Wimbledon, better known as the All-England Club, is usually the biggest newsmaker in Britain this time of year. But Brexit notwithstanding, the world’s most celebrated tennis tournament still figures to deliver the goods. Defending singles champions in the Men’s and Women’s draws, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams repectively, are heavy favorites as action gets underway on June 27. Djokovic presently holds all four Grand Slam trophies and Williams is one Slam away from tying the record of 22 held by Steffi Graf.
It’s a crowded and busy fortnight, as the Brits like to call it. But that’s not the way it is most of the year at the sleepy All-England club. Forget about the rich and exciting doubles and mixed doubles competitions during the tournament, a slate of 256 players arrive at the All-England club trying to win the Wimbledon singles titles. That’s a lot of activity for a club that has just 375 regular full members, a much smaller number of playing members and a few dozen honorary members including past champions. Upon its founding in 1868, Wimbledon was originally a croquet club. Tennis gradually won it over, with the first Wimbledon championship occurring in 1877 in men’s singles. Back then the players served underhanded. Queen Elizabeth II is the patron of the the club.