“They act like they’ve got the biggest tournament in the world,” seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras once said, before swiftly adding: “And they’re right, they do.”
Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam of the season after the Australian and French Opens and before the US Open, is regarded as the best and most prestigious Grand Slam in tennis.
The pristine grass courts, the strict all-white dress code and the pomp of the All England Club mean that, for two weeks of the year at least, the eyes of the sporting world fall on a small corner of southwest London.
Wimbledon always guarantees high drama as well as high-quality tennis. In the men’s, the usual suspects stand poised to compete for glory. Novak Djokovic heads into the tournament as world No 1 and reigning champion. He’ll face stiff competition from rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as they eye their ninth and third Wimbledon titles respectively.
In the women’s, it’s a far more unpredictable affair. After clinching the first Grand Slam title of her career at Roland Garros, Ashleigh Barty is among the favourites to win at Wimbledon. The likes of Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and 2018 champion Angelique Kerber are also in contention. Johanna Konta will fancy her chances too after a strong showing in Paris.
Here, we preview the Championships and provide you with all the key information you need to know ahead of Monday 1 July.
When is it?
Wimbledon Qualifying at Roehampton began on Monday 24 June, concluding on Thursday 27.
The seedings announcement for the tournament will be made on Friday 28 June.
The queue will then open at 8am on Sunday 30 June – if you’re into that sort of thing – before The Championships get underway on the morning of Monday 1 July. Weather permitting.
It runs until Sunday 14 July.
Women’s singles quarter-finals: Tuesday 9 July
Men’s singles quarter-finals: Wednesday 10 July
Women’s singles semi-finals: Thursday 11 July
Men’s singles semi-finals: Friday 12 July
Women’s singles final: Saturday 13 July
Men’s singles final: Sunday 14 July
Where can I watch it?
On the BBC, of course. Coverage on BBC1 will be led by Sue Barker, who will be joined at the All England Club by the likes of former champions Boris Becker, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova. Clare Balding will present the daily highlights show on BBC Two.
The BBC Sport website will also offer HD streams of every single court so you can follow every match as it happens.
What other coverage can I follow?
Ours! The Independent will live blog every single day of The Championships, bringing you match reports, player interviews and all the news and gossip from around the courts.
Can I still get tickets?
Yes – but it won’t be easy. Most tickets for this year’s tournament have already been allocated via a public ballot which was open from 1 September to 31 December.
Thankfully, there are other methods of obtaining the most sought-after tickets in tennis.
By far the easiest way to purchase one is through the ticket retailer Ticketmaster. Tickets for Centre Court and Court 3 for the following day’s play will be released on a daily basis during the tournament.
Prices for these tickets operate on a sliding scale, with the tickets getting more expensive as the tournament goes on.
These tickets usually sell out within a matter of minutes, so we recommend registering for the Wimbledon email newsletter, which flags up when tickets are going to go on sale.
Of course, there’s always the option of ‘The Queue’ – that great British summer tradition which attracts our great country’s finest and most patriotic individuals.
A limited number of Centre Court, No 1 Court and No 2 Court tickets are made available each day (except for the last four days on Centre Court) which means queueing fans have a chance to enjoy a day at The Championships.
Important: Tickets are sold strictly on the basis of one per person queueing and payment is by cash only.
Again, prices operate on a sliding scale and those who want to buy a ticket are advised to join The Queue well in advance of the 9.30am cut-off time. If you want to be sure of a ticket, you realistically have to get there the evening before.
When is the main draw?
This will take place on Friday 28 June.
When is the Order of Play announced?
After the initial draw, the Order of Play for the next day will be announced around 5pm every evening during the tournament.
Who are the defending champions?
In the men’s singles, Novak Djokovic stands as reigning champion. The Serbian claimed his fourth Wimbledon title last year, defeating Kevin Anderson in the final 6–2, 6–2, 7–6 (7–3).
In the women’s singles, Angelique Kerber is the woman to beat. She won her third Grand Slam singles title, defeating Serena Williams in the rematch of the 2016 final, 6–3, 6–3. Kerber became the first German since Graf in 1996 to lift the trophy.
Will Andy Murrary play at Wimbledon?
Yes! The Scot’s return from injury – having undergone hip surgery at the start of the year – is going remarkably well, as seen with his gritty victory in the doubles at Queen’s Club alongside Feliciano Lopez.
Although the two-time Wimbledon champion isn’t ready to return to singles action just yet, he’ll be taking to court at the All England Club in the men’s doubles. He’ll partner France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert as he eyes more silverware on his return to the scene of his greatest triumphs.
Murray is also still searching for a partner in the mixed doubles after being turned down by a host of stars, including French Open champion Ashleigh Barty.
What is the prize money?
There will be an increase to the prize money pot at Wimbledon this year – with the women’s and men’s competitions receiving the same amount once more.
The winner of the women’s and men’s singles will each receive £2.35 million – up from £2.25 million in 2018.
What are the odds?
Novak Djokovic: 3/2
Roger Federer: 17/5
Rafael Nadal: 11/2
Stefanos Tsitsipas: 14/1
Alexander Zverev: 25/1
Ashleigh Barty: 4/1
Serena Williams: 6/1
Angelique Kerber: 11/1
Petra Kvitova: 11/1
Naomi Osaka: 12/