Wimbledon Championships Traditions
Wimbledon is the last remaining Grand Slam event which is still played on a natural surface, grass. It is also the oldest event of its kind, and is consequently steeped in tradition. Sadly some of the traditions have been amended to accommodate an ever-changing world, but most still remain in place 130 years later.
Reference to the Players
Unlike other tournaments, Wimbledon still employs old world charm, and the men’s and women’s events are known as ‘gentlemen’s’ and ‘ladies’ events. In the past married women tennis players were referred to by their husband’s name, but thankfully this little bit of patriarchy has been changed. When addressing the ladies during matches they are still referred to as ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’, yet no man is ever referred to by his title, ‘Mr’.
As far back as 1909 the All England Club embraced the colours of green and purple as the club colours, and up until the 2006 tournament all officials, including umpires, linesmen and ball boys and girls, were attired in green. However, since 2009 officials have been dressed in navy blue and cream uniforms.
Competitors are still expected to adhere to the ‘all-white’ dress code imposed upon the championships since the first tournament in 1877.
The royal family has, over the years, been an ardent supporter of the Wimbledon Championships. The late Princess Diana was often seen in the Royal box witnessing the battles below with keen interest. The Queen is currently patron of the All England Club and the Duke of Kent is presiding president.
In the past Wimbledon Championships tradition dictated that all players were expected to curtsey or bow on entering or leaving the court if any Royal family members were present. In 2003 the Duke of Kent made a decision to stop this practice and now only The Queen and Prince Philip are honoured in this way.
In the past, champions of the gentlemen’s events were always rewarded with a lot more prize money than their female counterparts. However, feisty American, Venus Williams led powerful protests against this anomaly and finally, in 2007, the organisers of the tournament, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club PLC agreed to reward all champions with exactly the same amount of prize money. This proved most beneficial to Venus, who claimed the ladies singles title in 2007 and 2008!
Betting on your favoured tennis stars is also a part of Wimbledon Championships tradition.