Wimbledon has always been a game of the champions. With another set of records been recently made the already existing rich history has become richer in all aspects.The beginning of this major tournament was as interesting as the life of the champions it has borne over the years.The inaugural tournament took place in 1877 with just 22 men fighting on the grass. It was just a fund raising effort organized to collect money for the lawn roller. The very first of its kind, the tournament was won by 27 year old Spencer Gore. The tournament turned out to be a great success except the rain on the final day and thus ensured its place in the world’s annual sporting calendar.
The only disruptions that ever occurred were during the World Wars four years being lost during the First and six during the Second World War.The game’s initial show was stolen by British twins, Ernest and William Renshaw. Quite popularly known as the “Renshaw Rush”, they won 13 titles between 1881 and 1889 in both forms of the game; Doubles and Singles. In 1905, when May Sutton of the United States grabbed the Ladies’ Singles title, she became the first overseas winner and then many followed suit. Althea Gibson became the first African-American player invited to Wimbledon in 1951 and was the first black player to win the singles title in 1957. Hence began a series of changes in the traditional Wimbledon from introduction of yellow tennis balls to dress codes, change was evident.Australians quite single handedly dominated the courts between 1956 and the early ‘70s with the famous four- Lew Hoad, Neale Fraser, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe. A major change however occurred with the game being made a professional Open Championship in 1968 with Rod Laver and Billie Jean King as the inaugural winners – £26,000 was on offer that year. In 1975, Arthur Ashe added to the historic pages by becoming the first black winner of the Men’s Singles.The ‘80s saw the rise and domination of Bjorn Borg; the Swede who won the Men’s Singles title five times in succession; a record recently been equaled by the reigning King -Roger Federer. The downfall of Bjorn Borg had ushered the fans into the modern era to witness the great players like John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis,Pete Sampras and many more. As the present day players continue to struggle for the coveted title the game lovers have a lot to ensconce and continue to cherish the grand history of this Grand Slam.

Meghna Baveja