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Why Is Wimbledon Such A Special Tournament?



Tennis enthusiasts know that Wimbledon isn’t like other tennis tournaments. As special as it is for players and fans to make it to Flushing Meadows for the U.S. Open, Wimbledon is on another level. It has to be when it's hosted by something called the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. There is an immediate sense of prestige and class that elevates this championship above the others. So what is it about Wimbledon that makes it so special?


1) It is the only Grand Slam tournament played on grass

This is something that British tennis fans might take for granted, but the players certainly don’t. In 1987, the Australian Open switched to a hardcourt surface, similar to the one used in the U.S. Open. The French Open has its players compete on clay. Players enjoy the chance to play on real grass and appreciate the challenge. The game can become a lot faster as the surface increases ball speed.


The ties between Wimbledon and the law tennis associate mean that it makes sense for this tournament to continue on grass. It makes a lot of sense too, with the old-fashioned vibe and high-class air around the venue. As effective and legitimate as hardcourt surfaces are, they would feel artificial and out of place. It means more work for the grounds staff, with the whole reseeding process and daily maintenance. They have to roll and mow it to get it just right. Still, it is always worth the effort.


2) Everyone dresses up for the occasion

Visitors who get tickets for a game at Centre Court are expected to look their best at all times. Officially, there isn’t as strict a Wimbledon dress code as you might expect. There are some obvious banned items in the courts, like torn jeans and sportswear. Typically, those who get a seat will wear semi-formal clothing. It is surprisingly common to see men in full suits with neckties, even during the hottest July afternoons. Women can wear lighter linens or a smart summer dress.


Outside, on the famous Henman Hill/Murray Mound, there is more freedom for creative expression and casual attire. You are more likely to get away with shorts and t-shirts here. You can also get away with some impressive fancy dress costumes too. This is the rowdier section of the grounds where fans can show their full support – but even then, it's pretty civilized.


3) That includes the celebrities and royal guests

Another thing that sets this tournament apart from others in the yearly schedule is the guest list. Other series and exhibition games will bring in their fair share of celebrities who are keen to see a game. This is especially true at Wimbledon, and Centre Court becomes a star-studded venue on the final weekend. Tennis en can set up their own bingo cards to see which actors, musicians, and sports stars they can spot.


Of course, the most prestigious guests of all are the members of the Royal Family. They have visited since 1907, when King George V attended the event. There is no guarantee which ones will make it to the finals, although, these days, the safe bet is on William and Kate. The Princess of Wales is the Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and has helped hand over the trophies. Sometimes her children also attend in the royal box.


4) There is a touch of class around the whole venue

Even on the days when the Royal Family isn’t in attendance, there is a constant sense that this is an upper-class event. It gets a little more casual in the atmosphere over on Murray Mound, but there is still that feeling you are in a classy place. This isn’t like football games where the fans might drink a little too much and be forced to vacate the premises once the game is over. This is more of a laid-back village where visitors can enjoy the atmosphere and watch the action on the screen all day thanks to their ground pass. Those with Centre Court Wimbledon tennis tickets can then enjoy the thrill of the live game.


Fans will also notice a lack of advertising and excess branding around the grounds. References to the sponsors are as subtle as possible. Speaking of subtlety, this is a rare event where both the “Ladies” and “Gentlemen” competitors follow a white dress code.


Beyond that, it's the little details and traditions that add those important finishing touches. The ball boys and girls look just as well-dressed and are always on point. They have to be after months of training sessions and briefing. Then there’s the resident hawk that looks after the grounds and stops any pigeons from coming in and ruining the fun.


5) The refreshments are exactly what you expect.

There is a stereotype surrounding Wimbledon and the love of strawberries and cream. It sounds like such a simplistic treat that it wouldn’t actually be found in this high-class venue. Yet, there really are bowls of cut-up strawberries served with fresh cream.


It all started with a Victorian summertime treat that made the most of the seasonal strawberry harvest. That alone is enough for foreign visitors who love the quaint side of London and high tea and want to tick this culinary quirk off their to-do lists. It’s what the visitors expect, and they will not be disappointed. It is estimated that around 166,000 portions are consumed each tournament. Visitors can wash it down with a nice glass of wine, Pimms, or even champagne.


Wimbledon Is Special Because It's So Unique

Everything about the Wimbledon experience gives tennis enthusiasts something they won’t get anywhere else. You might see the same players competing at other Grand Slams, but not with the same atmosphere. You won’t get the same level of class and quirky British tradition. You certainly won’t get to watch while eating strawberries and cream and sitting opposite an heir to the throne. Wimbledon truly has it all.

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