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Weird and wonderful Wimbledon


What is it with these playing surfaces in England? First the England cricket team astoundingly had to put up with a track that resembled a surface from Mumbai in the final of the Champions Trophy and now the All England Club shoots themselves in the foot with their grass courts.

Edgbaston was slow and turned like a top much to India’s delight as their spinners bamboozled, while Wimbledon’s grass is fast and foolishly slippery.

On day one alone seven players withdrew due to injuries that were largely attributed to the inferior and surprisingly foreign nature of the grass surface.

Of those seven players, some huge names in the game succumbed and that will affect the spectacle that is Wimbledon as the tournament advances.

To further complicate matters at SW19, including some shock results, seven former number ones were bundled out in one day!

Let’s hope now that some young gun snaffles what is a remarkable opportunity to ignite and keep the Wimbledon torch burning deep into the second week.

Because quite frankly I could not cope with Andy Murray’s mindless mob manufacturing monotonous mayhem on the mound!

This fortnight in London is very special. I have been fortunate to witness the grace and poise of Wimbledon firsthand.

It really is a remarkable event with all the tradition and ceremony that allows it to stand proudly within the sporting calendar.

If one is lucky to be entertained under blue sky coupled with sunshine then clearly all the planets are aligned and the experience is unforgettable.

Facts and figures that astound during these types of sporting occasions are always interesting to read and quite mind-boggling at times.

After researching various publications in the UK this time round (predominantly The Independent), here are my latest Wimbledon nuggets to entertain.

- Maria Sharapova is the loudest grunter with one grunt recorded at 105 decibels in 2005.
- 25 000 bottles of champagne will be drunk during the Championship this year.
- Rufus, a Harris Hawk, deters pigeons from the club. He disappeared for three days in 2012.
- 10 000 umbrellas will be sold during the fortnight.
- Championship grass is cut to 8mm high.
- More than 2 000 rackets will be strung by the stringing team, using 40 miles of string.
- 28 000kg of Grade 1 Kent strawberries will be consumed.
- They will be served with 7 000 litres of fresh cream.
- If centre court did not have a retractable roof, 7 500 umbrellas would be needed to cover the court.
- When the roof is closed 143 000 litres of air per second are pumped into the bowl.
- About 200 000 glasses of Pimm’s will be drunk.
- The global TV audience was 380 million in 2012.
- In 2012 Wimbledon was watched on TV in 198 territories.
- 15 388 hours of footage was watched last year.
- White balls were replaced in 1986 because yellow tennis balls are more visible for TV cameras.
- Each ball is only in play for about twenty minutes of an average two-and-a-half-hour tennis match.
- 484 805 people attended the event in 2012.
- 54 250 tennis balls will be used during the fortnight.
- They are stored at exactly 20 degrees Celsius to ensure consistency.
- The last married woman to win the women's singles championship was Chris Evert Lloyd in 1981.
- Goran Ivanisevic is the only Wimbledon champion whose entire name alternates consonants and vowels.
- Tim Henman was the first to be disqualified from Wimbledon. In 1995 he hit a ball in anger and struck a ball girl in the process.


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