Wimbledon

The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is considered by many to be the most prestigious.It has been held at the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments – the other three Majors are the Australian Open, French Open and US Open – and the only one still played on the game's original surface, grass, which gave the game of lawn tennis its name.

The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, culminating with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Final, scheduled respectively for the second Saturday and Sunday. Each year, five major events are contested, as well as four junior events and four invitational events.

The hard court Australian Open and clay court French Open precede Wimbledon in the calendar year. The hard court US Open follows. For men, the grass court AEGON Championships, also in London, as well as the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, serve as respective warm-up events. For women, the AEGON Classic in Birmingham and 2 joint events, the UNICEF Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands and the AEGON International Eastbourne serve as warm-up events to Wimbledon.

Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors, the eating of strawberries and cream, and Royal patronage. In 2009, Wimbledon's Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to prevent rain delaying and interrupting Centre Court matches during the tournament.

Because of its illustrious history the Championships have seen an impressive array of talent and witnessed some memorable matches over the years:
    •    Boris Becker’s win in 1985 at the age of 17. Not only the youngest, but the first unseeded player to win. He charmed the crowd with his infectious enthusiasm and dazzling displays of dives across the court.

    •    John McEnroe’s talent and tantrums. A naturally gifted player, McEnroe was a joy to watch, but often drew more attention through his bad behaviour which resulted in him almost being ejected from the tournament in 1981

    •    Martina Navratilova’s contribution and domination of the women’s game. She has won the Ladies title 9 times but holds the record for the most career titles of either men or women with a record-breaking 167.

    •    Billie-Jean King. Probably the greatest ever competitor at Wimbledon winning 20 titles in total.

    •    Rod Laver. Considered by many to be the world’s greatest player, he was certainly the forerunner to the modern game and took it to a whole new level from the 1960s.

    •    Pete Sampras’ cool and calculated dominance of the game in recent times. Holds the record for most Men’s titles, along with William Renshaw from the pre-war era, with 7 wins.

    •    Steffi Graf. Wimbledon Ladies title holder 7 times and still the only player (male or female) to have won all four grand slam titles in one year along with the Olympic Gold medal. Known as the “Golden Grand Slam”.