1. The Grass Is Always Greener
Wimbledon is one of four tennis Grand Slam events held each year. These tournaments are considered the most important competitions of the tennis season. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event to be played on grass courts. The grass is tended to year-round. And during the event, it’s cut to a height of exactly 8 mm.
2. Wimbledon is 139 years old
In 1877, The All England Croquet Club’s name was changed to include ‘Lawn Tennis’, a game devised one year earlier by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield. To celebrate the name change, the club held its inaugural Lawn Tennis Championship on 9 July 1877, with rules which are almost identical to the ones used today.
3.The average age of BBG (Ball Boy/Girl) is 15 years old
Ball Boys were first used at Wimbledon in 1920, and “should not be seen. They should blend into the background and get on with their jobs quietly.” Every year 250 BBGs from surrounding schools are selected for Wimbledon; most serve for one tournament but if re-selected they can participate in a second.
4.The longest tennis match ever played lasted for three days
With a total play time of 11 hours and five minutes, the 2010 Wimbledon 1st Round Match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut holds the record for the longest tennis match to ever take place. Held over three days, the final set lasted eight hours and 11 minutes, with the final score 70-68 in favour of John Isner.
5.A harris hawk named Rufus helps to keep Wimbledon pigeon-free
Every morning during the Championship, a harris hawk named Rufus circles the sky above Wimbledon to deter the local pigeons. Rufus is one of Britain’s best-known birds, with 5,000 followers on Twitter and causing a national outcry in 2012 when he was stolen.
6.Grunting makes your opponent slower and less accurate
Yep, it turns out Maria Sharapova does have a reason for all that shrieking. A study in the journal PLoS ONE asked students to watch videos of tennis players hitting a ball, then indicate which side of the court the ball would land; some shots were accompanied with a grunt while others were performed in silence. According to the study, “The results were unequivocal: The presence of an extraneous sound interfered with a participants’ performance, making their responses both slower and less accurate.”
7.It’s All About the Ball
During the tournament, 54, 250 tennis balls are used. The balls are replaced after every seven to nine games to make sure they’re in perfect shape throughout the match. Those not in use are even stored in a refrigerated container to keep them in tip-top condition. Interestingly, Wimbledon once used white tennis balls. But they were replaced with yellow balls in 1986 to make them more visible to TV cameras.
8. High quality racket string is made from catgut
It’s a myth that violin strings were once made from a cat’s gut — they never have been. They were made from ‘catgut’, which is made from the intestine of a sheep, goat, pig or cow. The term catgut is thought to have been an abbreviated version of cattle-gut. High quality tennis rackets also used catgut due to its efficient energy return.
9. The fastest serve ever recorded hit 163.7 mph
The fastest serve ever recorded was hit by Australian Samuel Groth in 2012, who reached a speed of 163.7 mph. The fastest ever serve at Wimbledon was hit by American Sam Querrey in 2009, when he smashed the ball over the net at 141 mph.
10. 28,000kg of strawberries will be sold over the fortnight at Wimbledon
To ensure maximum freshness, all strawberries at Wimbledon are picked the day before and inspected before being served. Along with 112,000 punnets of strawberries, 300,000 cups of tea or coffee are sold, 250,000 bottles of water, 200,000 glasses of Pimm’s, 190,000 sandwiches, 170,000 scones, 135,000 ice creams, 100,000 pints of beer, 25,000 bottles of champagne, and 32,000 portions of fish and chips.