30 May 2013

The Muse: Wimbledon

Its not even June yet, but wit the French Open on television I am itching for The Championships to start. I love tennis, always have. Before she met my father my mother dated a semi-pro tennis player that got her into the sport and long after the relationship ended she's still a big fan, so I grew up watching the game. Then in high school my best friend was also a big tennis fan and every summer we would go to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport for their tournament (the only tournament played on grass courts in America). In college one of my roommates even came all the way from Texas to Rhode Island to play tennis for URI's team. Needless to say if the tennis is on TV I'll be watching it.

That being said, Wimbledon is still my favorite event to watch. Of the four Grand Slams of tennis; the Australian Open, the French Open, the Championships (Wimbledon) and the U.S. Open it is the only tournament played on grass. The Australian and U.S. Open are both played on hardcourt (Plexicushion and DecoTurf respectively) and the French Open is played on clay. May consider grass the most difficult surface to master because of the difference in the bounce and spin that the balls have and the resistance between the players shoes and the surface. I know that most players seem to have a much stronger emotional reaction to winning at Wimbledon than at other majors, when Novak Djokivic won the Men's Singles in 2011 he talked about how while he dreamed of being a pro-tennis player, his real dream was to win on Centre Court at Wimbledon. If there is a Grand-Pappy of Grand Slams it is Wimbledon without a doubt. This makes sense because it is by far the oldest (followed by the U.S. (1881), French (1891), and Australian (1905), having been played at the All England Club since 1877, only breaking for ten years, four during WWI and six during WWII. Also it is steeped in tradition, much more so than any of the other tournaments. Here are just a few of the things I love about Wimbledon:

1.) By Royal Edict You Must Wear White. Okay by now its more of a tradition, but originally if you wanted to play you had to give up your colors in favor of tennis' traditional togs. There can be some color on your outfit, but not much, and brand name logos are a major no-no. Also if there is color it should be muted, preferably pastel rather than harsh dark bands of color. Color is laos mostly worn on top and in front. Your shorts or skirt, sock, shoes, and back must be predominantly white. This uniform is also adopted by spectators, both out of tradition and for practical purposes, only recently did Wimbledon install a retractable roof to cut down on rain delays. When its sunny white keeps the spectators cool. Below are the all white looks the Duchess of Cambridge has sported at Wimbledon in years past.

2.) Even the refreshments are refined. In America we eat hot dogs and beer at ball games. Not at the All England Club,  the refreshment of choice at Wimbledon is traditionally strawberries covered with a coating of fresh cream. On television you can see the dozens of bright red strawberry carts lined up to serve the crowds. Fresh produce wins in the class department hands down.

3.) Ettiquite reigns. At Wimbledon there is no sexual revolution or political correctness. They go by a whole different set of rules, the Victorians. When Chris Evert played she was not listed anywhere as Chris Evert, she was listed as Mrs. J.M. Lloyd, her married name. Likewise unmarried girls are always Miss, not the much more politically correct Ms. While these rules have loosened up a bit over the years, tradition still holds sway on the courts of Wimbledon. As there is a royal box and royals are almost always in attendance (HRH Edward, Duke of Kent is the president of the All England Club and presents the trophies to the winners on behalf of his cousin the queen) bows and curtsies are required of all players, however only if the Queen or her son the Prince of Wales is in attendance. Charles and Camilla, her in particular show up on occasion for the finals and William and Kate have become fixtures as well.

While I wasn't all in white I didn't push it too badly, I went with nice safe creams and mixed in green for the grass court, and all day I longed for a tennis racquet. Game, set, match.

Sweater: vintage, St. John, thrifted via The Bargain Box
Tank: Old Navy (really old)
Skirt: French Connection UK, thrifted via Second Time Around
Purse: vintage, Lewis, one of my great-aunt Connie's
Necklace: Lenora Dame via Anthropologie
Ring: vintage, my grandfather's 1949 class ring
Shoes: Nine West, thrifted via Goodwill

Linking up with Agi of Vodka Infused Lemonade


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