Wimbledon is finally set to enter the modern age and drop ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ titles from the championship honour board.
The move will bring women into line with men, who have been listed without titles for the entirety of the tennis tournament’s 145-year history.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s revised stance includes ending the outdated practice of listing married champions by their husband’s name.
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Australian icon Evonne Goolagong Cawley is featured as ‘Mrs R Cawley’ for her 1980 title, while 1981 winner Chris Evert is named as ‘Mrs J M Lloyd’.
Despite Evert and John Lloyd divorcing in 1987, ‘Mrs J M Lloyd’ has never been removed – even after Wimbledon produced a new honours board to make space for the next 40-plus years of champions.
Wimbledon’s tradition received renewed scrutiny after Australia’s world No.1 Ash Barty fulfilled her childhood dream of winning the grand slam last year.
The AELTC’s decision to act on its honour board comes three years after umpires were no longer required to use titles during matches.
Titles were dropped from scoreboards in 2009, one year after ‘Miss S Williams’ and ‘Miss V Williams’ played off for the title.
Other customs remain in place, however.
Dutch tennis player Indy de Vroone was last year told the inside of her cap was not white enough to comply with the rules.
In 2018, Australia’s John Millman needed his father Ron to rush out and buy white underwear when officials engaged in a surprise clampdown.
“The Lotto pants this year are really thin, which is good for us, it feels like you are playing naked out there,” Millman said.
“I shouldn’t say this, but I have worn those undies, or similar types, for the last few years.
“But this year they came down hard, as they do. But ‘The Fox’ (his father) delivered.”
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Players speak out against Wimbledon dramas
Wimbledon has been the talk of this month’s French Open after the ATP and WTA stripped the grass-court grand slam of ranking points.
The ATP men’s tour and WTA women’s tour acted in response to Wimbledon’s ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The man with arguably much to lose from the ban – as a potential winner – but also much to gain, as it means he will probably return to No.1, is Daniil Medvedev.
As a Russian he cannot compete, but he will gain a net benefit of 1820 points over current No.1 Novak Djokovic as the Serb will lose the 2000 points he earned winning last year’s Wimbledon.
Medvedev, who is currently 680 points behind Djokovic, said with a smile it was “very strange” that he might become the world’s top-ranked men’s player while exiled.
“But I’d be really happy to play Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon,” added the 26-year-old, who plans to compete at grass-court events in Germany and the Netherlands in June.
“There are no points, I become No.1, well, great for me. If there are points (there are rumours the ATP’s position may be ‘refined’), I cannot become No.1, I’m going to be gutted.”
France’s Benoit Paire was critical of the ATP branding Medvedev’s likely accession as ‘absurd’.
“I would like to talk about Wimbledon,” he said.
“I would like to know if ATP defends more (its) players or Russia.
“When some people had COVID, we didn’t say, ‘oh, OK, we should cancel the tournament altogether’.
“But then we have three or four Russian players, including Medvedev, and we are rallying against Wimbledon.
“I think it’s a pity, because if we were to listen to all the players, players do not understand this decision – 99 per cent of players, they want to have points and to play the tournament as it was before. So I want to know if ATP wants to defend players or Russia?
“I’m sorry for Russia and Russians, but they are the ones causing all the trouble. And all the ATP players are actually paying the price. Medvedev will be No.1 worldwide. This is absurd.”
– with AAP