The Championships

By Jane Voigt

June 22, 2014 — Wimbledon should be the very first major of the year. 

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It is the oldest, having started in 1877. The players want to win this slam more than the others because it is the oldest and clings mightily to tradition. Novak Djokovic, this year’s No. 1 seed, told BBC Sport in 2009, “I was always dreaming of winning Wimbledon; it’s the most prestigious event so hopefully I will have the opportunity and honor one day.” In 2011, Djokovic’s best year, he did just that. 

Players are briefed on correct behavior; they have to bow and curtsy. 

No advertisements, adverts as the Brits call them, spoil the interior spaces of Centre Court or anywhere throughout the grounds of the All England Club. 

Fans feel privileged to have entered the iron gates, partially due to the ticketing process but mostly attributable to the country’s attitude toward Wimbledon in general. After the gates open, people follow a line of groundsmen with the order of a formal procession, not a sporting event.

Their gratitude shows in quiet respect while they watch matches, as they walk the grounds, as they picnic on Henman Hill, or, as it’s called now, Murray Mound. All hail The King of Grass, Great Britain’s Andy Murray, the defending champion and No. 3 seed. Mind you Mr. Murray is not England’s king of the green; he’s a Scotsman.

Players must wear white with no peeks of bright colors. They would distract from the games … the Wimbledon games. 

Last year Roger Federer’s Nike Vapor Tour tennis shoes were embellished with orange soles. The committee that manages dress standards made him change his shoes. However, the orange sport shorts worn by Serena Williams, Nike’s same orange, were not reproached. Most would certainly conclude that the under-clothes of Miss Williams covered a larger area than the shoe bottoms worn by Mr. Federer. So, did we witness a deviation in standards?

No matter the consequences of this dress discrepancy, Federer probably is the most adored player, on the men’s side, even if their own Andy won after a 76-year dry spell. Federer’s dress at Wimbledon has evoked praise and raised eyebrows, as if his choices (Nike’s choices) have gone overboard. 

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Roger Federer in classic v-neck cardigan with gold trim, and matching court bag. 

He has strolled onto Centre Court wearing a 3-piece suit, only to remove the jacket and warm up for his match in pants, polo shirt and vest. At right, he sports a traditional look embellished with gold — the hint of hardware that might come his way. 

Mr. Federer is seeded No. 4 this year, and will try to break into the clear be beating the record he shares with Pete Sampras of seven Wimbledon titles. He is on Rafael Nadal’s (No. 2) side of the draw, the bottom half, so the two could meet in the semifinal. This could continue the trend set between 2003-2012 when one or both played in the final.  

And as tradition at The Championships dictates, Andy Murray will open the fortnight against Belgian David Goffin tomorrow. Tuesday Sabine Lisicki, the 2013 finalist, will officially begin the women’s singles championships against Israeli Julie Glushko. Marion Bartoli, the 2013 champion, retired soon after she hoisted the Venus Rosewater Platter last summer. 

England is not known for its sunny summers. But when skies clear the lawns around the All England Club harden, changing the type of play. Balls bounce higher and travel through the air faster. Chip and charge tennis could revive itself. And, big servers such as John Isner, Milos Raonic, and Ernest Gulbis will accrue points as naturally as ducklings waddle behind their mothers. 

AccuWeather Global Weather Center predicted a warm, dry start to Wimbledon as “a large area of high pressure will be centered west of the United Kingdon, forcing any stormy weather to the north and east.” It went on to say a mixture of high clouds and sunshine will prevail with temperatures reaching  “24 C (76 F),” with “The normal high in London during this time of year near 21 C (70 F)."

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013