© 2011 Grant William Veitch Harrold The Royal Butler. All Rights Reserved. 

Wimbledon Etiquette



When it comes to sports in the United Kingdom, Wimbledon is one of the world’s oldest tennis tournaments and also one of the most watched sports in the world. It takes place in the last two weeks of June and early July.

It is believed that the game's ancient origin lay in 12th century northern France where a ball was struck with the palm of the hand. It was said that Louis X of France was a keen player, which of course evolved into tennis we know today and became notable as the first person to construct indoor tennis courts in the modern style. It wasn't until the 16th century that rackets were used and the game began to be called "tennis", from the old French term tenez, which can be translated as "hold!", "receive!" or "take!", an interjection used as a call from the server to his opponent.

King Henry VIII was a big fan of this game, which is now known as real tennis. During the 18th century and early 19th century, as real tennis declined, new racket sports emerged in England. I have now compiled my top 12 etiquette rules for Wimbledon to keep the great British public right with this time old sport.

Etiquette Rules for Wimbledon

1. Players should always offer a handshake at the start and finish of a game (The sign of peace).

2. No swearing, or inappropriate behaviour permitted. The game is indeed a competition, however remember we are British so let’s mind our P&Q’s.

3. Dress codes: For players these are very strict, dark green and purple are traditional Wimbledon colours. However, all tennis players participating in the tournament are required to wear all white which is a long-time tradition at Wimbledon. Dress codes for spectators is quite relaxed within Wimbledon, however, dress appropriately. Ladies, I would recommend a lovely summer day dress and for gentlemen, a smart shirt and chinos or similar. Of course, if it rains we may require umbrellas and water proofs in case the great British weather misbehaves itself.

4. Car parks: Car parks are numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 in the central area. Parking can be booked through the theaa.com/wimbledon.

Pre-paid public parking is also available but limited spaces are available in Car Park 6 and there is a Park and Ride. You can also pay on the day as parking is available, subject to space. Finally there is limited parking for disabled people. Visit the above website for further details.

5. Queuing: While waiting to gain entry and as with all great British traditions, queuing is one of them. During which you don't complain or queue jump and wait your turn to be served.

6. Seating: Keep all your personal items next to you! The other chair is not your personal luggage compartment. Remember to sit in an elegant manner and respect other people's space around you.

7. Hats: Ladies, if your hat is rather large, you may opt to remove this in case it blocks the view of others behind you, and the same can be said for gentlemen wearing Panama hats.

8. Volume: Keep voices low except when others take part in showing support, and of course clapping is recommended when appropriate.

9. Dining: Please also remember that if you decide to enjoy a packed lunch or in fact any other food and drink, then please keep noise to a minimum! You don't really want to draw attention to yourself as you are not the half time entertainment. Hot and/or strong smelling food may not be taken onto the Show Courts. Also you cannot take Hard-sided containers/items – such as picnic hampers/ cool boxes, flasks and camping chairs in to the courts. Therefore, may I recommend The Wingfield Restaurant which is located on the 1st floor of the Centre Court Building above The Tea Lawn for your lunch.

10. Strawberrys and Cream: Lets not forget at this point Strawberry's and cream are a must while at Wimbledon but do remember to take the linen napkins!

11. Alcohol: The consumption of alcohol is permitted only in public bars. Glass drinking vessels may not be used on the Show Courts; all drinks taken onto the Show Courts must be covered to avoid spillage.

12. The Royal Box: For those of you to enter the holy grail of Wimbledon be prepared for strict rules and dresscodes. The dress code for Ladies is formal daywear and they are asked not to wear hats, as they tend to obscure the vision of those seated behind them. Thankfully, this also applies to fascinators, let's leave them and any other fascinating thing behind. Gentlemen, you are asked to be smart therefore I suggest, suits/jacket and tie, etc. If you don't dress correctly, you will be refused entry. If you are in the Royal Box, you will not be having any food or drink while seated there. Guests are invited to the Clubhouse for lunch, tea and drinks at the end of the day.