Wimbledon spectators served up 28 tonnes of strawberries, 7000 litres of cream

More than twice as many punnets of strawberries will be consumed than tennis balls hit during this year's Wimbledon Championships.

While the players are swinging their racquets on the court, onlookers will be finding their own sweet spot, consuming some 28,000 kilograms of strawberries topped with 7000 litres of dairy cream over two weeks.

By comparison, the competitors will work their way through 54,250 tennis balls.

Wimbledon is the oldest major tennis tournament, and strawberries and cream is the traditional snack food for spectators.

According to the organisers, some 8615 punnets of English strawberries, each containing a minimum of 10 berries, will be eaten with fresh cream every day of the tournament.

The berries are picked the day before they are served, usually in the county of Kent, arriving at Wimbledon around 5.30am where they are inspected and then hulled.

Some historians trace the courtside culinary tradition to the first Wimbledon, held in 1877, when the fruit was in season and a popular delicacy.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey has been credited with having first combined berry and dairy in the 16th century at feasts in the Tudor court.

Vendors started selling punnets to Wimbledon spectators in 1953, and it's unclear when cream was added, although some say it was in 1970.

The cost has fluctuated in the past few years - you'll be set back  £2.50 (about $4.50) for the snack at at this year's event.

Wimbledon is a bastion of tradition: it's the only grand slam still played on a grass court, players' outfits must be predominantly white and there's a royal box that has been frequented by the Queen.

Strawberries and cream won't be the only nibbles consumed in vast amounts.

According to the average quantities supplied by the tournament's caterers, there will be 135,000 serves of ice-cream, 32,000 portions of fish and chips and 15,000 bananas gobbled during the competition.

To wash all that down, spectators are expected to drink 25,000 bottles of champagne, 300,000 cups of tea and coffee and 200,000 glasses of Pimm's.

Indeed, according to the organisers, Wimbledon is the largest single annual sports catering operation in Europe, with 1800 staff on hand to prepare the food.

This story Wimbledon spectators served up 28 tonnes of strawberries, 7000 litres of cream first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.