Wimbledon 2017

 28 Jun 2017  Blog

Wimbledon is the world's oldest tennis tournament - and probably the most famous. The prestigious championship has been held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon since the first tournament in 1877, always taking place over two weeks in late June and early July.

It is one of four annual tennis tournaments that make up the Grand Slam; the others being the Australian Open, the US Open and the Roland Garros tournament in France. Wimbledon is the only one of the four that is played on grass, which provides the fastest game.

The qualifiers for Wimbledon 2017 began on 26th June, while the tournament takes place from Monday 3rd July until Sunday 16th July. The defending men's singles champion, Andy Murray of Great Britain, will be back to defend his title. However, the 2016 ladies' singles champion, American Serena Williams, will miss out this year due to being pregnant.


Past winners - men's singles

Scotland's Andy Murray is one of the most popular past winners, having won the men's singles title in 2013 as well as last year, playing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

Other crowd favourites include players who have won the most Wimbledon titles in history, including seven-times men's singles champions Roger Federer of Switzerland and Pete Sampras of the United States, five-times champion Bjorn Borg of Sweden and three-times winner Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

Love him or hate him, no-one can forget the antics of three-times champion John McEnroe of the United States. He became as famous for his often outrageous on-court antics - including his famous catchphrase, "You cannot be serious!" - as he did for his game.


Past winners - ladies' singles

The American Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have pretty much dominated Wimbledon since the turn of the new millennium. Venus has won five ladies' singles titles (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008) and younger sister Serena has won seven titles (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016).

In the 1970s and '80s, Czech-born Martina Navratilova, who became a US citizen in 1981, won a record nine women's singles titles, her first in 1978. She totally dominated in the '80s, winning six consecutive titles between 1982 and 1987. Her final Wimbledon singles title was in 1990.


Top seeds

This year's favourites for the men's singles title are Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer, who will be chasing his record eighth title. Rafael Nadal will also be among the favourites after winning his 10th French Open title earlier this month.

The favourite women's players will include Venus Williams and Czech player Petra Kvitova, champion in 2011 and 2014, who is continuing her return to tennis after being stabbed by an intruder at her home - suffering a career-threatening hand injury. With big names such as Serena Williams and the injured Maria Sharapova missing this year, newcomer Jelena Ostapenko, 20, of Latvia, is tipped for the top.


Famous spectators

Wimbledon has always had a strong royal connection. Who could forget the Duchess of Kent, who was presenting the trophies, offering a consoling hug to beaten women's finalist Jana Novotna in 1993? Andy Murray met the Queen at Wimbledon in 2010, while the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William are firm fans of the event and are expected to attend this year.

Many celebrities have also attended Wimbledon, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z, actor Benedict Cumberbatch, model Lara Stone, actress and model Sienna Miller, fashion entrepreneur Natalie Massenet and American chat show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Perhaps the most famous of all Wimbledon fans is Sir Cliff Richard, who burst into song with an impromptu rendition of Summer Holiday to entertain the Centre Court crowd during a long delay due to rain in 1996.


Strawberries and Wimbledon

Almost as famous as the tennis itself, strawberries and cream are synonymous with Wimbledon. In 2016 alone, some 28,000kg of English strawberries - around 140,000 servings - were eaten during the championship!

Although we can't transport you to Wimbledon, we can help you to enjoy a taste of summer in your own home. Henry Cowls’ bird-netting and fruit-cages can protect your home-grown strawberries from birds, enabling you to enjoy the fruits of your labour as you settle down to watch Wimbledon from the comfort of your settee.

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