storia del torneo di wimbledon tennis

Wimbledon, history and origin of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world

Credits: Georgio

The Wimbledon tournamentknown as The Championshipsis the tennis tournament that has been played since 1877 on grass courts atAll England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club of London. It is one of the four tournaments of the Grand Slam and, although it has undergone numerous changes over the years, it has always been one of the most important and followed events of the tennis season. Even from the point of view of prize money, it is the tournament that guarantees the highest income to the participants. Wimbledon has never been lucky for the Italian tennis playerswho have reached the final only once in men’s singles and have never gone beyond the quarterfinals in women’s singles. The presence of a champion like Sinnerhowever, could change the situation.

What is Wimbledon tournament

The Wimbledon tournament, officially called The Championshipsis one of the four Grand Slam tournaments along with the Australian Open, the Roland Garros and the US Open. It is the only Slam that is played on grass fields and is considered the most prestigious. The dress code of the tournament is particular and only wants white colored clothes.

The tournament logo
The tournament logo

The tournament is played on horseback between June and July (six weeks before the first Monday in August) at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, located in Wimbledon, a suburb of London. It lasts two weeks and each edition features five events: men’s and women’s singles; men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. The men’s singles matches are played at the best of five sets (to win you have to conquer three), all the others at best of three sets (to win you need to win two). All tournaments are direct elimination. In addition to the main events, junior and Paralympic tournaments are planned.

Where is the tournament venue located?

The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club has 18 fields for the competitions and another field reserved for training. The central field (Centre Court), where the finals and the most important matches of the tournament are played, can accommodate approximately 15,000 spectators and since 2009 has been equipped with a retractable roof to allow playing even in case of rain (a frequent event at Wimbledon). The center court and the number one court are used only for The Championships. The other courts also host other tennis events.

The Wimbledon courts seen from above (credits Cmglee)
The Wimbledon courts seen from above (credits: Cmglee)

When and how the Wimbledon tournament was born

The origins of the Wimbledon tournament are connected to the the very birth of tenniswhich developed in England in the second half of the nineteenth century as an evolution of the ballgamea game that has existed since the modern age. Tennis spread among the upper classes, including the members of the All England Croquet Club, a club founded in 1868 by gentlemen who were passionate about the game. game of croquet (which consists of hitting a ball with a bat and directing it towards a goal following a specific path).

In 1877 the club decided to add the words lawn tennis to its name and to organize a tennis tournament. As there were no universally accepted rules yet, it was necessary to define them: Wimbledon therefore gave a contribution to the foundation of modern tennisalthough the rules of the first editions were different, in some points, from the current ones.

The first edition, which only included the men’s singles, was attended by 22 playersamong which Spencer Gore was the winner. In 1879 the men’s doubles were added (which in the early years were played at a different venue) and in 1884 the women’s singles. The last two events, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, were added to the program in 1913.

The Renshaw brothers dominated the tournament in the 1880s
The Renshaw brothers, dominators of the tournament in the 1880s

How it has evolved to date

Until 1921 the tournament used the system of challenge round: the reigning champion played the final against the winner of the following edition. In 1922 the system was abolished and the knockout mechanism was introduced. In the same year, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club equipped itself with a new circuit of fieldsstill used today. In the 1930s, when the concept of the Grand Slam was born, Wimbledon immediately became part of it.

Until 1968, the tournament, like the other Slams, was open to only “amateur” tennis players (professionals competed in separate competitions). In 1969, thewas openin which the distinction between amateurs and professionals was overcome, at Wimbledon as in all other tournaments. Since then The Championships has gained ever greater popularity and is today the most followed tennis event of the season. In 2024 it reached its 137th edition. In fact, it has been played every year since 1877, with the exception of the periods 1915-1918 and 1940-1945 due to the two world wars and 2020 due to the pandemic.

A match on the central field
A match on the center court

How Much You Earn at Wimbledon: Prize Money and Ranking Points

THE cash prizes were introduced in the 1969In 2023, the total prize pool reached £44,700,000 (approximately €52 million), of which 2,350,000 awarded to each of the two winners of singles (men’s and women’s). All participants, even those eliminated in the first round, receive cash prizes. In 2024, the prize pool has further increased, reaching £50 million (over 58 million euros), a record amount for a tennis tournament. The tournament is also important for the ATP rankings (men’s) and WTA (women’s): like the other Slams, it guarantees the winners of the singles 2000 points and the finalists 1200.

Who holds the record for most wins at Wimbledon?

In the men’s singles, the most successful tennis player is the Swiss Roger Federerwho won Wimbledon 8 times between 2003 and 2017. Behind him, with 7 victories, are three tennis players: the Englishman William Renshaw between 1881 and 1888 (when the challenge round still existed), the American Pete Sampras between 1993 and 2000 and the Serbian Novak Djokovic between 2011 and 2022.

Federer at Wimbledon
Federer at Wimbledon

Among women, however, the most victorious tennis player is Martina Navratilovaa Czechoslovakian naturalized American, who won the tournament 9 times between 1978 and 1990. Behind her was the American Helen Wills Moody, with 8 successes between 1927 and 1938.

The results of the Italians

The Peninsula tennis players have never achieved particularly prestigious results at Wimbledon. In the men’s field, only one Italian has reached the final: Matteo Berrettini in 2021defeated by Djokovic. Before him, the best results had been the semifinals reached by Umberto De Morpurgo in 1928 and by Nicola Pietrangeli in 1960.

Among the women, five Italian tennis players have reached the quarterfinals; none have ever gone beyond them. In the women’s field, however, the only Italian success has come, the one achieved in doubles in 2014 by Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.