We’ve collated some of the more interesting facts, statistics and records from Wimbledon’s long and sometimes colourful history for you here. If you want to know the record for the most number of aces or are curious about just how many strawberries we gorge on each year, read on.
Dress code dramas
We briefed you on the strict dress code for both players and spectators in our recent blog post. Most athletes embrace the rules (though some deliberately flout them to court controversy). But Andre Agassi was so put out by Wimbledon’s attempts to dictate what he wore that he refused to play in 1988 and 1990. He moaned: “I don’t like the dress code and the atmosphere is too stuffy”.
The match-ready monarch
The royal family has always had a close relationship with Wimbledon and the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, is the president of the All-England Club. The Royals have long taken their seats in the comfort of the Royal Box to watch a match, but King George VI (the Queen’s father) broke with tradition in 1926 when he hopped on court to compete in a men’s doubles match.
So how does a royal go from shaking hands to wielding a tennis racket at the ultimate tennis championship? His adviser and close friend Sir Louis Greig got an automatic place after his performance at the Royal Air Force’s tennis championship. And he chose his close friend George to be his partner. Their opponents clearly weren’t intimidated by his majesty’s power off-court, though: the King was beaten 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in straight sets.
Rufus the hawk
Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova all have undoubted star quality…but it’s the unsung heroes that are the real stars – the people who make sure that everyone has enough strawberries, that the court is dry and, in Rufus the Hawk’s case, that there are no pesky pigeons in the way.
Rufus can be seen flying around the ground every morning at 9am, scaring off the pigeons so they don’t interrupt a match.
Last year he became embroiled in a dramatic plot which saw the winged one getting birdnapped from a car in London. Thankfully he was found unharmed just a few days later and was catapulted into celebrity territory. Now he’s got his own Twitter account, Facebook page and even a LinkedIn profile (although he’s only amassed one connection so far).
• Most wins
The Williams sisters may dominate centre court these days, but Martina Navratilova has won Wimbledon a record nine times and was a force to be reckoned with in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
• Longest match
When the crowds settled in to a men’s singles match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut on the afternoon of June 23 2010, they probably thought they’d be home for dinner. It was a first round match, after all.
But it wasn’t until 138 games and 11 hours and five minutes of play had passed that the match was finally won by an exhausted Isner. They probably slept very well that night.
• Most aces in a tournament
An ace (a legal serve that isn’t touched by the receiver) can make all the difference in a close match. Goran Ivanisevic had clearly been practicing his in 2001: he wowed the crowds by managing a total of 212 aces throughout the tournament.
• Fastest serve
The fastest ever serve in Wimbledon history was by Taylor Dent in 2010, who hit the ball at a staggering 148mph against Novar Djokovic, who stood no chance of returning it.
Unfortunately, Dent must have been so thrown by the power of his own serve that he followed the shot up with two double faults and eventually lost 7-6 6-1 6-4.
Food and drink
All that tennis-watching clearly whets the appetite: 112,000 punnets of strawberries are expected to be consumed this year and will be washed down with 200,000 glasses of that classic summer tipple – Pimms.
What’s been your favourite moment in Wimbledon history?
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