This year’s Championships will take place between the 27th June and the 10th July. Wimbledon is the only one of the four grand slams to be played on grass. Being the world’s longest running and most prestigious tennis tournament, it is the one title that every top professional player would love to win. In keeping with a long tradition, there is still a strict white-only dress code for players.
Centre Court, which is the main show court, has a capacity of about 15,000 spectators. A retractable roof was installed in 2009 enabling play to continue in the event of rain. The roof takes up to 10 minutes to close, during which time play is suspended. However, the time to transfer from outside to inside play can be up to 45 minutes while the air-conditioning system acclimatises the stadium for indoor-grass competition.
The other show court is designated No 1 Court and it currently has a capacity of about 11,000 spectators. Plans have reached an advanced stage to remodel this court and to equip it with a retractable roof as well. In total 19 grass courts are in use during the two weeks of the Championships.
Wimbledon now attracts around 500,000 visitors during the two weeks while the television audience in Britain and around the world runs into very many millions. This is a far cry from the game’s humble beginnings. On 23 July 1868 The All England Croquet Club was founded. Its name was changed in 1877 to The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club It was in July 1877 that the first lawn tennis meeting was organised, which was open to all amateurs. A total of 22 men took part and the total attendance for the final was 200. The pessimists were convinced that the new fangled game of lawn tennis would never catch on.
Since 1924 tickets have been allocated by a public ballot which is always heavily over-subscribed. But all is not lost as a number of tickets are always available each day. If you are hoping to get to see the action on Centre Court, Court No 1 or Court No 2 you should be prepared to queue overnight, which many do. However there are several thousand tickets available each day admitting visitors into the grounds and giving them the chance to watch games from the No 2 court standing enclosure and from unreserved seating and standing on the outside courts and on the big screen at ‘Henman Hill’.
The Championships are also famous for the two weeks of strawberries & cream. Each year at Wimbledon 28,000 kg of strawberries are eaten along with 7,000 litres of cream. Also 28,000 bottles of champagne are consumed.
For further details go to http://www.wimbledon.com/index.html
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