Wimbledon Village shopkeepers have gone tennis mad ahead of the world renowned championships as they launched their annual window display competition this week.
Sixty businesses across the High Street and Church Road have decorated their shops with tennis balls, racquets and strawberries for Wimbledon Village Windows.
The competition is now entering its fifth year after seeing the area through tough times, with 33 businesses closing in the past two years.
Kimberley Salmassian, who runs the competition, said: “It’s all about showing the personality of the village, showing its liveliness and its character.
“It is a great to do it to an international crowd as well as a local one.”
Ms Salmassian, a community events and business development consultant, works in her free time to organise and co-ordinate the windows.
As of last year the competition is part funded by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club with their sponsors, Babolat and Slazenger, providing tennis balls and rackets for the displays.
Everyone from the Wimbledon Village Stables to charity shops like Cancer Research UK get involved with some planning their displays up to a year in advance.
The Championships fortnight brings a lot of visitors to area with an extra 17,000 people coming each day on their way to the tennis, according to Love Wimbledon.
The Village hopes to make the most of this with the competition and a number of evening events such as pet shop Pet Pavillion offering ‘pawsecco’ for dogs next week.
In the past few years the area has suffered from high rents and business rates meaning that 33 shops have closed down, many of them independently run.
Owner of cocktail bar Hemmingways, Kelly McAteer, said they are one of the only independent businesses left in the village and events like this help keep the unique ethos of the place alive.
She said: “It’s fundamental because it really is people’s local. I think the independent represents the village.”
This year the competition has also teamed up with Kingston University’s fashion students to put their designs in the windows.
Kingston University senior lecturer Satyenkumar Patel said: “A lot of people have been stopping and looking and taking photos, especially the people of the village and the customers.
“It’s definitely been a big buzz.”
Prizes include Centre Court tickets and dinner at the Ivy Cafe in Wimbledon Village and winners will be announced on July 11.
People can vote for their favourite display online.