Wimbledon is nearly upon us, so we thought we would put together a little list of 6 of the lesser known, most random facts about the event.
1.Wimbledon adopted yellow tennis balls in 1986 with the advent of colour television; before that, white balls were used
2. A Harris hawk called Rufus is responsible for keeping the grounds pigeon-free. He’s specially trained for the task and flies across the courts each morning before play, discouraging pigeons from roosting by making them aware of his predator status. Over the years he has gained quite a following, he now has more than 9,000 Twitter followers (you can follow him @RufusTheHawk)
3. Wimbledon definitely goes through a lot of balls every year. Instead of throwing the used balls straight in the bin, they are sent to Surrey Wildlife Trust to be used as an alternative home for the threatened harvest mouse. The mice are in decline due to a reduction in their habitat, and so they are a threatened species on the Biodiversity Action plan list. A door is drilled in the ball for the mouse to enter, and so the modified Wimbledon balls offer a ready-made home, providing them with a place to nest during summer.
4. The men’s singles trophy stands 18-and-a-half inches high and has a diameter of 7-and-a-half inches. “Strangely enough, no one quite seems to know what the carving of a pineapple is doing atop this magnificent cup. One theory says it has to do with the tradition of British navy captains putting a pineapple atop their gateposts on returning home from sea.”
5. Mita Klima from Austria is the youngest player to ever compete in the tournament at 13 years old, a record that has stood for 106 years
6. We all know that Wimbledon is famous for it’s strawberries and cream but did you know just how much they get through? 28,000 kg (140,000 servings) of English strawberries topped with 10,000 litres of dairy cream are eaten during the two weeks. All of this is washed down with 320,000 glasses of Pimm’s!