MOMENT 1 the very first Championships were held at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club in July 1877. Tennis was becoming the sport of the moment and 22 men took part, definately no women allowed at this stage. The first Champion was 27 year old Spencer Gore, he made no secret of actually preferring cricket!.
MOMENT 2 after turning down several requests to include women, the All England Club bowed to popular opinion in 1884 and the first Ladies event was held. It took place only after the mens’s competition was finished and two sisters, Maud and Lilian Watson, met in the final. 19 year old Maud won and received a silver flower basket valued at 20 guineas, she won again the following year.
MOMENT 3 Wimbledon hosted the 1908 Olympic Tennis Tournament, indoor matches were held at Queen’s Club. The indoor matches involved players from just two countries, Britain and Sweden however the outdoor matches at Wimbledon [held at the old Worple St ground] attracted representatives from many more nations. The Olympic tournament was dominated by the British, Arthur Gore and Gladys Eastlake-Smith took the Gold Medals in the indoor events. Miss Dora Boothby and Josiah Ritchie, both British, took Gold Medals at the outdoor competition.
MOMENT 4 by 1922 a new Club had been built on 13 acres of land beside a cart track known as Church Road. Accomodating 13,500 people and with a Centre Court, offices and a Royal Box, it was opened by King George V and Queen Mary and the tournament that followed took place in the wettest weather ever recorded, that’s saying something for Wimbledon!
MOMENT 5 the Duke of York, who would later become King George V1, competed in a doubles match with his equerry Wing Commander Louis Greig. Their opponents were Arthur Gore,former Wimbledon Champion aged 58 and H Roper Barrett aged 52. With a combined age of 110 years, they still managed to beat their illustrious opponent, however he does have the distinction of being the only member of the Royal Family to ever compete at Wimbledon.
Moment 6 this was a very long moment, the French dominated Wimbledon for most of the 1920s. Suzanne Lenglen dominated the women’s game and the ‘Four Musketeers’ aka Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste and Jacques Brugnon took every mens Single Championship from 1924-1929. Cochet was adored by the Wimbledon crowds as he leapt about in his beret and was fondly known as the “Bounding Basque.”