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Held in the English summer, Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is regarded by many as the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass court, with a retractable roof - first introduced at the Australian Open-being able to be used over the famous Centre Court since 2009. Steeped in tradition, Wimbledon is the only grass court Grand Slam tournament and players must wear predominantly white outfits.
Victory at Wimbledon guarantees a place in the game’s pantheon. It is the tournament all players dearly love to win. However, success on the grass of SW 19 has also proved elusive for some of the game’s greats: Jim Courier, Ilie Nastase, Pat Rafter, Andy Roddick, Ken Rosewall, Fred Stolle and Mats Wilander, just to name a few. Both Roddick and Stolle lost three finals and Rosewall lost two of his finals twenty years apart in 1954 and 1974.
Conversely, Centre Court is where the greatest ever have left their indelible marks. The female heroines include: Suzanne Lenglen, Louise Brough, Maureen Connolly, Maria Bueno, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert. Steffi Graf won her seven titles from nine finals, Serena’s seven titles have come from eleven finals, Helen Wills Moody’s eight titles came from nine finals and Martina Navratilova’s record nine titles, including six in succession, from twelve finals. The male heroes: early champions including England’s William Renshaw who won seven titles and the Doherty brothers-Reginald and Laurence-won nine titles between them; the first colonial champions from New Zealand and Australia, Sir Norman Brookes and Anthony Wilding; the French superstars, Borotra, Lacoste and Cochet; England’s Fred Perry who won a hat-trick of titles from 1934-1936 and throw in Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Bobby Riggs, Vic Seixas and Tony Trabert. Australia’s golden era saw Lew Hoad, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and John Newcombe become household names in the 1960s and early 1970s. Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe won eight titles between them in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with their 1980 final still regarded as the greatest game of all time alongside the Nadal v Federer final of 2008. Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg won five titles between them. Pete Sampas has the unblemished record of seven victories from seven finals, whilst Roger Federer has claimed his record haul of eight titles from twelve finals. Novak Djokovic has won seven titles and was denied a chance to equal Federer's tally of eight by Spain's Carlos Alcaraz in a sparkling five set final in 2023.
Australia’s last male Wimbledon champion was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005, with our last female champion being Ash Barty who became our first female champion in fifty years with her victory in 2021.
Editorial Credit: Lucy Clark/Shutterstock.com
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