A gen Zer’s guide to Wimbledon 2023, from a self-proclaimed tennis addict

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Jul 5, 2023 at 01:34 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

It’s summertime in London, and my stomach is absolutely rumbling up a storm. Clearly, it’s time for me to sample my annual punnet of strawberries, sugar and cream. This very specific, iconically British dessert can mean only one thing… it’s Wimbledon season. Considering the fact that on a regular day, sports are probably the last thing that would ever pass my mind, it’s surprising to me how much I love Wimbledon.

One might say that it’s to do with the trauma bond I made with tennis as an 11-year-old—playing a sport you’re not that great at three times a week can do that to a child. But I mean, I think that entire segment of my youth had more to do with my mum’s obsession with Victoria Azarenka than anything else.

The fact is, though, I’ve just always loved tennis. There’s something about it that gets me so excited, I’ve never felt like that about any other sport. Put on an England football match, zero emotional response, but put on one of Andy Murray’s old tennis matches from 10 years ago and I will quite literally drop everything I’m doing to sit down and watch. I love the intensity, I love the drama, I love the personalities, I’ve just always had a thing for those grass courts, what can I say?

So, with the first week of play already in full swing, I thought I’d run any and all newcomers through my personal and perfected gen Z guide to Wimbledon.

Keep an eye out for all the newbies

Wimbledon is kind of the perfect place to watch tennis legends and newcomers collide. Only a few years ago, we got to witness the brilliance of 20-year-old Emma Raducanu, a wildcard entry who became the youngest British woman to reach the Wimbledon third round since Elena Baltacha in 2002.

This year, we’ve got some pretty snazzy picks lined up. First off there is 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, a Russian teenager who was able to enter the competition after Wimbledon controversially lifted its ban on Russian players.

Next up we have Arthur Fils, a 19-year-old French player who has a current ATP world ranking of 58. Special mention also needs to go out to 21-year-old Italian star Jannik Sinner—a sassy blonde who’s known for making quite a splash during his time on court.

Things at Wimbledon don’t really get interesting until round three

While I totally won’t be pirating the entire order of play off an illegal website due to the fact I don’t have a TV licence, if you’re not massively invested in seeing every single match, I’d probably wait till round three to tune into the action. Also, unless you have a Royal connection or access to a PR brand deal, don’t bother trying to go and watch the tennis live, it’s basically impossible.

By this point we’ll have weeded out the smaller names who aren’t quite yet up to scratch, allowing us to focus on the big bois and queens of the court who always make for good TV. After four rounds the few remaining players play the semi-finals and subsequently, the last proper grand slam moment, the final. At this point, don’t be alarmed if you wander into the streets and are confronted by Pimms-infused burnt British folks looking confused and lost—post Wimbledon blues are a thing ok.

Not everyone has the charisma and grace of Roger Federer, so watch out for the arseholes

Tennis players are entertaining to say the least, and despite the fact that some of the old-school traditionalists aren’t a fan of all the drama and racket-smashing, I personally can’t get enough.

While the king of drama, Nick Kyrgios, has sadly had to pull out of the competition after hurting his wrist—probably from punching someone in a pub—there are definitely some other feisty players who we should all keep an eye on.

For example, I think the fact that when I search for Danish player Holger Rune on YouTube one of the first prompts that comes up is “Holger Rune acting like a baby” shows that we still have some drama queens among us.

Watch the 2004 romantic comedy ‘Wimbledon’

My last, and potentially most important piece of advice, would be to watch the 2004 classic Wimbledon starring Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst. When I was younger, I would only allow myself to watch this film during the real-life Wimbledon season and when that time came around, I’d beam with excitement, ice lolly in hand.

The plot follows British has-been player Peter (played by Bettany) as he participates in what he believes will be his “last ever Wimbledon.” During the tournament, he falls in love with the effortlessly beautiful Lizzie Bradbury (played by Dunst) and the two strike up a deliciously cutesy romance. An hour and a half of tennis, lots of sunsets and British slang later, and—spoiler—Peter takes home the championship, and the girl—classic.

Either way, that film always gets me in the mood to tune in to the actual tennis. And, if we’re lucky, we might even get to see some real-life romantic moments in the players’ boxes this year.

Grab yourself a bag of strawberries, superglue a sunhat to your head, and enjoy!

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