Wimbledon: What happened to Virginia Wade?

Andy Murray claimed Wimbledon glory this afternoon, making him the first Briton to win at the All England Tennis Club since 1936: At least that’s what some media organisations would have you believe, because it seems they’ve forgotten all about Virginia Wade.

As I type, the British Wimbledon ladies’ champion is commentating on the mixed doubles final for the BBC, an organisation which seemed to wipe her name from the history books earlier this afternoon. Of course, it must be easy to forget that the Brighton-born woman clinched victory at the All England Tennis club in 1977: I mean the crowd only gave her a standing ovation and a chorus of For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow.


Now, I don’t class myself as one of those women who spends their time giving out about how the world discriminates against my sex, but today’s coverage was laughable. Not once amid the hype did the BBC mention Wade, referring only to Fred Perry throughout the day. Of course, Perry was the last men’s singles winner, and it was men’s singles final day, but it wouldn’t have hurt to clarify that Andy would be the first Briton ‘since Virginia Wade’ to win a singles title. Or you know, the first to win a men’s singles title since 1936.

And of course, Virginia wasn’t the first to win since Perry: Dorothy Round Little won the ladies singles title in 1937, and Angela Mortimer claimed victory in 1961. I certainly don’t aim to detract from Murray’s win, but I don’t understand why the organisation effectively whitewashed all these female victories, especially when Virginia’s been working for them throughout the tournament.

Virginia doesn’t seem too upset about it though. Sure she’s a jolly good fellow, and so say all of us, eh?


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