Here It Comes - Roll On Wimbledon!

by : Shaun Parker

Wimbledon is edging ever nearer. Even though the weather is at this moment in time is terrible Wimbledon never seems to fail to deliver some of the finest weather the UK sees and it is the opening event not only for world class tennis but also for strawberries.

It is the finest tournament held in Britain and the oldest tennis tournament in the world. The tournament was first played in 1877 and as a result has a long and prestigious history. The competition started off a tournament that was only for men and only the singles game was played. Throughout time the competition has developed a great deal and it now includes a full complement of tennis games including men's singles, ladies singles, men's doubles, ladies doubles and mixed doubles. Whilst the original tournament was played in the small Walpole tennis venue in London it has now been moved to a massive venue at Wimbledon London. Whilst the tournament has gone through a wide range of developments it has also maintained many of the rules that are synonymous with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

The main feature that has been in place since the beginning of the tournament is that it is played on grass. Each of the courts at the Walpole venue were seeded with rye grass and this is still the case with the Wimbledon venue. The Wimbledon venue is notable for hosting two of the largest spectator courts in the UK. Court number one can hold a maximum crowd of three thousand people. There are also plans in place to increase the number of possible spectators to four thousand by 2010.

The other major court is the Centre Court. The most prestigious of all tennis courts in the world it holds an incredible fourteen thousand people. Neither of these courts is used throughout the regular tennis season and their use is reserved to Wimbledon. The only other time in which these tournaments might be used outside of the tournament is when the Olympics are held in London in 2012.

The tournament has maintained a strict dress code throughout the years. Players are often expected to wear all white uniforms for the matches that they participate in. The recognised colours for the Wimbledon tournament are green and mauve and these colours are often worn by the officials. In recent years the clothing that has been worn by line judges, ball girls and ball boys has been designed by the American designer Ralph Lauren. The uniforms are fairly formal and are designed to register the importance of the competition.

The players are expected to wear white and this has caused a great deal of controversy with some players refusing to adhere. The most notable example of this happened in 1990. American tennis star Andre Agassi refused to play in the tournament and cited the strict dress code as his reason that he would not participate. The tournament has recently put an equal cash pot up for grabs for both the men and the women. That despite the fact that the men have much more playing time and bring in a larger crowd.

The cash prize for the winners is seven hundred thousand pounds. The tournament winners also receive a trophy. The trophy that is awarded to the winner of the men's tournament is a nineteen inch tall silver cup that is inscribed with the words 'single handed champion of the world'. The female winner receives a large silver dish which is known as the 'venue rosewater dish.' This years tournament will take place on the 23rd June.