10 facts about Wimbledon you may not know!
We know Wimbledon for it’s grass courts, all white attire and world class tennis. However do you know what champagne, Pimms, strawberries & cream and a golden pineapple have to do with The Championships?! Here are some facts about the historic tournament you may be unfamiliar with.
These 10 facts will get you right up to speed before a set of Wimbledon themed trivia questions…
1. Where will you find a Pineapple at Wimbledon?
Not many of us can say we’ve raised, let alone even seen the Men’s Wimbledon Trophy in the flesh.
Interestingly, the trophy has a detail that’ll surprise you.
At the very top a is a pineapple, and yes while that does come across as completely random – the detail holds historic significance in the UK.
The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, in the 17th century it was impossible to grow pineapples in the UK and to indulge in the juicy fruit you had to import them!
Being presented with a pineapple at a feast was a very complimentary gesture, more so occurring amongst communities of wealth.
2. That’s a lot of Pimms!
Wimbledon is the largest annual sports catering event in Europe and employs over 1,800 staff members.
Over the 2 week tournament duration, keen punters will consume around 235,000 glasses of Pimm’s, 142,000 portions of strawberries & cream and 28,000 bottles of champagne! Safe to say every staff member is needed.
We’re not referring to the hawk-eye you see on the screens when a challenge is made!
Wimbledon literally have a Hawk eyeing the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
The Hawk better known as Rufus, glides the grounds to scare away the unwanted local pigeons.
Rufus is very diligent in his work, rather than harming the pigeons – Rufus ensures they’re deterred away from the games.
If you’re curious about Rufus, you can check him out on twitter – he’s a frequent ‘tweeter’.
4. From humble beginnings.
The first Wimbledon Championship took place way back in 1877, which makes it the oldest tennis tournament in the world!
It was a Men’s Singles tournament until 1884 with Ladies’ singles and Men’s Doubles coming into play.
Moving forward to 1913, Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles were added to the tournament fixture.
5. The childhood dream!
Always wanted to be a Ball Boy or Girl (BBG) at a Grand Slam?
Well, the positions at Wimbledon are hard to come by as each year there are over 750 applicants and only 250 succeed.
To make it as a BBG at Wimbledon you must take a test to ensure you can stand completely still for at least 3 minutes.
Once selected, attending weekly 2.5 hour training sessions from February are compulsory.
Precision, discipline and speed are requirements to maintain the job and if Wimbledon’s high standards aren’t met, the dream is over.
For all their efforts BBG’s receive a very small pay packet at tournament’s end, but at least they get the very best views in the arena!
6. Cover your ears.
Maria Sharapova has achieved the ultimate success at Wimbledon, winning the tournament at just 17 years old!
While that is her greatest achievement at the prestigious tournament, she holds a peculiar record that probably won’t shock you.
Sharapova holds the record for the loudest grunts on court at Wimbledon, recorded at an astonishing 101.2 decibels!
7. Refrigerated tennis balls?
Throughout the tournament approximately 54,250 tennis balls are used.
Balls are replaced after every seven to nine games to ensure their shape is perfect.
Balls not in use are refrigerated or warmed to maintain a 20ºC temp until in use.
In 1972, tennis tournaments opted to use a yellow tennis ball instead of white for easier visibility when viewing on TV.
Wimbledon continued to use the white ball until 1986, some 14 years later.
Slazenger make the official Tennis Balls of Wimbledon and have done so since 1902.
8. Keep the court’s barriers clean.
Unlike other tournaments where you’ll see big bold brand advertisement on court, Wimbledon holds a strong stance on no brand signage on court.
In fact the only branding you’ll see on court at Wimbledon is Rolex, who are privileged with a very small logo placement on Centre Court clocks.
One of the reasons for Wimbledon’s strong stance on no brand advertising on courts is due to maintain a strong focus on protecting the Wimbledon brand and of course highlight the beauty of the lush light green grass and dark green border.
9. Never give up!
Love him or hate him, Kyrgios holds an unexpected Open Era record at Wimbledon.
Round 2 in 2014 a fresh faced 19 year old Kyrgios (youngest in the 2014 Men’s draw) mounted a miraculous comeback to upset experienced Frenchman and 13th seed Richard Gasquet.
Kyrgios not generally known for his resilience, on this day refused to give up from 2 sets down and saving a Wimbledon Open Era record of 9 match points, to eventually go on and win the match with the score-line reading 3-6, 6-7 (7/4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8.
Gasquet would then settle the score in 2015 knocking Kyrgios out in the 4th round in another thriller.
10. Juicy pay day!
It is incredibly difficult to qualify for the draw at Wimbledon, or any Grand Slam for that matter.
But once you’ve qualified, you can expect a pretty juicy paycheque!
In 2021, as soon as you step foot onto a finely cut Wimbledon grass court in both Women’s and Men’s draw you’ll pocket 48k GBP (88k AUD) and expect to nearly double that if you win first round.
As for Wimbledon winners, they pocket 1.7m GBP (3.1m AUD) – a good 2 weeks with the racket can do wonders for the bank roll!