UK: Tennis Fans Queue For Wimbledon Tickets Ahead Of Opening
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Wimbledon is expected to reach full capacity for the first time in three years. The return of the prestigious tennis competition also brings its great culinary tradition: strawberries and cream.

During the fortnight of sport, it is estimated that almost 190,000 servings will be consumed, with all strawberries grown locally in Kent County.

But how did strawberries grow to become the staple snack at Wimbledon?

The combination has been served at Wimbledon since the first tournament in 1877 when there were just 200 spectators.

Johnny Perkins, head of PR for the All England Club, told CNN in 2015: "It was probably two things -- strawberries were in season at the time the tournament was played, and in Victorian England, they had become a fashionable thing to eat,"

"They were part of afternoon tea, which had become a fashionable ritual, and that took root at Wimbledon."

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The strawberry and cream combination was said to be first served at a banquet in 1509 by Thomas Wolsey, an English statesman and Catholic bishop. Strawberries were synonymous with helping labour pains and bad breath.

They were also linked with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, for their heart shape.

Speaking ahead of the first matches on day one, Sally Bolton told reporters: “(This is the) first year of permanent middle Sunday, so we are expecting a record crowd because of that.

Bolton said that thanks to improvements in “grass court technology care and attention”, the courts can now withstand a full two weeks of use.

She added that the price of the tournament’s signature food – strawberries – has remained at £2.50 since 2010 despite global supply chain issues and inflation, partly because they are sourced from local farms.

Some 42,000 people are expected to attend the Championships each day.

The Met Office has warned that rain showers are due over SW19 on Monday afternoon – meaning the retractable roof may be needed over Centre Court for the main matches at 1.30pm.

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