Wimbledon is by common consent the greatest lawn tennis tournament of them all. None of the three other “Slams” has quite the same prestige. None can match the impeccable setting of the immaculate lawns of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. None is as quite well organized. None else have a Royal Box where royalty, VIPs and past champions can be seen in all their splendor. The two weeks of the Wimbledon championships are synonymous with sunshine, the intensity of a packed Center Court, tinkling tea cups, champagne and of course strawberries and cream. Wimbledon is lawn tennis period.
Sometimes things go wrong and it rains. Bookmakers have been known to offer bets on a drop of rain falling on the Centre Court throughout the tournament. However since 2009 there has been a retractable roof on the Center Court to enable play to continue in case of rain or poor light and in 2019 No 1 court will also have covering if required. But all the players relish Wimbledon as the only grass court championship among the Grand Slams and are happiest when the sun is shining and the ball is whizzing over the grass.
There are so many great names associated with this tournament. Since Wimbledon became an Open tournament (open to professionals as well as amateurs) in the men’s competition we think of Rod Laver (Australia) who won all four Grand Slams; Sweden’s Bjorn Borg winner of five consecutive titles until beaten by John McEnroe; Boris Becker (Germany) the youngest man ever to win Wimbledon at 17; Pete Sampras (USA) winner no fewer than seven times.
The modern era has been dominated by three great players: Roger Federer (Switzerland), thought by some to be the greatest of all time, and winner on seven occasions; Rafael Nadal (Spain) and Novak Djokovic (Serbia) who have both won twice. Scotland’s Andy Murray is the only player outside this highly talented trio to win Wimbledon, having also won the Gold Medal in the Olympics at the same venue.
Many famous women players have their names on the Wimbledon honor board. Looking through the years we can mention Yvonne Cawley (Australia), Billie Jean-King (USA), Martina Navratilova (Czechoslovakia and USA) described by Billie Jean as “the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who's ever lived”; Chris Evert (USA), Steffi Graff (Germany) winner on seven occasions, and the remarkable sisters Venus and Serena Williams who have each won the title four times.
Some of the most attractive tennis is played in the doubles matches and in the second week many of the great stars of previous decades can be seen in the veterans’ events. Wimbledon is an occasion not to be missed for the two summer weeks when the eyes and ears of the sporting world are focused on London SW19
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