A Vintage Tale – Wimbledon

Somewhere, I believe every big thing in this world has a very small beginning. Close your eyes and picture troops dressed in white, sweating it out in the most peaceful and high class English environment and your mind takes you to the most reputed and oldest tennis tournament in the world, The Vintage tournament of Wimbledon, an event which was first organised just to generate enough funds to repair the broken pony roller needed for maintenance of the lawns! Interestingly, the inaugural Wimbledon of 1877, made a profit of £10, with which the pony roller was repaired and the winner received 12 guineas!

But Wimbledon has come a long way . It is no more a garden party tournament and is one of the biggest Grand Slams of the world ,played on grass that is cut to a height of exactly 8 millimeters. Serving 2.34 Lakh meals , 3.3 Lakh cups of tea and coffee, 1.4 Lakh portion of strawberries ,29,000 liters of champagne and 10,000 Liters of dairy cream, Wimbledon is also one of the largest annual sporting catering operation in Europe. The hard fought competition takes place at the All England Club. One of the most interesting feature is that the Wimbledon has its own hawk called Rufus which ensures there are no pigeons in the court and the game is conducted smoothly.

Tennis is incomplete without the ball boys and girls. The ball boys/girls have the job of clearing the balls from the court and providing the server with the set of balls. Has any one wondered why tennis balls are yellow and how many are used during Wimbledon? First let me answer the first part. It was only after 1986 that yellow balls came in to existence. Earlier only white balls were used. But the issues with the white ball was that, television viewers could not keep a track of it, leading to the change. Now coming to the second part. The power and force of the stroke play is immense. This leads to the ball losing its shape quite early. After few games they keep changing the set of balls, and by the end of the tournament almost more than 54,000 balls are used! Many times this question crosses our mind – How do they select the ball boys and girls in a game? The ball boys and girls that one sees during each and every game are selected by the headmasters of their respective schools. They need to pass a test and average age to be one of the ball boys or girls in the court is fifteen.

Arthur Ashe was the first black man to win the Wimbledon and he won it defeating the great Jimmy Connors in 1975. If one has to talk about consistency, then there is no one beating the Bjorn Borg, who won the Wimbledon 5 times in a row.

Few interesting things are yet to be unraveled in Wimbledon. Will anyone break that 11 hour game record that took place between Isner and Mahut, can Roger Federer win that 8th Wimbledon title and become the most successful player in Wimbledon History in the men’s category? Well all this only time will decode.

What one learns really from tennis is one should not give up. Champions or great tennis players have the ability to save match points and win games! It teaches one to handle pressure. Being an individual sport, Tennis is considered to be one of the most physically exhausting individual sports. Being physically exhausting, players carry liters of glucose with them for every game.

Wimbledon is a big event in the United Kingdom! The celebrities, the Prince, the Queen, all of them take out time to watch the game and why shouldn’t they, after all the game has so much to offer.

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