MAUD WATSON 1864 – 1946
The tennis tournament held at Wimbledon every year was established in 1877.
It’s the oldest tennis tournament in the world and started as a men’s singles competition. A men’s doubles competition was introduced in 1884 along with a singles tournament for ladies.
Maud Watson began to play competitive tennis in 1881 at various venues around the country.
She was the first British woman to win Wimbledon when she won the Ladies Singles in 1884. She continued to play tennis for a few years after her Wimbledon win but a wrist injury forced her retirement from the game in 1889.
In the early years Maud and the other women tennis players wore long, white skirts and high necked blouses during play until in 1922 Suzanne Lenglen caused outrage when she appeared in a knee length dress and insisted on playing. Incidentally shorts for sports were first worn in 1919 by Elaine Burton at the Northern Counties Athletic Championships.
Maud Watson served as a nurse during the First World War being in charge of an auxiliary hospital in the rectory at Berkswell on the outskirts of Coventry for which she was awarded an MBE.
Photo credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons