Love it or hate it, Wimbledon is a Great British institution. Not only is it the oldest tennis tournament in the World, it’s also regarded as the most prestigious. Each year, thousands of tennis fans flock to Wimbledon to eat strawberries and watch their sporting heroes smash balls at each other at over 100 miles per hour. If you’re a tennis fan ( or even if you’re not), take a moment to read these weird and wonderful Wimbledon facts…
1. In 1995, Tim Henman became the first person ever to be disqualified from Wimbledon. The reason? He lost his temper and angrily smashed a ball away, straight into the face of an innocent young ball girl. Henman was mortified when he realised, and later gave the girl some flowers to apologise.
2. Each year, 250 ball boys and ball girls are employed to work at Wimbledon. On average they are 15 years old and earn about £150 for the two weeks that they work.
3. The last time anyone used a wooden racket at Wimbledon was in 1987.
4. All players must wear white clothing and dress ‘decently’. The umpire decides if players meet the strict dress code and can make them get changed. Andre Agassi refused to play between 1988 and 1990 because he didn’t like the dress code and what he regarded as a ‘stuffy’ atmosphere.
5. During World War II, 5 bombs hit Centre Court, destroying 1,200 seats. It took 9 years for the court to be fully restored.
6. It was only in 2007 that the prize money for male and female tennis players was equalised after campaigns from Venus Williams and others.
7. Wimbledon always starts on the sixth Monday before the first Monday of August.
8. In 1986, yellow tennis balls were introduced. Before that the balls were white and umpires had difficulty seeing them.
9. The youngest ever player at Wimbledon was Mita Klima from Austria, who was 13 years old when she played in 1907.
10. Each year at Wimbledon 28,000kg of strawberries are eaten along with 7,000 litres of cream.