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Tennis at Wimbledon, in the Oxford DNB

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography offers the stories of 23 famous British tennis players, including 11 winners of the Wimbledon singles title. The earliest is Blanche Hillyard who won her first title in 1886, two years after the ladies first competed at Wimbledon.

You’ll find Blanche and seven subsequent winners in the gallery below—while elsewhere the ODNB serves up Charlotte Sterry (5 times winner, beginning in 1895) and Anthony Wilding (four times, from 1910).

Eternal optimists may like to remember 1934 when Fred Perry and Dorothy Round both won the respective singles' finals. Fred Perry’s story also features as a free biography podcast available here or via iTunes.

Dorothy Round Blanche Hillyard Kitty Godfree
Bunny Austin Fred Perry
Kay Stammers Dan Maskell Doherty brothers Dorothea Chambers

Tie-break: We couldn’t call ‘Game, set, and match’ without a reference to Ralph Slazenger (1845-1910), early manufacturer of tennis balls and other equipment, or Walter Wingfield (1833-1912), inventor of lawn tennis. You can see all 23 ODNB players —anytime, anywhere—by logging on to the dictionary, free, via your or university or local public library.

Anyone for SW19? Use the Oxford DNB’s people search to find over 400 men and women with ties to Wimbledon, SW19, from royal mistress Anne Vane (d.1736) to racing driver James Hunt (1947-1993).

Oh I Say? Brits have been pinning their hopes on Andy Murray for the past few years, but just how long did they have to play the 'waiting' game before his historic first win in 2013? Read more … Also, Who's Who has more on the contemporary players that have recently been champions at Wimbledon.

Free DNB tasters
  • the ODNB online is freely available via public libraries across the UK. Libraries offer ‘remote access’ allowing members to log-on to the complete dictionary, for free, from home (or any other computer) twenty-four hours a day.
  • as well as 58,664 life stories, the ODNB publishes a twice monthly biography podcast featuring some popular entries from the collection: from Boudicca to Bobby Moore and Barbara Cartland.
  • you can also sign up for a Life of the Day: a topical biography delivered to your inbox.

> Read the Oxford DNB, free and at home, using your library's subscription

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