History of Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Brief Introduction

The Wimbledon Championships is one of the oldest tournaments in the tennis world with a splendid history. The Wimbledon also enlisted as the Grand Slam Tournament, was started 142 years ago in 1877 following the first championship was played the same year.

It’s played in late June & early July usually last Monday of June for two weeks duration. It’s a historic outdoor game and played on Grass courts and considered as the classic tournament grass.

Since 1988 Australian Open shifted to hard courts it has been left as only Grass Court tournament among Grand Slam. The first championship was held under the supervision of All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club who’s winner was the Spencer W. Gore from United Kingdom (U.K).

This history of Wimbledon tells us that first game was played at Worple Road, Wimbledon. It’s usually recalled as The Championships, Wimbledon, The Championships, or simply Wimbledon.

Major Events

 It has following major categories in which games are played

  1. Main Events (05 Events)
    • Gentlemen’s Singles and Doubles
    • Ladies Singles and Doubles
    • Mixed Doubles
    • Quad Wheelchair Singles & Doubles
    • Ladies & Gentlemen’s Qualifying Singles
  2. Junior Events (04 Events)
    • Boy’s Singles and Doubles
    • Girls Singles and Doubles
  3. Invitation Events (07 Events)
    • Gentlemen’s Invitation Doubles
    • Ladies Invitation Doubles
    • Senior Gentlemen’s Invitation Doubles
    • Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Singles and Doubles
    • Ladies Wheelchair Singles and Doubles

History

This Tournament is at number three in the Grand Slam series of tournaments played annually. It was started by a private club in 1868 namely The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Originally it was named “The All England Croquet Club” later it was renamed to in 1877 with the addition of Lawn Tennis word.

After that club organized first Lawn Tennis Championship in 09 July 1877 that became Wimbledon Championship. First champion was Spencer Gore. Rules were devised and not much changed since then except few like Distance of service line form net, Height of Net and Post.

In first event of Wimbledon championship only one event was organized which is Gentlemen’s Singles. Just after 7 years of its inauguration in 1884 Ladies Singles were added to this tournament by the club which was exclusively for the men’s at that time.

Not only ladies but men’s participation was also leveled-up by adding Gentlemen’s Doubles competitions. Many years after these competitions other categories were added of Ladies Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

Someone might find it interesting to know that initially professional players were not allowed to participate in the game but amateurs (Non-Professionals & unpaid) only.

The approach was simple, the previous year’s champion would have play Final only and given byes (he won’t play previous rounds) until 1922 and the second opponent was the winner of all previous rounds.

This remained in practice for other tournaments except for Ladies Doubles & Mixed Doubles. After that byes were eradicated for everyone and to win players had to play from start to final match.

International Tennis Federation recognized this championship from its inception to 1924. Many other changes have been made in this championship but rules are not much changed yet.

Bad luck of England

As its very prestigious tennis tournament held at England annually, But ironically England has not won single’s title since 1936 and women’s single in 1977.

Governance

This tournament is governed by International Tennis Federation (ITF) which located at London, England. ITF also organizes Grand Slam Events among other events like Davis & Fed Cup etc.

Structure of Wimbledon Championship

Wimbledon is not played directly by players, before the Wimbledon both male and female players play warm-up games on grass courts, like Queen’s Club Championship, Gerry Weber Open, Eastbourne & Rosmalen etc.

All matches are called single-elimination tournaments except Gentlemen’s, Ladies Invitation Doubles & Senior Gentlemen’s. Matches of Gentlemen’s singles & Doubles are called best of five sets and other matches are best of three sets.

Many tie-breaking matches have been played up to 2018 when the score had arrived 6-all in all sets except the fifth one in a match that has a five-set match or in the third set in three-set matches.

But recently in 2019 a development has been derived that final set tiebreaker game has been played if the score has arrived 12-all in the final set.

Wimbledon Tennis Courts

As discussed earlier that Wimbledon is the most prestigious tennis tournament played in London, England. It has to major courts The Center Court is the most famous grass tennis court in the world & Court No.1 and many other splendid courts.

Wimbledon Tennis Courts
Wimbledon Tennis Courts

Mostly theses two courts are used for the championship for two weeks annually. Other courts are used for other formats and championships of tennis regularly. Two main courts were also used for the second time in 2012 for the Olympic Games.

Center Court

It is the main or principle court for the Wimbledon opened in 1922 when All England Lawn tennis & Croquet Club moved to Church Road form Worple Road. It has seating capacity of almost fifteen thousand 14979.

The center court was renovated later in 2009. It’s called “Center Court” because it was at the center in its previous location at Worple Road, so the new location was maintained the name.

It got retractable roof in 2009 championship which makes it possible to play game in rain, night and other conditions.

Center Court Wimbledon
Center Court Wimbledon

No. 1 Court

It’s other grass court owned by the All England lawn Tennis and Croquet Club Wimbledon. It was opened in 23 June 1997 and renovated later in 2019. It has very remember able seating capacity for 12,345.

Actually it’s not originally the court No. 1. Original one was constructed in 1924 at west side of center court with seating capacity of 2500 and standings as well.

But it was a small court that’s why it was substituted in 1997 by current No. 1 court. Old court’s site is being used by the media center. Current court No. 1 is on the north side of the center court.

Court No. 1 Wimbledon
Court No. 1 Wimbledon

Other Courts

Apart from the above-mentioned courts there are several courts in Wimbledon having names of No. 2 Court, No. 3 Court, Court 6, Court 7, Court 8, Court 11, Court 14, Court 15, Court 16, Court 17, Court 18, Court 19.

Apparently each court has the same rectangular look but each court has it’s own history & characteristics.

Reward for Winners

Trophies

As the Wimbledon championships history tells, the winner of Singles (Gentlemen’s) receive silver-gilt cup since 1887 ten years later since of its first game, and the Singles (Ladies) are awarded silver slaver or Rosewater Dish.

Both trophies are property of All England Lawn Tennis Club which keeps it in the museum. Players are awarded the replicas of trophies.

Winner of all Doubles events is presented with the Silver cup. It’s the specialty of Wimbledon that each player is awarded a trophy in these events, unlike other Majors / Grand Slam tournaments where a single trophy is shared by both winning players.

An inscribed silver plate is awarded to runner-up players.

Prize Money Award

The earlier history of the Wimbledon championships describes that it was not for professional players, but for amateurs only. In 1968 professional players were permitted to play, so the prize money £26,150 was awarded to the winner of men’s and £2000 to women’s.

After that, it has been increasing to its current rate. The following table explains the recent rate.

YearGentlemen’s Singles £Ladies’ Singles £Mixed Doubles£ Gentlemen’s Doubles £ Ladies Doubles£
2020CanceledCanceledCanceledCanceledCanceled
2019 2,350,000 2,350,000 116,000 540,000 540,000
2018 2,250,000 2,250,000 110,000 450,000 450,000
2017 2,200,000 2,200,000 100,000 400,000 400,000
2016 2,000,000 2,000,000 100,000 350,000 350,000
2015 1,880,000 1,880,000 100,000 340,000 340,000
Wimbledon Championship Prize Money Detail from 2015-2020

Winners of The Championships, Wimbledon

Every round of these championships has its own winners, but mostly singles and doubles are considered and covered widely. The Wimbledon championships has produced many winners in the history.

For time being we are covering singles and doubles winners year wise details as under.

Many players have won more than one time since inception of Wimbledon championships history to-date.

Most Title Winner of Wimbledon History

Men

Most Singles Titles : Rogger Federer (8 Times)

Most Doubles Titles: Todd Woodbridge (9 Times)

Women

Most Singles Titles : Martina Navratilova (9 Times)

Most Doubles Titles: Elizabeth Ryan (12 Times)

Stay Tuned for the upcoming Wimbledon 2021 Tennis Championship.

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