Held for the first time in 1877, Wimbledon exudes history. Its first champion, Englishman Spencer Gore, was crowned five years before his country began an annual cricket match with Australia known as the Ashes. The first ladies’ Wimbledon winner, Maud Watson, was awarded a silver flower basket in 1884, nine years before Lord Stanley of Preston purchased a silver cup to give to the best ice hockey team in Canada. The modern Olympic Games were still years away.
The grounds of the All England Club remain a snapshot of a moment from well over a century ago. Gold-encrusted wood, lush green grass and impeccably trimmed flower beds fill the venue, with teenage volunteers and chair umpires dressed in their Sunday best—pressed pants, spotless jackets, ironed skirts—every single day. While sports have become more marketable with each passing year, Wimbledon permits scant sponsor advertising, maintaining an unspoiled presentation of tennis. No sporting event mixes elegance with relevance quite like Wimbledon.