Why the Grass Is Always Greener at Wimbledon
Behind the perfectly coiffed grass courts lie millions of years of evolution—and a lot of modern science.
Every year, 256 starry-eyed tennis players flock to the smooth grass courts of Wimbledon. At the start of the two-week-long extravaganza, the lush grass glistens, each blade on the 54 million individual plants trimmed to a neat eight millimeters in height.
By the end of the tournament, that grass will have taken a beating of epic proportions—stomped on, slid over, sometimes salinized with frustrated tears—but somehow, still alive.
“The championship, it’s the year-round culmination of all the work we do,” says Neil Stubley, the Courts and Horticulture manager at Wimbledon. “But from day one, it’s just about damage limitation. The more play that happens, the more chewed up the grass gets—there’s just no way around it.”
Wimbledon groundskeepers spend a full year preparing