The Oldest And Most Prestigious Tennis Tournament in The World
Founded in 1868 as a private club known as The All England Croquet Club, Wimbledon has become one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments played each year. The other three Majors include the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open.
The club's name changed in 1877 to The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club where the first Lawn Tennis Championship was held. Two hundred spectators watched as Spencer Gore won the Gentlemen's Singles. The Ladies' Singles and Gentlemen's Doubles were not added until 1884, and in 1913, the Ladies' Doubles and Mixed Doubles were included. Prior to 1968, all the Grand Slam events were played by top-ranked amateurs.
In 1889 the club's name was changed to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The tournaments have been held in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. True to its name, the game is still played on grass courts.
Considered the most prominent tennis tournament in the world, the club's leadership strives to excel in providing the best quality of services and facilities for the players, spectators, officials, etc. The principal court, Centre Court, was opened in 1922 and used for the main events like the finals and semifinals. The court can seat 15,000 and includes the Royal Box to allow special seating for members of the Royal Family and other dignitaries. A new retractable roof was built in time for the 2009 championships so that matches could be played without interruption from inclement weather.
The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and ends in early July with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Final. The main events include the Gentlemen's and Ladies' Singles, Gentlemen's and Ladies' Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. There are also junior events known as Chimbledon which include Boys' Singles and Doubles, and Girls' Singles and Doubles. The Invitation events include Gentlemen's and Ladies' Invitation Doubles, Senior Gentlemen's Invitation Doubles, and Gentlemen's and Ladies' Wheelchair Doubles. Only matches in the Gentlemen's Singles and Doubles competitions are best-of-five sets. All other matches are best-of-three sets.
Players are admitted to the main events according to their international rankings. Applications to enter the tournament are evaluated by the Committee of Management and the Referee who also decide which players will participate. If a player doesn't qualify with a high enough ranking, the Committee may admit the player as a wild card but only if the player has performed well in previous tournaments or is popular with fans.
There are many traditions observed at Wimbledon that include a strict dress code for the players. All tennis players are required to wear all white clothing but can get away with some color accents. Before 2003, players bowed or curtsied to members of the Royal Family seated in the Royal Box upon entering or leaving Centre Court. Now players are only required to bow or curtsy if the Queen or the Prince of Wales is present. Another Wimbledon tradition is the eating of strawberries and cream.
The Wimbledon Championship was first televised in 1937 through the BBC. The first official UK color broadcast took place on July 1, 1967. Since 1992, the tournament has also been broadcast on Radio Wimbledon, an on-site radio station with a studio in the Centre Court building.
Professional players were first allowed to compete in the Championships in 1968 and were awarded prize money. Men's events were always awarded more prize money than women's events until 2007 when this policy changed. Now male and female players both earn the same prize money. In 2012, Wimbledon will host the tennis events of the 2012 Olympic Games.