Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, which began its journey way back in 1877 as a garden-party tournament has become a Grand Slam Tournament, the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Here is brief history of Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Year of Changes
Due to the efforts of Henry Cavendish Jones, All England Croquet Club
replaced the croquet court with a lawn tennis court in 1875. Marylebone
Club followed suit and made significant changes in tennis. Rules of
Deuce, Advantage, and 2 chances per serve were introduced. The
hourglass-shaped court replaced by a rectangular court, which is in
vogue even now.
The first Wimbledon event was organized in 1877 by the All England Lawn
Tennis and Croquet Club, to raise money for a new roller. The tournament
had only 22 male participants. Held in a garden, the first Wimbledon was
witnessed by a small number of people. Spectators paid one shilling to
watch the final. The winner of the event was Spencer Gore, who noted
that the tournament would not continue for long. He was proved wrong!
Ladies' Singles and Men's Doubles
Ladies' Singles and Men's Doubles were introduced in the Wimbledon in
1884. There were only 13 women participants. In a few years' time, both
the varieties gained popularity. Lottie Dod of England won the Wimbledon
Ladies Singles title in 1887. She won it 5 times between 1887 and 1893.
She is the youngest player to win a singles event.
British twins Ernest and William Renshaw were the first stars of the
Wimbledon. Popularly known as 'Renshaw Rush', the brothers won 13 titles
between 1881 and 1889 either playing separately or as doubles partners.
The Overhead Smash was introduced into the game by the 'Renshaw Rush'.
First Overseas Winner
May Sutton of the United States became the first overseas winner of the
Wimbledon in 1905, when she won the Women's Singles Title. Thus the
tournament achieved global status.
1905 was the year of one more record. The Doherty brothers (Laurie and
Reggie) won the Wimbledon Men's Doubles title for the eighth time
creating a record. Interestingly, both of them were born in Wimbledon!
Two years later, Norman Brookes of Australia became the first Men's
Singles champion from outside England. Brookes' victory brought a
turnaround in Wimbledon. After him, only two British men, Arthur Gore
and Fred Perry, could win the Wimbledon championship.
Charlotte Sterry of Great Britain won Wimbledon Ladies Singles champion
in 1908 at the age of 37 years and 282 days. Arthur Gore, another
British citizen, became the oldest Wimbledon Men's Singles champion at
the age of 41 years and 182 days. The records are not yet broken.
Luzanne Lenglen of France won the triple crown of Ladies Singles,
Ladies Doubles, and Mixed Doubles in 1920. She was the first player to
win triple titles.
New Venue for Wimbledon Tournament
Same year, work for new venue for Wimbledon Tournament to be located on
Church Street started. Estimated cost of the new venue was £140,000.
The new venue opened for business in 1922.
Break in Wimbledon
World War II put a hold on the Wimbledon from 1940 to 1945. A Centre
Court was hit by a bomb in October 1940. Nobody died or injured. However
the stadium was damaged. The tournament restarted in 1946.
In 1949, Renowned fashion designer Ted Tinling designed a dress for the
American Gertrude "Gussy" Moran that shocked not only tennis
lovers but also England. Her lace-trimmed knickers became a point of
drawing room discussion. The matter was even raised in parliament by the
Rod Laver Rocks
Australian player Rod Laver won the Wimbledon Men's Singles title in
1962. He rocked in Wimbledon for several years.
Bjorn Borg and Billie
Swedish player Björn Borg won his first singles title in Wimbledon
in 1976. He continued to win five consecutive Wimbledon Mens Singles
Billie Jean King won the Wimbledon Ladies Doubles title in 1979, which
totalled a record 20 titles in all (6 Ladies Singles, 10 Ladies Doubles,
and 4 Mixed Doubles). A great record!
Boom Boom Becker
Boris Becker of Germany earned the laurels of becoming the youngest
ever and first unseeded to win Wimbledon Men's Singles champion at the
age of only 17 years and 227 days in 1985.
Martina Navratilova has been among the greatest performers in
Wimbledon. She became the Wimbledon Ladies Singles champion for a record
ninth time in 1990. She retired from singles tennis in 1994.
Martina Hingis of Switzerland became the youngest ever Wimbledon
champion, when she won the Ladies Doubles in 1996 at the age of only 15
years and 282 days.