As the tournament starts to heat up, we thought we’d round up our 10 favourite facts about the Wimbledon Tournament.
1. It takes a World War to stop play.
Literally, the only two occasions that the Wimbledon tournament did not take place were from 1915 – 1918 during WWI and again during WWII, from 1940 – 1945. Just as well too, because in WWII, a bomb ripped through Centre Court at the All England Club destroying 1200 seats.
2. You’re disqualified!
The first player to ever be disqualified from the Wimbledon tournament was Briton Tim Henman, along with his partner Jeremy Bates. In 1995, during the men’s double match, Henman missed a shot, losing a crucial point. In sheer frustration, he slammed a ball, which unfortunately hit a ball-girl extremely hard on the side of the head. Henman was disqualified on the basis of unsportsmanlike conduct.
3. Wake me up before you go go.
The longest professional tennis match to ever take place at Wimbledon, in terms of time and total number of games, was the Wimbledon 2010 first-round match between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. This epic match took 11 hours and 5 minutes of playing time over three days, and 183 games to reach a result. American Isner finally took the match with a score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68.
4. Best. Match. Ever.
The longest singles final to ever take place was the 2008 men’s final match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Lauded by many as the greatest tennis match ever played, it took 4 hours and 48 minutes for Nadal to finally defeat Federer with a score of 6–4, 6–4, 6–7, 6–7, 9–7.
5. I want my money back!
By contrast, the shortest final match ever took place in 1881, when William Renshaw defeated John Hartley 6–0, 6–1, 6–1 in just 37 minutes.
6. Once, twice, three times a winner…
1985 was a spectacular year at Wimbledon, when Boris Becker accomplished three major feats. He became the youngest male singles champ (at 17 years, 227 days); the first German winner; and the first unseeded player to take the title.
7. Singles winners are single.
Perhaps a sign of the times and the average age of the players today, the last time a married woman won the women’s singles championship was in 1981, when Chris Evert Lloyd lifted the trophy.
8. Bowing out.
The long-standing tradition of Centre Court players bowing or curtseying to the Royal Box was scrapped in 2003, at the request of the Duke of Kent, President of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 1969. Deemed an anachronism in modern times, the tradition is to be upheld only if the Queen or the Prince of Wales is in attendance, as was the case in 2010.
9. Equal play equals equal pay.
Thanks to Venus Williams, female winners now earn the same as their male counterparts. After Williams’s intense and unrelenting campaigning efforts, Wimbledon finally announced in February 2007 that it would award equal prize money to all competitors in all rounds. Poetically, Venus became the first woman to benefit when she won the 2007 tournament and was awarded the same amount as men’s final champ Roger Federer.
10. “Quiet please!”
In 2011, the BBC was forced to apologise to the public, after numerous complaints were received about “over-talking” by its commentary team during the TV coverage of the Wimbledon Tournament. The BBC said in a statement that they do “appreciate that over-talking can irritate our audience”. They added they were hoping to achieve “the right balance” across its coverage.