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The Lawn Tennis Championships is an annual lawn tennis tournament held in Wimbledon, a suburb of London, England. The event is hosted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The event is commonly called the Wimbledon Championships or just Wimbledon.
Wimbledon is the oldest and most prestigious event in the sport of tennis and is the third tournament of the Grand Slam in tennis. The others are the Australian Open, the French Open and the U.S. Open.
The first tennis championship at Wimbledon was held in 1877. It had only male amateur participants. In 1884 separate women's singles and men's doubles tournaments were added. By the turn of the century Wimbledon had become an increasingly popular international tennis tournament.
In 1922 a new tennis complex was built at Church Road for 14,000 spectators, which helped enlarge the popularity and fame of the Championships. It is the only Grand Slam tournament played on grass. The traditions of Wimbledon, such as the rule that the players must wear predominantly white, referring to players as "Mr", "Mrs" and "Miss", and serving the public strawberries and cream, give it extra flavour. Wimbledon has its own, often criticized, system for seeding players.
The tournament is held in June/July and normally lasts for two weeks (subject to rain). Four rounds precede the quarter finals, succeeded by the semi finals and final round. Wimbledon holds separate tournaments simultaneously for men (singles), women (singles), men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles. There is also a Wimbledon youth tournament.
The British are very proud of the Championships and the public pay exhorbitant prices for tickets. It is a source of national anguish, however, that no British man has won Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, and no British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977. Every year the British press builds up the chances of the leading British player (currently Tim Henman), then heap abuse on him when he fails to win.
The main court is called Centre Court, while Court 1 hosts other important matches. Court 2 bears the nickname The Graveyard, since it is here that many seeded players are knocked out.
The Champion's Cup (men) and Bowl (women) have been presented for many years by Katharine, Duchess of Kent in a never-changing ceremony.
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