20 things you didn't know about The Championships

Julian Finney/Getty Images

As Wimbledon 2017 gets underway on Monday (7 a.m. ET on ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN App), here are a few facts to help you brush up on your tennis knowledge.

1. The Championships, as it is formally known, is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. The event was first held in 1877, and tickets cost just one English shilling, which was equivalent to about 10 U.S. cents at the time.

2. The tournament is played at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, located in the London suburb of Wimbledon. The Club Croquet Championships have been held at the venue every year since 1960.

3. The first match was played on grounds situated off Worple Road in Wimbledon. "Centre Court" was originally the center court, with the other smaller courts surrounding it. Though its name remains the same, Centre Court long stopped being the center of the AELTC complex.

4. The first tournament had one event, the gentlemen's singles. The first winner was Spencer Gore, who lost his title defense the following year and then disappeared from tennis. Up until 1922, Wimbledon title defenders only had to play in the finals.

5. Around 6,000 staff members make the Championships tick. Here is a partial breakdown:

  • Ball boys and girls: 250

  • Ball distributors: 9

  • Catering staff: 2,200

  • Court attendants: 192

  • Data collectors: 50

  • Dressing room attendants: 30

  • Facilities management: 54

  • Ground staff: 31

  • Housekeeping staff: 400

  • Media staff: 22

  • Physio and massage therapists: 22

  • Podiatrists: 2

  • Referee's office: 16

  • Transport service drivers: 348

  • Umpires, chair and line and management: 360

6. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event played on a grass court. The grass is always 8 millimeters high.

7. Approximately 61,700 pounds (or 28,000 kilograms) of strawberries and more than10,000 liters of fresh cream are consumed during the tournament.

8. The ladies' singles and gentlemen's doubles events were added in 1884 ...

9. ... while ladies' doubles and mixed doubles were added in 1913.

10. The shortest person to play Wimbledon was Cynthia Gem Hoahing, at 4-foot-9. Hoahing was born in Hong Kong in 1920 (she died nearly 100 years later in 2015). In 1949, she beat the 6-foot-tall, top-three-ranked U.S. player/ fashion model Gussy Moran. It was an upset. One of the next day's headlines was "Little G Beats Big G."

11. The AELTC dress code calls for players to wear "predominantly white" or "almost entirely white." Women who wear tops that show too much cleavage are not allowed on the court. Jaroslav Drobny, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova are some of the few players to win Wimbledon while wearing glasses.

12. Wimbledon still requires that the final set be won by two games and cannot be decided by a tie-breaker. This resulted in the longest match in tennis history in June 2010. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut battled for 11 hours and 5 minutes over three days, with Isner finally winning 70-68. The match required 183 games, including 138 in the final set. A plaque commemorates the game on a wall outside Court 18.

13. A look at the top five men who have won the most combined Wimbledon titles (singles, doubles and/or mixed doubles):

12: William Renshaw (seven singles and five doubles titles)
12: Laurence Doherty (five singles and seven doubles)
11: Reginald Doherty, Laurence's brother (four singles and seven doubles)
8: John McEnroe (three singles and five doubles)
7 (tied by three of the greatest players of all time): Roger Federer (seven singles); Pete Sampras (seven singles); and Rod Laver (four singles, one doubles and two mixed doubles)

14. In 1959, Laver was runner-up in the singles and doubles, and won the mixed doubles. (He also won the singles title in the four years in a row that he could play --- winning in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969, having been barred after turning pro in 1962 before being allowed to return at the beginning of the Open Era, in 1968.)

15. A look at the top five women who have won the most combined Wimbledon titles (singles, doubles and/or mixed doubles):

20: Billie Jean King (six singles, 10 doubles and four mixed doubles)
20: Martina Navratilova (nine singles, seven doubles and four mixed doubles)
19: Elizabeth Ryan (12 doubles and seven mixed doubles)
15: Suzanne Lenglen (six singles, six doubles and three mixed doubles)
14: Serena Williams (seven singles, six doubles and one mixed doubles)

16. The youngest player to win Wimbledon was Charlotte Dod, at 15, in 1887. She won the women's singles crown four more times (in 1888, 1891-93).

17. It took almost 100 years for the youngest boy to win Wimbledon: In 1985, 17-year-old Boris Becker was also the first German and first unseeded player to win.

18. The Duke of York (who became King George VI and later Queen Elizabeth's father) played as a competitor in men's doubles in 1926 with Sir Louis Greig. They were beaten by fellow countrymen Arthur Gore and Herbert Roper Barrett, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.

19. Maria Sharapova holds the record for the loudest grunts on court, recorded at 101.2 decibels. That's roughly the same noise level as a 747 taking off and only 20 percent less than legendary British rock band The Who, which earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1976 as the loudest band of all time.

20. During most mornings of the tournament, two hawks named Rufus and Pollux fly over the venue, starting at 9 a.m. on the dot, to scare away local pigeons.