How Wimbledon Came to Be

Wimbledon 2024

Everyone is gearing up for this year’s Wimbledon Grand Slam! Top players are prepping their whites for the grass courts in London but ever wonder how Wimbledon started out? The beginnings of this tournament may surprise you because the club that started it all didn’t even begin with tennis, it was croquet.

Wimbledon Beginning

The All-England Club

This club was founded in 1868 for the sole purpose of croquet and was located at four acres of rented meadows along Worple Road, Wimbledon. In 1875, they turned one of the lawns into a space for lawn tennis. Which at the time was a new game that quickly grew in popularity.

The First Championship

In two years, the sport had snowballed and the club decided to host their first Lawn Tennis Championship. This championship had humble beginnings, such as a temporary three-plank stand that sat 30 people.  Even the tennis racquets resembled snow shoes in weight and shape and the balls had hand-sewn flannel casings. Only one event was included and it was gentleman’s singles.  Despite all of this 200 people showed up to see the game.

The First Lady’s Championship

Wimbledon Tennis

Since tennis could be played easily by both men and women this led to the inclusion of women in 1884. In 1887, the youngest female player to win the singles crown was Lottie Dod at the age of 15 and 285 days. This is a record that still stands today! She then went on to win four more Wimbledons between 1888 and 1893 only dropping one set in the 5 years.


Up until 1921, there was a rule that the previous champions weren’t required to defend their titles until Challenge Road. This rule meant that the defending champion didn’t have to defend their position until the rest of the main draw had been established.

Then in 1922, Wimbledon moved to Church Road with construction that would allowed accommodations up to 13,500 people. The new home for tennis was completed just in time for the 1922 championships. On June 26 the official opening was conducted by King George V and Queen Mary. After that, it was the wettest two weeks in Wimbledon history. Later in 1925, the Duke of York would play in the tournament competing in men’s doubles.

Wimbledon Tennis Tournament

The Wimbledon Museum

The opening of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum was how they celebrated 100 years of tennis. It was officially opened by the Duke of Kent on 20th May 1977 with its associated Lord Ritchie Library. The museum’s goal was to cover everything about tennis from its origins through its developments to the present day. Special exhibitions were included such as “Tennis Fashion Through The Ages” highlighting specific areas of the game to offer additional visitor attractions.

Celebrate Wimbledon at Tennis Express

This and other tournaments have a rich history that goes back many years showing everyone’s love for our favorite game. Seeing how far we have come in the world of tennis shows how far we can truly go and that we aren’t done with improving. For the latest gear and apparel check out for all your tennis needs.



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