Arguably every child reared in a tennis-playing family dreams of one day playing at SW19, the address belonging to none other than Wimbledon. The tournament is a breeding ground for champions, with "The Big Four" hoisting the trophy more times collectively than can arguably be repeated; on the women’s side, Navratilova and Billie Jean King have dominated on the grass; it also seems almost too fitting that Venus Williams has taken home her namesake trophy a five times in singles, while kid sister Serena is looking to make history this year in more ways than one. Should the 7-time champion become victorious in singles by winning seven matches in a row, she will tie Aussie Margaret Court with 24 Grand Slam singles titles which is the most-ever in the history of tennis; she’d also become the first wild card to win a Slam in singles at Wimbledon since Hall of Famer Goran Ivanisevic defied the odds by winning the tournament 21 years ago.
Especially on grass, it’s anyone game; experts in the sport have deemed grass court tennis as being the ultimate equalizer of any surface you could play on. A hard court player who dominates on a fast-playing surface might perform better in even-playing circumstances (the newly released V-Cell 7 would complement that type of style, or perhaps even the V1 EVO – see more on our site for details on these brand new racquets), whereas someone who unconventionally chips and charges towards the net rather than playing exclusively at the baseline might prefer the grass compared with other surfaces.
What’s it like to play on the pristine grounds of Wimbledon, anyway (pictures as seen through the lens of photographer Ray Giubilo)? Centre Court, reserved for seeded players, past champions and crowd favorites, celebrates its 100th anniversary since debuting in the roaring ‘20s, which coincides with Volkl Tennis' 50th anniversary and almost 100 years as a brand (that's next year in 2023).
When playing on the grass courts at Clubs around the world, all of them strive to offer members and visitors grass that resembles that of Wimbledon’s 18 playing courts and 22 practice courts in every way, shape and form – from the way it's maintained and watered down to the actual green color. The composition of the grass had been a hybrid up until 2001, when the All England Club switched it to 100 percent ryegrass for increased durability that would last from year to year. Previous reports have mentioned that the actual marking of the courts begin about six weeks in advance of competition, while the grass is trimmed almost every day. The grounds crew will also oversee the soil composition in advance of the championships, ensuring hardness and dryness of the courts.
In terms of who’s most likely to hoist the trophies after the fortnight in England, experts predict Djokovic and Swiatek, respectively as they are the top seeds; but as consistently beautiful as the courts are, it truly is a wild card on either side, in any division and it’s anyone’s tournament for the taking.