London – Wimbledon Tennis Tournament – One of the Oldest Sports

The Championships, Wimbledon

*Taken from Wikipedia

Held in Wimbledon every year in the months of June and July, the Wimbledon championships is the world’s oldest and arguably the most prestigious tennis championship. This year’s competition kicks off on the 25th of June and lasts till the 8th of July 2012, with £16.1m (US$25.1m) of prize money up for grabs.
Wimbledon, one of the districts of south-western London, has become a name synonymous with tennis. Having been around for more than 130 years, the Championships at Wimbledon plays a culturally and historically significant role in the history of sporting tennis.  In addition, it also happens to be the only grand slam event still played on grass, true to the origins of lawn tennis which was considered a leisure game at garden parties.
History & Heritage

*Taken from Wikipedia

Tennis was officially invented and patented by in 1873 by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield to entertain the guests at a garden party in his estate. The popularity of the game grew quickly in the UK, and the first Wimbledon championship was organized by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1877, with only 22 contenders and 200 spectators.
The development of this party game into a proper competition played a pivotal role in tennis as a professional sport, as it had forced tennis players and sporting authorities to play by a fixed set of rules. A few other notable traits of The Championships at Wimbledon were that up till 1968, only amateurs were allowed to complete for the title, the definition of an amateur being “any person who plays it during his spare time”. The sport was also only to be played on grass, and competitors had to only wear white. Up till today, most of the rules remain unchanged.

As the popularity of the sport continued to swell, attendance grew into the thousands, and saw more international players competing for the title. In a short span of about 30 years, the Wimbledon championships quickly gained international popularity with the first non-British players winning the women’s and men’s title in 1905 and 1907 respectively. Since then, only a handful of British players have won the title since.
Legends of Wimbledon

Fred Perry – Winning three consecutive Wimbledon championships and holding the title of World No. 1 for 4 years, Fred Perry was the last Englishman to ever win the championship title. Perry was known for being brutally fit on the tennis lawns – in the earlier half of his career, the man trained with the Arsenal football team to prepare for his competitions, but never had any proper tennis coaching! He also had this eccentric and sometimes hilarious habit of uttering, “very clevah,” each time his opponents hit a skilful shot against him. Very clevah indeed!

*Taken from Wikipedia

Björn Borg – Despite his relatively brief career as a professional tennis player, Borg won the Wimbledon championships for 5 consecutive years from 1976 to 1980, a record matched only by Roger Federer in recent years. Borg was also well known for his determination and calm under immense stress that helped him snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. One of his most famous victories was the 1980 Wimbledon finals against McEnroe, lasting nearly 4 hours and 5 sets. This earned him the nickname “Ice-man” or “Ice-Borg”.

*Taken from Wikipedia

John McEnroe – Also another former world number one, McEnroe won the Wimbledon title three times and was notorious for his fiercely confrontational behaviour on the court. His temper got him into a fair bit of trouble with the umpires, and led the All England Club to deprive him of an honorary membership until he won the championship a second time, a privilege that would otherwise be granted to all first-time winners of the Wimbledon title.

*Taken from Wikipedia

Martina Navratilova – Possibly one of the best tennis players the world has ever seen, Navratilova won 20 Wimbledon titles throughout her career, including the Wimbledon women’s singles for 9 straight years from1982 to 1990! But perhaps what most tennis history books would agree on in terms of her greatness was not skill, but her humility. Navratilova had humble beginnings as a Czech refugee in the US, and throughout her career, championed rights for animals, underprivileged children, homosexuals and democracy.
Wimbledon 2012: Players to Watch
With the championships just a week away, here are some players you definitely should keep an eye on.
Novak Djokovic – Alongside Federer and Nadal, Forbes magazine calls the three men put together “the golden age of tennis”. The current world no. 1, Djokovic won 5 Masters titles in 2011 alone and is well on his way into the history books of tennis. As last year’s Wimbledon men’s singles champion last year, Djokovic is considered one of the tournament’s favourites to win the title. Will he be able to defend his title?
Rafael Nadal – One of the hot favourites this year, Nadal is said to be one of the best tennis players in the world right now. However, 2012 has seen him perform better on clay courts than grass. It’s expected that Nadal will meet Djokovic in the finals, making the final a mouth-watering one to watch.
Petra Kvitová – At 22 years old, she’s the first grand slam event winner born in the 1990s and is currently ranked world no. 4. Despite being the winner of 2011’s Wimbledon women’s single, Kvitová has been stopped by Maria Sharapova twice this year from advancing any further during the French and Australian open.
Victoria Azarenka – 2012 has been a good year for Azarenka, having comfortably won most of her matches she played in Sydney, Doha and Indian Wells. Apart from her defeat in the 4th round of the French Open, the former world no. 1 is set to be one of the most exciting contenders to watch for Wimbledon 2012.
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