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Wimbledon

Wimbledon [map] in South West London is known throughout the world for its role in hosting The Lawn Tennis Championships.

The Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon have developed from the garden party atmosphere of the first meeting in 1877, witnessed by a few hundred spectators, to a highly professional tournament attracting an attendance of almost half a million people, and courted by the world’s media.

Wimbledon was first won by amateur Spencer Gore and the first ladies singles’ competition began in 1884 with Miss Maud Watson triumphing over 12 other competitors.

By 1900 Wimbledon had become an international tournament and the first overseas winner was May Sutton of the United States – a trans-Atlantic domination that was to continue throughout the competitions history.

However, from the 1950s to the 1970s Australians led the way, winning a record number of men’s finals. Familiar names included Lew Hoad, Neale Fraser, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe.

The modern championships opened in 1968 with professionals playing against amateurs. This golden era was heralded by the success stories of Rod Laver and Billie Jean King.

In 1980, Bjorn Borg of Sweden became the first player to win the Gentlemen’s Singles five times in succession since William Renshaw in the late 1880s.

Going into the 21st Century it seems that American domination from names such as Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, as well as leading women’s double and single players Venus and Serena Williams means that Brit favourites like Tim Henman will continue to be popular runners up.

For more information about the history of Wimbledon, why not visit the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum on Church Road? Here you’ll find programmes and memorabilia from more than 120 years of premier tennis.

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