Wimbledon 2013: 5 Reasons Championship Is the Grandest of the Grand Slams

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett@@merlisaFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2013

Wimbledon 2013: 5 Reasons Championship Is the Grandest of the Grand Slams

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    The Championships, Wimbledon are steeped in tradition and the most anticipated Grand Slam.

    All Grand Slams award the same amount of points to winners and similar prize money. However, Wimbledon stands above the others. 

    The red clay at Roland Garros makes the French Open spectacular; especially the way it seems to frustrate the greats like Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.

    The late-night matches at the U.S. Open in New York feature an electric buzz.

    The Australian Open gets our attention because it is the first of the Grand Slams in the calendar year.

    But none of the other Slams deliver quite the prestige and pageantry of Wimbledon, the grandest of the Grand Slams. 

No. 5 Royalty

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    Nothing is more regal than seeing the Royals in the Royal Box at Center Court.

    Members of the royal family have attended Wimbledon matches since 1907. The Duke of Kent is president of The All England Lawn Tennis Club.

    Up until 2003, players had to bow and curtsy upon entering and leaving Center Court. Now they are required to do so only if Queen Elizabeth or her son Charles, The Prince of Wales, is in attendance. 

    No matter how the other Grand Slams try to introduce prestige to their tournaments, nothing beats royalty.

    Even when First Lady Michelle Obama visits the U.S. Open, it's not the same as a visit from the Queen.

No. 4 Pageantry

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    The braided hair of the ball girls, the Wimbledon dinner and the Duke of Kent are all parts of the pageantry, unmatched by other Grand Slams.

    Seeing the Duke chat with ball boys and girls during the trophy ceremonies is just one of the splendid scenes on Center Court.

    Even the line judges dress with an air of sophistication. Oddly, their very British-looking attire is designed by American Ralph Lauren.

No. 3 Grass Courts

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    Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam still played on grass, the sports' original surface.

    Yes, the French Open, Australian Open and even the U.S. Open, were all once played on grass.

    Leave it to the Brits to hold onto the most expensive, yet exquiste surface for tennis.

    The courts at Wimbledon are 100 percent Perennial Ryegrass, which reportedly improves durability and withstands wear better than the ryegrass blend used prior to 2001.

    According to the British-based Sports Turf Research Institute, the soil beneath the Wimbledon grass is 23 percent clay. That's probably welcomed news to clay-court king Rafael Nadal.

No. 2 All-White Attire

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    To understand the all-white dress code at Wimbledon, you must understand the restrictive practices of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

    Last year the club issued a warning to members about "inappropriate attire." The Daily Mail published the pictorial guide of what not to wear at the All England Club.

    The new dress code was meant to keep the "riff-raff" out.

    They waved the rules for the 2012 Olympics and allowed players to wear colors representing their countries. 

    The guidelines stipulate "no solid mass of colouring; little or no dark or bold colours; no fluorescent colours; preference towards pastel colours...and all other items of clothing including hats, socks and shoes to be almost entirely white."

    Call it stuffy, snobby or outdated, but the formal style at Wimbledon is part of the lure. 

No. 1 Traditions

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    From the strawberries and cream served at the tournament to the Venus Rosewater Dish awarded to the women's singles winner, Wimbledon is drenched in tradition.

    A librarian for the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum once told the New York Times that the strawberries date back to the first Wimbledon tournament in 1877. She said strawberries and tennis both signaled the arrival of summer.

    Other traditions include the "day of rest." The middle Sunday of the Wimbledon fortnight is always a day off. 

    Even the term fortnight, a two-week period, is traditionally reserved for describing the Championships.

    Throughout the years, Center Court, which survived a War World II bombing, has provided a Shakespearian-like setting for some of the best drama in tennis history.