At Wimbledon the mystic connect between tennis, strawberries and cream


New Delhi: While there are four Grand Slam tournaments in tennis, one in particular stands above the rest. Celebrating its 140th birthday in 2017, here are some of the most interesting facts about the Wimbledon culture.
Although much has changed since the Wimbledon Championships were first introduced in 1887, today when we think of Wimbledon fortnight there are a number of traditional images that still spring to mind. The obligatory strawberries and cream, the white or almost all white dress code and the strong ties with the Royal families; all of which combined continue to preserve Wimbledon’s place both in British heritage and at the forefront of the tennis world.

Wimbledon will always be associated with its most obviously apparent, that is being the formal address of players. The continued use of the title's 'Miss' and 'Mr' may seem anachronistic to some - a passing reference to a bygone age - yet it is more than simply a link to the past. Just as formalities matter in wider British society, they remain vital at Wimbledon - and in sport more broadly. In this sense, Wimbledon, with its culture of mutual respect and appreciation, serves as something of an antidote.

175Along with this; the Wimbledon Championships and their noble accompaniment strawberries and cream are the highlights of the British summer. Soft red fruit remains part of Wimbledon culture so much that almost 28,000kg of them are eaten at the tournament each year along with 140,000 English strawberries, 320,000 glasses of Pimms, and 29,000 bottles of champagne that are served at Wimbledon other than strawberries and cream.
Despite of all these dishes to choose from, the pair of strawberries and cream is still rocking the fans. It is a trend-setter and a memorable touch to the exotic and historic plays of tennis on the green turfs of Wimbledon.
The strawberry has had its place as an indispensable accompaniment to the tennis. Marion Regan of Hugh Lowe Farms in southeast England ships approximately 61,700 pounds of strawberries each year to Wimbledon and for that reason one can say that Wimbledon would not be Wimbledon without strawberries and cream.
Often when people think about being at Wimbledon, they think about strawberries and cream and a glass of Pimm's which means an alcohol-based fruit cup that has been popular at the Championships for more than half a century.
During Wimbledon, the strawberries, served in baskets of 10 costing around $3.90 with the cream and sugar optional. They are grown at farms in the southern county of Kent and trucked to the capital.
They are harvested at around 4am and arrive at the site at about 11am to be hulled and inspected before being served. It takes 1,700 catering staff to feed everyone at Wimbledon as it is no small operation, beginning before the sun comes up on every one of the 13 days of play.
The link between the three elements – tennis, strawberries and cream – is mysterious. Tradition suggests that King George V introduced strawberries and cream to courtside crowds. But the question is why to serve the stuff at tennis?
Johnny Perkins, the PR head of All England Club explains the link between the two with the fact that strawberries were always in the season when the Wimbledon was played, and it was a part of the culture of Victorian England to enjoy strawberries, and it was considered to be a fashionable ritual back then, as it went well with the afternoon tea.
Another link between the two was that, Strawberries and cream were served at Wimbledon during the first tournament in 1877, a match between Spencer Gore and his opponent WC Marshall, wherein Spencer trumped Marshall in straight sets with an amazing display of his skills and technique, winning it 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. That day for the first time this historic dish was served to the audience, almost 200 people. Since then the sweet dish has been an integral part of this distinguished tournament.
Although, history doesn't relate the actual link between the two but it would have witnessed a great culinary tradition being born.



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