Updated: May 29, 2015
Wimbledon Tennis & History:When it comes to tennis, there is no venue more special than the All England Lawn Tennis Club where the Wimbledon Championships are played. I recently visited the site in the off-season and to see all the courts empty and quiet was almost as magical as sitting at Centre Court watching a finals match. If you have never watched or been to Wimbledon, it's one of the few grass court tournaments on the ATP Tour. The green grass is cut really short and barely lasts for the 2 weeks of the tournament every July. As the players run it ragged, the baseline and the middle section of the court become the color of dead grass (yellow/brown). The first Wimbledon Championship took place in 1877 and it's now one of the (if not the biggest) Grand Slam tennis event on tour. Millions of people watch Wimbledon on TV every year and thousands of fans pack the facility to watch their tennis heroes. Serve and volley tennis is expected at Wimbledon with fast courts and strange bounces, but there have been baseliners who have won the tournament like Bjorn Borg and Andre Agassi.
Like any major Grand Slam, Wimbledon includes both men and women tennis players with draws of 128 players for both. There are also doubles and mixed doubles that spectactors can watch as the 2 week event unfolds. Weather is always an issue in England and there have been significant rainout days during past tournaments. None of the courts are covered so rain can definitely ruin your day. Plan on spending at least a few days at the event just in case it rains on one of them. You would hate to fly all the way over to London, England and get rained out on the day you wanted. Players like Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have dominated Wimbledon over the last decade and most of the time a player who serves and volleys wins the event. Back in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Bjorn Borg was able to sit on the baseline and knock off players winning the title 5 straight years. Pete Sampras had 7 titles at Wimbledon all with his versatile game but mostly by serving bullets and volleying away winners. Ivan Lendl, an all-time great tennis player, never could win on the grass at Wimbledon. The history at Wimbledon and the legendary matches (like the tie-break between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg in 1980) make this place not only very special but unique in what you get. The mens and ladies eventual winners get well over 625,000 British Pounds (that's close to $1 million US). One of the signature things you will see at Wimbledon are players dressed in nearly all white outfits. For years Andre Agassi skipped Wimbledon and rumor had it he didn't want to tone down his image of colorful clothing. Andre eventually dress in white at Wimbledon and won the Championship. Planning a trip to London and getting tickets to Wimbledon is not that hard, but you do you need to start early and secure tickets first. Down below we offer tips and hints on getting Wimbledon tickets and where the best place is to find lodging over the 2 weeks.
Wimbledon Tickets:Are you looking for Wimbledon Tickets? The good news is that each year there are 1000's available to the public and if you plan ahead of time, you should be able to secure tickets to most of the days you want. Advances sales for tickets on Centre, No. 1 and No. 2 Courts are offered through the Club and you can send in your request to be on the ballot draw. You can read all about the tickets options to Wimbledon HERE. The ticket office has a phone number you can call and an address you can send your ticket requests to. They do sell a limited amount of tickets on site the day of the events, but don't rely on that working out for you since amounts are limited. One guaranteed way to get tickets is to go with a tour package for Wimbledon tickets and hotel/lodging accommodations. Wimbledon-experience.com and Purewimbledon.com are 2 excellent websites to visit if you want to book a combination package and gets tickets and hotel reservations well in advance. There are alternative sources to get tickets like Ebay and ticket brokers. Ticket prices for the main courts range from $53 to $170 US depending on the day and court. As for daily grounds passes, each day about 6000 are available and they are very reasonable at $20 to $35 US. If you want to see where your seats will be in Center Court, click HERE and for Court #1 go HERE.
Location & Hotels:Where is Wimbledon located? If you look at the map below you will see where the All England Lawn and Tennis Club is located in vicinity to the city of London.
The easiest way is to use the Underground and go to Southfields on the District Line or South Wimbledon on the Northern Line. Then get on Bus 493. If you take the rail, you can go from London Waterloo to Wimbledon Station and then take the 493 Bus. You can drive a car close, but keep in mind that there is no car parking on site at Wimbledon, so it can be a little crazy finding a spot to park on the outskirts. For a complete venue map of Wimbledon, click HERE. It's really nice to see how the courts are layed out so you can plan your day of watching tennis once you get the schedule and draw sheets. In terms of hotels near or around Wimbledon itself, we say enjoy London while you are in town and stay closer to the city than the tennis event. The train ride is fairly short back into London each afternoon/evening and you can then have many more options in for hotels and restaurants. Expedia and Travelocity along with Tripadvisor.com do a great job of rating hotels in the London metro area and providing you with details on rates, rooms, features, and user reviews so you can make an educated decision.
TV Coverage:For those of you who are not lucky enough to go to Wimbledon in person, you can always watch the tennis on TV or you can follow the matches online at Wimbledon.org. Wimbledon TV schedules are listed on the main website and each year NBC and ESPN do an excellent job of covering the 2 weeks of grass court tennis. For a complete rundown of tv broadcast times and days in the United States, go HERE. The BBC network has their own listings for those living in Britain and there are also times and stations for Australia. With the time difference between England and the United States, many of the matches are shown in the early morning hours on the West Coast. Be prepared to be up at 6 AM or so if you live in California to watch the live finals matches for the men and women.
Wimbledon Winners/Champions:There have been many greats that won Wimbledon and we have listed several of them below. Roger Federer is the current mens player that may one day have more title than Pete Sampras' record of 7.
- Bjorn Borg (5 Titles) 1976-80
- Pete Sampras (7 Titles) 1993-95, 1997-2000
- Jimmy Connors (2 Titles) 1974, 1982 (Runner-up: 1975, 1977-78, 1984)
- Rod Laver (4 Titles) 1961-62, 1968-69 (Runner-up: 1959-60)
- John McEnroe (3 Titles) 1981, 1983-84 (Runner-up: 1980, 1982)
- Roger Federer (4 Titles) 2003-06
- John Newcombe (3 Titles) 1967-70, 1972 (Runner-up: 1969)
- Stefan Edberg (2 Titles) 1988, 1990
- Andre Agassi (1 Titles) 1992
- Boris Becker (3 Titles) 1985-86, 1989
- Fred Perry (3 Titles) 1934, 1935, 1936 (Runner-up: 1932)
- Margaret Court (3 Titles) 1963, 1965, 1970 (Runner-up: 1964, 1971)
- Chris Evert Lloyd (3 Titles) 1974, 1976, 1981 (Runner-up: 1973, 1978-80, 1982, 1984-85)
- Steffi Graf (6 Titles) 1988-89, 1991, 1993, 1995-96 (Runner-up: 1987, 1999)
- Billie-Jean King (6 Titles) 1966-68, 1972-73, 1975 (Runner-up: 1963, 1969, 1970)
- Suzanne Lenglen (6 Titles) 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925
- Helen Wills Moody (8 Titles) 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1938
- Martina Navratilova (3 Titles) 1978-79, 1982-87, 1990 (Runner-up: 1988, 1989, 1994)
- Venus Williams (3 Titles) 2000-01, 2005