From the beginning, tournaments at Wimbledon have been staged by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. It was founded in 1868 and introduced the first Wimbledon tennis tournament a decade later in 1877. The All England Club is not just the home for Wimbledon; it has also evolved into a shrine of tennis history and tradition.
These 10 notable facts offer some added insight into the place that brought forth the world's oldest and most famous grand slam tennis tournament:
1. Croquet Only Club
When the All England Club was originally founded, its featured sport was croquet. Lawn tennis was not introduced until 1875. Once introduced, however, tennis proved much more popular than croquet. By 1882, croquet was dropped from the club name since almost all club activity centered on tennis. It was restored in 1899 and croquet has been included in the official club name since that time.
2. A Duke to Lead
The Duke of Kent is the president of the All England Club. In his capacity as president of the club, he presents trophies to all of the champions at Wimbledon each year. The King or Queen of England functions as the club's patron.
3. On the Move
The All England Club did not move to its current location on Church Road until 1922. It was initially founded in a location off of Worple Road.
4. Small Membership
Club membership is restricted to 375 full members and 100 temporary members who are awarded yearly membership from one year to the next. Temporary members are drawn from the ranks of currently active players who have the ability to use the club and participate in club matches. There is also a token amount of honorary members who are past Wimbledon champions.
5. Ticket Holders
Members of the All England Club are given the right to purchase Wimbledon tickets each year. They can purchase tickets for each day that the tournament is held. Membership numbers remain limited for this reason, so the club can sell a greater number of tickets to the general public.
6. Playing at the Club
All grass courts at the club can be used by club members from May to September with the exception of the Centre Court and Court No.1. These two courts are reserved for use in Wimbledon matches only.
7. Not Just Grass
Tennis courts at the All England Club are not just limited to the grass variety. A total of 19 grass courts are part of the 42 acre grounds. There are also five red shale courts, four clay courts and five indoor courts. Another 22 grass courts located at Aorangi Park are used for practice before and during Wimbledon.
8. Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Inside the club grounds is the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. It is the largest tennis museum in the world with exhibits and artifacts covering more than a century. The museum is open to the public and offers guided tours. Visitors can see memorabilia from many famous tennis players, dating from the 19th century to present times.
9. Seeding Time
Each September, the grass courts at the All England Club are reseeded in preparation for the following year's Wimbledon and any other tournaments the club might host. It takes one ton of grass seed annually to fill in bare patches left from that year's tennis matches.
10. No Profiting Allowed
Although the All England Club organizes and manages Wimbledon each year, it does not officially make any money from the event. All profits from the tournament, excluding taxes, are given to the Lawn Tennis Association to promote and develop tennis in Britain.
John Coon has covered tennis at all levels as a sports reporter based in Salt Lake City. Coon was raised in a tennis loving family. All three of his sisters played competitively and Coon himself enjoys playing at a recreational level.