Life & Style

A Grand-Slam Gathering

Thwack! The sound of ball on racquet heralds the forthcoming Wimbledon fortnight, and serious spectators (like fashion editor/tennis ace Maya Zepinic) are always match-ready. Here, Maya serves her top tips on hosting a game-day get-together. Play on…

A Note From Maya

I love tennis and have been a fan of the game since I was little, so for me, summer is synonymous with hosting – usually on Men’s Finals Day – starting in the afternoon and heading long into the night. The following tips have added to the enjoyment of many a nail-biting final for me, my tennis-loving friends and family. Enjoy!


I’m a minimalist at heart, so I like pared-back flowers at home. White peonies are my favourites at this time of the year, with plenty of greenery adding a nice touch and a nod to the event’s classic palette.

White paper tablecloths

I had an old wooden table in my first apartment, and everyone who came over would draw or write something on it, which I loved. So for dinner parties I always have a white paper tablecloth and a pile of small black Sharpies scattered around the table, allowing guests to doodle or draw all day and night. It’s a fun way to get new friends mingling together, not to mention a good way to keep little ones entertained.

The drinks trolley

I always have two cocktails on the go throughout the day – drinks that are super easy to make in batches, so I can re-fill large jugs and don’t have to miss too much match play. My go-tos are:


There is no drink more synonymous with the Wimbledon Championships than this fruity punch. In fact, the first ever Pimm’s bar was opened at the Wimbledon Tournament in 1971

Ingredients (makes 8 drinks in a large/2 litre jug)

400ml of Pimm’s • 1 litre of fresh lemonade • Handful of chopped fresh-mint leaves • 250g chopped strawberries • 2 oranges, sliced • ½ a large cucumber, sliced


Fill the jug just under halfway with ice. Pour over the Pimm’s and lemonade. Give it a stir then add the strawberry, cucumber and orange. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.

Champagne Lemon Punch

Ingredients (makes 8 drinks in a large/2 litre jug)

125ml lemon juice • 50g caster sugar • 250ml elderflower liqueur • 250ml vodka • 500ml apple juice • 125ml Champagne • plenty of ice • fresh herbs like chopped mint and basil (optional) and some lemon slices


Mix the lemon juice and sugar in a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Transfer into a large 2 litre jug, add the other liquid ingredients, fill to the top with ice and stir gently. Serve immediately, with herbs and lemon slices.


I’m not much of a cook, but for a long tennis match you’ll need plenty of snacks as a game can go on for five hours, plus guests come and go throughout the day. I love a charcuterie board, which is not only delicious but also easy to replenish thought the day. I do a bit of a colour theme for Wimbledon: all-white cheese, white or cream crackers, green olives, cucumber, avocado, almonds and green tomatoes. Alternatively, a classic toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich or cheese-and-tomato sandwich is always a hit. They’re easy to make and won’t keep you away from the match for too long. Finally, in the evenings, post-match, my go-to staple is this Panzanella salad:


½ large ciabatta or sourdough loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion • 1½ pounds tomatoes, sliced into wedges or halved • ½ English cucumber, sliced into half moons • 6oz fresh mozzarella, torn (optional) • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish • chunky sea salt

For the dressing

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil • 3 tsp red wine vinegar • 3 garlic cloves, grated • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard


Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the bread on the baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat and spread evenly on the sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until crisp around the edges.

Now make the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and several grinds of pepper.

Add the onion, tomatoes, cucumber and bread to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Add the cheese, if using, and the basil and gently toss. Season to taste and serve with more fresh basil on top.

If you have time to cook during the two-week tournament, The Wimbledon chefs have delicious dishes that you can recreate at home as well, which are always fun to try and are changed daily.


During the day I love the fun of Pop Bakery tennis balls for a nod to the theme. In the evening, my post-match pudding of choice is Eaton Mess, set out on the table in a giant bowl for an easy self-serve dessert.

Seating placements

For dinner time, I think it’s nice to create place settings that nod to the championships. So instead of ordinary cards I do a personalised tennis ball instead. If you fancy giving your guests a take home party favour, I love these white tennis balls, personalised from Anya Hindmarch.

Strawberries and cream

An essential for any Wimbledon gathering, this dish is synonymous with both the Wimbledon Championships and British summertime. If the berries are not sweet enough, I wash, clean, hull and cut them in halves. In a large bowl, mix 450g of strawberries with one tablespoon of sugar until the sugar dissolves, then cover and leave overnight in the fridge. Serve the next day and they taste super sweet.


I have a slight obsession with candles; I think candlelight makes the house look and feel better. And post-match, when you’re out in the garden and the sun is setting, candles always look chic.

Blankets and cushions

Like the weather, the British temperature can be unpredictable, so for an outdoor gathering, a few blankets and cushions are a must in the garden to add warmth and comfort to your drinks and post-match debate. Also, it feels a little less formal and more relaxed to be able to sit on the grass – especially as you’ve been watching grass-court matches.


If you’re watching Wimbledon in the UK, you’ll need to be prepared for all four seasons in one day, so an outdoor umbrella or parasol is essential if you are hosting in the garden.