A total of 128 players feature in each singles event, 64 pairs in each single-sex doubles event, and 48 pairs in Mixed Doubles. Players and doubles pairs are admitted to the main events on the basis of their international rankings, with consideration also given to their previous performances at grasscourt events. Since the 2001 tournament 32 male and female players are given seedings in the Gentlemen's and Ladies' singles while 16 teams are seeded in the doubles events.
The Committee of Management and the Referee evaluate all applications for entry, and determine which players may be admitted to the tournament directly. The committee may admit a player without a high enough ranking as a wild card. Usually, wild cards are players who have performed well during previous tournaments, or would stimulate public interest in Wimbledon by participating. The only wild card to win the Gentlemen's Singles Championship was Goran Ivanišević
in 2001. Players and pairs who neither have high enough rankings nor receive wild cards may participate in a qualifying tournament held one week before Wimbledon at the Bank of England Sports Ground in Roehampton. The singles qualifying competitions are three-round events; the same-sex doubles competitions last for only one round. There is no qualifying tournament for Mixed Doubles. No qualifier has won either the Gentlemen's Singles or the Ladies' Singles tournaments. The furthest that any qualifier has progressed in the main draw of a Singles tournament is the semi-final round: John McEnroe in 1977 (Gentlemen's Singles), Vladimir Voltchkov in 2000 (Gentlemen's Singles), and Alexandra Stevenson in 1999 (Ladies' Singles).
Players are admitted to the junior tournaments upon the recommendations of their national tennis associations, on their International Tennis Federation
world rankings and, in the case of the singles events, on the basis of a qualifying competition. The Committee of Management determines which players may enter the four invitational events.
The Committee seeds the top players and pairs on the basis of their rankings. However, the Committee can opt to change the seedings based on a player's previous grass court performance. A majority of the entrants are unseeded. Only two unseeded players have ever won the Gentlemen's Singles Championship: Boris Becker in 1985 and Goran Ivanišević
in 2001. In 1985 there were only 16 seeds and Becker was ranked 20th at the time; Ivanišević, however, was ranked 125th when he won as a Wild Card entrant - although he had previously been a finalist three times, and been ranked no. 2 in the world: his low ranking was due to having been hampered by a persistent shoulder injury for three years, which had only just cleared up. Also, in 1996, the title was won by Richard Krajicek, who was originally unseeded (ranked 17th, and only 16 players were seeded) but was promoted to a seeded position (still with the number 17) when Thomas Muster withdrew before the tournament. No unseeded player has captured the Ladies' Singles title; the lowest seeded female champion was Venus Williams, who won in 2007 as the twenty-third seed (the only time anyone outside the top 16 has won), beating her own record from 2005, when she won as the fourteenth seed. In both cases, Williams was returning from an injury that had either hampered or prevented her playing in previous tournaments, giving her a lower ranking than she would normally have had. Unseeded pairs have won the doubles titles on numerous occasions; the 2005 Gentlemen's Doubles champions were not only unseeded, but also (for the first time ever) qualifiers.
The grounds open at 10.30am on each day of playing. On the Centre Court, play starts at 1pm, with exception of the final two days of the competition (Ladies' and Gentlemen's Finals). On both of these days, play on these courts begins at 2pm. On courts 2-19, play begins at noon for at least the first eight days of the competition. It then starts at 11am for the Junior matches on the middle Saturday and during the second week.