Also known as ‘The Championships’, Wimbledon is arguably the most prestigious tennis event in the world and has been held in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. Unlike most professional tennis competitions, it is held on grass courts.
This year the two-week event starts on the 22nd June and is one of the only sporting tournaments to enforce a strict dress code on players. In the past, convention had dictated that white was the order of the fortnight and it was strictly enforced, however there are some hints of colour (notably in stripes) creeping back into the kits. When current champion Rafael Nadal first played the competition in 2005 he was famous for tight fitting colourful tops, but Wimbledon regulators suggested that he switch to white equivalents instead. Players’ clothing designs have to be submitted months in advance to get officials’ approval.
Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for spectators (they need not wear all white) it is generally acknowledged that Wimbledon is an ‘occasion’ and should be treated like such and so smarter dress is worn. This said, it is the beginning of summer and so one can see a lot of loose-fitting materials, cottons and linen being sported in the stands.
For first-timers, it is important to know that you cannot leave or take your seats whilst a game is in play (a game consists of anything from five to seven). Wardens control the spectator entrances and exits and sometimes you can wait anything up to fifteen minutes before the game is completed.
This year, we find a Briton in the top 8 tennis player rankings (Andy Murray), to which we offer him our congratulations, however, despite this rare glimmer if British sporting success, we would suggest that spectators do not make a song and dance about this: flag waving and nice cheering (not during actual, play, mind you) is preferred – there’s no need to go overboard.
An umbrella, although cumbersome, is always a smart move as it wouldn’t be Wimbledon without rain.
If you are in a tennis apparel quandary and would like advice or help, please contact us through our website. (www.theenglishmanner.com)
Tutor, The English Manner