Useful Notes / Wimbledon
The All-England Lawn Tennis Championships
, better known as Wimbledon, takes place in Britain every late June/early July. Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam Tennis tournaments, with the others being the US Open, the Australian Open and the French Open (aka Roland Garros).
The world's best tennis players, plus quite a few people who just got lucky, play in a knock-out tournament of tennis on the famous grass surface courts (the only Grand Slam to use this surface) of SW19note
. The Wimbledon courts were also, naturally enough, the venue for all the tennis matches in the London 2012 Olympic Games
Wimbledon was one of the first sporting events to be televised in colour by The BBC
. This was initially because BBC2 controller David Attenborough
realised it would fill lots of airtime, at a time (the late 1960s) when the BBC only had a limited number of colour cameras and production facilities.
It should be noted, however, that Wimbledon is also a town — or rather, a locality within the London Borough of Merton
— and not just a Tennis
Wimbledon has tropes of its own:
- Henman Hill / Rusedski Ridge / Murray Mount: The grassy hill where those who couldn't get tickets go to watch British players (those three mentioned for example, although Tim Henman and the actually Canadian Greg Rusedski have now retired) battle bravely until they're whipped by somebody better than them, which is pretty much all of the upper echelons of tennis (with the exception of Murray, who usually outclasses everyone except Federer, Nadal and Djokovic). The hill is temporarily christened according to which Brit has the best shot to go deep in the tournament.
- Though it should be noted that, in spite of his retirement, the default name is Henman Hill, with Murray Mount only used when Andy Murray is actually playing a match.
- British Futility: No British person won a singles Wimbledon title from 1977 (Virginia Wade. Sue Barker, presenter of A Question of Sport, made the semis that year) until 2013. Jamie Murray, brother of Andy Murray, was one of the winning pair in the mixed doubles in 2007 and Brit Jonathan Marray was half of the 2012 winning mens doubles team (for the first time since 1936; his partner was Danish Frederik Nielsen), but the biggest heartbreaker was the men's title, which until 2013 had not been won by a Brit (Fred Perry, as in the polo shirts) since before World War II.
- Only one British player (Andy Murray) actually got past the second round in 2009.
- And in 2010 he was the only one to get past the first round.
- 2012 marked the first time a British player (Andy Murray) has reached the Wimbledon men's singles final in 74 years.
- Murray won the Olympic Games tournament in 2012, held at Wimbledon, although this isn't counted as a Slam (aside from the fact that it's only every four years and restricted by normal Olympic selection rules, it's only over five sets in the final — Slams are five sets throughout). Later that year, he won his first Slam.
- And finally, after a 77-year wait, in the 2013 tournament Andy Murray triumphed in the Men's Singles final to produce a home-grown, British champion.
- In 2016 he won again, proving it wasn't just a fluke.
- Strawberries and cream: Not much explanation here. It's just a very delicious and traditional thing to eat at Wimbledon. And sold at ridiculously high prices as a result.
- All-White Dress Code: The club itself has an "all-white" dress code, which extends to the Championships themselves. This is in contrast to the other Grand Slams, which have few, if any clothing restrictions at all. The all-white dress creates problems for TV viewers trying to differentiate between players. For instance, 2009's final was "the guy in the baseball cap" (Andy Roddick) versus "the guy in the sweat band" (Roger Federer).
- The all-white code was suspended for pretty much the first time ever for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, for which the tennis tournament was held at Wimbledon (after all, where else in London would you have it?). The idea of this was that forcing the players to give up on the usual national-colours outfits for the Olympics was beyond stupid.
- Rain: One of the most enduring images of Wimbledon are the grounds crew running across the court with a tarpaulin as there's yet another rain shower.
- Occasionally, there's enough rain showers to delay the tournament until the third Friday. This results in "People's Friday", where tickets are available first-come-first served.
- Centre Court now has a retractable roof, first used in 2009. Ironically that year there was no rain at all except for a 15-minute shower on the second Monday.
- Streakers: Though security in tennis tournaments around the world was stepped up after the horrific on-court stabbing of Monica Seles in 1993, somehow these adventurous and nude young people find their way on the court every few years.
- John "You cannot be serious!" McEnroe: A very famous American tennis player, now retired, who does regular commentary. He's actually a trope of his own (he was a bad boy in his playing days) and has played himself on TV a few times, such as in CSI: New York, where he did the variation on his oft-parodied line.
- Sue Barker is the host of the BBC coverage.
- BBC TV Coverage Problems: Wimbledon is just about the biggest thing going on in England during those two weeks, leading to quite a number of programs being pre-empted for unpredictable TV coverage.
- BBC2 always managing to show a doubles match where the final set goes to a ridiculous number of games due to there being no tie-break.
- This happened in 2010 with a mens' singles match between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. The match went to 2 sets each on the first day, before play was suspended due to poor light. The final set started the next day at around 14:00 and ran until play was suspended again due to it going dark at around 21:20. The match finally ended with John Isner winning the final set 70–68, around an hour into the third day's play. The match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes, with the final set running longer than any other professional match ever played, at 8 hours and 11 minutes. To cap it all, there was not only just one break of serve in all those five sets — the penultimate game, with the match being subsequently served out — but neither player faced so much as a break point before that.
- CBBC being shunted to BBC2 for the duration. (Now a Dead Horse Trope as CBBC has been taken off the main channels altogether.)
- Expect temper tantrums and tv sets being thrown out the window, especially back in the days of The Simpsons being broadcast on BBC2 and then cancelled because of an ongoing match.
- If an exciting match goes on long enough, other programmes will be moved to the BBC.
- Decreasingly relevant in these days of digital-only Red Button Interactive functionality. Though the main 'terrestrial' channels are still used for quarters and up.
- The attempted rebrand of the highlights show in 2015, christened Wimbledon 2day, was not very well received (not least because it didn't feature much in the way of actual tennis) and underwent a very hasty Re Tool for the second week. This made the second series of W 1 A, broadcast earlier in 2015 and featuring an incompetent PR agency attempting to revamp the BBC's Wimbledon coverage, Hilarious in Hindsight.
- Middle Sunday: The first Sunday is a rest day with no matches scheduled except in extreme circumstances (see the above Rain point for more info)
- US TV coverage
- NBC owned US broadcast rights to Wimbledon for at least 20 years, complete with their awesome synthesizer theme music straight out of 1977. Wall-to-wall coverage ran in daytime during the later stages of the tournament (including Sundays, so no Meet the Press), with a 20-minute recap starting at 11:30 PM after the late local news; when The Tonight Show started, it was often a a rerun. Really surprising they did this 2 months into Conan's tenure, but they did. ESPN2 has also offered supplementary coverage.
- But even more annoying, when NBC did weekday daytime coverage, it would, much like the Olympics, always get tape delayed for the west coast (except for major matches like the finals, which always went out live). Even worse however, was that NBC also asserted exclusive rights while they were on the air, meaning that ESPN2 had to be blacked out on the west coast for the duration, even if they were showing a different game.
- Daily cable rights belonged to HBO until 1999, giving the tournament a higher cachet than most sporting events because of it being on a premium cable service. It moved over to sister channel TNT in 2000, then over to ESPN currently (mainly on ESPN 2).
- Unexpectedly, NBC lost the full American rights to Wimbledon for 2012 and beyond to ESPN, who is promising live coverage of every game, on every coast for once, and leaving the tournament without live coverage on broadcast television for the first time in America ... ever (ABC still airs taped weekend coverage). Of course, NBC will still get to show tennis at the club through the Olympics, due to the 2012 edition being held in London. And many tennis fans already complain about being shunted on the Worldwide Leader to the status of mere filler rather than the network's sole focus like NBC's coverage is (even worse in 2014 when it was buried beneath The World Cup, baseball and the chaos that was that year's NBA free agency derby).
- For those who want to watch the BBC coverage and announcers mixed in with incredible analysis (including the awesome Mary Carillo), you have to wait for a tape-delay replay in primetime on the Tennis Channel.
Stuff that appears here, but is common to all the Grand Slams:
- Rather revealing tennis dresses, with much media commentary on the matter. Though Wimbledon will stop you if you go too Stripperiffic, unlike the US Open (where Serena wore her infamous "catsuit"◊) or the Australian Open.
- 2008 saw Maria Sharapova's shorts and waistcoat combo, which got a lot of commentary from the pundits. She went in the third round to another player who stated she didn't like it.
- Female players grunting, with much media commentary on the matter.
- Equal prize money for men and women — Wimbledon was the last of the Slams to do this.
- Although now there is a small amount of grumbling that the men are underpaid for their efforts due to their matches being played to the best of five sets as opposed to the women who play best of three.
Fiction involving Wimbledon:
- Wimbledon. A romantic movie about two tennis players. A possible fantasy, since the British male protagonist wins.note
- An episode of The Professionals
- The Monty Python's Flying Circus episode involving alien blancmanges turning people into Scotsmen, so they could win Wimbledon. When Scotsman Andy Murray won in 2013 the Internet lit up with "Andy Murray Defeats the blancmanges for all time" memes.
- The London arc of Detective Conan comes to revolve around the Women's Finals: One of the players, Minerva Glass, is a friend of Conan/Shinichi... and her mother has been kidnapped. For worse, her kidnapper is a Mad Bomber aka the Big Bad of the arc itself...
- Snoopy takes a break during the Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown movie to play a set at Wimbledon. He proceeds to throw a fit worthy of McEnroe himself.