Also known as 'The Championships', Wimbledon is arguably the most prestigious tennis event in the world and has been held in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. Unlike most professional tennis competitions, it is held on grass courts.
Wimbledon is one of the only sporting tournaments to enforce a strict dress code on players. In the past, convention had dictated that white was the order of the fortnight and it was strictly enforced, however there are some hints of colour (notably in stripes) creeping back into the kits. When former champion Rafael Nadal first played in the competition in 2005 he was famous for tight fitting colourful tops, but Wimbledon regulators suggested that he switch to white equivalents instead. Players' clothing designs have to be submitted months in advance to get officials' approval.
Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for spectators (unlike the players, they need not wear all white) it is generally acknowledged that Wimbledon is an 'occasion' and should be treated like such and so smarter dress is worn. This said, it is the beginning of summer and so one can see a lot of loose-fitting materials, cottons and linen being sported in the stands. Gentlemen could wear their panama hats with navy blazers (although it is considered gauche to wear ones with crests or logos on the breast pocket).
An umbrella, although cumbersome, is always a smart move as it wouldn't be Wimbledon without rain.
For first-timers, it is important to know that you cannot leave or take your seats whilst a game is in play. Wardens control the spectator entrances and exits and sometimes you can wait anything up to 15 minutes before the game is completed.
Similarly, mobile phones should be switched off before taking your seats - it is amazing how many people's telephone go off mid-match. Most tiresome for players and spectators. Silence - both electronic and verbal - is asked for during play.
Andy Murray is once again competing, however, despite this rare glimmer of British sporting success, we would suggest that spectators do not make a song and dance about this: flag waving and nice cheering (not during actual play, mind you) is preferred - there's no need to go over board.
If (when) Murray loses, one should remember to be 'gracious in defeat' (even though it was not you who actually lost): congratulate the victor and do not sulk churlishly or lash out... as some England football fans were seen to be doing after Sunday evening's sporting flop.
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