WIMBLEDON - Home of the Grand Slam Lawn Tennis Competition
The Tennis Event of the Year
The Wimbledon Tennis Competition is here again and all the action is only a car ride away. If you need a Car Service to take you to this great event and to see if Andy Murray can win again, then please call us on 020 8878 7777 and we would be delighted to escort you to this year's championship.
A Bit of History About the Event!
Strawberries and cream, rain and impromptu singing, the rich and the famous, the tantrums and emotional embraces, the wild cards and the huge stars, the mount/hill with a changeable name…. whatever springs to mind when you think of Wimbledon it has become synonymous with Britishness. And this year the competition is 140 years old.
The oldest tennis tournament in the world began in 1877 and is hosted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. It takes place over 2 weeks in late June/early July.
One of 4 major tournaments ‘Grand Slams’, Wimbledon is the only one to be played on grass - the fastest surface for tennis - and perhaps partly due to this, it is a favourite among players and fans.
Wimbledon: Record Holders
Men’s Singles: William Renshaw, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer = 7 Wimbledon titles
Men’s Doubles: Todd Woodbridge = 9 Wimbledon titles
Women’s Singles: Martina Navratilova = 9 Wimbledon titles
Women’s Doubles: Elizabeth Ryan = 12 Wimbledon titles
Wimbledon: A History
1877, The Beginning: During the very first Wimbledon, only the Gentlemens’ Singles was competed. 22 men took part, with 21 year old Spencer William Gore beating William Marshall in the final. They were watched by a crowd of 200, who had each paid 1 shilling. The final was postponed due to rain, a situation that was to be a fairly regular occurrence over the next 132 years, until the introduction of a retractable roof in 2009. The rules were an adaptation of those at Marylebone Cricket Club. Men wore long sleeved shirts and trousers.
1884, The Tournament begins to expand: Ladies Singles and Men’s Doubles were introduced. Women played in full length corseted white dresses and hats!
1908, The Olympics: 6 tennis events were held for the 1908 London Summer Olympics, the indoor events were played at Queens Club. The outdoor events were held here at Wimbledon.
Whites: In the 1920s/30s, the clothing worn by the players started to change. No longer the impractical long sleeves, dresses and hats – clothing was now designed to assist the playing of the game, rather than hinder it. Today sponsorship deals are worth millions of pounds (even the ball boys and girls wear Ralph Lauren), but the clothing worn by the players must be predominately white – colour accents are permitted.
Moving: In 1922 the club moved from Worple Road to Church Road.
World War I & II: During 1915-18 and 1940-45 the tournament did not take place. On 11th October 1940, Centre Court was bombed during The Blitz; destroying part of the stand and 1,200 seats. The tournament took place in 1946, despite the damage to the stand only being fixed the following year in 1947.
The 1960s and the beginning of the Modern Day Wimbledon: On 1st July 1967 Wimbledon became the first event broadcast ever to be televised in colour in the UK and Europe. As the power of television increased, so did the audience and ultimately the sponsorship opportunities. The BBC has held the rights to broadcast the tournament since 1937.
1968 saw prize money first awarded. Before then, they simply competed for the trophies – the Men’s Singles Winner receives a silver gilt cup, with the inscription ‘All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World’ and the Women’s Singles Winner is awarded the ‘Venus Rosewater Dish’ a sterling silver salver. In 1968, the winner of the Men’s Final received £2,000 and Women £750 – this year both winners will each earn £2.2 million.
1970s, A Golden Age: As the popularity of the televised Wimbledon tournament increased, the players became household names: Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg, Virginia Wade, Martina Navratilova…
1981: The infamous "You cannot be serious" meltdown by John McEnroe, directed at the umpire, during his match with Bjorn Borg.
To be continued……