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A beginner's guide to Wimbledon

By Elizabeth Darke

Wimbledon isn’t all strawberries, grass and grunting athletes, y'know. Check out our handy guide to everything you’ll see in SW19 over the next two weeks...

Fancy dress

The Championships uphold many decorous traditions – all-white clothing on court, or bowing to the Royal Box, for example – but in recent years the dress code for fans at Wimbledon has gone a bit freestyle. Tennis-ball bikinis, Agassi mullets and Union Jack clobber have now become normal attire on Henman Hill. Turn up to the tournament in anything more than short shorts and a John McEnroe headband and you’ll be deemed an overdressed, uptight ponce.


We’re not talking the cast of ‘Made in Chelsea’ or K-listers from ‘Strictly’ (this isn’t the opening of a new Tiger Tiger) – Wimbledon brings in sheer sleb aristocracy. Posh and Becks, One Direction, K-Middy and sis P-Middy have all graced the dark-green seats over the past few years, and back in 2013, watching Bradley Cooper and Gerard Butler’s bromance blossom on Centre Court was almost more captivating than Andy Murray battling through to take the Men’s Singles title.

Rain, obvs

It’s early July, weeks of sunshine have been forecast, and someone’s gone and planned an outdoors-based event. Idiots. Disrupting play since time began, rain at Wimby is as much of a tradition as strawberries, champagne and Roger Federer being a smug bastard. Much to the bemusement of the players, bad weather has previously forced the tournament into a third week, and much to the irritation of crowds, bad weather has forced them to endure an impromptu Cliff Richards gig. Nice one, Mother Nature.

Mrs Murray mouthing off

She might have the hair of a princess, but good Lord, Murray’s missus Kim has the language of a sailor who’s had one too many glasses of grog. At this year’s Australian Open, Kim was caught on camera appearing to shout the F-word at Andy’s opponent Tomáš Berdych during their semi-final match. Seriously, love, you’d better clean up your act in time for next week or a disgusted Sue Barker will have you washing your mouth out with soap.

Ball skills

Amidst all the pomp and the Pimm’s pitchers, it’s easy to forget that Wimbledon is still about exceptional ball expertise. Sure, the handshaking, the clean white kit and the friendly warm-ups suggest a civilised game, but with forehands averaging at a ferocious 75 mph and serves peaking at a brutal 148 mph on the men’s tour, tennis ain’t no sport for gentlemen, it’s for total savages. 

Want more? Check out our guide to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2015.

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