After two years of absence, Wimbledon, the most famous tennis tournament in the world is back, on the lawns of the All England Club, in London. Last year, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was forced to be canceled, also thanks to the insurance guarantees stipulated in 2003, which allowed the Church Road board not to lose economically as happened to the other Majors.
This year will be the last season in which Middle Sunday will be played, which will be no more from next year. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams will be the great protagonists of men's and women's singles, while Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka will not be in London.
And talking aboiut great protagonists of the women's singles, there were and are players who marked the history of the Championships, winning epic matches and the love of fans and crowd. From the first edition of 1884 until 1914, there was a British domain, with many stars that, at the turn of the 1800s and 1900s, began to write the history of women's singles.
Among them Lottie Dod (1887, 1888, 1891, 1892, 1893), Blanche Bingley (1886, 1889, 1894, 1897, 1899, 1900), Charlotte Cooper (1895, 1896, 1898, 1901, 1901, 1908) and Dorothea Douglass (1904 , 1906, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914).
After the First World War, the era of La Divine Suzanne Lenglen began, which dominated both Wimbledon and Roland Garros. In London, the Frenchwoman won five consecutive titles (from 1919 to 1923) plus the sixth title in 1925.
She was the first real-world star of women's tennis, which influenced both the way she played and women's fashion in sport.
Wimbledon: the women who write the history on the London lawns
Subsequent to Lenglen were the American players who wrote the story at the All England Club between 1927 and 1958.
Helen Wills Moody was one of the greatest American tennis players ever. At the Championships she won in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932,1933, 1935 and 1938. Louise Brough (1948, 1949, 1950 and 1955), Maureen Connolly (1952, 1953, 1954) and Althea Gibson (1957 and 1958 ) were the heirs of Wills Moody.
Maria Bueno was another of the great interpreters of tennis on grass-courts and in London, she won in 1959, 1960 and 1964. The following years marked the great rivalry between Margaret Smith and Billie Jean King. Between the two was the American to win more titles in London (1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1975).
During this rivalry, a young Chris Evert also got three wins, but the late 1970s and 1980s were dominated by Martina Navratilova, record-woman at Wimbledon with nine titles won in three different decades (1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990).
Navratilova's record is still unbeaten and could hold out for many more years. Steffi Graf was the icon of women's tennis in the 1990s, and she won seven titles on the London lawns (1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996).
The late 90s and the beginning of the new millennium saw the great triumphs of Serena and Venus Williams. Serena, winner of the title for seven times (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016) is looking for the 24 Major, which allows her to reach the absolute record of Margaret Smith.
Will she make it this year? Venus, with five titles (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008), was the protagonist of all the early 2000s. A 17-year-old Maria Sharapova stunned the world in 2004, establishing herself as one of the biggest women's tennis stars in the world of all-time.
Petra Kvitova could have obtained more than the two titles won. Instead, to finish, will Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep won the last two editions both against Serena Williams.