By Heather Gargis
Growing up in Alabama, football was THE sport. Everyone had a side—Roll Tide, War Eagle, even a few Vols. There was so much hype in football that to some, including myself, it seemed the best thing since sliced bread. It wasn’t until high school, that I was introduced to tennis, and fell in love with the game.
One reason I fell so hard for tennis was watching Grand Slams (the four major tournaments in tennis: U.S. Open, Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon). I devoured player’s games and studied them on different surfaces (hard-court, grass, and clay). Through the years, I began to develop a preference in watching Wimbledon and it soon turned into my favorite slam. Since 1877, Wimbledon has been known as the cathedral of tennis, the very core of what tennis is about. It’s engulfed in a deep rich history and tradition.
Tennis is a unique sport to watch. Most people who dislike tennis or believe it’s boring don’t understand how tough this sport is. In any elite tournament, the player has to be incredibly fit, but in tennis there are no time limits.
These players, men and women, play with and against speeds anywhere between 70-130 mph along with the many different types of shots and spins put on the ball. Players have to be fit or they won’t make it to the quarters, semis, or final. Since tennis is played outside, players constantly have to adapt to weather conditions like wind, heat, and the sun.
Tennis is a mental game. Players aren’t allowed to talk to their coach during the match. Even long eye contact can be considered getting help from their coach, and the player can lose points. This part of the game was my weakest. Once I got into a negative mind-set, it was over, and I couldn’t perform to my greatest potential. Success in tennis comes with having this part of your game perfected.
Wimbledon holds all aspects of the game in the highest, in addition to bringing its own gifts to the game. Wimbledon is the only slam to have a dress code. Given its placement in London, every player is required to wear white from head to toe. This is also the only tournament who labels their players “Ladies and Gentlemen” rather than the norm of “Men and Women.” I love these rules that bring out the royalty and heritage of the game. Wimbledon is also one of the very few tournaments left, worldwide, to continue playing on tennis’ original surface: grass. Playing on grass creates quicker, fast-paced games in which players place their shots intentionally.
Wimbledon also loves fans! It is the only slam in which fans without tickets for any match can line up, usually the night before, and still get seats on Centre Court, Court 1, and Court 2. There are usually 500 seats left open for this opportunity. Those unlucky enough not to gets seats will sit on the hills surrounding the tournament and watch from the big screen. Here they can eat strawberries and cream, which is another one of Wimbledon’s lovely traditions. Wimbledon also have royal fans—there is a royal box located on Centre Court just for them. Some players have the opportunity to play for the Queen.
This year at Wimbledon, many phenomenal players came out to play and hoped to win this classic slam. Hours and hours of training and preparation were under the belts of each player. And after two weeks of constant playing at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic (No.1) and Serena Williams (No. 1) are the winners of Wimbledon 2015. This is Novak’s 9th Wimbledon win and Serena’s 6th, and each of them bring home this amazing trophy along with $2.9 million dollars for their success.
With all the challenges and excitement brought into this slam, it’s no wonder that roughly 500,000 people attend Wimbledon during its 13 day run every year. This tournament inspires young people, the next generation of players, and anyone else who is willing to see this tournament bring people together. Whether you’re a lover of sports, history, or somewhere in between Wimbledon is the slam that can be enjoyed, appreciated, and can bind people together from all countries and walks of life.[divider]About Heather[/divider]
Heather is a college graduate from the University of Alabama in Huntsville who majored in History. After college she moved to Blacksburg, Virginia where she has worked in full-time ministry for Reformed University Fellowship at Virginia Tech. She’s the oldest of five, has recently begun her second year with RUF, and is planning on applying to Orlando RTS and a few other seminaries to pursue her love of counseling. She absolutely loves the sun and anything outdoors, as long as it doesn’t involve heights. She is obsessed with coffee, has seven tattoos (which inspire her daily) and she cannot wait to see what this year holds for her and her students.