Wimbledon, or The Championships, Wimbledon to give it’s full title, is not only one of the richest tennis tournaments on the circuit, but also one of the most prestigious. The even makes up one of the 4 Grand Slams that run throughout the year and is regarded by many as one of the toughest, mainly because it’s played on grass.
The location is The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, which is a borough of London, England. Many people associate the event as the start of the British summer time and often you see some amazing flowers and scenery on show.
The best players on the planet will descend upon SW19 for the fortnight in July, but who will be crowned as the champions?
Wimbledon Recent Winners
|Year||Men's Winner||Men's Runner-Up||Women's Winner||Women's Runner-Up|
|2021||Novak Djokovic||Matteo Berrettini||Ashleigh Barty||Karolina Pliskova|
|2019||Novak Djokovic||Roger Federer||Simona Halep||Serena Williams|
|2018||Novak Djokovic||Kevin Anderson||Angelique Kerber||Serena Williams|
|2017||Roger Federer||Marin Cilic||Garbine Muguruza||Venus Williams|
|2016||Andy Murray||Milos Raonic||Serena Williams||Angelique Kerber|
|2015||Novak Djokovic||Roger Federer||Serena Williams||Garbine Muguruza|
|2014||Novak Djokovic||Roger Federer||Petra Kvitova||Eugenie Bouchard|
|2013||Andy Murray||Novak Djokovic||Marion Bartoli||Sabine Lisicki|
|2012||Roger Federer||Andy Murray||Serena Williams||Agnieszka Radwanska|
|2011||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Petra Kvitova||Maria Sharapova|
|2010||Rafael Nadal||Tomas Berdych||Serena Williams||Vera Zvonareva|
|2009||Roger Feder||Andy Roddick||Serena Williams||Venus Williams|
|2008||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Venus Williams||Serena Williams|
|2007||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Venus Williams||Marion Bartoli|
|2006||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Amelie Mauresmo||Justine Henin|
|2005||Roger Feder||Andy Roddick||Venus Williams||Lindsay Davenport|
|2004||Roger Feder||Andy Roddick||Maria Sharapova||Serena Williams|
|2003||Roger Feder||Mark Philippoussis||Serena Williams||Venus Williams|
|2002||Lleyton Hewitt||David Nalbandian||Serena Williams||Venus Williams|
Whilst many people refer to Wimbledon as simply, ‘Wimbledon’, it’s official name is actually The Championships, Wimbledon. It was brought in as this to prevent any confusion between reference of the town and the tournament proper.
The two major championships that run within the 2-week event comes in the form of the men’s and women’s singles titles. Like all major titles, these are often thought of as being the highest anticipated and the ones that most spectators want to see.
But, there is much more to the event that simply these two competitions. It also includes men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles and several junior and disability tournaments as well. Over the last decade or so the hosts have put huge emphasis on making these ‘lesser’ events more popular, allowing them to play on the show courts and increased the TV coverage that they get.
Even though the Championships are technically within the British Summer time, the weather is often less than kind. It’s highly unusual for games not to get called off for rain at some point and it’s actually become so common that people see it as part of the game now, utilising these breaks to either start again if behind or maintain if ahead.
To combat that the Centre Court now has a retractable roof, meaning play can continue no matter what the weather. It’s a glass roof which allows natural light to flood the court, but artificial floodlights can be used when needed. A retractable roof has also been fitted to Court No 1, opened in May 2019 in time for the tournament in July.
Qualification, Seeding & Draw
For each tournament, 128 players will take place in both the men’s and women’s events. There are a number of ways in which players are able to get access. The easiest way is simply to be seeded, with each variation there are 32 players who are seeded. These essentially not only get automatic qualification, but as the draw is made, they are also kept apart from each other, theoretically giving them an easier opening game.
Originally players were seeded based on each country nominating up to 4 players to represent that country. But, this was scraped in 1927 and started to seed players based on past performances and current ranking.
The top 32 players in the world the week before Wimbledon starts will be the top 32 seeds. But, world ranking won’t necessarily reflect the rankings for the seed. They committee take into account previous years performances on that surface. So, as there are very few grass tournaments throughout the year, Wimbledon is actually one of the majors that sticks pretty closely to world rankings.
The Committee of Management play a big role in who plays at the event. One of their key decisions come from the wildcards that are allocated to each tournament. A wildcard can be allocated to any player who has not already qualified for the tournament. Generally, the committee will favour home-grown talent, but it’s by no means exclusive to this. Goran Ivanisevic is the only wildcard player to have ever won either a men’s or women’s title at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon Men’s Singles Wildcards 2017-2021
|Carlos Alcarez (ESP)||Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)||Liam Broady (GBR)||Marton Fucsovics (HUN)|
|Alex Bolt (AUS)||Jay Clarke (GBR)||Jay Clarke (GBR)||Tommy Haas (DEU)|
|Liam Broady (GBR)||Paul Jubb (GBR)||Denis Kudla (USA)||Brydan Klein (GBR)|
|Jay Clarke (GBR)||Dominik Koepfer (DEU)||Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)||Cameron Norrie (GBR)|
|Jack Draper (GBR)||Feliciano Lopez (ESP)||Denis Shapovalov (CAN)|
|Andy Murray (GBR)||James Ward (GBR)||James Ward (GBR)|
Wimbledon Women’s Singles Wildcards 2017-2021
|Katie Boulter (GBR)||Harriet Dart (GBR)||Katie Boulter (GBR)||Katie Boulter (GBR)|
|Jodie Burrage (GBR)||Monica Niculescu (ROU)||Naomi Broady (GBR)||Naomi Broady (GBR)|
|Harriet Dart (GBR)||Katie Swan (GBR)||Harriet Dart (GBR)||Zarina Diyas (KAZ)|
|Francesca Jones (GBR)||Katy Dunne (GBR)||B. Mattek-Sands (USA)|
|S. Murray Sharan (GBR)||Ons Jabeur (TUN)||Laura Robson (GBR)|
|Emma Raducanu (GBR)||Tereza Smitkova (CZE)||Heather Watson (GBR)|
|L. Samsonova (RUS)||Katie Swan (GBR)|
|Gabriella Taylor (GBR)|
Outside of being seeded, ranked or given a wildcard spot, the only other chance of gaining entry to Wimbledon is via one of the qualifying competitors. Each event will include three-round tournaments. Pre-qualifying tournaments take place all over the world with final qualifying held at the England Sports Centre in London shorlty prior to the main Championship start.
Lead up Events
Ranking events are held throughout the year, but one of the last chances to gain points on grass before Wimbledon for the men is by playing at the Queen’s Club tournament, starting two weeks prior to Wimbledon. It’s a tough place to play though as many players use this tournament as a warm up for the main event, often resulting in a star-studded field.
Another major lead up event for men on grass comes in the form of the Halle Open which is held alongside Queens in Germany. This is Roger Federer’s preferred Wimbledon warm up, it’s a tournament that he has won 9 times in the last 15 years.
In the week prior to Wimbledon, the Eastbourne tournament is also held. Though many top players take part, especially when trying to regain fitness, the proximity to Wimbledon itself means many of the highest ranked players will not normally play here.
Queen’s, Halle & Eastbourne Winners: 2012 – 2021
|Year||Queen’s Club||Halle Open||Eastbourne|
|2021||Matteo Berrettini||Ugo Humbert||Alex de Minaur|
|2019||Feliciano Lopez||Roger Federer||Taylor Fritz|
|2018||Marin Cilic||Borna Coric||Mischa Zverev|
|2017||Feliciano Lopez||Roger Federer||Novak Djokovic|
|2016||Andy Murray||Florian Mayer||No tournamnet|
|2015||Andy Murray||Roger Federer||No tournament|
|2014||Grigor Dimitrov||Roger Federer||Richard Gasquet|
|2013||Andy Murray||Roger Federer||Gilles Simon|
|2012||Marin Cilic||Tommy Haas||Andreas Seppi|
The two main women’s grass court lead up events are both held in England in the fortnight prior to Wimbledon with the Birmingham tournament followed by Eastbourne. A grass court competition in Nottingham also serves as a warm up to Wimbledon.
Nottingham, Birmingham & Eastbourne Winners: 2012 – 2021
|2021||Johanna Konta||Ons Jabeur||Jelena Ostapenko|
|2019||Caroline Garcia||Ashleigh Barty||Karolina Pliskova|
|2018||Ashleigh Barty||Petra Kvitova||Caroline Wozniacki|
|2017||Donna Vekic||Petra Kvitova||Karolina Pliskova|
|2016||Karolina Pliskova||Madison Keys||Dominika Cibulkova|
|2015||Ana Konjuh||Angelique Kerber||Belinda Bencic|
|2014||Jarmila Gajdosova||Ana Ivanovic||Madison Keys|
|2013||Elena Baltacha||Daniela Hantuchova||Elena Vesnina|
|2012||Ashleigh Barty||Melanie Oudin||Tamira Paszek|
Wimbledon hosts 19 courts in total, with this number set to rise over the coming years current expansion plans. This allows for a lot of tennis to be played over just a two-week timescale.
The main courts are that of the iconic Centre Court and No. 1 Court, both of which hold over 10,000 spectators. What’s interesting is that the only tennis that these two courts see over the year is from the 2 weeks of Wimbledon. The committee decided that in order to have the best possible surfaces for the best players in the world, that this was deemed necessary.
Centre Court isn’t just the biggest court of the Championships, holding 15,000 people, but it’s one of the most iconic courts in the world. One of the reasons why it’s held so dear by so many people is the inclusion of the Royal Box. Whilst royalty doesn’t attend every single day of the 2 weeks, they are there for the main games later in the fortnight. But, there is always a plethora of celebrities and distinguished guests that peruse the seats, strictly on an invite-only basis. In 2009 a major revamp was undergone, with a retractable roof being added to allow play to continue through inevitable rain breaks.
Wimbledon Court Capacity – Top 4
|Court||Capacity||Year Opened||Retractable Roof|
|No. 1 Court||11,000||1997||Yes (from 2019)|
|No. 2 Court||4,000||2009||No|
|No. 3 Court||3,000||2011||No|
The fact that Wimbledon is played on grass is just one of a number of features that makes this event truly unique. It actually takes the ground staff 15 months to get the right playing surface in place, starting the process outside of the grounds and then moving it in. They use what is known as Perennial Ryegrass, which has been in place since 2001, adding more durability to the modern game. Fun fact, 9 tonnes of grass seed is used each year at Wimbledon alone!
Grass is a tricky surface for most people to get to grips with and requires a certain skill set to do well there. Often people mention that players who serve volley have had the best records and whilst this is mostly definitely true, the modern era has started to see a slight shift away from that, with the likes of Murray, Djokovic and Federer, all seeing sustain success and none massively known for their serve-volley work.
Grass is the fastest surface that players will play on. The ball tends to skid off the top more than the likes of clay or hard court, which means that often rallies are much shorter than the two aforementioned surfaces.
A lot of players actually struggle with the pace, but that’s more because there are so few grass tournaments on the main circuit these days. The reason behind that is simply down to cost of maintenance. Wimbledon can guarantee 40,000 through the doors every day of the Championships, which obviously allows them to make a lot of money and in turn create amazing playing surfaces. The reality is that smaller events might not have 40,000 people through the gates for the entirety of it, so cost becomes a massive issue.
As with all of these high-profile events, prizemoney plays a huge part. For 2021, the fund stand at over £35 million. Due to fluctuations in the Pound, it’s tough to compare it exactly to the other majors, but they are all pretty similar these days.
This money is divided up between each tournament that is running throughout the Championships. The money is equal for both men’s and women’s games, with the winner of the singles title taking home a cheque worth a cool £1,700,000. In fact, a losing quarter finalist will grab a payday worth £300,000, such is the lucrative nature of the sport.
Wimbledon Singles Prize Money: 2018 – 2021
One of the most interesting things about Wimbledon, but something that a lot of people aren’t aware of, is that they have the longest running sponsorship deal in the history of sport. The deal with Slazenger to provide the match balls has been in place since 1902. They’ve also been long time partners with that of Robinsons, who have been on the books since 1935 supplying fruit flavoured drinks.
Since 2003 the Wimbledon men’s game has been dominated by 4 players: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer. But, in those 14 years, it’s been Federer who has been the king of Wimbledon, winning it no fewer that 8 separate occasions, making him the most successful male player in the history of the Championships.
The women’s game has seen a similar level of dominance, again with just 8 winners from last 19 years: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, Petra Kvitova, Marion Bartoli, Gabine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber. But, it’s been the Williams’ sisters that have been most dominant, winning 12 of the 19 years, with Venus winning 5 tournaments and Serena winning 7.
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club has been about since 1868 and set up primarily as private members club for the upper class of its day. Little did they know it would turn out to be one of the most influential associations within world tennis!
The club was situated in Wimbledon and with came the first Lawn Tennis Championship, essentially the same Championships that we know today. The inaugural event was held as gentleman only and was won by that of Spencer Gore, with over 200 people watching the final.
The club continued to flourish, before in 1922 deciding that it needed to move to larger premises to accommodate the increasing popularity. It found its home on Church Road in Wimbledon, exactly where it resides today, almost 100 years later.
With the tournament comes a whole host of traditions, which makes Wimbledon so unique compared to other majors throughout the year. One of things that the players must adhere to is to wear all white when they are playing. This is a strict rule and whilst some leniency does come in for things like logos and very fine patterns, the bulk of the clothing must be white.
In contrast to that, the official colours if Wimbledon are actually that of purple and green, two colours that are heavily donned by the ball boys/girls and the umpires. Many of the members for the day in the Royal box are encouraged to wear to some sort of homage to this. It’s also worth noting that men within the Royal box must wear a tie or they will be refused permission.
Finally, the word ‘Wimbledon’ rarely goes by without mentioning of the now famous strawberries and cream that are served up, often washed down with a glass of Pimms.
Most Successful Men
Throughout the open era of Wimbledon there have been many greats that have managed to get their hands on the trophy, including the likes of Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But, there are two that are able to stand head and shoulders above all of these greats; Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.
Sampras was the first player to really dominate Wimbledon and whilst he found success at other majors, there was something about the grass surface that just seemed to suit his aggressive serve-volley style. We won Wimbledon on 7 different occasions, but what’s most impressive is that he did it just 8 years. Only Richard Kraijceck in 1996 stood in the middle of 7 successes.
It was probably quite fitting that the man to stop him winning an 8th title and 5 in a row at the time just so happened to be the man who surpassed his then record of 7 titles, Roger Federer. It was Federer who beat Sampras in 2001, but later went on to lose to Tim Henman.
It was a quick learning curve for the Swiss legend, who picked up his first win in 2003. He then went on to win 5 times in a row, with some epic battles including that of the 2007 five-setter against Rafael Nadal, a player we would beat in 2 finals.
What’s most impressive about Federer is the fact that he did it over an extended period of time. No player in the Open Era has won 14 years apart from his first and most recent win, and who’s to say that the record is going to stop there?
Most Successful Women
The greatest of them all in the women’s game at Wimbledon is that of Martina Navratilova. The American won a record 9 titles, from 1978 though to 1990. She dominated for huge parts of the eighties, winning 6 consecutive times from 1982 to 1987.
Closely following Navratilova is that of German Steffi Graff and fellow American, Serena Williams. With all three women, there was a feeling of the changing of the guard. Graff’s dominance game in late eighties and actually beat Navratilova in two consecutive finals. She then went on to win her 7th and final title in 1996.
Serena took over in the early ‘naughties’ with her first title coming in 2002, beating her sister over the space of 5 years when the Williams’ sisters really dominated the world of tennis. Serena has continued as one of the greatest of all time and it’s only she that can now realistically catch Navratilova’s record in the modern game.
Brits at Wimbledon
Whilst British tennis hasn’t always been the strongest, they have been able to produce a couple of greats. From the women’s game is that of Virginia Wade. Her one and only victory came about in 1977, but is still dubbed as the most successful female British tennis player of all time, with 3 Grand Slam victories to her name from the early-mid 1970’s.
A generation or two prior was that of Fred Perry in the men’s game. Perry won Wimbledon on 3 separate occasions, making a part of 8 majors in total. But, Perry was also the first player to win the career Grand Slam, which is made up winning all four of the majors within a calendar year. To this date, only a handful of players have ever repeated this feat.
In the modern day, the Brits have relied on the success of Andy Murray to keep them going. Murray was the first and only male winner since Fred Perry and has been able to complete two career Wimbledon wins in 2013 and 2016. Unfortunately for Murray, he will likely always be remembered for the final loss to roger Federer in 2012 where he broke down in tears in the interview after. But, Murray was to have the last laugh as he not only won Olympic Gold later that summer beating Federer on the same Wimbledon Centre Court, but also going on to finally lift the men’s crown just 12 months later, beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets.