The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon (25 June – 8 July in 2012), is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious.
It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three Majors being the Australian Open, French Open and US Open. Wimbledon is the only Major still played on grass, the game's original surface, which gave the game of lawn tennis its name.
The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, culminating with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Final, scheduled respectively for the second Saturday and Sunday. Each year, five major events are contested, as well as four junior events and three invitational events.
The hard court (Plexicushion) Australian Open and clay court French Open precede Wimbledon in the calendar year. The hard court (DecoTurf) US Open follows. For men, the grass court Queen's Club Championships, also in London, as well as the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, serve as warm-up events. For women, the AEGON Classic in Birmingham and 2 joint events, the UNICEF Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands and the Eastbourne International serve as warm-up events to Wimbledon.
Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors, the eating of strawberries and cream by the spectators, and Royal patronage. The tournament is also notable for the absence of sponsor advertising around the courts. In 2009, Wimbledon's Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to prevent rain delaying and interrupting Centre Court matches during the tournament.