Who was the first Wimbledon champion?
The Wimbledon Championships were first staged at the AllEngland Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, in 1877. The inaugural Championships featured just one event, the Gentlemen’s Singles, which was contested by twenty-one amateur players, each of whom paid an entrance fee of £1 1s 0d, or a ‘guinea’. The tournament started on July 9, 1877 and the final was played ten days later after being postponed from the Monday to the Thursday because of rain. In a one-sided final, Spencer Gore, a 27-year-old rackets player, beat William Marshall, a 28-year-old real tennis player, in straight sets. Gore received a silver cup, donated by ‘The Field’ magazine, and 12 guineas in prize money.
The first Ladies’ Singles competition was not staged until 1884, by which time the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club had dropped ‘Croquet’ from its name to become, simply, the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The inaugural female champion was 19-year-old Maud Watson, who defeated her elder sister, Lillian, by two sets to one in the final. Miss Watson received a silver flower basket and 20 guineas in prize money.