The Championships, Wimbledon, is an annual tennis tournament held each year in London. Wimbledon is the oldest tennis championship in the world and is considered by many the most prestigious, as well. It is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments -- the third in the calendar year -- and the only Grand Slam event held on grass.
Wimbledon takes place each summer in June and July at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London. The tournament has garnered fame both for its exceptional tennis and its well-known traditions, such as the serving of strawberries and cream and Pimm's and lemonade.
Wimbledon hosts championships for men's and women's singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles. The tournament also has junior and invitational events during its two-week span.
The Wimbledon Championships began in 1877, when the All England Club, founded solely as a croquet club, embraced the fast-growing sport of lawn tennis. The club decided to host a championship and, before it could do so, put together a set of rules and regulations for the sport (which are very similar to those used today).
In 1877, the first year of the Lawn Tennis Championship, the club hosted only a gentlemen's singles competition. The first winner was Spencer Gore, who beat out a 22-man field. About 200 spectators attended the tournament. The tournament was considered a success, and it became an annual event. From the formation of the event until 1922, the previous year's champion received a bye into the final round, resulting in multiple repeat winners in the tournament's first few decades.
Seven years after the first tournament, women were invited to play for the first time. Maud Watson was the first champion of that 1884 ladies' singles competition, winning out of a field of 13. Gentlemen's doubles were introduced in the same year, after the Oxford University club ended its doubles championship in 1883.
Tennis was beginning to grow in popularity as a spectator sport. The growth of the sport and of the Wimbledon Championships was owed partly to the success of William and Ernest Renshaw, British twins who combined for 13 singles and doubles titles in eight years between 1881 and 1889. That period of surging interest among London spectators became known as the "Renshaw Rush."
By 1900, Wimbledon was of international interest. In 1905, the Championships had its first overseas titleholder: American May Sutton, who won the ladies' singles. Two years later (as Sutton won her second title), Australian Norman Brookes won the men's singles competition, becoming the first men's international winner. Since that year, only two British men have won the men's singles event.
After play was interrupted during World War I, the tournament moved into a new home when the club built much larger grounds on Church Road across town in Wimbledon. The centerpiece of that stadium, the current Centre Court, held 14,000 spectators and did wonders in expanding the tournament's prestige and popularity.
Wimbledon continued to thrive after its move and hosted some of the world's best tennis players until it was put on hold once again during World War II. Soldiers nearby used the grounds for training and military functions, and Centre Court was hit by a bomb and suffered huge losses of seats. Some tennis was hosted in 1945, on No. 1 Court, but the Championships did not return until 1946.
As Wimbledon became more and more international, the tournament was overrun by talented players from overseas: Rod Laver for the men, Maureen Connolly and Althea Gibson -- the first African-American winner -- for the women. But by the late 1950s, the amateurism of Wimbledon was failing the system. Amateur players were receiving far more money than was allowed by the ITF, and the Wimbledon board set out to reform the rules.
Chairman Herman David attempted in 1959 to "open" the Championships, allowing all players to compete. The ITF denied the move a year later, and the Wimbledon board members continued to push for open play for years. In 1967, Wimbledon hosted a professional tournament one month after the Championships that allowed players no longer eligible to play in July a chance to take a title at Wimbledon.
Later that year, the Lawn Tennis Association voted to admit all players to the Championships (and other tournaments in Britain). The ITF had little choice but to react, allowing all tournaments to decide whether to become "open." In the 1968 Championships, Rod Laver and Billie Jean King became the first Open champions.
Since the beginning of the Open era, Wimbledon has seen some truly great champions come through its grounds. In 1980, Bjorn Borg became the first man to win five titles at Wimbledon, a mark Pete Sampras (seven) and Roger Federer (six) later would beat. In 1987, Martina Navratilova became the first player to win six women's singles titles -- all in a row -- and she set the all-time mark with nine titles in 1990.
In 2010, a Wimbledon first-round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut set a mark for the longest tennis match in history, spanning 11 hours and five minutes over three days. In the same year, Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Wimbledon in 33 years, watching Brit Andy Murray in the second round. Three years later, Murray ended a 77-year drought for a native Wimbledon champion, defeating Novak Djokovic in the final.
Wimbledon is held each year at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. The club contains 19 tournament courts, 16 other grass courts and numerous shale or clay courts. It also hosts a museum on the grounds. The club's colors, purple and green, have become as well-known as its famous tournament and remain an important tradition, as is the club's all-white dress code. Centre Court houses a Royal Box for attendance by the royal family, a representative of which attends the Championships most years.
The All England Club was founded in 1868, solely as a croquet club. Seven years later, the club added lawn tennis -- having been developed only a year prior -- to its résumé, setting aside one lawn for tennis. The game was a success and, in 1877, the club changed its name to the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club.
The change in name brought about another first for the club, as it hosted the first Lawn Tennis Championship in 1877. That event was held by the club to raise money for a horse-drawn roller for its croquet lawns. By 1882, lawn tennis was by far the more popular sport at the club, and "Croquet" was dropped from its name (it was added back in 1899, mostly for sentimental reasons, forming the name it goes by today).
Wimbledon was a popular ground for tennis as the sport became more popular, and the court hosted the tennis events at the 1908 Olympic Summer Games. In 1922, the game had become so popular that Wimbledon was forced to move to bigger grounds, and the club chose its current site at Church Road, Wimbledon. The current Centre Court was built during the move. The club has been expanded several times, most notably in 1967, when it purchased 11 acres to add more courts.
Centre Court remains the largest court at the club and is used for the finals of each event at Wimbledon. It currently sits 15,000, expanded most recently in 2008, and is the fourth-largest court in the world. In 2009, a retractable roof was installed over Centre Court to help appease Wimbledon's famous rain delays. The other show court at All England is No. 1 Court, which holds 11,500, and a third large-scale court, No. 2 Court, was built for the 2009 competition. It holds 4,000.
The All England Club uses grass courts for its tournament, which are in use from May to September. The courts use 100 percent rye grass since 2001 and are cut to 8 mm. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event still played on grass.
The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is housed on the club's grounds, having been built in 1977. It was renovated and expanded (it is the largest tennis museum in the world) in 2006 and now is open to the public year round, except during Wimbledon. One croquet lawn remains at the club (though it is too small for high-level competition).
Year-by-Year Wimbledon Singles Champions
|Year||Men's Singles||Women's Singles|
|2013||Andy Murray||Marion Bartoli|
|2012||Roger Federer||Serena Williams|
|2011||Novak Djokovic||Petra Kvitova|
|2010||Rafael Nadal||Serena Williams|
|2009||Roger Federer||Serena Williams|
|2008||Rafael Nadal||Venus Williams|
|2007||Roger Federer||Venus Williams|
|2006||Roger Federer||Amelie Mauresmo|
|2005||Roger Federer||Venus Williams|
|2004||Roger Federer||Maria Sharapova|
|2003||Roger Federer||Serena Williams|
|2002||Lleyton Hewitt||Serena Williams|
|2001||G.S. Ivanisevic||Venus Williams|
|2000||Pete Sampras||Venus Williams|
|1999||Pete Sampras||Lindsay Davenport|
|1998||Pete Sampras||Jana Novotna|
|1997||Pete Sampras||Martina Ingis|
|1996||Richard Krajicek||Steffi Graf|
|1995||Pete Sampras||Steffi Graf|
|1994||Pete Sampras||Conchita Martinez|
|1993||Pete Sampras||Steffi Graf|
|1992||Andre Agassi||Steffi Graf|
|1991||Michael Stich||Steffi Graf|
|1990||Stefan Edberg||Martina Navratilova|
|1989||Boris Becker||Steffi Graf|
|1988||Stefan Edberg||Steffi Graf|
|1987||Pat Cash||Martina Navratilova|
|1986||Boris Becker||Martina Navratilova|
|1985||Boris Becker||Martina Navratilova|
|1984||John McEnroe||Martina Navratilova|
|1983||John McEnroe||Martina Navratilova|
|1982||Jimmy Connors||Martina Navratilova|
|1981||John McEnroe||Chris Evert|
|1980||Bjorn Borg||Evonne Goolagong|
|1979||Bjorn Borg||Martina Navratilova|
|1978||Bjorn Borg||Martina Navratilova|
|1977||Bjorn Borg||Virginia Wade|
|1976||Bjorn Borg||Chris Evert|
|1975||Arthur Ashe||Billie Jean King|
|1974||Jimmy Connors||Chris Evert|
|1973||Jan Kodes||Billie Jean King|
|1972||Stan Smith||Billie Jean King|
|1971||John Newcombe||Evonne Goolagong Cawley|
|1970||John Newcombe||Margaret Court|
|1969||Rod Laver||Ann Haydon Jones|
|1968||Rod Laver||Billie Jean King|
|1967||John Newcombe||Billie Jean King|
|1966||Manuel Santana||Billie Jean King|
|1965||Roy Emerson||Margaret Court|
|1964||Roy Emerson||Maria Bueno|
|1963||Chuck McKinley||Margaret Court|
|1962||Rod Laver||Karen Hantze Susman|
|1961||Rod Laver||Angela Mortimer Barrett|
|1960||Neale Fraser||Maria Bueno|
|1959||Alex Olmedo||Maria Bueno|
|1958||Ashley Cooper||Althea Gibson|
|1957||Lew Hoad||Althea Gibson|
|1956||Lew Hoad||Shirley Fry Irvin|
|1955||Tony Trabert||Louise Brough Clapp|
|1954||Jaroslav Drobny||Maureen Connolly Brinker|
|1953||Vic Seixas||Maureen Connolly Brinker|
|1952||Frank Sedgman||Maureen Connolly Brinker|
|1951||Dick Savitt||Doris Hart|
|1950||Budge Patty||Louise Brough Clapp|
|1949||Ted Schroeder||Louise Brough Clapp|
|1948||Bob Falkenburg||Louise Brough Clapp|
|1947||Jack Kramer||Margaret Osborne duPont|
|1946||Yvon Petra||Pauline Betz Addie|
|1939||Bobby Riggs||Alice Marble|
|1938||Don Budge||Helen Wills Moody|
|1937||Don Budge||Dorothy Round Little|
|1936||Fred Perry||Helen Jacobs|
|1935||Fred Perry||Helen Wills Moody|
|1934||Fred Perry||Dorothy Round Little|
|1933||Jack Crawford||Helen Wills Moody|
|1932||Ellsworth Vines||Helen Wills Moody|
|1931||Sidney Wood||Cilly Aussern|
|1930||Bill Tilden||Helen Wills Moody|
|1929||Henri Cochet||Helen Wills Moody|
|1928||Rene Lacoste||Helen Wills Moody|
|1927||Henri Cochet||Helen Wills Moody|
|1926||Jean Borotra||Kitty McKane Godfree|
|1925||Rene Lacoste||Suzanne Lenglen|
|1924||Jean Borotra||Kitty McKane Godfree|
|1923||Bill Johnston||Suzanne Lenglen|
|1922||Gerald Patterson||Suzanne Lenglen|
|1921||Bill Tilden||Suzanne Lenglen|
|1920||Bill Tilden||Suzanne Lenglen|
|1919||Gerald Patterson||Suzanne Lenglen|
|1914||Norman Brookes||Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers|
|1913||Anthony Wilding||Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers|
|1912||Anthony Wilding||Ethel Thomson Larcombe|
|1911||Anthony Wilding||Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers|
|1910||Anthony Wilding||Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers|
|1909||Arthur Gore||Dora Boothby|
|1908||Arthur Gore||Charlotte Cooper Sterry|
|1907||Norman Brookes||May Sutton Bundy|
|1906||Lawrence Doherty||Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers|
|1905||Lawrence Doherty||May Sutton Bundy|
|1904||Lawrence Doherty||Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers|
|1903||Lawrence Doherty||Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers|
|1902||Lawrence Doherty||Muriel Robb|
|1901||Arthur Gore||Charlotte Cooper Sterry|
|1900||Reginald Doherty||Blanche Bingley Hillyard|
|1899||Reginald Doherty||Blanche Bingley Hillyard|
|1898||Reginald Doherty||Charlotte Cooper Sterry|
|1897||Reginald Doherty||Blanche Bingley Hillyard|
|1896||Harold Mahony||Charlotte Cooper Sterry|
|1895||Wilfred Baddeley||Charlotte Cooper Sterry|
|1894||Joshua Pim||Blanche Bingley Hillyard|
|1893||Joshua Pim||Lottie Dod|
|1892||Wilfred Baddeley||Lottie Dod|
|1891||Wilfred Baddeley||Lottie Dod|
|1890||Willoughby Hamilton||Lena Rice|
|1889||William Renshaw||Blanche Bingley Hillyard|
|1888||Ernest Renshaw||Lottie Dod|
|1887||Herbert Lawford||Lottie Dod|
|1886||William Renshaw||Blanche Bingley Hillyard|
|1885||William Renshaw||Maud Watson|
|1884||William Renshaw||Maud Watson|
Due to World War II, there was no tournament held between 1940 and 1945|
Due to World War I, there was no tournament held between 1915 and 1918
WIMBLEDON QUICK FACTS
First Played: 1877
Open Era Began: 1968
Venue: All England Club, London
Category: Grand Slam
2013 Dates: June 24-July 7, 2012
2013 WIMBLEDON WINNERS
Bob and Mike Bryan
Su-Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai
Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic