Kate Middleton and William arrive at Wimbledon for final
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Wimbledon is seen as one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world and traditions seep through the history of the Grand Slam – but the strangest of all may be to do with the pineapple on top of the Wimbledon men’s championship trophy. The most noticable tradition at Wimbledon that no other tournament adopts is the requirement for players to adhere to a strict all-white dress code.
The Wimbledon queue – not in place this year due to Covid-19 restrictions – is also one of the most established traditions of the tournament where thousands of people line up to try and get hold of tickets for the day.
And there is of course the Middle Sunday when no play is scheduled, although that will be scrapped for good from 2022.
But there are also some little quirks about Wimbledon which also make it a renowned major tournament on the tour.
Rufus the hawk is a Wimbledon celebrity to kee pigeons away from the venue and eating strawberries and cream are a must when attending the All England Club.
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Wimbledon wraps up for another year today with Novak Djokovic taking on Matteo Berrettini in the men’s final.
The winner will hold aloft one of the most coveted trophies in tennis and they will notice a pineapple sitting atop the biggest prize.
No official reason has been given as to why there is a pineapple on top of the Wimbledon men’s trophy, but it’s been reported the most likely explanation is due to the fruit’s status as a desirable product when the tournament was first organised.
The Wimbledon website explains: “Yes, it is a pineapple adorning the top of the Wimbledon gentlemen’s singles trophy, but no, no one seems to know why.
“The most plausible explanation for the presence of this unlikely fruit atop the most prestigious trophy in tennis is that, when The Championships began in the latter half of the 19th century, pineapples were prized as a rare and exclusive food.
“Although Christopher Columbus brought a pineapple back from his 1492 expedition to the New World pineapples remained expensive to import to, or grow in, western Europe, until commercial production began in Hawaii in the early 1900s. Serving them was thus an indication of high status.
“The gentlemen’s singles trophy is actually the third iteration. The first, donated by The Field newspaper and known as The Field Cup, was won in perpetuity by William Renshaw after he won three successive finals from 1881-83.
“Its replacement, the Challenge Cup, quickly became Renshaw’s too as he extended his winning run to 1886 (until 1921 the holder only played one match, the Challenge Round against the winner of the All-Comers’ final).
“Having spent 50 guineas (21 shillings, or £1.05, a not insignificant sum in those days) on that trophy the All England Club had to find another 100 guineas (around £13,000 in modern terms) for the next. However, this time they stipulated the trophy ‘would never become the property of the winner’.
“The trophy is made of silver gilt, stands 18 inches (46cm) high, and is inscribed: ‘The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World’.
“The names of all champions since the first, Spencer Gore in 1877, are engraved on the trophy, though a lack of space means champions since 2009 are commemorated on a black plinth with a silver ornamented band that now accompanies the cup. Since 1949 all champions have received a replica of the trophy to keep.
“The original Field Cup is now owned by the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and is on display there. The whereabouts of the second trophy are unknown.”
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