Home to one of the greatest tennis grand slams of the season, Wimbledon has provided us with its fair share of sporting entertainment. The highly anticipated tournament is eagerly awaited by participants and fans every year, as they follow and play their way through the beginning of the season.
Arguably, over the years Wimbledon has come to represent not only tennis but all that is considered to be quintessentially English. A firm fixture in the summer sporting calendar, Wimbledon delivers high class tennis and is symbolised by English strawberries, cream, Champagne and Pimms.
The Championships are responsible for showcasing the highest levels of tennis on grass courts, played over two weeks during midsummer.
As an event, Wimbledon has set records you wouldn’t believe, not only in tennis but also in other aspects. With the 2017 Championships fast approaching let’s take a look at some of the records that have been set over the years.
1) Food and Drink Consumption:
Wimbledon is easily the largest catering operation at a sporting event within Europe. Taken from the 2016 championships, these figures relate to the total consumption of food and drink at Wimbledon – the figures are simply astonishing. The numbers include food and drink consumed on site only, they don’t include food and drink that is included in off-site Wimbledon hospitality.
Last year 177,135 glasses of Pimm’s were served, to quench the thirst of visitors and spectators, 139,435 portions of strawberries were dished up for fans to enjoy, 133,800 traditional English scones were served and a whopping 2772 kilos of bananas were provided for players in the competition.
Strawberries at Wimbledon are so iconic that nothing other than the best will do. Provided the crop is plentiful, Grade 1 Kent Strawberries are considered to be of the finest quality and are specifically chosen for the championships. In order to make sure that the strawberries are as fresh as possible they are picked the day before they are served to consumers, and arrive at the gates of Wimbledon at 5.30am!
2) Longest Ever Match:
The Longest ever match at Wimbledon went on for an astonishing eleven hours and five minutes, over three days, and consisted of 183 games.
It was late in the day on Tuesday 22nd June 2010, when American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut strolled out onto court number 18 to begin what was to be the ultimate tennis match. The match was unremarkable to begin with, with Isner winning the first set followed by Mahut winning the next two. The fourth set was won by Isner then at 9.07pm the match was suspended until the following day. The following afternoon the fifth and final set began with both players determined to move through to the next round. Anticipation grew as it became clear neither one of the rivals was willing to lose the set. Points were scored one after the other without any hesitation from either player. At 5.45 pm the match officially became the longest in history, but it wasn’t over yet.
At 9.09 pm the match was suspended for a second time, with the score of the fifth set reaching an astonishing 59-59. The following day play resumed and finally ended with Isner winning 70-68.
Unsurprisingly, due to the length of the match more than one record was broken. John Isner etched his name in history again, having served a massive 113 aces, during the game.
3) Most Singles Titles:
With an equal number of titles to their names, William Renshaw, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer all have equal rights over the most singles titles record at Wimbledon. Each player has an impressive seven titles to their name at the grass Grand Slam. Considering the professional lifespan of a tennis star, this achievement is astonishing.
Born in January 1861, Renshaw was the first of the three to have achieved the record before his untimely death in 1904. American, Pete Sampras has fourteen single titles to his name in total, seven of which were achieved at Wimbledon. And then there is Roger Federer, currently world number four, the thirty five year old is still making his mark in the world of tennis. He will most certainly go down in history as one of tennis’ all-time greats. Federer has an impressive eighteen single titles to his name in total.
4) Stringing a Racket:
There is more to the Championships than the tennis, a large amount of work has to go into the preparations of Wimbledon. In addition to the stewards, the catering team, the ball boys etc., there is a specialist team specifically employed to ensure that the player’s equipment is of the best quality. A stringing team work all day and night to ensure that the rackets in use are correctly strung. They ensure that more than 2,000 rackets are ready for use, prepared using an impressive fourteen miles of string.
Before a stringer can even be considered to join the team at Wimbledon they have to qualify as a Master Racquet Technician, only then will they be considered to string rackets for Wimbledon. Once an application is submitted the stinger is carefully monitored before being officially appointed. The record time for stringing a racket at Wimbledon is an unbelievable fourteen minutes.
5) The Longest Queue:
The longest ever queue to get into Wimbledon stretched for a whopping one and a half miles. This record breaking queue began formation prior to the first day of the tournament in 1991. It was the year the weather had an unusual impact on the tournament. For the first time in the 114 year history, matches had to take place on the Sunday of the first week.’ Due to the length of the queue some of the visitors had been waiting in line for more than 20 hours just to get a ticket to the Championships.
Alternative methods of entry into Wimbledon include, entering the heavily oversubscribed ballot or the purchase of a private debenture ticket. Purchasing a debenture is the only way to choose what date you attend and on what court.