Biggest Events in Sports Wimbledon Part 1
About Wimbledon, history and information about the major sporting event and one of the biggest tennis tournaments.
In 1877 the All-England Croquet Club, located in the London suburb of Wimbledon, decided that croquet was not bringing in enough income to keep the club afloat. To attract new members, the club permitted another sport to enter its grounds and took the name All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. That led to the creation of the lawn tennis championships on grass, an event everybody refers to simply as Wimbledon.
The 100th anniversary of Wimbledon was celebrated in 1977, but because of interruptions by two world wars, by 1978 only 92 men's tournaments had been played. The women had held 85 championships.
The first 41 tournaments were played on Worple Road, now the site of a girls' school. The rest of the tournaments have been played at the present site on Church Road, less than a mile from the old spot.
About 200 people watched the first final in 1877. By contrast, the largest single day crowd was 37,393, on June 22, 1977. The largest fortnight crowd (two weeks) was 338,591, set in 1975.
Helen Wills Moody holds the record for the most singles titles with eight. William Renshaw leads the men in that category with seven. Billie Jean King and Elizabeth Ryan share the record (19) for championships in singles and doubles combined.
The longest match in Wimbledon history took place in the first round in 1969, when Pancho Gonzales survived seven match points to defeat Charles Pasarell, 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9. The match lasted 5 hr., 15 min.
There is a mystique to Wimbledon that makes it the premier event in tennis. Tradition most accounts for this, including such things as ivy-covered walls on Centre Court, a garden-party atmosphere featuring strawberries and cream, the Royal Box reserved for the queen or someone representing the throne, and the after-tournament formal Wimbledon Ball honoring the winners. "Wimbledon's magic lies in its stability, immense dignity, tradition, efficiency, and above all a style and class that are unique," says one English writer. "No player with any sense of occasion would want to be anywhere else." Or as one former champion has said: "My idea of a perfect way to die is to have a heart attack while serving an ace at Wimbledon."
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