The Early Years of the Wimbledon Championships
At the next year’s competition in 1878, participation increased to 33 competitors vying to top the last year’s winner – in accordance with the Challenge Round System involving automatic qualification for a winner to compete only in the next year’s final round, against the competitor who made it through to the final to challenge him, which remained in effect until 1922 – with Frank Hadow meeting with victory that year by further innovating the game’s techniques, challenging Gore on the court in the final with the introduction of his lob shot, which involved pitching the ball over the head of his opponent. Wimbledon Removals The final of the next year’s tournament in 1879 attracted a crowd of about a thousand spectators – with 45 competitors vying that year for a spot in the final round. That year, the men’s doubles competition was also introduced, with a separate trophy being awarded to the new competition’s winning pair.
The next major innovation to the games techniques came a few years later, in 1881 when twin tennis players William and Ernest Renshaw showcased the overhead serve they had perfected with practice against one another. The twin brothers went on to dominate the decade, with William Renshaw winning seven Wimbledon Championship singles titles, almost all consecutively (in 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, and 1889), and Ernest Renshaw winning one Wimbledon Championship singles title in 1888. Together, they both also won five Wimbledon Championship doubles titles – also almost consecutively (in 1884, 1885, 1886, 1888, and 1889).
By 1882, the sport of tennis dominated the activities offered by the All England Lawn and Tennis and Croquet Club – so much so, that its croquet lawns were just about no more and the club removed “and Croquet” from its title that year, although sentimentality led to a return to its original name seven years later, in 1889.
In 1884, seven years after the first Wimbledon championship, the first women’s singles event was introduced at the tournament, with thirteen competitors. A pair of sisters, Maud and Lilian Watson, competed against one another in the final. Maud Wilson won the title against her sister, becoming the first champion of Wimbledon’s ladies’ singles event. Gentlemen’s doubles was also introduced as an event that year; but ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles did not become a part of the championship until 1913. Of course, separate sports awards were bestowed for each category.