The 99th Wimbledon Tennis Tournament opens Monday, 23 June -- the world's most prestigious lawn tennis competition.
The 99th Wimbledon Tennis Tournament opens Monday, 23 June -- the world's most prestigious lawn tennis competition. The best known names in tennis have gathered in Britain for the annual tournament -- Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Arthur Ashe, Billie-Jean King and many others.
Each year the event is preceded by the traditional Hurlingham Club pre-Wimbledon party where fans have a chance to mingle with the tennis stars, watch them practice, share a drink, and generally enjoy a social and relaxing moment before the tension begins to mount as intense competition narrows the field of candidates for the voted titles.
For the first time, Wimbledon officials have opened a betting tent on the grounds. This has drawn protests from the Association of Tennis Professionals. The ATP voted Sunday (22 June) to prohibit its members from batting and urged Wimbledon officials to reconsider their decision to permit betting on the grounds. But Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Brunett, chairman of the All England Club, which has organised the Wimbledon Tournament, refused, saying there were betting facilities only a short distance from the grounds any way and that the tent was only being set up as a convenience to the public.
Wimbledon also offers an opportunity for fans who like to mix their tennis with romance. 23-year-old Australian ace Evonne Goolagong surprised her fans and her manager, by announcing her marriage to a 25-year-old British metal worker Brian Cawley, in Cambridge, England on Thursday (19 June).
But there will be two nearly newly-weds on the court as well -- defending champions Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors of the united States, who flirted with the ideas of marriage last November but called off the ceremony at the last minute.
SYNOPSIS: Hurlingham Club in Wimbledon, England ... traditional scene of the pre-Wimbledon party.
On the eve of the prestigious Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Tournament, the party gives the fans a chance to mingle with the tennis stars in relaxing atmosphere.
But the presence of a betting tent at Wimbledon this year for the first time, has already generated tension before the matches even begin. The Association of Tennis Professionals voted on Sunday to prohibit its members from betting, and asked Wimbledon officials to close the tent. The Wimbledon organisers, the All-England Club, refused.
Highly-regarded American star, Arthur Ashe, gave fans a demonstration of the form he hopes will carry him to the trophy.
And a number of the other players took to the courts to loosen up and provide fans with some action.
Some romance has been mixed with tennis at this year's tournament. Australia's 23-year old Evonne Goolagong surprised everyone, including her manager, by getting married to a 25-year old British metal worker last Thursday. So there'll be at least one newly-wed on the courts.
But that's all part of what contributes to the excitement of Wimbledon as it prepares for its ninety-ninth tennis classic.
Romance even touched this year's defending champions... Americans Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors... who cancelled their wedding plans last November only weeks before the ceremony was scheduled. Unlucky in love? Perhaps. But the question everyone will be asking on Monday is -- how lucky at tennis?