG’s. Near about 45,000 tennis balls are used in the championships every year. On winning the Wimbledon the Gentlemen’s Champion receives a silver gilt cup which bears the inscription “All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World”. The Ladies Singles champion receives a sterling silver salver known as the “Venus Rosewater Dish”. The trophy is presented to the players by the president of the All England Tennis Club, Duke of Kent. The total prize money for the 2011 championships has been announced as 14,600000 pounds.
There have been many great players in the past and in the open era who have won the Wimbledon Championships on more than one occasion. In the open era Pete Sampras of the US have won more titles than anyone else. He holds the record with William Renshaw (before open era 1968) with 7 Wimbledon crowns. The latest great player in pursuit of Sampras’s haul of 7 is Switzerland’s Roger Federer with 5 wimbledon titles. Martina Navratilova holds the record of winning the highest number of ladies singles title with 9 crowns in her kitty. Martina Navratilova is also became the oldest to win a mixed doubles title in Wimbledon in 2003. She won the title with India’s Leander Paes. Todd Woodbridge of Australia has won the most number of gentlemen’s doubles with the tally being nine. Elizabeth Ryan holds the record of most ladies doubles title with 12 before the open era while in the open era Martina Navratilova holds the record with 7 titles. The longest match in Wimbledon history was played between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner in 2010 which lasted for 11 hours and 5 minutes. To everyone’s surprise when the draw for the Wimbledon this year was announced for the first round of play it was again decided that Nicolas Mahut and John Isner would play against each other. In the past few years there have been a lot of great matches played in gentlemen’s and ladies finals. One among such being the match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick in the 2009 championships which Federer won in a thrilling five setter. In 2010 the gentlemen’s and ladies singles title were won by Rafael Nadal of Spain and Serena Williams of the US respectively.
This time Wimbledon witnessed a new ladies singles champion in Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. She became the only left hander to win the Wimbledon after Martina Navratilova in 1990 and the 3rd Czech overall to win the Wimbledon after Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna. Kvitova won the title by defeating Maria Sharapova , a former champion 6-3,6-4 in the final and in the Gentlemen’s section Novak Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title by defeating Rafael Nadal in 4 sets and thus overtaking him to become the new world number 1 in the ATP rankings.
It has always been a privilege to watch all the top players fight it out for the Wimbledon crown whether on television or on the green courts of Wimbledon.Going by the rich history and tradition Wimbledon is considered arguably the most prestigious of all the four grand slams and thus we say that Wimbledon was, is and will always remain in the hearts of Tennis fans all across the globe.