With the famous wimbledon tennis championships in full swing I thought it might be interesting for people to know a little bit about how it came about.
1868 worple road wimbledon...that is the place 141 years ago thtat the ""All England Croquet Club"" came into existence and are the origins of what today is known as the "All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club".
The name was changed in 1877 after a new game originally called Sphairistrike, more commonally known today as lawn tennis was added to the clubs activities in 1875. To mark the occasion the club started a competition known as the Lawn tennis championship and drew up a new set of rules (previously the rules were administered by the Marylebone Cricket Club) for the meeting.
The rules were remarkably similar to what we are still used to today with a few differences such as the height of the net. One for you trivial pursuit fans out there who was the first winner of the wimbledon lawn tennis championship?
Spencer Gore won the 1st and only title available in 1877 which was the Gentlemen's singles 22 players entered and about 200 people watching the historic final.
In 1922 the club moved from it's previous site to the current position on Church Road Wimbledon. In 1980 4 more courts were added to the north of the site and in 1997 no.1 court was added.
In the last couple of years, after a few years of intensive work, a sliding roof was added to centre court to allow play in any weather conditions. Naturally since the roof became operational the amount of rain at wimbledon has been remarkably absent!
The local hero Andy Murrey was the first to play an entire competitive match under the roof, the only one so far. Conditions are kept constant by an air management system and the players commented about the difference of playing with a roof by saying that the noise was instense and the ball was playing alot slower.
Also redeveloped was the no.2 court which was sunk down lower to allow more spectators. Every year more people come to the championships.
Back to the history... Activities at the club were all about tennis by the time 1882 came around and so croquet was dropped from the title sentiment however re-instated it in 1899 and it has stayed ever since.
Here come the girls... In 1884 the Ladies Singles was inaugurated with 13 players competing and in the same year the Gentlemens doubles was first shown taking over from the Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club competition.
By the way for those still on the trivial pursuit challenge Maud Watson was the 1st ladies champion.
British players dominated the championships for many years and it wasn't until the United States player May Sutton won the Ladies that this started to change. Norman Brookes from Australia won the mens final in 1907 and shockingly since then only 2 british players, Fred Perry and Arthur Gore, have won the mens title.
In 1968 the open era began when professionals were allowed to participate. The total prize money was £26,150 with Rod Laver and Billie Jean King taking the singles honors.