Wimbledon is the generally used name for The Championships, it is an annual tennis tournament that takes place in London. As the oldest tennis tournament in the world and one of the sport’s four Grand Slam events, Wimbledon today is the competition that every professional player aspires to win at some point during their career. Only a relatively few succeed, but their efforts to do so captivate the sporting world. Not only do many thousands visit London to watch the matches take place in person, but millions more also tune in to watch Wimbledon live TV coverage. The 2019 event will run from Monday 1 July until Sunday 14 July, be sure to feast your eyes on the schedule right here!
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The Championships were founded in 1877, and comprised a Gentlemen’s Singles event in which 22 players competed, with Spencer Gore becoming the first ever Wimbledon Champion. Back then, the main action took place on a central lawn court, with others around it, and that is where the 'centre court' designation originated. The competition was expanded in 1884 to include Gentlemen’s Doubles as well as Ladies' Singles events, but it wasn’t until 1913 that Ladies' Doubles and Mixed Doubles were also introduced.
The current Wimbledon Championships focus primarily on the five events just mentioned, but also include four junior events and several invitational events. Over the decades the competition has come to be associated with a variety of traditions, perhaps most famously the consumption of strawberries and cream. Those who watch Wimbledon live on TV also get the opportunity to spot various celebrities, politicians and members of the royal family who often attend the games in person.
Match Formats and Schedule
The Championships have a single elimination format, which means that players are out of the tournament as soon as they lose a match. In the main events Men play five-set matches and women play three-set matches, with each set comprising six games. If a set gets to six games all then a tie-break game is played to determine the set winner, except in the final set, where the score needs to reach twelve games all for a tie-break to be played. This latter point is a new development in the tournament which comes into force for the first time in 2019.
The field for each of the Gentlemen's Singles and Ladies' Single events consists of 128 players. As with most tournaments of this size and format, there are three rounds for players to get through before they reach the round of 16, and from there the competition progresses to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final itself. The Ladies' Singles Final traditionally takes place on the penultimate day of the tournament, with the Gentlemen's Final taking place on the very last day.
Wimbledon is held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London. The club has dozens of courts, but the centre court is the most famous as it is the one used for Finals matches. The centre court is the same one that has been used since 1922, although it has been improved considerably over the years. Delays in play caused by rain had become something of a Wimbledon tradition in past decades, but a retractable roof was installed in 2009 and that has helped to keep delays to a minimum.
Trophies and Prize Money
The winner of the Gentlemen's Singles event wins a silver trophy which has been used since 1887. This trophy is almost half a metre tall and is inscribed with 'All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World'. The winner of the Ladies' Singles event wins the 'Venus Rosewater Dish', which is a silver salver measuring almost half a metre in diameter. Both winners take home smaller replicas of these trophies, with the originals remaining under the ownership and care of the All England Club museum.
Prize money was introduced to The Championships in 1968, with a total prize pool of £26,150 and the Gentleman’s Singles and Ladies’ Singles winners taking home £2,000 and £750, respectively. The prize pools have soared since that time, and in 2018 a total of £34 million was won, with the Gentlemen's and Ladies' Singles winners each receiving £2.25 million.
A Preview of this Year's Contenders
The Men's Singles Champion in 2018 was Novak Djokovic, who has now won Wimbledon four times. The Serbian will be hoping to add a fifth win to his list of accolades in 2019, but he will be up against some stiff competition, with both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal looking for their ninth and third Wimbledon Singles titles, respectively. Other contenders who should be competing this year include Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Andy Murray.
The Women’s Singles Champion in 2018 was Angelique Kerber, who won the tournament for the first time. Angelique will be back to try and win again this year, but will have to fare better than Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka – to name just three – in order to succeed.
Key Players and Stats
Roger Federer has won more Gentlemen's Singles titles than any other player in the Open Era. He won his first title in 2003 and his most recent success was achieved in 2017. Federer also shares the record for the most consecutive titles, having won five times from 2003 to 2007 – a feat which Björn Borg also achieved from 1976 to 1980.
The player who has won the most Ladies’ Singles titles is Martina Navratilova, who first won in 1978 and went on to win eight more times, with her ninth and final victory being achieved in 1990. Martina won six consecutive titles from 1982 to 1987, and although she retired in 2006, her records are likely to stand for a while yet.
Where will all the matches be Broadcast?
Wimbledon live TV coverage will be provided by the BBC in the UK and by ESPN in the US, so do check the Wimbledon schedule in your area for precise details of times and channels. Of course, fans can also watch the action unfold as it happens by watching Wimbledon streams live online.