Wimbledon etiquette: How to ace this year’s Championships

The All England Lawn Tennis Club prides itself on it strict adherence to tradition and sense of decorum.

Its many unwritten rules can be confusing for a first timer – here's how to pass yourself off as a Wimble-don.

The Queue: The action kicks off with that most sacred of British traditions – queuing.

The official Wimbledon Guide to Queuing goes so far as to claim the queue is "as much a part of the Wimbledon experience as the tennis itself".

The lines of tennis fans in SW19 are forbidden from playing loud music, the "excessive consumption" of alcohol and any other anti-social behaviour if they want to avoid being kicked out before they even get in.

A spectator relaxes in the queue at the start of day five of Wimbledon 2018
A spectator relaxes in the queue at the start of day five of Wimbledon 2018 (Nigel French/PA)

Those camping out in a bid to land prime seats are only allowed tents holding a maximum of two people while barbecues, fires and smoking are all banned.

Queuers are allowed a "temporary absence" from their place in line to get food or visit the toilet, but these "should not exceed 30 minutes".

Dress code: Players have a 10-point dress code to follow – mostly stipulating everything be white – but for spectators the rules are a little less clear cut.

It's not a good idea to sport your skinny jeans, but don't recycle your Ascot outfit either.

Etiquette expert William Hanson said: "Wimbledon is actually quite casual – definitely in comparison to a lot of seasonal events in the English social scene.

"There's no formal dress code but 'smart-casual' is definitely encouraged – particularly if you're going to go to centre court or one of the prime courts."

Political slogans on T-shirts or obvious attempts at "ambush marketing" are banned, but everything else is a judgment call.

Mr Hanson recommends a shirt and jacket for men and plenty of cotton or linen for ladies, while T-shirts are frowned upon but won't mean you get shown the door.

Pippa and James Matthews
Pippa and James Matthews ace Wimbledon style in the centre court stands (Nigel French/PA)

Photos: Selfie-sticks are a big no-no, but a quick snap facing away from the court is permissible as long as it is before play starts.

But Mr Hanson says getting too carried away with the photos is a surefire way to show oneself up.

"To be perfectly honest, taking photos at any social occasion can draw attention to the fact that those taking the photos aren't in fact true Wimbledon goers," he said.

"You are supposed to pretend that you like tennis and are there for the sport and are not doing it for the cache on social media."

The Royal Box: An invitation from the chairman of the All England Club is only way spectators can rub shoulders with dignitaries in the 74-seater Royal Box on Wimbledon's Centre Court.

Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton missed the 2015 Wimbledon men's final after he was refused entry for falling foul of its strict smart dress code of shirt, tie and smart shoes.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton, pictured in 2018, missed out on a view from the Royal Box in 2015 for flouting the dress codes (Nic Bothma/PA)

For ladies, the aim is to be noticed without appearing to want to be noticed. Mr Hanson recommends "a modest dress – not exposing an expanse of decolletage, or arm, or indeed of leg."

Courtside: Less is more for those courtside when it comes to showing their support for their favourite player.

"It's not a football match, you're not going to holler or chant during a match. A polite clap is perfect," Mr Hanson said.

"And absolutely nothing during the rallies – don't burst into spontaneous applause or clapping."

When it comes to drinking, a nice glass of Pimms or a cold beer is fine, but boozy behaviour is likely to see you frog marched to the door.

Bear in mind you may be stuck in your seat in dire need of the lavatory if you overindulge – toilet breaks are only permitted after the third game of the first set, and then only when the players change ends every other game.

Swearing: Players can be fined up to 20,000 US dollars (£16,000) if they are caught uttering an "audible obscenity", according to the tennis Grand Slam Rulebook, while the crowd also need to watch their potty mouths.

John McEnroe
Don't do a John McEnroe when the match isn't going your way (Steven Paston/PA)

Mr Hanson said: "By all means express your frustration with the umpire, but you can express it using the many thousands of other words we have in English rather than three or four select words.

"But again, even if you are using the best Queen's English, don't scream or shout."

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