The 135th edition of The Championships, Wimbledon - more commonly known just as Wimbledon - is set to take place from June 27 to July 10 at the All England Club in London. This year also marks the centenary of the club’s famed centre-court.
The only grass court Grand Slam will see Novak Djokovic leading the Gentlemen's singles draw, while Iga Swiatek is the No. 1 seed for the Ladies' singles at this year’s tournament. All Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from participating at this year's edition following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world with the first edition taking place 1877 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC). Spencer Gore, an English tennis player and a first-class county cricketer won the first edition of the tournament, winning 12 guineas. The Ladies' singles was, however, only added in the year 1884 and Maud Watson won that year.
The courts at the club were initially arranged in such a manner that all the other courts flanked the main court, hence, deriving the word ‘centre-court’. The championships, like all British institutions, follows age-old customs, with strawberry and cream being the crowd favourite. Another custom is for players to wear all-white, unlike any other tennis tournament.
How last year's edition went
The 134th edition of Wimbledon was held from June 28 to July 11. The prestigious grass-court Major returned to the tennis calendar after a gap of one year as the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the men's side, Serbian Djokovic beat Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to win his sixth Wimbledon and overall 20th Grand Slam title. By winning the trophy at the AELTC, Djokovic had clinched the first three Majors of the year. The tournament did not feature Rafael Nadal (left foot injury) while eight-time champion Roger Federer was beaten in straight sets in the quarterfinal by Poland's Hubert Hurkacz.
On the women's side, Australian World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty bagged her maiden Wimbledon title with a 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory over Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, 2019 champion, could not participate due to a calf injury while seven-time champion Serena Williams was forced to retire midway through her opening round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich due to an ankle injury.
The 2021 Wimbledon was the last edition when play wasn't held on 'Middle Sunday'.
Storylines for this year
The men's draw has defending champion Djokovic as the top seed. The Serb comes into the tournament after missing the Australian Open due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19 and a quarterfinal loss to Nadal at the French Open. The Spaniard will be in the same position as Djokovic from last year as he will continue his push for the Calendar Slam following the Australian Open and Roland Garros titles while battling the pain in his left foot.
Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, the top two men's players in the ATP Rankings, will not be participating this year. While the former has been banned along with other Russians and Belarusians following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the latter suffered a freak ankle injury while playing the French Open semifinal against Nadal. Federer is set to miss Wimbledon for the first time in 23 years as he continues to recover from a knee surgery from last year.
The women’s draw will see 21-year-old Swiatek take the lead. The Polish player has had a dream run this year as she enters the tournament on the back of a 35-match winning streak. This is the joint longest winning streak by a female player in the 21st century; she shares the record with Venus Williams. In the absence of defending champion Barty who announced her retirement from the sport earlier this year, Swiatek is the biggest contender for the trophy. The tournament will also see Serena's return to the sport after almost a year.
The Championships will see a total of GBP 40,350,000 in prize money this year. The winner of the Gentlemen's and Ladies' singles will receive GBP 2,000,000 each. Wimbledon was the last of the four Grand Slams to include equal prize money. Equal prize money in Wimbledon started only in 2007.
The Ladies' singles winner is presented with the Venus Rosewater Dish, a circular dish with mythological designs. The Gentlemen's singles winner is awarded a silver gilt cup which has the inscription "All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World". The actual trophies remain with the club while three-inch smaller replicas are given to the winners to take with them. All the doubles trophies are silver cups.
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