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Wimbledon: A guide to the All England Club

Of tennis' four Grand Slams, perhaps none are held in such high esteem as Wimbledon - we take a look at everything that makes the All England Club so special.

The oldest of the quartet is almost certainly the most iconic and much of that is attributed to the various traditions which have remained intact throughout the tournament's long history.

Below, we take a look at the reasons why the grass-court Grand Slam stands above all the rest.
 

The early days of the All England Club

The Wimbledon championships have been held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 1877, originally taking place in nearby Worple Road before the club moved to its current site at Church Road in 1922.

A 200-strong crowd watched as Spencer Gore claimed the first edition of the men's singles title, before the championships expanded in 1884 to include a men's doubles tournament and the first women's singles event.

Australia's Norman Brookes would become the first non-British competitor to win the men's singles title, his victory in 1907 ushering in a period of international dominance which has largely continued to this day.

There have been just three British winners of the men's title since Brookes' victory and two in the Church Road era - Fred Perry from 1934 to 1936 and most recently Andy Murray, who ended a long and painful wait in 2013 and then won the title again three years later.

The success of international stars allowed Wimbledon to gain recognition, not just in Britain, but internationally, as the tournament which is almost always hosted in the opening weeks of July, became one of the most important fortnights on the global sporting calendar.
 

Traditions which remain to this day

The All England Club is known worldwide not just for brilliant on-court performances but the various traditions which have existed and continue to exist to this day.

On the court, players must adhere to a strict all-white dress code, including not just the main outfits but any visible undergarments and accessories.

Outfits featuring off-white or cream are not tolerated under the "almost entirely in white rule" which was brought in in 1995.

Cream is, however, more than tolerated away from the court, notably when paired with strawberries. This quintessentially English treat has been synonymous with the All England Club ever since it was first introduced at the inaugural championships in 1877.

Spectators queue up to get their hands on strawberries and cream and might decide to wash it down with a cold glass of Pimm's - the iconic cocktail was launched in the 1840s and Wimbledon's first Pimm's bar opened in 1971.

Recent estimates suggest 191,930 portions of strawberries are eaten during a Wimbledon fortnight while 276,291 glasses of Pimm's are drunk.

As for queuing, Wimbledon is famous for it.

The tradition of the Wimbledon queue began with the 1922 championships and spectators often choose to camp out overnight - and sometimes days in advance - to secure some of the 1,500 available tickets for show courts including the famous Centre Court.

The queue has become an institution as thousands of tennis fans wait in line to secure admission to the All England Club, particularly in the early stages of the tournament when some well-known faces can be seen in action on the outside courts.

Centre Court is the main show court. The 14,979-capacity venue features the Royal Box, which is often filled by members of the British Royal Family.

Those who are unable to bag Centre Court tickets can try their luck on the Aorangi Terrace - aka Henman Hill or Murray Mount.

The famous mound behind No.1 Court is often filled with spectators, particularly when British players are in action.
 

The All England Club by numbers

The All England Club features 38 grass courts - 18 which are used for the championships and a further 20 practice courts in Aorangi Park.

The venue is set to expand in the near future in order to also host qualifying, which currently takes place in Roehampton.

In addition to Centre Court, No.1 Court features a capacity of 12,345 and both courts have been fitted with a retractable roof, ensuring that Wimbledon is no longer subjected to a complete washout if the British weather fails to behave.

The Centre Court roof was unveiled in time for the 2009 championships while No1 Court was upgraded in time for the 2019 edition of the event.

As for the most decorated Wimbledon champions, Roger Federer has won eight Wimbledon titles, one more than William Renshaw, Pete Sampras and Novak Djokovic, the last of whom will attempt to draw level with the Swiss at the 2023 tournament.

In the women's event, Martina Navratilova has won the singles title nine times and she also chalked up an impressive 11 titles across the women's and mixed doubles as well.
 

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