Wimbledon Portraits: Lottie Dod Pioneers Teenage Victory in 1887

The annals of Wimbledon bear witness to a myriad of trailblazing moments in the world of tennis. Over the years, a multitude of phenomenal players have elevated and transformed the sport. One such remarkable instance took place in 1887 when Britain’s Lottie Dod, at just 15, emerged as the youngest victor in the women’s singles championship. She claimed the title by showing dominance over Blanch Bingley with a commanding 6-2, 6-0 victory.

Fast forward to the year 1957, the All England Lawn Tennis Club was introduced to Althea Gibson. Gibson made history as the first black title winner at Wimbledon in a triumphant battle against Darlene Hard with a 6-3, 6-2 scoreline in the women’s singles, sending shockwaves of inspiration and change throughout the tennis community.

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A decade on in the trajectory of Wimbledon’s historic women’s singles, another major milestone was achieved. In 1968, the renowned Billie Jean King clinched her third consecutive title. A strong match saw her pitted against Australian Judy Tegart, where she triumphed with scores of 9-7 and 7-5.

The spotlight later shifted to the tracks in Laussane, Switzerland, in 1994. Leroy Burrell had the world holding its breath as he smashed the world record in the 100-metre sprint race. His time, an astonishing 9.85 seconds, surpassed the previous record set by Carl Lewis in the World Championships by 0.01 seconds.

Back on the tennis court in Wimbledon, Steffi Graf displayed exceptional mastery of the sport in 1996. She clinched her 100th tournament victory and her 20th Grand Slam title after overpowering Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 7-5 in a pulsating final.

The following year, in 1997, Pete Sampras clutched his 10th Grand Slam title and added a fourth Wimbledon title to his accolades. He outclassed French player Cedric Pioline with an authoritative game that ended in 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 favouring Sampras.

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Adding to the stellar victories, Se Ri Pak, at the tender age of 20, became the youngest U.S. Women’s Open champion in 1998. It was a mammoth contest that ended on the 20th extra hole with Pak hitting an 18-foot birdie, beating amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn in what was the longest Women’s Open in history.

The Williams’ saga unfolded at Wimbledon in 2000. Venus Williams, the older sibling, defeated her younger sister Serena 6-2, 7-6 (3) advancing to the finals. This match marked a historic moment as it was the first pair of siblings to contest a Grand Slam semifinal.

A legend in her own right, Martina Navratilova bagged yet another title in 2003. Teaming with Leander Paes, she won her 20th Wimbledon title by defeating Andy Ram & Anastassia Rodionova 6-3, 6-3 in the mixed doubles final.

In what was one of the greatest men’s finals by far, 2008 saw Rafael Nadal triumphantly ending Roger Federer’s pursuit of creating history with a sixth consecutive championship. Nadal bested Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7 in a match that lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes, going down in history as the longest men’s final in Wimbledon.

Jumping ahead to 2014, Novak Djokovic won his second Wimbledon title and halted Roger Federer’s aspirations for a record eighth title. Djokovic survived a challenging contest, leading 5-2 in the fourth set, and ultimately seizing the title with a 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 final score.


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