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Virginia Wade

Updated: 2017-07-14T06:13Z
Virginia Wade
Full nameSarah Virginia Wade
Country (sports)United Kingdom United Kingdom
Born(1945-07-10) 10 July 1945 (age 72)
Bournemouth, Dorset, England
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Turned pro1968
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,542,278
Int. Tennis HoF1989 (member page)
Career record839–329[1]
Career titles55[1]
Highest rankingNo. 2 (3 November 1975)[2]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (1972)
French OpenQF (1970, 1972)
WimbledonW (1977)
US OpenW (1968)
Career record42–48[1]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1973)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenW (1973)
French OpenW (1973)
WimbledonF (1970)
US OpenW (1973, 1975)
Other doubles tournaments
Tour FinalsW (1975)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French OpenSF (1969, 1972)
WimbledonQF (1981)
US OpenQF (1969, 1985)

Sarah Virginia Wade, OBE (born 10 July 1945) is a former professional tennis player from Great Britain. She won three Grand Slam singles championships and four Grand Slam doubles championships, and is the only British woman in history to have won titles at all four Grand Slam tournaments. She was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in singles, and No. 1 in the world in doubles.

Three times a Grand Slam singles champion, her most famous success was winning Wimbledon on 1 July 1977, the tournament's centenary year, and the year of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (the Queen attended Wimbledon for the first time since 1962 to watch the final).[3][4] Wade was the last British tennis player to have won a Grand Slam singles tournament until Andy Murray won the US Open in 2012. She remains the most recent British woman to have won a Grand Slam singles title. After retiring from competitive tennis, she coached for four years[5] and has also worked as a tennis commentator and game analyst for the BBC and Eurosport.

Early life

On 10 July 1945, Wade was born in Bournemouth, England. Her father was the Archdeacon of Durban.[6]

At age one, Wade moved to South Africa with her parents. In South Africa, Wade learned to play tennis. When Wade was 15, the family moved back to England and she went to Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School and Talbot Heath School, Bournemouth.[7][8] In 1961 Wade was in the tennis team of Wimbledon County Girls' Grammar School. She went on to study mathematics and physics at the University of Sussex, graduating in 1966.[9]

Tennis career

Wade's tennis career spanned the end of the amateur era and the start of the open era. In 1968, she scored two notable firsts. As an amateur, she won the inaugural open tennis competition — the British Hard Court Open at Bournemouth. She turned down the US$720 first prize. Five months later, she had turned professional and won the women's singles championship at the first US Open (and prize-money of $6,000 - $41,322 today), defeating Billie Jean King in the final.

Wade's second Grand Slam singles championship came in 1972 at the Australian Open. There, she defeated the Australian Evonne Goolagong in the final 6–4, 6–4. Wade was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1973 Birthday Honours for services to Lawn Tennis.[10]

Wade won at Wimbledon, in 1977. It was the 16th year in which Wade had played at Wimbledon, and she made her first appearance in the final by beating the defending champion Chris Evert in a semifinal 6–2, 4–6, 6–1. In the final, she faced Betty Stöve. Not only was 1977 the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Wimbledon Championships, but it was the Silver Jubilee year of Elizabeth II, who attended Wimbledon for the first time since 1962 to watch the final. Wade beat Stöve in three sets to claim the championship, nine days before her 32nd birthday.

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in December 1977 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the National Sports Stadium at London's Crystal Palace.

Wade also won four Grand Slam women's doubles championships with Margaret Smith Court – two of them at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, one at the Australian Open, and one at the French Open.

Over her career, Wade won 55 professional singles championships and amassed $1,542,278 dollars in career prize money. She was ranked in the world's top 10 continuously from 1967 to 1979. Her career spanned a total of 26 years. She retired from singles competition at the end of the 1985 tennis season, and then from doubles at the end of 1986.

In 1983, at the age of 37, she won the Italian Open women's doubles championship, along with her teammate Virginia Ruzici of Romania.

The 26 times that Wade played at Wimbledon is an all-time record,[11] 24 of those times being in the women's singles.[citation needed]

After tennis

Since 1981, while she was still playing, Wade has been a reporter on tennis events for the BBC.[12] In 1982, Wade became the first woman to be elected to the Wimbledon Committee.[13]

Wade was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1986 Birthday Honours for services to Lawn Tennis.[12][14]

In 1989, Wade was also inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.[15]

Major finals

Grand Slam finals

Singles: 3 finals (3 titles)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfaceOpponent in finalScore in final
Winner1968US OpenGrassUnited States Billie Jean King6–4, 6–2
Winner1972Australian OpenGrassAustralia Evonne Goolagong6–4, 6–4
Winner1977WimbledonGrassNetherlands Betty Stöve4–6, 6–3, 6–1

Women's doubles: 10 finals (4 titles, 6 runners-up)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfacePartnerOpponents in finalScore in final
Runner-up1969US OpenGrassAustralia Margaret CourtFrance Françoise Dürr
United States Darlene Hard
0–6, 6–3, 6–4
Runner-up1970WimbledonGrassFrance Françoise DürrUnited States Rosie Casals
United States Billie Jean King
6–2, 6–3
Runner-up1970US OpenGrassUnited States Rosie CasalsAustralia Margaret Court
Australia Judy Tegart Dalton
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up1972US OpenGrassAustralia Margaret CourtFrance Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
6–3, 1–6, 6–3
Winner1973Australian OpenGrassAustralia Margaret CourtAustralia Kerry Harris
Australia Kerry Melville
6–4, 6–4
Winner1973French OpenClayAustralia Margaret CourtFrance Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
6–2, 6–3
Winner1973US OpenGrassAustralia Margaret CourtUnited States Rosie Casals
United States Billie Jean King
2–6, 6–3, 7–5
Winner1975US OpenClayAustralia Margaret CourtUnited States Rosie Casals
United States Billie Jean King
7–5, 2–6, 7–6(7–5)
Runner-up1976US OpenClaySoviet Union Olga MorozovaSouth Africa Linky Boshoff
South Africa Ilana Kloss
6–1, 6–4
Runner-up1979French OpenClayFrance Françoise DürrNetherlands Betty Stöve
Australia Wendy Turnbull
3–6, 7–5, 6–4

Year-End Championships finals

Doubles: 2 finals (1 title, 1 runner–up)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfacePartnerOpponents in finalScore in final
Winner1975Los AngelesCarpetAustralia Margaret CourtUnited States Rosie Casals
United States Billie Jean King
6–7(2–7), 7–6(7–2), 6–2
Runner-up1977New York CityCarpetFrance Françoise DürrCzechoslovakia Martina Navratilova
Netherlands Betty Stöve
7–5, 6–3

Singles titles (55)

Bold type indicates a Grand Slam championship
  • 1968 – US Open, Bloemfontein, Bournemouth, East London, Dewar Cup-Crystal Palace
  • 1969 – Cape Town, Hoylake, Dewar-Perth, Dewar-Stalybridge, Dewar-Aberavon, Dewar-Crystal Palace, East London
  • 1970 – German Indoors, West Berlin Open, Irish Open, Stalybridge, Aberavon
  • 1971 – Cape Town, Catania Open, Rome, Newport-Wales, Cincinnati, Dewar-Billingham, Dewar-Aberavon, Dewar Cup Final-London, Clean Air Classic
  • 1972 – Australian Open, VS Indoors-Mass., Merion, Buenos Aires
  • 1973 – Dallas, Bournemouth, Dewar-Aberavon, Dewar-Edinburgh, Dewar-Billingham, Dewar Cup Final-Albert Hall
  • 1974 – VS Chicago, Bournemouth, VS Phoenix, Dewar-Edinburgh, Dewar Cup-London
  • 1975 – VS Dallas, VS Philadelphia, Paris Indoors, Eastbourne, Dewar Cup, Stockholm
  • 1976 – U.S. Indoor Championships, Dewar Cup
  • 1977 – Wimbledon, World Invitational Hilton Head, Tokyo Sillook
  • 1978 – Mahwah, Tokyo Sillook, Florida Open

(Source: WTA[16])

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

(W) Won tournament; reached (F) final, (SF) semifinal, (QF) quarterfinal; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a (RR) round-robin stage; reached a (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; or (NH) tournament not held.
Tournament196219631964196519661967196819691970197119721973197419751976197719781979198019811982198319841985Career SR
SR0 / 10 / 10 / 20 / 20 / 20 / 31 / 20 / 30 / 30 / 21 / 40 / 40 / 30 / 20 / 21 / 20 / 20 / 30 / 30 / 30 / 30 / 40 / 40 / 33 / 63
Career statistics
Year End Ranking23448153059406189

SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number played.

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "". 
  2. ^ Virginia Wade at the International Tennis Federation
  3. ^ "Wade hopes for Jubilee repeat". BBC. 9 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Queen returns to Wimbledon after 33 years". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2017
  5. ^ Lee, Veronica (27 June 2004). "Nice girls finish last". London: 
  6. ^ Viner, Brian (29 June 2007). "Virginia Wade: 'We used to think there was a British winner every eight years'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  7. ^ Moss, Stephen (18 June 2007). "The long game". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 January 2008. 
  8. ^ "Talbot Heath: Factfile". Talbot Heath School. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  9. ^ Cheese, Caroline (24 October 2008). "Q&A: Virginia Wade". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 January 2008. 
  10. ^ "No. 45984". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1973. p. 6489. 
  11. ^ "Wimbledon 2014: Britain's Jamie Delgado smashes record with 23rd consecutive All England Club appearance". Telegraph. 25 June 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Biographies – Virginia Wade". BBC. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Official Website of Virginia Wade O.B.E - Last British Women's Wimbledon Tennis Singles Champion, 1977". 
  14. ^ "No. 50551". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1986. p. 11. 
  15. ^ "International Tennis Hall of Fame". 
  16. ^ "Player profile – Virginia Wade". Women's Tennis Association (WTA). 

External links

Preceded by
John Curry
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Steve Ovett
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