#OTD – The first Wimbledon Tournament

Wimbledon Championship
Contemporary engraving of the first Wimbledon Championship at Worple Road, London, in July 1877

It is tennis season and Wimbledon is already well on its way. Let’s talk about how it started.

On July 9, 1877, the all England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon. The club was formed on 23 July 1868, originally as The All England Croquet Club. Lawn tennis, developed by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, was added to the activities of the club in 1876. At the inaugural games the Gentlemen’s Singles was the only event held and was won by Spencer Gore. About 200 spectators paid one shilling each to watch the final. The Ladies’ Single was introduced in 1884, won by Maud Watson.

The game has its origins in 12th century France, where a ball was struck with the palm of the hand. It was called jeu de paume (game of the palm), which evolved into real tennis (royal tennis). Real tennis grew into lawn tennis, played outside on the grass.

Wimbledon 2019

Tennis has its origins in jeu de paume (game of palm)

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