Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
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Her Majesty the Queen finally returned to the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the 2010 Championships, and the excitement surrounding her visit was commensurate with the length of her absence. It had been 33 years since Her Majesty had spent a day at Wimbledon, back during her silver jubilee celebrations of 1977 – a year marked by the victory of Virginia Wade.
With the past very much represented in the Royal Box, Her Majesty was taken to meet both the present and the future of tennis. Accompanied by HRH the Duke of Kent, who is also president of the AELTC, the Queen took a walk around the ground, stopping at Court 14 to watch youngsters from the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative players practise. Her Majesty then greeted the top four seeds in the ladies' singles – the Williams sisters, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic and leading men's players Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer.
The presence of Elizabeth II on Centre Court did not throw British hope Andy Murray off his stride as he dispatched of Finn Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets.
The first round match of the 2010 Championships on Court 18 between a French qualifier, world No.148 Nicolas Mahut, and giant American 23rd seed John Isner, did not feature on many radars. But all that changed midway through Wednesday afternoon, when journalists began to notice the two men had reached 12-12 in the fifth.
When Isner quickly surpassed the record for the most aces in a Wimbledon match, the crowds around the grounds could sense that something special was going on. When the contest set a new mark for the sport’s longest ever match it was in a league of its own. Five teams of ball kids came and went, lines judges were refreshed and the scoreboard gave up the ghost at 50-50 in the final set, but Isner and Mahut kept on going. At just gone 9pm, and with darkness falling on SW19, the two were cheered from the court with the scores at 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(7) 6-7(3), 59-59 and with the match clock reading exactly 10 hours.
With the world now watching, they were at it again the next afternoon. Yet another milestone was passed when the match reached 11 hours, and five minutes later it was all over. With Mahut serving at 68-69, 30-all, Isner produced a forehand pass to earn his fifth match point, before threading a backhand pass down the line to wrap up a 70-68 final set.
In the women's draw, a new champion was crowned when 21-year-old Petra Kvitova zoomed past all-comers to become the first left-handed female singles winner at The Championships since Martina Navratilova in 1990 and the first Czech champion since Jana Novotna in 1998.
Kvitova had signalled her grass-court credentials a year earlier where as an unseeded player she reached the semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Serena Williams.
Having beaten fourth seed Victoria Azarenka in the 2011 semi-finals, the eighth seed found herself up against 2004 champion, Russian Maria Sharapova, in the final, with Navratilova and Novotna watching on from the stands.
Barely showing a hint of nerves, Kvitova cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory and became just the third left-handed champion after Ann Jones and Navratilova. She would go on to finish the year with a perfect 19-0 record indoors, which included the season-ending championships in Istanbul.
At the 125th Championships in 2011, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic became the first man not named Federer or Nadal to lift the Challenge Cup since 2002. Becoming world No.1 in the same swoop, the Serb continued an extraordinary year, which saw him win the Australian Open, and then complete an almost unheard of 43-match winning streak up to the semi-finals of the French Open.
Djokovic entered the decider having edged the Spaniard in four finals in 2011 and underlined his new status as the world's top player by shattering Nadal's 20-match winning streak to add his name to the roll of honour at The Championships for the first time.
The 24-year-old Serb, with his country's president watching from the Royal Box, won 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 and took his win-loss record for the year to an astonishing 48-1. He would finish the season with an impressive 70-6 record, including three Grand Slam singles crowns, in what many regarded as the best season in the modern era.
The first Wimbledon final completed under a closed Centre Court roof broke records for many reasons. Roger Federer equalled the achievement of Pete Sampras and Williams Renshaw in winning a seventh singles title at Wimbledon, his 17th Grand Slam singles title in total, and regaining the world No.1 spot as a 30-year-old. Meanwhile Andy Murray became the first British man to compete in a Wimbledon singles final since Bunny Austin in 1938, the hopes of the nation once again on his increasingly broad shoulders. It was a victory for Federer, who triumphed 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 with a flawless display. And it was bitter defeat for Murray, who managed to utter , "I'm getting closer," before breaking down in tears as his supporters, the crowd, and the nation wept with him. His time at Wimbledon would come.
Serena Williams began amassing Grand Slam singles titles in the last century, when Bill Clinton was still in the White House and Prince William was a schoolboy. In the summer of 2012, approaching 31, having survived a career-threatening foot injury, a pulmonary embolism, and a first-ever Grand Slam first round loss at Roland Garros, she achieved her 14th. Winning her fifth Wimbledon singles title on Centre Court, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in a topsy-turvy three-setter, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, Williams admitted that she simply "got up and got started."
Following up with a fifth Wimbledon doubles title alongside sister Venus on the same afternoon, three weeks later, Serena strung together a further six wins to claim Olympic gold on the very same lawns.
"Winning is so amazing. Each title is special but this is super-special because it’s a huge comeback for me. Oh my gosh, I still can’t believe I was able to come through and win my seven matches."
Sometimes great things happen to really nice people. 31-year-old Jonathan Marray, a journeyman British doubles player who was doing his best to afford a living playing the sport he loved, entered Wimbledon as a wild card, with a partner he'd hardly played with, the Dane Frederik Nielsen, aged 28. 14 days later, Marray woke up with a trophy at the end of his bed, the first British winner of the men's doubles at Wimbledon since 1936. It was the perfect fairytale.
Riding the crest of the wave, the wildcards stunned all and sundry to cause one of the biggest sensations in men’s doubles history to beat fifth seeds Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3 in the final in front of an ecstatic and raucous Centre Court crowd.
Without dropping a single point in the first set in her match against the 2012 French Open finalist, Sara Errani, Yaroslava Shvedova achieved the first 'golden set', ie 24 straight points, since Bill Scanlon against Marcos Hocevar in the first round of the Gold Coast Classic in 1983.
Shvedova's feat - which included four aces and 14 winners - is the first at the All England Club and the first in women’s tennis since the professional era began in 1968.
In 2006, Shvedova almost set that record by rattling off 23 straight points against Amy Fraser in the last 16 at Memphis. She lost the next point, erasing the chance for the golden set. Shvedova, then ranked No.228, went on to lose the match to her No.7-seeded opponent in three sets, 1-6, 6-0, 6-0.
In 2012 at the All England Club, however, the wild card and Roland Garros quarter-finalist proved too strong for her No. 10-ranked opponent. She earned 24 straight points in just 15 minutes, with only her ball toss showing any signs of nerves in those initial six games.
From Sharapova getting mobbed at the Olympic village, to Serena and Venus glued to the archery and gymnastics, to Ryan Lochte tweeting about Serena, to the Brits staying in the Olympic village... it is fair to say that for tennis players, being part of London 2012 is something they'll never forget. The hullabaloo surrounding pin-trading told you all you needed to know about how much players enjoyed the Olympic experience.
And as for the weight of their results? The fact that the three Grand Slam champions of 2012 scooped the women's singles medals, the men's semi-finals featured three of the top four, the men's and women's doubles were won by two of the most dominant doubles partnerships in history, and the mixed doubles by former mixed doubles Grand Slam champions, proves that the Olympic tennis was by no means a lightweight event.
7.9 million viewers watched the women's final between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in the USA, 10million watched the men's final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer on the BBC, as Murray proudly won Olympic gold.
But perhaps most importantly, was the way the fans who came to Wimbledon embraced the occasion. Yes, there were crying babies, but there were also flags, team tracksuits, chants, and an atmosphere the like of which you could only have during an Olympics.
"The atmosphere in all of the stadiums, when everyone's won gold medals in all of the sports, everyone's just been so happy and pumped. I'm just glad I've been able to contribute to that," Murray said.
"That's one of the reasons why the Olympics is so great. Everybody gets into it. Everybody gets into sports that they maybe never have watched before, never seen. You know, I'm no different."
2013: Andy Murray
"British man wins Wimbledon." It was a sentence 77 years in the waiting and it was finally uttered on the seventh day of the seventh month when Andy Murray became the first homegrown champion at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. A year on from defeat to Roger Federer in his first Wimbledon final, Murray returned to the final stage at the All England Club in 2013 eager to go one better against Novak Djokovic. It was the fourth time the pair, who were born just seven days apart in May 1987, met in a Grand Slam final with two of the previous three going the way of the Serb. But there was little the world No. 1 could do to impose himself on Murray’s date with destiny. After opening up a 6-4, 7-5, 5-4 lead on a dry and humid Centre Court, the 26-year-old Scot came out to serve for the match with the deafening roar of “MURRAY! MURRAY! MURRAY!” echoing back and forth between South West London and his home town of Dunblane. In an understandably nervy final game, Murray let slip three championship points before eventually converting at the fourth time of asking when Djokovic sent one final backhand crashing into the net. The euphoria in Murray’s celebration soon turned to a look of disbelief as he made the famous climb up to his box, packed to the brim with his nearest and dearest. The long wait was over.
2013: Marion Bartoli
Marion Bartoli’s maiden Wimbledon triumph was one for the record books. At 28, the Frenchwoman, who had fallen to Venus Williams in the final six years previously, set a new record by winning her first Grand Slam title at the 47th attempt, two more than Jana Novotna had played when she won at Wimbledon in 1998. After overcoming an overwhelmed Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 in the final, Bartoli took her place on Wimbledon’s roll of honour alongside fellow French winners Suzanne Lenglen and Amelie Mauresmo, while becoming the first player, male or female, to win The Championships using two hands on both the forehand and backhand side. While the facts and figures surrounding her surprising win are remarkable, the whole tale cannot simply be told through numbers. Bartoli was first introduced to the game by her father, Walter, at the age of six and her success was just rewards for a lifetime of dedication to the sport and near misses. As she sealed her historic win with an ace, the inimitable champion sunk to her knees – the dream had become a reality. Two months later, the first-time champion announced her retirement from the sport to a near-empty pressroom late one night in Cincinnati. After all, she liked to do things in her own unique way.
2013: Nadal and Federer lose early
Much of the talk ahead of the 2013 edition of The Championships was the projected quarter-final meeting between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The pair, who at the time held 29 Grand Slam singles titles between them, hadn’t met on grass since their epic encounter in the 2008 final and the thought of the two greats squaring off once more on Centre Court had fans rubbing their hands together in anticipation. But the Spaniard and Swiss never saw that day. In fact, the quarter-final that materialised from that section of the draw pitted together the unlikely duo of Jerzy Janowicz and Lukasz Kubot who contested the first ever all-Polish clash on a major stage. Nadal was the first to fall, losing in the opening round for the first time after a straight sets defeat to Belgian Steve Darcis. Federer’s loss was equally surprising. The seven-time champion bowed out in the second round, losing in four tight sets to the outgoing Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who produced the type of serve and volley performance that would’ve graced any era at Wimbledon. It was Federer’s earliest defeat at SW19 since losing in the first round in 2002, and snapped his run of 36 straight Slam quarter-finals.
2013: Bob and Mike Bryan
Bob and Mike Bryans' career can be summed up in one word, "firsts". The American twins, who’ve made record-setting a hobby, re-wrote history when they defeated first-time major finalists Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to become the first team in the Open Era to hold all four Grand Slams simultaneously. A remarkable 12 months began and ended on Centre Court. They kick-started their decorated run by winning gold at London 2012 before returning less than a year later with the US Open, Australian Open and French Open trophies in tow. Their four-set win over the first-time major finalists in the Wimbledon final handed them their third title at the All England Club and 15th Grand Slam overall. "Everything now feels like a bonus," said Bob. "We're adding nuts, whip cream and cherries to our great career.