Wimbledon is laced with tradition and unique facts, even past their all-white wardrobe requirement. Here are 9 you probably didn’t know about.
Wimbledon has been around since 1877, and was the original tennis championship. It is also very easily the most well-known, and most, if not all tennis players dream of lifting the iconic Wimbledon trophy someday.
As the oldest tennis championship in the world, Wimbledon has seen many winners come and go, and along with them, many traditions, practices, and matches too. Here are just some of the interesting facts about this historic tournament.
1. The grass is cut to exactly 8mm
Wimbledon is the only tennis Grand Slam that is played on grass, and as it is arguably the most iconic tennis championship in the world, everything has to be cut to perfection. Literally.
The grass in all Wimbledon courts is always cut to exactly 8mm.
2. These many balls are used
It’s a little known fact that at every Wimbledon, many balls are used throughout the two week tournament period. But did you know that every year the exact number of balls goes up to around 54,250?
Yes, tennis goes through a lot of balls, but they don’t all go to waste! The event organizers donate used Wimbledon balls to various organizations to be reused or upcycled for new uses.
3. Even the balls used to be white
One of the most popular facts about Wimbledon is that all players are required to wear white while competing. But, a lesser known fact is that even the tennis balls at the tournament used to be white as well.
Historically, all tennis balls used to be colored black or white, but in 1972, the International Tennis Federation changed the color the yellow. However, Wimbledon still continued to use white balls up until 1986.
4. Strawberries and cream are part of tradition
Unless you’ve been to Wimbledon yourself, you might not know that eating strawberries and cream while watching matches is a huge tournament tradition. In fact, every year, up to 1.92 million strawberries and 10,000 liters of cream are consumed over the two weeks.
While the origin of this tradition is not so clear cut, this likely became practice because Wimbledon coincides with strawberry season.
5. The longest match lasted 11 hours
Wimbledon’s longest match lasted 11 hours and five minutes, a seemingly never ending showdown between Josh Isner and Nicolas Mahut in 2010. The match took so long that it had to be spread out over three days.
Eventually, Josh Isner came out on top winning with a scoreline of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. And it wasn’t even a final — it was a first round match of the men’s singles tournament.
6. Rufus the Hawk plays an important role
One of the workers at Wimbledon doesn’t have arms and doesn’t wear white. Instead, he has a pair of wings — but, he does have an Twitter account with thousands of followers.
Rufus the Hawk, also known as ‘The Real Hawk-Eye’ is Wimbledon’s resident Harris Hawk whose main job is to fly over the grounds to make sure that they remain pigeon-free. He even used to have his own ID with his job title listed as ‘bird scarer.’
7. Sunday used to be rest day
The Wimbledon Championships formerly followed the tradition of keeping Sunday a rest day, and every year, it used to have a scheduled break in the middle Sunday of the two week tournament where no matches are played. However, this no longer was fact in 2022.
Wimbledon 2022 saw the first tournament where matches were held on all 14 days, without a break in the middle Sunday.
8. Winners don’t get to keep their trophies
Wimbledon champions can keep their victorious memories, but unfortunately, they can’t keep their trophies.
After the awarding ceremonies, where fans get to see the winners lift the prestigious Wimbledon trophies, the players return the silverware and these stay on display in the All England Club’s museum. Meanwhile, Wimbledon champions get to take home a replica of the trophy instead.
9. Champions earn millions
Although they can’t take home the valuable trophies, one of the well-known Wimbledon facts is that they do get to take home huge cash prizes.
This year, the event organizers are granting the women’s and men’s singles champions £2.35 million in prize money. While this amount changes every year, the winners still know that on top of the pride that comes with winning the iconic Wimbledon, they will also be paid big for their triumph.
Banner image from Wimbledon on Instagram.