It’s billed up as being one of the most formal and quaint affairs on the sporting calendar, with the All England Club’s strict rules and traditions setting Wimbledon apart from the likes of football and other “louder" sports.
However, this is a tournament which hasn’t been completely squeaky clean and there have been numerous occasions of controversy being brought to SW19. While none of them even scratch the surface of Luis Suarez-esque behaviour, they have still brought different headlines over to the event. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest controversies that have donned Wimbledon, as the competition prepares to enter its second week.
Tim Henman Disqualification – 1995
He’s seen as one of the legends of British tennis, and even has his own hill at Wimbledon. However, Tim Henman hasn’t always been the tournament’s darling and during his early career he and his doubles partner, Jeremy Bates, became the first players to be disqualified in the Open era.
In fact, he hasn’t always held the restraint that made him such a cool customer on court during his peak. In a match involving Henman and Bates against Jeff Tarango and Henrik Holm, he unleashed his frustration after missing a net cord. He smashed a ball forwards, that unfortunately hit a ball girl on the ear; leaving her in tears. Umpire Alan Mills opted to disqualify Henman, to the anger of the baying crowd.
Anne White’s Catsuit – 1985
Ten years previously and it was fashion that caused controversy. US player Anne White turned up to her third round match against Pam Shriver donning a white catsuit and to say she stood out would be something of an understatement. While she clearly abided to the strict all-white policy, her opponent requested that the outfit be changed when the match resumed on the next day. Apparently, it was distracting.
White was seemingly the only person not to question her choice of clothing, describing it as a combination of “fashion and function". Suffice to say, such an outfit hasn’t been seen since.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Spat – 2013
This incident only occurred at last year’s event, with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova being involved in spat regarding an interview that Williams conducted with a magazine. The American claimed that an unnamed player, widely believed to be Sharapova, was boring and made references to her love life. Naturally, the Russian fought back with her own personal attack – making the 2013 Championships start with a real bang.
Greg Rusedski Outburst – 2003
He’s one of the leading pundits on our televisions this summer and few would disagree that Greg Rusedski comes across as the relaxed, likeable guy that used to be known as Britain’s No.2. However, a completely different side of the Canadian-born player was unleashed during a 2003 second round match against Andy Roddick.
Whilst engaged in a rally with the American, a member of the crowd decided to falsely shout “out" when one of Roddick’s forehands came crashing towards Rusedski. While he did return the initial shot, he also turned his back away to practically forfeit the point. When it was confirmed that the referee had not sanctioned this call, Rusedski went into meltdown. He launched one of the most foul-mouthed tirades that the tournament has ever seen, aggrieved that the referee wouldn’t replay the point. For his efforts, Rusedski was fined £1,500 – a fee that most people thought was hugely lenient considering the scope of his anger.
Gilles Simon’s “Sexism" – 2012
Considering the huge debates that have rumbled on over the years regarding the discrepancies between men’s and women’s prize money, Gilles Simon should have known that he was getting into dangerous territory when he spoke out about the subject back in 2012.
Simon claimed that the men’s game was much more attractive than the women’s and the fact that men can spend up to twice as long on court means that they should earn more. It drew a fierce response from numerous female players, including Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli and Sloane Stephens, who immediately leapt to the response of their game.
The organisers at Wimbledon created pay equality in 2007, following years of debates that the women’s prize money should be upgraded to match that of the men’s. The 2014 winner will receive £1.76m.