From July 3rd to July 16th, ‘Wimbledon’ becomes so much more than a South West London placename.
No ‘UK Open’ for us, thank you very much.
It may be one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments – the others being Australian Open, French Open and US Open – but it basks in the glory of being considered the most prestigious by so many, including star players such as Federer and Djokovic, and is proud to be known worldwide by its location not type. With the first matches held in 1887, it is also the oldest tennis tournament and holds the world’s longest-running sporting sponsorship; Slazenger has provided the balls for Wimbledon since 1902. Wimbledon is a leader and an ace in a world of sporting aces.
In Tennis, an ace is a serve that successfully lands in the service box and does not touch the receiving player’s racquet.
The Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP) began tracking this statistic in 1991 and records John Isner as serving the most aces (113) in a Wimbledon match, against Nicolas Mahut in 2010, and a total of 214 during Wimbledon 2018.
Elsewhere, not officially recognised by ATP but still impressive is Sam Groth’s 163.7mph serve and John Isner’s, ATP recognised at 157.2mph. Serena Williams’ meanwhile conjures up ace consistency when serving, which she attributed to always bouncing the ball five times before a first serve and twice before a second serve but never, ever holding a second ball in anticipation of needing it. Works for her – 23 Grand Slam wins to prove it!
Tennis itself is also an ace game for general health and wellbeing. Physical benefits include:
- increasing aerobic capacities
- lowering resting heart rate and blood pressure
- improving metabolic function
- increasing bone density
- lowering body fat
- improving muscle tone, strength and flexibility
- increasing reaction times
- a non-impact sport
And for the mind:
- a great way to meet people and spend time with friends
- suitable for all ages and skill levels. Whatever your level, you can find someone of a similar ability to play with
- helpful to reduce stress
- not dependent on youth or strength – you can play for a lifetime or start the game at any age
So, anyone for Tennis? Time to put down those strawberries and cream, grab a racquet and channel your inner Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Agassi, Williams, Navratilova, Graf, Raducanu et al.