Known as The Championships, the Wimbledon Championships, or simply Wimbledon, it is one of the four Grand Slams of tennis season, alongside the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the U.S. Open. Of the four, there is no doubt that Wimbledon is the most prestigious, not only because it’s the oldest but because it is the most difficult of all. The grass of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club gives the game a speed that cannot be equaled on the clay of Paris or the fast surfaces of Melbourne or New York.
The first championship was held in 1877, and since then it has enjoyed unparalleled prestige in the world of sport. Everyone who has gone to Wimbledon agrees that the resort’s atmosphere is incomparable, an environment in which the true tradition of tennis thrives. This tradition has been carried to the grass, where both male and female players are required to wear pristine white clothing throughout the tournament. One thing that has changed in recent years is the main court, Centre Court, which due to the unpredictable British summer weather has undergone a metamorphosis with the addition of a retractable roof that can close completely in 8-10 minutes. This allows the game to continue even if it is raining, a problem that the tournament has experienced since its inception.
There are three male players in history that have dominated Wimbledon. With 7 titles each, William Renshaw (Britain), Pete Sampras (United States) and Roger Federer (Switzerland) have been the reigned on the grass in their respective decades. Renshaw won six consecutive tournaments between 1861 and 1886, adding one more in 1889; Sampras dominated the 1990s while Roger Federer, who many consider the most complete player of all time, took over from Sampras, with five straight wins from 2003 to 2007 and then again in 2009 and 2012. Among the women, there’s only one queen: Czech-born American Martina Navratilova, who with nine trophies between 1978 and 1990 ruled the SW19.
This year, the competition will once again be fierce. Last year there were two early winners; Andy Murray delighted the British public while France´s Marion Bartoli doing the same, although he retired from professional tennis only a few months later. The speed of the ball makes the game unpredictable, and many big names lose out along the way to lesser-known players. Among the new players to watch this year we have Jerzy Janowicz in the men’s tournament and Sabine Lisicki in the women’s, both of whom surprisingly reached the semifinal and final matches in 2013.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych are the favorites in the men´s tournament, while Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka are favorites in the women´s tournament. But as we have already mentioned, surprise upsets are the order of the day at Wimbledon, so part of its charm is finding out who will surprise us this year.