10 Things You Didn't Know About The Championships, Wimbledon
The prize money in £ up for grabs for the winners of the 2016 singles titles. Breaking the 2 million barrier for the first time, this year’s tournament champions will receive a 6.4% bigger payout than then 2015 winners. Despite this increase, the US Open still boasts the biggest prize pot in tennis, with winners of the singles tournament receiving approximately £2.28 million reward.
The total portions of English strawberries served at Wimbledon in 2015. Grade 1 Kent strawberries of the highest quality are picked the day before being served, arriving at Wimbledon at 5.30am each morning for quality control checks before being sold in their thousands to the visiting public.
The amount of bananas in kilos provided to tennis players during the two week tournament. Unfortunately there’s no strawberries, cream or Pimm’s for the players; bananas instead are the snack of choice after a testing baseline rally and are delivered to every court in plentiful supply.
The only year in which the tournament has been won by a wildcard. Wildcards are awarded each year to players not seeded highly enough to win a place in the tournament. With a seeding of 125, Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia was awarded a wildcard in 2001 as a gesture of goodwill based on his former achievements. In one of sport’s greatest underdog stories, Ivanisevic went on to win the entire championships – the first and only wildcard to do so – to the delight of the watching British public.
The size in square metres of the big screen situated on the back of court one. Wimbledon’s famous supersize TV provides a popular spot for ground pass ticket holders to watch the show court action. Formally named the Aorangi Terrace, Wimbledon organisers caved to the pressure of public demand and now refer to it simply as ‘The Hill’ (Henman Hill to all those who look back fondly at the glory days of Tiger Tim!).
The temperature in Celsius that tennis balls are stored at for optimum playability. Tennis balls are in fact subject to multiple regulations to ensure they are in perfect playing condition – size and weight must conform to the strict rules set by the International Tennis Federation. Even bounce is tested to ensure that every ball can be relied upon to act in the same way on court.
The amount of hours it took to complete Wimbledon’s longest ever match. The match, which saw John Isner of the USA eventually beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the last set, was not only the longest in the history of Wimbledon but the entire recorded history of tennis. A commemorative plaque marking the legendary match has now been placed on court 18, in celebration of an incredible feat of sportsmanship.
The exact height, in mm, of the grass on Wimbledon’s courts. Tended to with absolute precision by Wimbledon’s dedicated groundskeepers, the championship grass courts are constructed and seeded each April and monitored closely in the run up to the tournament start date. Ryegrass is chosen for its durability and strength; however it is the soil rather than the grass that has the most impact on the bounce of the ball. The ground must be kept hard and dry hence the speedy covering of the courts whenever rain interrupts play.
The amount of championships since 1922 that have been completed without a rain delay. It’s hard to believe that the British summer has ever seen a fortnight without rain, however there have been seven whole tournaments which haven’t suffered from any interruptions due to rain, the most recent being 2010. Fingers crossed that 2016 becomes the 8th rain free championships!
The number of specially trained hawks it takes to keep pigeons at bay. It takes just one predator to keep unwanted avian visitors outside of the grounds during the championships. Rufus the hawk patrols the courts for an hour every morning to ensure that the grounds are kept pigeon free.
Whilst we can’t guarantee the weather, we’re certain The Championships Wimbledon 2016 will prove to be another captivating summer of tennis. Allianz Global Assistance wishes all players the very best of luck.