The C&TH Guide to Wimbledon
The History Of Wimbledon
When the first ever Wimbledon Championships took place on 9 June 1877, things looked a little different. Played at Worple Road in Wimbledon, they were advertised as a ‘lawn tennis meeting, open to all amateurs’ – and women were not allowed take part. Competitors were asked to bring their own racquets while the club’s gardener provided the balls, and the final was watched by a crowd of just 200 people. In 1884, the All England Club agreed to open the Championships up to both sexes, and The Ladies Singles was added to the programme. By the 1900s, the Championships had become an international affair – and since then, it has grown to become one of the most prestigious events on the summer sporting calendar.
Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, alongside the Australian Open, the French Open, and the US open. As well as having a different name to the others, the Wimbledon tournament stands apart as it’s played on grass, while the others are played on hard court surfaces or red clay.
Each year, both the men’s and the women’s single competitions are made up of 128 players. They enter a series of single elimination knockout matches, until just two remain in the final. Alongside this, there’s the doubles and mixed doubles, a wheelchair category and boys’ and girls’ tournaments.
Who Are The Favourites To Win In 2023?
This year, all eyes will be on reining men’s champion Novak Djokovic, who will defend the men’s single crown, which he bagged in both 2021 and 2022. Djokovic is the bookies’ favourite again in 2023, having already bagged the Australian Open title in January and the French Open title (Roland-Garros) in June, leaping back to #1 ranking on the ATP Tour. Other favourites on the men’s side include: Spanish youngster Carlos Alcaraz, who is ranked #2 aged on 20; Russian player and former world #1, Daniil Medvedev; Italian player Jannik Sinner; fiery Australian player Nick Kyrgios; and American player Taylor Fritz.
British eyes, however, will be on our top ranked player, Cameron Norrie, who reached the Wimbledon semi-final in 2022, where he lost to the eventual winner, Djokovic. Plus, look out for Brits Daniel Evans, Liam Broady and, of course, Andy Murray. Sadly one of the hottest Brits to watch, Jack Draper, recently withdrew from the competition due to injury. But he tells C&TH: ‘I think the men’s will be between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.
‘For the women’s, I wouldn’t say there is a clear favourite,’ says Jack, ‘but Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Świątek look to be playing well.’ Reining champion Elena Rybakina is the bookies’ favourite, having become the first Kazakhstani player to win a title at a major tournament with her win at Wimbledon last year. But with Rybakina ranked world #3, tennis fans can expect fierce competition from Polish player Iga Świątek, as Jack suggests, who is currently ranked #1 in the world, as well as Belarusian player Aryna Sabalenka, Tunisian player Ons Jabeur, and Czech player Karolina Muchova. Sadly, British favourite Emma Radacanu is recovering from hand and ankle surgery, meaning she is not playing in the summer season. If you want to cheer on some home-grown talent, keep your eye on Katie Boulter (our new British women’s number one), Heather Watson, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan.
When Is Wimbledon 2023?
The 2023 Wimbledon Championships will take place from 3–16 July 2023.
Food & Drink at Wimbledon
There are plenty of options for dining and drinking, from high-end restaurants to picnics. Reservations are now open for the Wingfield Restaurant, a sit-down dining experience with views across the Tea Lawn. Here you’ll enjoy seasonal British produce, with dishes this year including gin cured Loch Duart salmon, vegan celeriac fondant and seared fillet of stone bass. The Wingfield Café, meanwhile, serves a selection of cakes, pastries, salads and sandwiches. There’s also the Centenary Brasserie, which first appeared in 2022, serving brunch and light lunch options, or seafood lovers should head to the Centenary Seafood Bar situated on the top floor of the Centenary Garden with views across the Southern Courts, and serving up the likes of salmon, crab, crevettes and caviar.
Alternatively, pre-order one of the picnic hampers on offer – there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, plus an afternoon tea picnic complete with finger sandwiches and scones. And, of course, you’ll never be far from a stall serving strawberries and cream. In terms of drinks, expect lots of Pimm’s, Lanson and Sipsmith – all official drinks partners. You’re also allowed to bring your own food and drink – though hard-sided containers, vacuum flasks over 500ml and items like picnic hampers and cool boxes aren’t permitted. In terms of alcohol, each person can bring the equivalent of one bottle of wine or champagne, two cans of beer, or two premixed aperitifs. Spirits and fortified wines aren’t allowed.
New For 2023
As the All England Club works on new ways to improve sustainability at its events, Wimbledon and evian, Official Water of The Championships has announced the first ever on-court refillable water system. The system will see players provided with a reusable bottle that can be refilled with evian mineral water on-court and at areas on practice courts, dressing rooms and restaurants. Sally Bolton, Chief Executive at the All England Club, said: “Wimbledon remains firmly committed to becoming Environment Positive by 2030. We continue to make improvements year-on-year to reach this ambition. Throughout, we have been working together with evian to evolve and move towards delivering evian water in the most sustainable way. We are excited about this next step in our journey together.”
How To Get Tickets
Ballot tickets are all sold out for 2023, but on the day sales via the Queue is always an option, with up to 500 premium seats available for each show court. If you’d like to ballot for 2024 tickets, it’s worth getting ahead of the game: entry opens in September.
For more information and to sign up to ballot for 2024 tickets, visit wimbledon.com