With Wimbledon in the qualifying stage we are gearing up to the tennis extravaganza of the summer. Millions of people will watch this historic tournament from around the world. While some of the magic is captured on the TV screens with the lush green pitches and crowds at centre court, this is not all that Wimbledon is about, so we decided to take a look at some of the big parts of the tournament you may be missing from just watching the TV. What makes Wimbledon so special?
Strawberries and Cream
A tradition known to most but rarely experienced is the strawberries and cream. The strawberries are from the local home counties, specifically Kent and and are eaten by most people who get into the grounds. Of course because of this popularity they are able to charge a lot. The tradition of eating this combination harks back to the Victorian era and has been part of the tournament from the start. Luckily the crowd aren’t forced to wear white like the players so when it inevitably gets messy.
This small hill sits at the back of centre court and is open to all who visit the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The back of the stadium is adorned with a giant screen usually showing the game that is the most important at that time. It has been named in honour of the many British players who the majority of fans are supporting. Before Murray mania it was called Henman hill. Now the Scot is the big name in British tennis and so has the Murray mound’s backing at every match. In 2017 he will be going for his second championship and the mound will be cheering for him all the way.
Wimbledon is the biggest tennis tournament in the world and as such is incredibly popular. Tickets to get into the grounds and open courts are also offered on the day. So those who are not as fortunate to get a ticket themselves for the big courts have a chance on the day. The problem with this is that it creates a cramped demand in the morning and people queue. When we say queue, we are talking about day and night camping just for the privilege of being let in! The queue’s don’t just stop there though, as for anyone who has been knows, it is a queueing hell as everything takes at least 30 minutes to get!
These impressive young ball boys are one of the proudest aspects of the tournament as they are highly trained for months before the competition begins. I would argue they are the best in the world and you rarely see them making a mistake. They are also always there to help the players. While countries like to go for sexy models, Wimbledon takes its ball boys and girls from local schools surrounding Wimbledon and it is a nice touch as they are including the community that are rightly proud of the tournament taking place in their home.
The other courts
While on TV you will often be watching the Centre Court or Court #1 the best aspect for those who visit are not these big matches but the outer courts. The myriad of options on offer is incredible. From doubles matches to disabled tennis. All types of tennis is on offer at Wimbledon and these outer courts provide a place to see all of that. Thanks to the nature of those in the crowds, often not posh enough for the big courts, the atmosphere on these outer courts is just so much louder. The outer courts are the unsung heroes of the tournament as they provide the true spirit of tennis, the matches and the crowds make sure no one feels left out, even if they don’t have tickets for the big matches. This is the true home of tennis.