Williams sisters throw in the towel ... into the bag

It is the ultimate event in the tennis calendar, synonymous with sportsmanship, style, and savoir faire.

Williams sisters throw in the towel ... into the bag

So it might come as no surprise that many of those who flock to the prestigious Wimbledon tournament each year hope to come away with a memento.

For fans, it could be a tennis ball signed by a top seed or a signature scrawled on a Centre Court ticket.

But for players, it is often a towel used during a heated clash on one of the All England Club’s manicured lawns.

And it seems certain players among the tennis elite have a particular penchant for the fluffy purple and green cloths which adorn their chairs on court.

American champion Serena Williams, who suffered a shock exit from the contest earlier this week, has apparently been known to take up to eight during a match.

Her sister Venus, who has not played this year because of injury, is said to be similarly keen on picking up a towel when she has swung into action on previous years.

“The Williams sisters have been seen to put towels in their bags as soon as they get on the court,” an observer said. “There have been games where Serena has probably left with more than eight.”

Traditionally, players have two towels laid neatly on their chairs at the start of a match. Some will then ask for more.

Another couple of towels are set down whenever a tie resumes following a rather familiar rain delay.

Players with a predilection for the towels can then do the same again, potentially scooping up a number of souvenirs from the benevolent club.

But the vast majority appear to take a balanced approach and might walk away with just one to mop their brow.

Some players — notably world number one Novak Djokovic — dutifully hand back their towels at the end of every clash.

For a visitor to the grounds, a large towel emblazoned with the Wimbledon logo, would cost £28 (€32).

That value is clearly not lost on British number one Laura Robson, 19, who bowed out of the contest following her fourth-round tie on Monday.

But rather than pocketing her towels following the third-round win, she took a generous approach, leaving two children speechless with delight as she handed them her kit.

The joy on their faces said it all: those two Wimbledon towels will possibly become the most treasured tokens of this year’s tournament.

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