The Wimbledon Factfile Is It all Cream Teas, Strawberries And New Balls Please?

By Ian John
October 23, 2023

You can smell that the third Grand Slam tournament of the year, Wimbledon, is on the horizon.

British people are starting to get interested in tennis. The courts at the local park seem occupied more often. That headband at the bottom of your draw looks more appealing.

Sales of champagne and strawberries are climbing. Cliff Richard is getting his suit out of mothballs and brushing up on the lyrics of his most famous song.

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Even the weather, which has seen several weeks of unblemished sunny skies in the UK, gets in on the act. With the regular Wimbledon fortnight downpours expected throughout the two weeks of action.

But we do love Wimbledon in the UK. It’s often what makes us stop watching Pointless or The Chase at tea-time. Instead we turn over to BBC 2 and watch Andy Murray berating himself for sending a cross-court backhand wide.

Of course, Wimbledon is also a great time for those that love tennis betting to head over to bet365 Sport and see what pre-match and In Play markets are on offer.

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And we guarantee that there will be plenty of markets for you to bet on across the two weeks of action, whatever the year, whoever is competing.

So what is it that makes Wimbledon so compelling?

Here’s our list of fantastic Wimbledon facts that will perhaps explain our odd attraction to this famous tournament!

Wimbledon Factfile

  • Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.

Yes, the famous championships is the father of all tennis tournaments, first contested in 1877. In that time, there have been 135 editions of the tournament with 2023 being the 136th.

  • The tournament has always been played on grass.

Unlike some other Slam tournaments such as the US Open or Australian Open, Wimbledon has been played exclusively on Grass.

  • Wimbledon has been held at two different venues.

From 1877 to 1921, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club operated from Worple Road.

However, in 1922, the club moved to a larger venue in nearby Church Road and has remained there ever since.

  • Wimbledon and Slazenger have the longest running sponsorship deal in sports history.

Slazenger first agreed a deal with the All England Club to provide balls for Wimbledon back in 1902. The sponsorship deal remains in place to this very day.

  • There are a total of 16 different tournaments held at Wimbledon each year.

While focus may be on the men’s and women’s singles competition, there are many other tournaments to play in. The full list (with number of competitors shown in brackets) is as follows:

  • Gentleman Singles (128)
  • Ladies’ Singles (128)
  • Gentlemen’s Doubles (64)
  • Ladies’ Doubles (64)
  • Mixed Doubles (48)
  • Boys’ Singles (64)
  • Girls’ Singles (64)
  • Boys’ Doubles (32)
  • Girls’ Doubles (32)
  • Gentlemen’s Invitation Doubles (8 pairs)
  • Ladies’ Invitation Doubles (8 pairs)
  • Senior Gentlemen’s Invitational Doubles (8 pairs)
  • Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Singles
  • Ladies’ Wheelchair Singles
  • Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Doubles (4 pairs)
  • Ladies’ Wheelchair Doubles (4 pairs)

Players that are not given an exemption to a tournament can try to qualify for it the week before at the qualifying competition.

  • Only two unseeded players have ever won the singles titles, both men.

It is strange to think that no female player has won the tournament unseeded, especially given how open the women’s game is at the moment.

However, two players in the men’s game did win the tournament without being a seed. Boris Becker was the first in 1985 as a 17-year old and then Goran Ivanisevic repeated that in 2001.

Ivanisevic’s success came when he was ranked 125th in the world after a shoulder injury had hampered him for three years. However, it has been resolved by the time he participated in the 2001 Championship.

  • The All-England Club was once the target of an attempted arson attack.

A little known fact about the All England Club was that in 1913, it was almost bombed by the suffragette movement.

On the 27th February 1913, a woman was arrested in the grounds carrying parrafin and wood shavings.

The aim was to set fires in the grounds in an attempt to burn the All England Club down.

A groundskeeper spotted the woman clambering over a hedge at midnight to gain entry to the club. He apprehended her and called the police.

The woman refused to give her name or any further information to the officers and was sentenced to two months in prison.

  • Wimbledon is the largest annual single-sport catering operation in Europe.

Wimbledon is famous for champagne, strawberries and cream and fine dining. It requires a huge operation to cater for the 450,000 visitors that come through the doors.

A total of 335 chefs make the food on site, with 2200 other staff situated around the grounds to cater to guests needs.

There are a total of 27 restaurants, 30 grab-and-go outlets, with a total of 51 kitchens across the club.

In 2022 guests consumed:

  • 2.5 million Strawberries
  • 19,500 portions of fish and chips
  • 25,000 stonebakced pizzas
  • 43,000 ice creams
  • 150,000 bottles of water
  • 300,000 cups of tea or coffee
  • 190,000 sandwiches
  • 150,000 bath buns, scones, pastries or doughnuts
  • 150,000 glasses of Pimms
  • 100,000 pints of beer or lager
  • 17,000 bottles of champagne
  • 7,000 litres of cream

As you can see, the catering operation at Wimbledon looks more complex than running the Championship itself!

  • The typical Wimbledon Championships will see 55,000 balls used.

Ever wondered what happened to the balls when “New balls please!” is called? Well they are placed back into a tin and some are sold off with the proceeds to the Wimbledon Foundation.

  • The grass at Wimbledon is cut to 8mm exactly in length.

And heaven forbid anyone who suggests that the grass may be a little longer, or shorter, than expected.

The groundskeepers and staff meticulously prepare the courts to ensure that the length of grass meets the stringent limits!

  • American players hold the Fastest Serve records at Wimbledon for male and female players.

Taylor Dent recorded a serve of 148mp back in 2010 to currently hold the record in the men’s tournament, while Venus Williams holds the record in the ladies at 129mph.

So remember, there’s a lot more to Wimbledon than players smashing the ball at each other!

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