INFO The All England Lawn Tennis Club is an exclusive private members society that hosts the prestigious Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament every summer. Originally founded in 1868 as a croquet and tennis club, it was... ... read more
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The All England Lawn Tennis Club is an exclusive private members society that hosts the prestigious Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament every summer. Originally founded in 1868 as a croquet and tennis club, it was moved to its current location in Wimbledon in 1922 in order to expand and accommodate for the popularity of what has now become the premier tennis tournament in the world.
Famous for its surface, Wimbledon is the only grand slam tournament played on grass, which adds a dynamic to the game in that the ball spins differently off its bounce. The club grounds house two dozen tournament courts, nineteen of them grass, along with another twenty-two grass practice courts, but the famed history of the venue resides with Centre Court. After renovations and the installation of a sliding glass roof, Centre Court can hold 15,000 spectators and hosts the final matches of the championships each year. The sweat and tears of champions like Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, the Williams’ Sisters, and Martina Navratilova have watered the grass of Centre Court since its inception.
Along with the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the courts also host tennis events for the Olympics when they come to London, including the 1908 and 2012 Games. The main arena has seen the chronicles of antiquity beyond tennis as well, having large sections of the grandstands incinerated by high-explosive bombs from German airstrikes in 1940.
Embedded with royalty, the Lawn Tennis Club receives its patronage from Queen Elizabeth II herself, and is run by her cousin, Prince Edward the Duke of Trent. The history of the club has also been criticized over the century for its overly pompous elitism, anti-Semitism, racism, and sexism, but its allowance of minorities in the tournament after 1952 and its most recent decision to award men and women equal prize purses has silenced most of those sentiments.