(estimated 5 minute read time)

Tennis enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the arrival of the annual Wimbledon tournament, one of the most prestigious events in the sport. As the oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon holds a special place in the hearts of players and fans alike.

Steeped in history, Wimbledon has its own set of rules and etiquette that add to the allure of the event and to fully appreciate the competition, it’s crucial to understand the rules that govern the game at this iconic venue.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricate world of Wimbledon tennis, unravelling the rules and etiquette that govern the hallowed lawns of the All-England Club Lawn Tennis Club.

The Wimbledon Scoring System

Wimbledon, like most professional tennis tournaments, employs a scoring system that follows the traditional format. Each match consists of sets, games, and points. To win a set, a player must secure six games, with a minimum lead of two games. If the set reaches 6-6, a tiebreaker is played. The first player to win seven points with a two-point advantage takes the tiebreaker and the set. Matches at Wimbledon are generally best-of-five sets for men and best-of-three sets for women.

Two tennis players mid-match at Wimbledon.


The serve holds immense importance in tennis, and Wimbledon is no exception. Players take turns serving, with the server alternating after every game. At the start of each game, the server stands behind the baseline and must serve the ball into the diagonally opposite service box. The server has two attempts to land a valid serve. If the ball fails to land within the service box, a fault is called, and the server gets another chance. However, two consecutive faults result in a double fault, resulting in the loss of a point.

A man dressed in white preparing to serve in a tennis match at Wimbledon.

Are thererules around Court Etiquette?

Wimbledon is known for its adherence to tradition and decorum. Players are expected to maintain a certain level of etiquette during matches. The famous All-England Club Lawn Tennis Club emphasizes respect for opponents, officials, and spectators.

Players are required to wear predominantly white attire, with the tournament’s strict dress code enforced rigorously. According to the All-England Lawn Tennis Club, this rule adds elegance and a touch of nostalgia to the tournament.

In addition, players are expected to abide by the rules concerning on-court conduct, avoiding outbursts, racket abuse, unsportsmanlike behaviour, and coaching during matches.

Wimbledon Line-Calling Technology

Wimbledon incorporates the Hawk-Eye technology to aid in line-calling decisions. Players have the right to challenge a line call by requesting a review. Each player is allotted three challenges per set, plus an additional challenge in a tiebreaker. If the challenge is successful and the original call is overturned, the player retains the same number of challenges. However, an unsuccessful challenge results in the loss of one challenge.

Person in navy outfit mowing the grass in the early morning at Wimbledon.

Grass Court Characteristics at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is renowned for its pristine grass courts, which present unique challenges compared to other surfaces. The grass courts at Wimbledon are fast, offering low and skidding bounces, demanding quick reflexes and adaptability from players.  Players must modify their playing style to the surface, using rapid footwork and employing strategies that exploit the grass’s characteristics. The ability to adjust to the unpredictable bounces and change direction swiftly is vital for success on these revered lawns.

A tennis net on a grass court and an umpire sitting in his chair.

Rain and Roof Policy at wimbledon

The unpredictable British weather often interrupts Wimbledon matches. To combat this, Centre Court and Court One feature retractable roofs. When rain disrupts play, the roofs can be closed swiftly to maintain match continuity. However, the introduction of the roof alters the playing conditions. Controlled lighting and the absence of weather elements affect the pace and bounce of the ball, adding a new dimension to the game.

View of Wimbledon from overhead at night time with the roof on and lights turned on.

Schedule of Play

The schedule of play at Wimbledon follows a structured format that spans two weeks. The tournament consists of matches in the Gentlemen’s Singles, Ladies’ Singles, Gentlemen’s Doubles, Ladies’ Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and various junior and invitational events.

The schedule features matches on multiple courts simultaneously. The Centre Court and No. 1 Court are the main show courts, where the most high-profile matches take place. These matches often start around 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively. The matches on these courts include singles matches from both the men’s and women’s draws.

Throughout the tournament, matches progress through different rounds, starting with the first round, followed by the second, third, fourth (also known as the “Round of 16”), quarter-finals, semi-finals, and ultimately the finals. The Ladies’ Singles final is traditionally held on the second Saturday, while the Gentlemen’s Singles final takes place on the second Sunday.

Wimbledon Dress Code for Visitors

The Wimbledon dress code etiquette for the public is defined by a sense of sophistication and respect for tradition. While there is no strict formal dress code, attendees are encouraged to adhere to certain guidelines to maintain the event’s prestigious atmosphere.

For gentlemen, it is customary to wear smart attire, typically consisting of tailored trousers, a collared shirt, and closed-toe shoes. Although jackets and ties are not mandatory, they are often worn, especially in the more formal areas like the Centre Court and the Royal Box. It is important to avoid wearing jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and sportswear, as they are considered too casual for the occasion.

Ladies have a bit more flexibility in their attire, but it is still expected to be tasteful and appropriate. Many opt for elegant summer dresses or skirts paired with a blouse or a tailored top. While hats are not obligatory, they are a popular choice, especially for the more formal areas. Similarly, wearing comfortable yet stylish footwear is recommended.

People sitting in a bar on comfortable seats with a tennis match playing on a screen behind them.

Wimbledon, the epitome of tennis tradition and excellence, captures the hearts of fans worldwide. By familiarizing ourselves with the rules and etiquette of Wimbledon tennis, we deepen our appreciation for the skill and grace exhibited on those iconic grass courts. Understanding the scoring system, service rules, court etiquette, line-calling technology, and the influence of the rain and roof policy allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the magic of Wimbledon and celebrate this timeless sporting spectacle. Find out more about our other tennis hospitality offerings today.