Every year, tennis fans from all over the world come to England to witness the only grass court Grand Slam of the season – Wimbledon. Ever increasing in popularity, the Wimbledon Championships have been an annual highlight in the sporting calendar since 1877. The All England Lawn Tennis Association is home to this iconic event; where strawberries and cream, along with Pimm’s and Tennis, have come to represent a typical English summer.
Throughout its history the grass tournament has played host to a variety of defining moments, as well as providing fans with an experience that simply cannot be gained anywhere else in the world. Here we have compiled a selection of seven Wimbledon experiences we feel any self-respecting tennis fan wishes they had experienced, or could cross off their bucket list!
1) The First Time Murray Won Wimbledon:
How could any British tennis fan not feel cheated out of missing Andy Murray win the men’s final, live at the Wimbledon championships in 2013?
It was the year Novak Djokovic was predicted to take the title, and the year after Murray had made it all the way to the final, but dramatically lost out to Roger Federer. Murray’s victory was highly anticipated, but not predicted, for Djokovic was the firm favourite to win from the start. Because of this, fans expected to see Murray piped at the post, after it became clear we would see him in a second consecutive Wimbledon final.
In spite of the Serbian’s predicted success, it was Murray who overcame the odds, and lifted the Wimbledon trophy. The match was played out in straight sets and lasted just over three hours.
2013 was the year Murray became the first British tennis player to win the grass Grand Slam since Fred Perry lifted the trophy in 1936. He was also the first Scottish player to have won since Harold Mahony in 1896. His victory at Wimbledon, as well as his Olympic Gold that year, contributed to his success at the BBC sports personality of the year awards, where he was crowned sports personality of the year.
2) When Pat Cash Embraced the Crowd:
The first time a player celebrated victory directly with the fans at Wimbledon was in 1987, when Pat Cash climbed into the stands to embrace his audience. An act that went down in history and became a tradition that is unlikely to ever happen again.
After his straight set defeat of Ivan Lendl, the Australian tennis ace was clearly elated, and simply couldn’t contain his excitement. Knowing that his name would be etched into the prized trophy, Cash carried out an act that was both unexpected and shocking for all that witnessed his movements. He literally ran into the stands and embraced the crowds that had supported him through his game.
His actions have been referred to as an act of innocence and something that could never happen 25 years later. Not only would the move be frowned upon today, it would also be seen as a breach of strict security measures. Measures that have been put into place to ensure the safety of the crowds, officials, and players at such a high profile event.
3) Sibling Rivalry:
Two sisters came together to face the ultimate case of sibling rivalry for the first time ever at Wimbledon in 2002. Venus and Serena Williams met in the women’s final and played a unique game of tennis that was eventually won by younger sister Serena.
Having grown up, trained and been paired as a double act together, the sisters know each other’s game inside out. Their knowledge of each other meant the woman’s final audience in 2002 were treated to a type of game that had never been seen before in the history of the competition. The pair have since been forced to play each other in the Wimbledon women’s final a further 3 times, in 2003, 2008 and again in 2009.
4) The First Championship:
Who could ever pass up the opportunity to have been a spectator at the first ever Wimbledon competition? If only we could turn back time to be one of the 200 that paid 1 shilling to witness Spenser Gore win the inaugural Wimbledon Championship. Imagine the privilege to have witnessed the first competition that contributed not only to what Wimbledon is today, but also to what tennis is all over the world.
So much has changed since the first ever Wimbledon, not least the traditions that have made the competition so iconic. An English summer would never have been the same if it wasn’t for the tennis.
5) The First Women’s Match:
In 1884 the first ladies were allowed to compete at Wimbledon. This remarkable acceptance of ladies in sport was way ahead of its time. The first Women that were allowed to vote weren’t able to do so until 1918 – a point that highlights how astonishing it was to see women competing in sport. The move shaped the way for women all over the world and contributed to the progression of society. Being able to experience the history of Wimbledon as it unfolded would certainly have been something to behold.
6) The Moment in The Queue:
The famous and sometimes infamous Wimbledon Queue could be considered as something to experience or something to avoid. There are very limited methods of entry to the Championships and some methods that are simply luck of the draw.
The first way to try and get in is to enter the ballot. This involves you filling out a form and submitting prior to a specified date. The ballot is drawn by the AELTC, and provides the chosen applicant with the opportunity to purchase a ticket to Wimbledon. A ballot ticket is non-transferable and can only be used by the applicant. The applicant may be drawn to attend on any given day and will have no guarantees. Due to the popularity of the competition the Ballot is heavily subscribed and chances of actually being drawn can be slim.
If the ballot isn’t for you the only way to guarantee that you will be able to attend on the day of your choice is to purchase a debenture ticket. Debentures are seats that are privately owned at Wimbledon. They are distributed at the discretion of the AELTC, to applicants that they believe are worthy. The Debenture owners are then free to do as they wish with their seats. They are the only ticket at Wimbledon that can be transferred or sold onto third parties.
Another less guaranteed method to attend the championships is to queue on the day. A small quantity of tickets are allocated for general sale the day the championships begin. Thousands of tennis fans gather in the days running up to Wimbledon just to have the chance of purchasing a ticket. People camp out and come together in anticipation of actually making it to the front of the queue. There are parties and picnics in an atmosphere that would rival some of the greatest atmospheres in the world.
7) The Moments you Indulge:
If you are going to make the effort to attend an event as prestigious as Wimbledon then why not make the most of it and be a VIP for the day? Any tennis fan would love to attend the championships in style through Wimbledon debenture tickets. Experiencing Hospitality at Wimbledon is nothing short of dreamy.
There are many choices when it comes to hospitality at the Championships. Some restaurants even overlook the show courts. Then of course there are iconic suites, such as the Gatsby club, that provide visitors with a perfect spread before, during, and after the world class tennis matches that fans can enjoy during the day.
Make sure you don’t forget to indulge in Wimbledon’s famous strawberries and cream!