Tennis is a high-speed sport contested between individuals or teams of two and played over the course of single exhibition games or extended tournaments. The sport is one of the few professional sports also played in the Olympics and it’s one that has existed in its current form for over 100 years. Tennis is thought to date back to earlier games, including one known as Real Tennis that was played inside an elaborate court and was said to be popular with Henry the VIII, before his days of gluttony and execution. Tennis can be played on grass, clay, and hard courts, the latter of which are made from a tough acrylic. Each court presents a unique set of challenges for the player, with the bounce and run of the ball altered quite significantly. In addition to the Olympics, there are four major tennis tournaments that all the best players compete in. These are the Australian Open, the French Open, the US Open and Wimbledon, the latter of which is played at the All England Club, Wimbledon, London, and is close to 150 years old. Wimbledon is a huge event—it is said that over 10,000 litres of cream and 34,000 kilos of strawberries are consumed by spectators throughout its 2-week runtime.
Despite its close association with the sport of tennis, the UK hasn’t always produced the best players. For a long time, UK fans were frustrated with the lack of world-beating players that this country was producing and were forced to sit back and watch as players from the United States, Australia, Switzerland, and elsewhere dominated home-grown tournaments like Wimbledon. In fact, after Fred Perry’s three consecutive men’s singles titles in 1934, 1935, and 1936, there wasn’t a single British winner for 77 years! That winner, of course, was Andy Murray, a man who many saw as the saviour of men’s tennis and one who would go on to win two Wimbledon titles, 5 Australian Open titles, 1 US Open and 1 French Open. In the women’s singles tournament, there hasn’t been a British winner since 1977, when Virginia Wade beat Betty Stove to win her 5th major title. It’s a similar story with other major tournaments, with British winners being few and far between after the 1940s and prior to the 2010s. Tennis is still popular in the UK though and thanks to Andy Murray, it’s popularity is growing and a new generation of potential stars are coming through the ranks and fighting to become British number 1.
Wimbledon is by far the most popular tennis tournament in the United Kingdom, the one that most people watch and the one that most people bet on. Over 9 million spectators tuned into the last Wimbledon men’s final, even though there wasn’t a British player in sight. The final also receives the largest number of bets. Many British fans have their favourite players they follow when British players have been knocked out. For the majority, their favourites are Serena Williams and Roger Federer, two players who always put on a good show during Wimbledon and are always prepared to dazzle the fans. Federer won five straight titles between 2003 and 2007, only to win again in 2009, 2012, and 2017. He beat Andy Murray on one of those occasions, creating a conflict of interest for many British fans nationwide. The US open is also popular with bettors, as is the Australian Open, a tournament that has been kind to British players over the years. Outright bets are common with tennis tournaments. These bets allow bettors to place their money on the player on players they think will go deep or win the whole tournament, with each-way and win options available.