The Championships, Wimbledon

The Championships, Wimbledon, usually known simply as Wimbledon, is the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. The tournament takes place over two weeks in early July, and sees up to 40,000 spectators per day descend on the grounds of the famous All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.

The Spiritual Home of Tennis

Widely considered to be the spiritual home of tennis, the All England Club has played host to the annual tournament since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam events in tennis, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Wimbledon is the last major which is still played on a grass court.

Five major, junior, and invitational events are held each year. The event culminates with the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals, which are scheduled for the second weekend of July.

Match Formats

Gentlemen’s Singles and Gentlemen’s Doubles matches are played over best-of-five sets, with all other events being best-of-three sets. A tiebreak game will be played if the score reaches 6–6 in any set other than the fifth (in a five-set match) or the third (in a three-set match), in which case a two-game lead must be achieved to secure victory.

This requirement frequently leads to epic encounters. In 2010, the USA’s John Isner met France’s Nicolas Mahut in the first round of the tournament. Little did they realize the match would go down in history as the longest professional tennis match ever played, at any level. Such was their determination to make it through to the next round that it took a total of 183 games, 11 hours and 5 minutes to separate them.

Wimbledon Longest Match

A plaque commemorates the longest tennis match ever played at Wimbledon in 2010 between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.

Legendary Moments

The most famous long match played at Wimbledon was undoubtedly the 1980 men’s singles final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe. The fierce rivals battled it out over five sets, for four grueling hours. The match went through several dramatic twists and turns, including a 22-minute tie breaker for the fourth set. Borg eventually took the match after a nail-biting final set, winning 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6. The 1980 final was one of the most gripping contests Wimbledon’s center court has witnessed, and is frequently voted among the greatest sporting moments of all time.

Wimbledon Traditions

Wimbledon maintains many traditions which hark back to the earliest days of the tournament. These include a strict dress code for competitors and officials. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event in which players are still required to wear predominantly white attire. This was once common throughout the tennis world, as white clothing was seen as a symbol of wealth. However the tradition fell away at other tournaments over the years, as sponsorship moved in and sportswear became increasingly colorful. The tournament is also one of the few which does not allow any sponsor advertising around the courts.

The center court frequently hosts members of the British and other royal families, heads of state and visiting dignitaries in the famous royal box. Etiquette requires that male players bow and female players curtsy to the royal box upon entering and leaving the court, especially when the Queen and Prince Philip are present.

Wimbledon - Duke & Duchess

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take in the center court action from the famous Royal Box.

During the Victorian era, strawberries were considered a highly fashionable thing to eat. As they were in season when Wimbledon was taking place (at the start of British summer time), strawberries and cream were quickly established as the snack of choice for crowds at the tournament. The tradition has persisted and remains popular to this day, with upwards of 28,000kg of strawberries and 10,000 liters of fresh cream consumed each year.

Another, perhaps more unwelcome, tradition at Wimbledon over the years has been the frequent downpours of rain which halt play. In 2009, steps were taken to reduce delays due to bad weather, with the installation of a retractable roof on center court.

The World’s Most Famous Tennis Club

The All England Club is home to 18 tournament grass courts, eight American clay courts, two acrylic courts and five indoor courts. 22 additional grass courts serve as practice areas for competitors before and during The Championships. The club also houses the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which celebrates the sport and features rolling exhibits of historical memorabilia.

A Tournament Like No Other

Wimbledon is now watched by a television audience of around one billion people worldwide each year. A total of 494,000 spectators attended the 2016 tournament over the 14 days, making it the most attended sporting event in the United Kingdom. This year, Scotland’s Andy Murray seeks to defend his title in the men’s singles event. Reigning women’s champion Serena Williams has announced she will not be taking part, as she is expecting her first child. Whoever comes out on top, visitors are guaranteed a thrilling feast of tennis at the world’s most iconic tournament.

Andy Murray at Wimbledon

Scotland’s Andy Murray returns to Wimbledon as the defending Men’s Singles champion.


The Championships, Wimbledon, takes place from Monday, July 3 until Sunday, July 16 at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London. For all the latest news surrounding the build-up to the event, please visit the official website.

Flying to London

In terms of passenger traffic, London has one of the largest city airport systems in the world. Multiple airports are available for General Aviation (GA) flights. The top three airports catering to General Aviation (GA) are as follows:

London Stansted Airport (IATA: STN, ICAO: EGSS) is located in Essex, 73km northeast of Wimbledon. EGSS is the 4th busiest airport in the UK, and also one of the most flexible. The airport caters to GA with full ground handling services, and VIP passenger and crew lounges. Stansted functions as an Airport of Entry (AOE), with customs and immigration available on-site 24/7. Although the airport is open 24 hours, prior notice may be required for FBO and ground handling services. Operations are available 24 hours upon request. Slot booking is required at EGSS, however parking permits and Prior Permission Required (PPR) are not necessary. Parking can be provided for all aircraft on the FBO’s private ramp. Operators should confirm ramp parking, PPR and slots at the earliest opportunity. Long-term parking is available, and helicopter transfers can also be arranged (subject to availability).

London Luton Airport (IATA: LTN, ICAO: EGGW)
 is a major international airport located 3km East of Luton, Bedfordshire, and 66km north of Wimbledon. It is the 4th largest airport in London, and in 2016 was ranked as the 5th busiest airport in the UK, serving over 14.6 million passengers. EGGW is an AOE airport, with customs and immigration available 24 hours a day. Parking permits and PPR are not required, however slot booking is mandatory. EGGW offers full ground handling services along with ample parking space (including long stand parking). Hence, EGGW and EGSS are generally the favored options for international operators flying into London. Other airports such as EGLC and EGTK offer limited parking space, and at a much higher cost.

London City Airport (IATA: LCY, ICAO: EGLC)
 is another major international airport, located in Royal Docks (London Borough of Newham). The airport is less than 25km east of Wimbledon. EGLC caters to GA and can be used as an AOE, with customs and immigration on-site. Security screening is mandatory only for aircraft that are not privately owned, and are over 10 tons. Airfield operating hours at EGLC are Monday to Friday from 06:30 to 22:00 local time, Saturdays from 06:30 to 12:30 and Sundays from 12:30 to 21:45. Slot booking is required, whilst PPR and aircraft permits are not. London City airport is fully equipped for all ground handling services, and has no restrictions on long-term aircraft parking. The on-site FBO also offers VIP and crew lounges. Operators should submit their requests for handling arrangements as soon as their flight details have been confirmed.

Landing Permits

Private operators do not require a landing permit for flying into the UK. Landing permits are mandatory only for non-European (EU) registered charter flights landing in the UK, to either offload or board passengers. Permits are not required for technical landings with no in/out pax/cargo movements, or charter flights for re-positioning with no passengers on board.

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