The Wimbledon website is as curious a place as the All England Club, the institution that hosts The Championships. Along with schedules, statistics, registration notices and press releases about the contracts signed and decisions made are articles about how to replicate the Wimbledon gardens at home. The head gardener gives advice on growing roses, petunias and hydrangeas in the shades you see across the grounds. It’s this mix of business, ritual, fun and cheer that makes Wimbledon special every year, and our issue this week captures all of this.
Over the course of more than 150 years, Wimbledon has transformed from a lawn tennis contest to a multimillion-dollar business venture and this year it has latched on to the biggest trend of the season—Artificial Intelligence—and is experimenting with AI commentary for match highlights. We have a number of stories on the tournament that begins on Monday, from a story on the business of Wimbledon to a somewhat premature yet calculated guess that the next Big Three will emerge from the women’s tour, to the complexities of playing on grass, to one on tennis’ more inspiring writers and commentators.
One of the lesser-known stories about Wimbledon is that the All England Club’s success has been carefully nurtured, built on Japanese keiretsu principles of trust and maintaining relationships with sponsors, volunteers, suppliers, staff and fans. We go behind the scenes to see how it’s run almost like a visionary company that keeps an eye on both bottom line and tradition—and yet, it’s tennis that always comes first. And, of course, there’s always time to admire the 8,000-plus hydrangeas on the grounds.
This issue is largely about tennis—from the fashion to the on-court action—but there is also plenty for those who have no interest in the game. We have a story on the contest among open-air breweries in Bengaluru to be the biggest in town, with many of them being larger than football fields, an interview with highly regarded wine writer Andrew Jefford and another with quizmaster and producer Siddhartha Basu, who has a new show with school students out.
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