When Spencer Gore earned his title as the first Wimbledon champion in 1875, he announced his doubts upon ‘whether the game would catch on.’ With the final of that year costing just a shilling to watch, the tournament has changed along with the times to become a sporting and social mainstay of cultural heritage and importance. From where to watch to what to wear, Wimbledon extends beyond playing tennis to host a feast of cultural exploration that travels capital and country wide.
In a hallowed sanctuary of action with healthy sporting aggression, Wimbledon blends fine garden party etiquettes with high stakes sport to provide a melting pot of activity. Wimbledon being the oldest Tennis tournament in the world, over half a million spectators venture to the watch this true test of human capability, all whilst equally enticed by deliciously scrumptious strawberries. There’s lots to do when the Tennis transpires, and the Wimbledon Wave adds cause for celebration in every corner.
There’s a certain beauty and majesty to Wimbledon – the elegance, the way the grass looks on TV.
An exciting numbers count
A year of special anniversaries
This year marks a broadcasting history occasion in the special partnership between Wimbledon and the BBC. With coverage of the championships starting on the radio in 1927, a momentous ninety years of coverage has now been documented. Just ten years later in 1937, the first live television transmission of a sporting event in the UK was made by the BBC, and it was from Wimbledon. With a succession of sevens, in 1967 a full-colour television service was launched on BBC 2. Also being the first service in Europe, the first program was The Wimbledon Championships themselves. In almost full circle fashion, the 125th anniversary of the Championships was marked in 2011 by the UK’s first live 3D coverage of the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Singles Finals. With strawberries and Pimms afloat, it can be easy to forget the timeless significance and vast social impact such an event can have upon so many avenues of our culture. However this milestone holds particular cause for inflated celebration, so champagne at the ready!
A year of British strength
In a game of numbers and points, this year we cannot overlook the presiding strength of British involvement. With eleven pitted players, Kyle Edmund and Aljaz Bedene qualify automatically as they find themselves ranked inside the world’s top 100, while seven other players have been given the grant of a wildcard entrance, met with much anticipation. Reaching the fourth round in 2013, new British heroin Laura Robson enters the draw alongside Naomi Broady, Katie Boulter and Heather Watson. Much attention around the women’s title, however focuses upon Johanna Konta. Ranked seventh in the world, Konta is the first top-10 home woman to star at Wimbledon since Jo Durie successfully reached the quarter-finals in 1984. Brydan Klein and Cameron Norrie join James Ward in the men’s draw, of course headed by national treasure Andy Murray.
A year of refurbishment glory
This year at Wimbledon there is reinvention and refurbishment aplenty. Soon we will get to spectacle at the seventy million pound redecoration investment that has taken place across the Wimbledon site. With the first look at court one as it prepares for the installation of its new rectangle roof, this project is more complex in size and scale than the centre court project. Headed by contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, this change has seen two parts of the stadium’s circular covering removed to make way for a new roof. With rain and Wimbledon the inescapable pair, this roof is designed to close within ten minutes of worrying weather change. Additionally this will also allow play to continue on both main show courts right up until the 11PM deadline, both without fear of losing fear of light or intense action. This is hugely expansive move for Wimbledon, in a build that soars excitement – There has never been so much time to sweat and spectate!
Exciting new Wimbledon goodies
Tournament Towel’s for champions
With Wimbledostirringng up so much excitement, its excpected that the moment will want to be savoured. This year Wimbledon helps you do just that in fine style, with their official 2017 shop. A key symbol of Wimbledon is of course their iconic Championship towels, with inspiration taken straight off center court. The same towels used on court by the players, Wimbledon and Christy join forces once again to make the most bespoke tool kit or gift set essential. Coming in an elegant presentation bag, these towels are jacquard woven and not knotted meaning the towel cannot run. Beautifully crafted in design and sentiment, Wimbledon are also offering free personalisation across selected towels, to put you right in the heart of the action.
Progress for Pimm’s o’clock!
Wimbledon 2015 ‘by numbers’ was able to indicate to us a few vital things. Not just was 28,000kg of strawberries and cream eaten, but a staggering 230,000 glasses of Pimms were politely drunk. This is good news for all, and to only heighten moods further Pimms have introduced three new flavours of its mesmerising cider cups. Joining strawberry and cucumber asorts, tastes of summer fruits, plum and red apple merge onto the summer scene. With mango and passionfuit also making its refreshing debut, the full range combines Pimm’s No.1 spirit with British cider, all finished with a hint of fruitiness.This is truly the perfect patriotic tipple to accompany the British summertime. Innovation manager for Diageo ClaireO’Neill spoke of this new launch, stating ‘summer is a key sales moment for cider and as a brand long associated with everything British, Pimm’s Cider Cup is a must stock ahead of moments of national celebration, such as Wimbledon.’
Exciting ways to watch
Wimbledon at Old Spitalfields Market
A synonymous London location, a market has been hosted in Spitalfields at the site of Horner Square for over three hundred and fifty years. A destination exhibiting character and history in equal measure, for the first time Old Spitalfields transforms to celebrate one of the most exciting matches in tennis. Creating a ‘Wimbledon away from Wimbledon’ the site is transforming its July night market into the ultimate viewing space to watch the men’s semi-finals. With pure admiration for the camaraderie of Murray Mound, Old Spitalfields Market brings out the white picket fence with accompanying deck chairs for this cinematic sporting feast.
South Place Cinema Presents ‘Tennis on the Terrace’
Whether Murray Mound or Henman Hill, there’s always a viewing platform to find yourself on. With last year’s sell-out success, the Wimbledon viewing experience at South Place Hotel returns this year to harness all the action and atmosphere possible. When the big day of the Men’s championship final looms on Sunday the 16th of July, there is no need to be begrudged by the Wimbledon ballot. On its open-air rooftop terrace centre court will be joyfully recreated, and not even the chance of rain will dampen spirits. With a fully retractable roof, spectators can sit back in splendour with white chocolate and strawberry meringue artisan ice cream to accompany. All included within the price, a unique and original Wimbledon tennis ball cocktail will just have to be tried and tested here, with tennis on the terrace possibly being the best seat in the house after all.
This year Wimbledon runs from Monday July 3rd – Sunday July 16th.
To find out more from Wimbledon this year click here.