Wimbledon is one of the most prestigious tennis championships in the world. The first ever Wimbledon championship was held in the year 1877 and by 1919, the number of entries to the championship had grown to massive proportions. Therefore, it was decided to conduct a qualifying tournament for all the entrants, with only its winners making it to the main event. The practice continues till date. Many of the tennis players consider winning in the qualifiers, and reaching the main event at Wimbledon, an achievement in itself.
It was in 1919 that a decision was taken to conduct Wimbledon qualifiers, to restrict the entry to main events. The entries were divided into two categories - one comprising of the players that were nominated by their national associations and the other comprising of individual nominations. While the former were accepted to the qualifiers almost as soon as their entries came, the latter had to go through a careful scrutiny of a sub-committee that comprised of five members, including the Referee. It was in 1925 that a Qualifying competition for the five Championship events was held for the first time.
The venue of the 1925 Qualifying Tournament was Roehampton Club, London, and the tournament was organized in the week before The Championships. Two years later i.e. in 1927, seeding for the Main Draw was introduced and has been in operation since then. In the upcoming years, the Qualifying stage was split between the north and south of England. This was done with the aim of reducing the traveling for players, amateurs at that time. However, in 1966, the split was discontinued. Since 1977, computer ranking have been used for the purpose of accepting the players into the Qualifying competition. At present, prize money is received by all the players who compete in Wimbledon Qualifying Tournament.
In the year 1983, The Lawn Tennis Association introduced the concept of Wimbledon Pre-Qualifying singles events. The events were held around two weeks before The Championships. The aim was to pick the British players for competing in the Qualifying competition. Only those players who were classified as 'British', as per rule 35 of the 'Rules of the LTA', were allowed to participate in the Pre-Qualifying Tournament. However, the practice was discontinued from the year 2004, when pre-qualifying events were combined with the LTA Wild Card Play-off Competitions.
Wimbledon Qualifiers 2009
For Wimbledon 2009, the Qualifying Tournament will be organized between June 15 and 18. The venue will be the Bank of England Sports Ground at Roehampton. The players who enter the singles events will have to play three rounds on grass. Unlike The Championships, in the qualifiers, there will not be a single 'winner'. Rather, the winners in all the three rounds - numbering 16 in the Gentlemen's Singles and 12 in the Ladies' Singles - will be moving ahead, along with four pairs in each of the Ladies' and Men's Doubles events.
Wimbledon Qualifying Tournament is organized to narrow down the entries for the main events. Let us know about the Wimbledon Qualifiers 2009.