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For many inside and outside the game, Wimbledon simply is tennis. The oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon – also known simply as The Championships – has been held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) in south-west London since 1877.

Of the four Grand Slams, Wimbledon is the only one still played on grass courts since the Australian Open shifted to hard courts in 1988.

The Championships take place over two weeks in early July each summer and its retention of traditional elements from tennis’s polite, amateur past make the event iconic. These traditions include a strict dress code for the competitors, who all wear white; Royal patronage; no play on the middle Sunday of the event; the absence of sponsor advertising around the courts; and the conspicuous consumption of strawberries and cream.

That doesn’t mean Wimbledon hasn’t evolved with the times, however. Prize money was first offered to competitors in 1968, the first year that professional players were allowed to compete in The Championships, and men and women have been paid equal prize money since 2007. With the unpredictable British summer often leading to rain, a retractable roof was installed over Centre Court and has been in operation since 2009, with No. 1 Court also to be roofed. The All-England Club also features the Aorangi Terrace, a large outdoor area where fans watch matches on a giant screen, popularly known as ‘Henman Hill’ after British player Tim Henman. It is also known as ‘Murray Mound’ in recent years after Andy Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win Wimbledon in 2013, capturing the title for a second time in 2016 to rapturous acclaim. Virginia Wade was the last British women to win Wimbledon in 1977.

Wimbledon is broadcast by the BBC on every day of The Championships and attracts huge television audiences around the world. New legends are added to the myth of Wimbledon every year, such as the 183-game match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut on Court 18 in 2010, which Isner won 70-68 in the fifth set; and the iconic 2008 men’s final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, widely regarded as the greatest match of all time.

Pete Sampras and Roger Federer jointly hold the record for most men’s titles at Wimbledon in the Open Era with seven each, while Federer (2003-7) and Bjorn Borg (1976-80) are tied for the most consecutive singles titles. Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have also claimed the Wimbledon title twice, making it one of the fiercest battlegrounds for modern tennis's titanic quartet.

On the women’s side, Martina Navratilova holds the Open Era record with nine Wimbledon titles and also holds the record for most consecutive women’s titles, winning six between 1982 and 1987. Among active players, Serena Williams leads with seven titles between 2002 and 2016, while Venus Williams won five times and Maria Sharapova (2004) and Petra Kvitova (2011 and 2014) are also active champions. 

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