Wimbledon

To many Brits the two week tennis tournament held at Wimbledon in south-west London is the heart of the summer, even though at the time of writing, we’ve only had one Brit winner (Andy Murray in 2013) since 1972, but hope springs eternal.

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The tournament is hosted by ‘The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’ , which is a private club founded in 1868 as ‘The All England Croquet Club’ but the club embraced the new game of lawn tennis in 1875 and the club changed its name and held its first Lawn Tennis Championship.

These days the championship, the oldest of the ‘grand slam’ events, attracts 128 players each for the men’s and ladies singles tournaments, each competing for a first prize of £2,250,000 (or about just shy of $3 million at the time of writing (2018)).

The total prize money for the tournament is £34 million (nearly $45 million) – in 2018.

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While tickets for the prestigious show courts are pre-sold and command a healthy premium, some 500 tickets are available each day on the gates for the show courts – except the final four days.

In addition some 6,000 tickets are available on the gate each day for access to the grounds, which gives access to the complex and outer courts. If a Brit gets through to the later stages of the tournament, then it’s not uncommon for prospective spectators to queue overnight.

British supporters also tend to congregate on a hill within the grounds to soak up the atmosphere and watch key matches on large TV screens (the tournament is televised to 173 countries and last year had a cumulative audience of nearly 350 million people). With typical British stoicism the hill has been named ‘Henman Hill’ in the past, but these days is called ‘Murray Mount’ – at least for as long as Andy Murray remains in the tournament.

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The recent introduction of a retractable roof on the Centre Court means that the potential for disruption caused by the British weather should be minimised.

Another great British tradition at Wimbledon is the consumption of Strawberries and Cream and, of course, Pimms. Around twenty four tons of fresh strawberries from Kent are consumed during the tournament fortnight.

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