Women’s singles started to be played at Wimbledon in 1884, seven years after the foundation of the tournament. Women’s doubles and mixed doubles were first played in 1913. Here are some facts and records:
Youngest singles winner was Charlotte (Lottie) Dod who won Wimbledon in 1887 at the age of 15 years, 285 days. Later on she won four more Wimbledon titles, in 1888, 1891, 1892, 1893.
It’s unbelievable how times have changed. Take a look at Dod’s tennis outfit! I’m speechless.
And note this: besides playing tennis she was a member of the national field hockey team, British Amateur golf champion in 1904 and the archery silver medalist at the 1908 Olympics.
The youngest ever player at Wimbledon was Mita Klima of Austria, who was 13 years old in the 1907 singles competition.
Martina Hingis was the youngest doubles winner, being only 15 years, 282 days old when she became a champion in 1996.
First African-American winner: In 1957 Althea Gibson became the first African-American to win a Wimbledon singles championship, and defended her title a year later. She is sometimes referred to as “the Jackie Robinson of tennis” for breaking the “color barrier”.
Chris Evert Lloyd was the last married woman to win singles, that happened in 1981. She was also a player with most runner-up positions at Wimbledon, 7.
The shortest person to compete in Wimbledon was Miss C.G. Hoahing who was just 4 feet 9 inches / 1.45 meters.
And here’s the absolute queen — MARTINA NAVRATILOVA holds five records! She has most singles titles, as much as 9 (1978, 1979, 1982–1987, 1990)! She has most consecutive singles titles, 6! Navratilova also holds the record for the largest number of matches played — she played 326 matches at Wimbledon. Along with Billie Jean King, Martina was also the winner of most Wimbledon titles (singles, doubles and mixed doubles combined), having 20 of them. In addition, she was the oldest champion winning the mixed doubles title in 2003 at the age of 46 years, 8 months.
Most doubles and mixed doubles titles belong to Elizabeth Ryan who won 12 doubles titles, and 7 mixed doubles. She also won 5 consecutive doubles titles, which is the record that she shares with Suzanne Lenglen.
Venus Williams was the lowest seeded winner of Wimbledon, she was No. 14 23 seed when she clinched her third fourth Wimbledon title.
The youngest seed was Jennifer Capriati at 14 years 89 days at the time of her first match on 26 June 1990.
We all know that Wimbledon is all about the tradition, and that players must be dressed predominantly in white. Anne White made history by ridiculing this rule (contrary to some other players who simply refused to comply) — for her first round match at Wimbledon, she wore an all-white, skin-tight body suit. As the match was postponed overnight, she was told by the Wimbledon officials to wear something else the next day. She lost that match, but gained worldwide attention.
Additional information: In 2007, women will for the first time receive equal prize money as men – which is £700,000 for the winner (Read more about this here). In 1968 the prize money was £2,000 for the male champion and £750 for the female champion!
Aside from cash, the women’s champ also receives a silver gilt salver (a round, disk-like platter) that was made in 1864. It is displayed at the Wimbledon museum.