Racket-slamming, highly-strung outbursts, grunts, cries and the occasional accompanying sing-song from a squeaky clean pop star, mens the Wimbledon tennis tournament could rival most soap operas for drama.
This year, the popular sporting event looks set to be as action-packed as ever, especially because Andy Murray will be looking to defend his singles title after last year’s thrilling victory against Novak Djokovic.
With less than a fortnight to go before the action unfolds in London’s SW19 – and on BBC1 and BBC2 – preparations are well under way, not least in the catering tents – last year, fans gorged on an estimated 28,000kg of strawberries, washed down with a whopping 7,000L of cream.
Elsewhere, 54,250 balls – which are stored at 68F, in case you’re wondering – will be used during the Championships, sending 250 ball girls and boys chasing after them during the fortnight.
But for those of us who can’t make it down to ‘Murray Mound’ to celebrate or commiserate with the estimated 25,000 bottles of bubbly that are popped during the event, the trusty Sue Barker will be heading up the BBC’s coverage with punditry from Tracy Austin, Tim Henman, Virginia Wade and new commentators, Marion Bartoli, the reigning ladies champion and British number one Laura Robson.
To whet your Wimbledon appetite, here are some of the most memorable moments served up at SW19 over the years, plus our guide to the players to watch this summer.
MURRAY’S MINT: Andy Murray served up an ace when he beat Serbian player Novak Djokovic in last year’s men’s finals, a win made sweeter thanks to 2012’s defeat to Roger Federer, which saw him break down in tears during his gracious on-court interview with Sue Barker.
SERIOUSLY?:Nowadays, former number one tennis star John McEnroe is more likely to be found in the commentary box, holding court with his sporting peers, but back in 1981, he served up the most memorable line in his career, shouting, “You CAN NOT be serious”, at the mild-mannered umpire Edward James, who refused to rule his serve.
SISTER SISTER: From their successes against each other (and non-related opponents), to their joint victories in the doubles finals, American sisters Venus - who holds the female record for the fastest serve at 129mph - and Serena Williams have been serving up aces in SW19 since the late Nineties. 2009’s singles finals, where younger sister Serena ended her sister’s reign in straight sets, was a particular highlight.
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Croatian wildcard Goran Ivanisevic slammed his racket down in awed happiness when he won the 2001 men’s final against Australian Pat Rafter. Ivanisevic is still the only wildcard entry to have won a Wimbledon final.
ONES TO WATCH: While all eyes will be on Murray this year, there are a few players to look out for. Austria will be hoping that 20-year-old Dominic Thiem will do them proud when he makes his Wimbledon debut, while Latvian Ernests Gulbis, the newest member of the world’s top 10, is predicted to do well. Ivo Karlovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and last year’s runner up Novak Djokovic are also hoping for glory.
In the ladies’ singles, Serena Williams remains favourite to win, while Australian Open champion Li Na is looking for a boost after losing in the first round of the French Open. Newcomer Belinda Bencic is just 17, but is already creating a buzz, while 22-year-old Romanian Simona Halep has had an incredible 12 months, rising to third in the world rankings, and is expected to perform well at this year’s Championships. As well, Maria Sharapova, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and Sabine Lisicki are all looking for victory.