Monday, 25 June 2007

Rain Stops Play

Flash floods and torrential rain are expected today, Monday 25th June, across much of the country, and the Met Office has given warnings of downpours that could dump a month’s worth of rain in a few hours.

Hardly surprising, Wimbledon starts today...

So, seeing as you won't be watching much play today, here are some snippets to keep you occupied:

Tennis balls

50,000 used. Stored at 68F (20C). New balls are used after first seven games (to allow for warm-up), then after every nine. After use, balls are sold to clubs affiliated to Lawn Tennis Association and spectators at £2.50 for three. Proceeds go to Wimbledon Balls for Schools Scheme. Yellow balls were introduced in 1986

Grounds

447,126 people attended the championships in 2006.
Approximately 6,000 tickets are available each day, which can change depending on weather and number of courts in play.
Capacity is 35,500 spectators. Church Road site covers 13.5 acres, plus 42 acres of car parks. Centre Court has 13,800 seats No 1: 11,429 No 2: 2,220 (plus 770 standing) Court 3: 800 Courts 6, 7: 250 Court 13: 1,541 Courts 14, 15, 16, 17: 318 Court 18: 788 Court 19: 305 Courts 4, 5, 8, 9, 10: no set capacity

Catering

Wimbledon is the largest annual sporting catering operation in Europe. On average the caterers FMC provide:

300,000 cups of tea and coffee
250,000 bottles of water
190,000 sandwiches
150,000 bath buns, scones, pasties and doughnuts
150,000 glasses of Pimm’s
135,000 ice creams
130,000 lunches
100,000 pints of draught beer and lager
60,000 Dutchees
40,000 chargrilled meals
30,000 meals for FMC staff
30,000 fish and chips
30,000 litres of milk
28,000 kilos (112,000 punnets) of English strawberries, usually grade I Kent strawberries
23,000 bananas
22,000 slices of pizza
20,000 frozen yoghurts
17,000 bottles of champagne
12,000 kilos of poached and smoked salmon.

More than two tons of strawberries are consumed daily during the fortnight with 7,000 litres of fresh cream Strawberries are picked the day before and arrive at Wimbledon at 5.30am

Grass

There are 22 grass practice courts in Aorangi Park and at Southlands College Centre Court: 110m long x 119m wide x 19m high Area of grass: 41m x 22m. All lines are 50mm wide, except base lines which are 100mm wide
Centre Court’s translucent cover, new in 1998, weighs 1 ton (wet and dry) and takes 16 people approx 30 seconds to cover the court.
Centre Court is under refurbishment. No roof in 2007. New fixed roof in 2008. Retractable roof added for 2009. Will also bring 1,200 more seats (lifting capacity to 15,000) and all seats will be replaced with wider versions

Royal Box

Contains 74 dark green Lloyd Loom wicker chairs. The Queen attended in 1957, 1962, 1977. Parapet at front is 2ft high, top of parapet is 12ft from court level.
Players
687 matches during the fortnight Men’s singles: 128 places (inc 32 seeds, 16 qualifiers, 8 wild cards) Ladies’ singles: 128 (including 32 seeds, 12 qualifiers, 8 wild cards) Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles: 64 pairs Mixed Doubles: 48 pairs

Foliage

Flowers: More than 50,000 plants supplied each year. Grass: Court grass composed of 100% rye grass (changed from 70% rye/30% red fescue in September 2000 for less wear and tear). Championships playing height is 8mm
Pest control
Hector the Hawk visits the club several times a year to ward off local pigeons, encouraging them to roost elsewhere. He also flies for one hour most mornings of the championships before the gates open.

Media

More than 5 million people logged onto the website wimbledon.org, viewing 180 million pages.
The large-screen television at the foot of the Aorangi Terrace by the side of Court 1 is 40 sq m in size. 3,137 media people accredited for the championships (692 press, 2,200 broadcast personnel, 235 photographers and photographic support staff).

Membership

There are four categories: full, life, honorary and temporary. Full and life membership limited to 375. All enjoy full privileges. honorary members, mostly past singles champions and others who have given special service to the sport, are elected by the committee.
About 120 temporary members also elected by the committee. Renewed annually. To become a member one must be proposed, seconded and supported by four existing full members, all of whom are required to write in support of the application.
About 1,000 are on the waiting list. Subscription and entrance fees are not published until candidate is offered a place.

Merchandise

The bestselling items in the Wimbledon Shop in 2006 were: 15,000 mini tennis ball keyrings 11,000 Men’s Championship towels 8,500 Ladies’ Championship towels 8,000 Twin wristbands 6,000 Slazenger mini balls

Officials

Chairman: Tim Phillips Chief executive: Ian Ritchie Referee: Andrew Jarrett Chief of umpires: Les Maddock Head groundsman: Eddie Seaward

Prizes

Men’s and Ladies’ singles champions: £700,000. Total prize pool: £11,282,710

Racket-stringing

The stringing team worked round the clock in 2006 to string 1,700 rackets – 60 per cent of them for men They used 34 miles of string, roughly 65% hybrid (gut and synthetic), 20% gut and 10% synthetic gut.
The record for stringing a racket at the championships without compromising quality is 14 minutes

All facts and figures cheerfully pilfed from The Times today.

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