Sidney Wood, the only player to win a Wimbledon final without striking a ball, is born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

In 1931, Wood is scheduled to play Frank Shields in the Wimbledon men’s singles final, but Shields, who injured his ankle in his semifinal win over number 1 seed Jean Borotra, is pressured by the US Davis Cup committee to default the final in order to rest up and prevent further injury in preparation for the US Davis Cup team’s match with Britain the following week.

Frank wanted to play, and so did I. It was insulting to the fans and the tournament. I didn’t want to win that way. But the US Davis Cup committee ordered Frank to withdraw so he’d be ready for Davis Cup the next weekend againt Britain, which we lost. It shows you the control the USTA had over us amateurs.

Wood, at age 19, was the youngest man to win Wimbledon at the time, a record that 17-year-old Boris Becker eclipsed in 1985.

Source: On this day in tennis history by Randy Walker

Sidney Wood’s son, David, chronicled this controversial victory in his book The Wimbledon final that never was

Sidney Wood -who reached the final of the U.S. Championships at Forest Hills back in 1935, later founded the prestigious Town Tennis Club in Manhattan. His fascinating life also included dating the iconic Grace Kelly prior to her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964. He died in 1999, age 97.

Frank Shields was ranked eight times in the U.S. Top Ten, reaching Number 1 in 1933. He died in 1975. He was the grandfather of actress (and Agassi’s ex-wife) Brooke Shields.

6. The Davis Cup’s schedule also has to be brought into the real world. Should it be held for a week every other year, like golf’s Ryder Cup? Or maybe once a year? Whatever the answer, the powers-that-be need to
sit down and decide how to re-interest tennis’ top players in participating in this great event.

Changing the Davis Cup format has been a huge argument over recent years, as top players have shown their “intolerance” towards this event that is such a part of tennis history. Many suggested that it becomes a biennial event or a Ryder Cup style event. Rafael Nadal, one of the more frequent Davis Cup players, has also once stated it should be played at the best of three sets… I think these format changes would only depreciate the competition. The way it is, Davis Cup has contributed to bring the sport in many parts of the world that are excluded from élite tennis or can’t afford to host top-level tournaments. Maybe an increase of the number of matches in the ties would prevent a country with only a big player from succeeding and would provide a fairer representation of the real tennis power of a nation. Where players are right, instead, is on the calendar collocation of the Davis Cup. Such a big event can’t be placed in the week immediately after Wimbledon or the US Open: this is clearly an aspect that discourages the big names from taking part in it and on which the heads of the game should really work.

7. Only tennis’ top-notch amateurs should be allowed to compete in the Olympics. The lure of a gold medal would encourage young players to stay in college and wait longer to turn pro. The results would be more mature professionals and a purer Olympics.

To be admitted in the Olympics has been a great conquer for our sport. Though winning a gold medal will never be the same as winning a Major tournament for most of the players, you can’t deny that competing for your nation in a stage like the Olympics has a huge charm for any athlete. What would be the meaning of making amateurs compete at the Olympics? Do you really think a single person in the world would love to watch Mr. John Smith play on the Wimbledon Centre Court in 2012? Or do you think that a young who aims at becoming a professional tennis player would wait longer to turn pro, encouraged by the prospect of winning a gold medal for his/her country competing against other amateurs? Sports have changed since Pierre De Coubertin’s age. You can’t even think of sports today without thinking of the media and world-wide audiences. Tennis already struggles to find room on the general media. If played by amateurs, it would be completely cut off.

8. The service line should be moved three to six inches closer to the net. The serve has become far too important to tennis – especially at Wimbledon, where the best fans in the world sit patiently through rain delays, only to sit through boring serve-a-thons.

A lot (maybe too much…) has already been done to limit the service power over the last ten years. Indoor surfaces are no longer fast carpets, Wimbledon grass has higher and more regular rebounds (and there’s a roof on Wimbledon Centre Court, so… no more endless waiting for tennis…). I don’t remember a “service-only” player winning an important tournament in the last eight years. Maybe the last big success by a player who mostly based his game on service power has been the 2003 US Open won by Roddick. This point had sense maybe twenty years ago, in the era of Ivanisevic and Rosset. Tennis has moved on and has maybe gone too further on this aspect.

9. Let cords should be eliminated. Having to play all let serves would speed up the game and make it more exciting.

What would you think if, facing a match point, your opponent’s serve should hit the net and bounce just an inch beyond it? I would feel extremely angry…

10. Tennis players should be far more involved in charity work. The sport should champion a couple of causes as a group and try to make a difference – the kind of difference Andre Agassi and Andrea Jaeger have made, Andre with his school for disavantaged kids in Las Vegas, and Andrea with her Silver Lining Ranch for terminally ill children in Aspen, Colorado.

Again, much has changed on this aspect as well in recent years. I think the real turning point has been the “Rally for Relief” played in Indian Wells in 2005, that collected money for the populations hit by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean at the end of 2004. We have to give Roger Federer big credit on rising tennis world’s attention on charity. Maybe it’s never too much, but these events have increased by a great deal, compared to the past.

Article written by Tennis Buzz’s contributor Mauro Cappiello
Read the first part of the article»

The Museum holds personal collections of equipment, dress and archive material relating to Wimbledon champions, pioneer players and stars of the court from each generation. This collection is continually updated with new material from competitors on the current professional circuit.

If you enjoy tennis, history of tennis and want to know more about Wimbledon behind the scenes, a visit to the Wimbledon Museum is a must-do. You can also take a Wimbledon guided tour, read my recap here.

A few pics of the player memorabilia collection.

Wimbledon Museum

Outfit worn by Bjorn Borg when he won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon victory in 1980: close-fitting Fila shirt, short shorts, headband, wristband, socks and Diadora shoes.

Wimbledon Museum

Wimbledon Museum
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Borg, McEnroe Wimbledon 1981

I had been famous for a few years now, but Wimbledon in ’81 is where I became infamous.

John McEnroe

Excerpts from McEnroe‘s autobiography, Serious:

“I was unbelievably tense at Wimbledon in 1981 because I knew, after beating Borg at the Open, that I could win it, should win it, would win it – unless disaster struck.
Well, disaster did strike, and kept striking, round after round, and somehow I kept getting through – endearing myself to nobody in the process.

It began at the beginning.

Although this was to become one of my famous matches, I’m positive almost nobody remembers who I played, and when I played it: Tom Gullikson, first round, Wimbledon 1981. Court One.

I had behaved badly at Wimbledon before. I was already Super Brat. Now I upped the ante. Tom could be a pretty tough opponent on grass, but i had a much tougher adversary out there that day. Even though I would eventually win in straight sets 7-6 7-5 6-3, I just couldn’t rest easy when I got ahead: the devils were crawling all over my brain that afternoon. When Gullikson went ahead 4-3 in the second set on a miserable line call, I smashed my Wilson Pro Staff racket, and James issued me a warning. And later, when a linesman called a serve deep that I had clearly seen throw up a spray of chalk, I threw my new racket and gave a scream that came straight from Queens – but that has traveled very far in the years since.”

Man, you cannot be serious!

[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekQ_Ja02gTY[/youtube]

You guys are the absolute pits of the world.

The umpire understood “You guys are the piss of the world” and gave Mac a point penalty. McEnroe demanded to see the referee, and yelled:

We’re not going to have a point taken away because this guy is an incompetent fool!

After the match, McEnroe was fined $750 for the obscenity, $750 for an unsportsmanlike comment about the umpire, and threatened with an additional 10000 fine and suspension from the tournament.

And I want you to understand: I felt terrible. I’ve felt awful virtually every time I’ve had one of my on-court meldowns.

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For the 125th anniversary of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Club, Fila have released the Alpha 125 shoe. The new Wimbledon shoe has been designed to combine both comfort and performance.

Fila Alpha 125 tennis shoes

Built around an accommodating, yet performance-orientated last, the Alpha aims to provide great fit and feel from the very first wear. The synthetic leather upper is composed of ultra fine fibres that allow the foot to breathe in all conditions, whilst the Dri-Lex Climate Lining: to rapidly diffuse perspiration away from skin.

“125” is stitched towards the rear of the shoe and there is a special “125th Championships” logo on the tongue.

Fila Alpha 125 tennis shoes

The Alfa is designed to last, using abrasion-resistant and moisture-managing materials to endure even the most aggressive play. The toe wrap is coated with a “liquid ceramic” material which lasts up to 8 times longer than traditional synthetics in high abrasion areas. This extends to the midfoot for added durability.

You can buy them online on Wimbledon official shop.