Wimbledon – History, Prize Money, Records & Trends

Australia’s finest tennis players head to London each year to vie for glory on the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon.

It is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and many regard it as the most prestigious – although the Australian Open organisers may dispute those claims. Grass is the fastest surface, so Wimbledon often delivers breakneck action, making it an exciting tournament for players, spectators and punters alike.

Aussies have had a great deal of success over the years, from Norman Brookes in 1907 to Ashleigh Barty in 2021. They will be out in full force this year, and we will have a wealth of betting options on the tournament. Read on to learn more about the illustrious history of Wimbledon, the legends it has spawned and the best performing Australians. 


Wimbledon History

Twenty-two players paid a guinea apiece to enter the inaugural Wimbledon gentlemen’s singles tournament in July 1877. It was supposed to be a five-day event, but rain delays – which would become commonplace at the tournament – pushed it back by an extra four days. Spencer Gore, a rackets player, took just 48 minutes to beat William Marshall 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the final, earning 12 guineas and a silver trophy valued at 25 guineas.

It became an annual tournament, and a ladies’ singles event was added in 1884, when Maud Watson triumphed, along with men’s doubles. The women’s doubles and mixed doubles events were added in 1913.

The event grew in popularity during the ensuing years, so it had to be moved from its original venue to the current site in 1922. Homegrown players dominated for the first couple of decades, but then players from Australia, New Zealand and the USA began winning on a regular basis. Fred Perry won the men’s singles in 1936, and British fans then had to wait 80 years for their next champion: Andy Murray in 2016.

Wimbledon did not take place during the two world wars, and it was also cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In every other year, it has taken place during June and July in London.

Major renovations have taken place in recent years. The All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, now features 18 courts, dominated by Centre Court, which has a capacity of 15,000 and hosts all the biggest matches. In 2009, a retractable roof was fitted to Centre Court to reduce time lost due to rain delays, and No. 1 Court received the same treatment in 2019.

Prize money has soared in the modern era, although it does not offer as much as the US Open and Australian Open.


Legends of Wimbledon

Wimbledon has spawned many legends, but these five players really stand out after enjoying some of their finest moments at SW19:


Martina Navratilova

Navratilova is the most successful player in Wimbledon history. She won nine singles titles – including six in a row between 1982 and 1887 – along with seven doubles titles and four mixed doubles titles. She is the Open era record holder in all three categories. 

Roger Federer

Federer has won more men’s singles titles at Wimbledon than any other player. His first victory came in 2003, when he beat big-serving Australian Mark Philippoussis 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the final. His last victory came 14 years later, when he rolled back the years to beat Marin Čilić in straight sets in 2017. The Swiss is currently injured, so he will not take part this year.

Björn Borg

The Swedish star’s battles with John McEnroe defined men’s tennis in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He won five Wimbledon titles in a row, including a thrilling five-set victory over McEnroe in the 1980 final. 

Pete Sampras

The powerful American won seven Wimbledon titles during a brilliant eight-year spell. His last victory came in 2000, when he beat Pat Rafter in four sets. Rafter reached the final again in 2001, but lost to Goran Ivanišević.

Steffi Graf

The German claimed seven Wimbledon titles during a nine-year period from 1988 to 1996, a period in which she dominated women’s tennis. Her husband, Andre Agassi, was the men’s champion in 1992. 


Highest Finishing Australian Players at Wimbledon

There have been 15 Australian singles champions at Wimbledon over the years:


Norman Brookes

Sir Norman became the first non-British player to win Wimbledon when he swept his rivals aside in 1907. He won the title again seven years later, and he also won the Australasian Championships in 1911. The Australian Open men’s singles trophy is named after him.  

Gerald Patterson

Patterson was one of the best players of the post-World War I era. He won Wimbledon in 1919 and 1922, and he was crowned Australian Open champion in 1927.

Jack Crawford

Crawford was the world’s top-ranked amateur when he won Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open in 1935. He finished runner-up in the US Open too, missing a calendar Grand Slam by just one set.

Francis Sedgman

Sedgman won the men’s singles at Wimbledon in 1953, and he was a doubles champion there in 1948, 1951 and 1952. He also won two Australian Open titles and two US Opens during his distinguished career.

Lew Hoad

Hoad followed in Crawford’s footsteps by winning Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open as an amateur in 1956, before losing the US Open final that year. He bounced back by winning Wimbledon again in 1957.

Ashley Cooper

Cooper won Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open in 1958, but he could only reach the semi-finals of the French Open.

Neale Fraser

Fraser is the last man to complete a triple crown, as he won the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles at the US Open. He also stormed to victory at Wimbledon in 1960.

Margaret Court

Court is the most successful player of all time. She was the first female Australian to win Wimbledon when she lifted the trophy in 1963, and she was victorious again in 1965 and 1970, She would go on to win a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles and 40 Grand Slam doubles titles.

Rod Laver

Laver holds the record for the most singles titles in tennis history, with 198. He won 11 Grand Slams, including Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969.

Roy Emerson

Emerson won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and 16 doubles titles during his remarkably prolific career. That includes back-to-back Wimbledon triumphs in 1964 and 1965.

John Newcombe

The former world number one was a Wimbledon champion in 1967, 1970 and 1971. He also won two US Opens and two Australian Opens.

Evonne Goolagong

Goolagong won the women’s singles title in 1971 and 1980, and she also finished runner-up three times in between. She would end her career with 14 Grand Slams and a place in the Hall of Fame.

Pat Cash

Cash made history by climbing into the stands to celebrate his victory in the 1987 Wimbledon final, sparking a tradition that many players have followed.

Leyton Hewitt

Hewitt is the last Australian man to win Wimbledon. He prevailed in straight sets against David Nalbandian in the 2002 final, claiming his second Grand Slam. Hewitt remains the last Australian to win a men’s singles Grand Slam.

Ashleigh Barty

Barty secured a dominant victory over Karolina Plišková in the Wimbledon final last year to claim her second Grand Slam. She followed it up by winning the 2022 Australian Open, but then the world number one shocked everyone by announcing her retirement at the age of 25.


Wimbledon Records: SW19 Record Holders

These are the key Open era records that have developed at Wimbledon since 1968, when professionals were allowed to compete with amateurs:

  • Most men’s singles titles: Roger Federer (8)
  • Most consecutive men’s singles titles: Björn Borg, Roger Federer (5)
  • Most women’s singles titles: Martina Navratilova (9)
  • Most consecutive women’s singles titles: Martina Navratilova (6)
  • Best men’s singles winning percentage: Björn Borg (92.72%)
  • Best men’s singles winning percentage: Steffi Graf (90.36%)
  • Longest match: John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut, 2010 (11 hours, 5 minutes)


Wimbledon Winners 2011-2021

Year Men’s Champion Women’s Champion
2021 Novak Djokovic (SRB) Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
2019 Novak Djokovic (SRB) Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
2018 Novak Djokovic (SRB) Simona Halep (ROU)
2017 Roger Federer (SUI) Angelique Kerber (GER)
2016 Andy Murray (GBR) Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
2015 Novak Djokovic (SRB) Serena Williams (USA)
2014 Novak Djokovic (SRB) Serena Williams (USA)
2013 Andy Murray (GBR) Petra Kvitova (Cze)
2012 Roger Federer (SUI) Marion Bartoli (FRA)
2011 Novak Djokovic (SRB) Serena Williams (USA)


Wimbledon Prize Money

Wimbledon organisers cut the prize money by 7.85% in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It dropped to £35 million (AU$62.2 million). It will remain the same in 2022, leaving Wimbledon lagging the US Open and the Australian Open as the third richest tennis tournament.


Wimbledon Betting

You can bet on all the action at Wimbledon by visiting TopSport.com.au. We offer betting options on the overall tournament and on individual matches. Check out our latest Wimbledon odds to get involved in the action.