Known all over the world, the Wimbledon Championship remains the most iconic tennis tournament since its inception on the croquet lawns of the All-England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club in 1877. This makes it the oldest tennis tournament in the world and this reputation, propped up by prestige, attracts a cool 26 million on views BBC and 29.42 million on ESPN.
The Wimbledon Championship is one of the four tennis tournaments which are referred to as ‘Grand Slams’. The other three are the Australian, French and U.S. Open. It is typically held in the months of June or July and remains the only major tournament that is played on natural grass.
Seven years after its commencement, in 1884, a women’s tournament was introduced and in 1913, mixed doubles were also featured in the Championship. The tournament became so popular that national matches were being hosted within the framework of Wimbledon instead of in Oxford where they previously took place.
There were no tournaments between 1939 and 1945 due to the return of the war. The courts were tragically damaged by a bomb in 1940 and so when the tournament resumed in 1946, the capacity of Centre Court was significantly reduced.
The 70s saw the invention of colour television which added a whole new dimension to the way in which Wimbledon could be broadcast and spectated. Ilie Nastase, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe were dominating the scene at this moment. Since then, it has exponentially increased in popularity.
Major Wimbledon Wins
The first ever winner was a man named Spencer Gore who was a 27-year-old rackets player hailing from Wandsworth. He beat William Marshall who was a year his junior but a real tennis player. The first triple champion was a French player, Suzanne Lenglen, who cemented her status amongst the greats in 1920 after triumphing in a trio of singles and doubles events.
One of the greats in the realm of Wimbledon is Bjorn Borg. This Swedish player was famously in love with Wimbledon Centre Court, saying it had a ‘mystical’ quality to it. He won five consecutive tournaments from 1976 to 1980, while also boasting six French Open wins.
Venus Williams matches Borg’s wins while also playing in an additional four finals unlike Borg and Novak Djokovic who both played in one final beyond their total win count.
Martina Navratilova is possibly the greatest Wimbledon player to ever live. She has nine winning titles to her name which is the highest number of wins of anyone that has ever stepped onto a Wimbledon court – male or female. Furthermore, she was won mixed doubles four times and women’s doubles seven times. She still keeps a blade of grass from the court where she secured her 1994 victory.
Fast forward to today and the latest icon, Rodger Federer, is slowly phasing out of the scene and wondering where to play instead. He has won the Wimbledon Championship eight times while coming close to victory in another three finals. His name will forever echo in tennis’ hall of fame with a 101-13 Wimbledon record.