Taking place from Monday 24 June to Sunday 7 July, the Championships at Wimbledon is the premier tennis event of the year.

A Brief History

The first Wimbledon Championship was held in 1877, but in fact, the club was opened nearly 10 years before in 1868. However, it wasn’t a tennis club, it was a croquet club. The first lawn tennis matches were added to the club in 1876. It became "The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club", and croquet remained an activity at the club until 1882.

The first championship held only one event, the Gentlemen’s Singles. Ladies’ Singles and Gentlemen’s Doubles were added in 1884. Finally, Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles were added to the competition in 1913. The first Championship was seen on television in 1937. Now, it is broadcast around the world.

In the beginning, the reigning champion was automatically a finalist and only had to play the final match against whomever made it through the Championship. This practice lasted until 1922. Up until 1968 when the Open Era began, allowing professionals to play against amateurs, Wimbledon was contested by only amateur players. Today, the top players in the world, both professional and amateur, come together to compete in the Championships.

Last British Winners

Gentlemen’s Singles

The last Brit to win this final match is Fred Perry in 1936. In fact, Perry won three consecutive Wimbledon Championships from 1934 to 1936. He was also the first player to win all four Grand Slam (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open) singles titles. He was only 26 at the time he completed this feat. He was the last player to win a Men’s singles Grand Slam title until Andy Murray won the US Open last year. Perry was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1975.

Ladies’ Singles

Virginia Wade won the Ladies’ singles in 1977. Since then, no British woman has won this title. Wade competed at Wimbledon sixteen times, and it wasn’t until this sixteenth time that she made it all the way to the final match and won. It was a special year for the Championship as it was its 100th anniversary. Wade is also the only British woman to win all four Grand Slams. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1989.

Gentlemen’s Doubles

Last year, the Gentlemen’s Doubles was won by Jonathan Murray and his Danish partner Freddie Nielson. Murray is the first Brit to make the Men’s doubles final since 1960 when Bobby Wilson and Mike Davies went on to the final match but lost to a Mexican/American partnership. The last British pair to win the title was Patrick Hughes and Raymond Tuckey in 1936.

Ladies’ Doubles

British Anglea Buxton and her American partner Althea Gibson took home the title in 1956. The last time a British pair won was the year before in 1955. Actually, all four finalists were British. Angela Mortimer and Anne Shilcock triumphed over Patricia Ward Hales and Shirley Brasher Broomer. The last British woman to make it to the final match was Virginia Wade in 1970 with her French partner.

Mixed Doubles

Jamie Murray, who is Andy Murray’s older brother, won the Mixed Doubles in 2007 with his Serbian partner Jelena Jankovic. Jamie Murray was the first Brit to claim the title since the British pair of Jeremy Bates and Jo Durie in 1987.

Looking ahead…

Will we be able to update these figures after this year’s Championship? Will Andy Murray take home the title this year? And let’s hope for pleasant weather for our players! Stay tuned!

Photo Source: Paula Funnell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)