Virginia Wade

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

Virginia Wade
OBE
Full nameSarah Virginia Wade
Country (sports)United Kingdom United Kingdom
Born (1945-07-10) 10 July 1945 (age 77)
Bournemouth, England
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Turned pro1968
Retired1986
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,542,278
Int. Tennis HoF1989 (member page)
Singles
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)
Doubles
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)

Wade was the most recent British tennis player to win a major singles tournament until Andy Murray won the 2012 US Open, and was the most recent British woman to have won a major singles title until Emma Raducanu won the 2021 US Open. After retiring from competitive tennis, she coached for four years,[3] and has also worked as a tennis commentator and game analyst for the BBC and Eurosport and CBS in the U.S.

Early lifeEdit

Wade was born in Bournemouth, England, UK, on 10 July 1945. Her father was the archdeacon of Durban.[4]

At one year old, Wade moved to South Africa with her parents. There, she learned how to play tennis. When she was fifteen, the family moved back to England and she went to Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School and Talbot Heath School, Bournemouth.[5] In 1961, she 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.[6]

Tennis careerEdit

Wade's tennis career spanned the end of the amateur era and the start of the open era. In 1968, as an amateur, she won the inaugural open tennis competition – the British Hard Court Open at Bournemouth. She turned down the £300 first prize, choosing to play for expenses only.[7] Five months later, after turning professional, she won the women's singles championship at the first US Open (and prize-money of $6,000 - $46,754 today), defeating Billie Jean King in the final. Her second Major tennis singles championship came in 1972 at the Australian Open. There, she defeated Australian Evonne Goolagong in the final 6–4, 6–4. She was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1973 Birthday Honours for services to lawn tennis.[8]

Wade won Wimbledon in 1977. It was the 16th year in which she had played at Wimbledon, and she made her first appearance in the final by beating the defending champion Chris Evert in the semifinal 6–2, 4–6, 6–1. In the final, she beat Betty Stöve in three sets to claim the championship, nine days before her 32nd birthday. 1977 was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Wimbledon Championships, as well as the Silver Jubilee year of Elizabeth II, who attended the final for the first time since 1962.[9][10]

Wade also won four Major 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. In 1983, at the age of 37, she won the Italian Open women's doubles championship with Virginia Ruzici of Romania.

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. The 26 times that she played at Wimbledon is an all-time record,[11] 24 of those times being in the women's singles.[12]

After tennisEdit

Since 1981, while she was still playing, Wade has been a reporter on tennis events for the BBC.[13] In 1982, she became the first woman to be elected to the Wimbledon Committee.[14]

Wade was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1986 Birthday Honours for services to lawn tennis.[13][15]

In 1989, Wade was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.[16]

Major finalsEdit

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 3 (3 titles)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1968 US Open Grass   Billie Jean King 6–4, 6–2
Win 1972 Australian Open Grass   Evonne Goolagong 6–4, 6–4
Win 1977 Wimbledon Grass   Betty Stöve 4–6, 6–3, 6–1

Women's doubles: 10 (4 titles, 6 runner-ups)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1969 US Open Grass   Margaret Court   Françoise Dürr
  Darlene Hard
6–0, 3–6, 4–6
Loss 1970 Wimbledon Grass   Françoise Dürr   Rosie Casals
  Billie Jean King
2–6, 3–6
Loss 1970 US Open Grass   Rosie Casals   Margaret Court
  Judy Tegart Dalton
3–6, 4–6
Loss 1972 US Open Grass   Margaret Court   Françoise Dürr
  Betty Stöve
3–6, 6–1, 3–6
Win 1973 Australian Open Grass   Margaret Court   Kerry Harris
  Kerry Melville
6–4, 6–4
Win 1973 French Open Clay   Margaret Court   Françoise Dürr
  Betty Stöve
6–2, 6–3
Win 1973 US Open Grass   Margaret Court   Rosie Casals
  Billie Jean King
2–6, 6–3, 7–5
Win 1975 US Open Clay   Margaret Court   Rosie Casals
  Billie Jean King
7–5, 2–6, 7–6(7–5)
Loss 1976 US Open Clay   Olga Morozova   Linky Boshoff
  Ilana Kloss
1–6, 4–6
Loss 1979 French Open Clay   Françoise Dürr   Betty Stöve
  Wendy Turnbull
6–3, 5–7, 4–6

Year-end championships finalsEdit

Doubles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner–up)Edit

Result Year Location Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1975 Los Angeles Carpet (i)   Margaret Court   Rosie Casals
  Billie Jean King
6–7(2–7), 7–6(7–2), 6–2
Loss 1977 New York Carpet (i)   Françoise Dürr   Martina Navratilova
  Betty Stöve
5–7, 3–6

Singles titles (55)Edit

Bold type indicates a Major championship

(Source: WTA[17])

Grand Slam singles performance timelineEdit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# DNQ A NH
(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.
Tournament 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 Career SR
Australia A A A A A A A A A A W QF A A A A A A A A A A 2R 2R 2R 1 / 5
France A A A A A 4R A 2R QF 1R QF 3R 2R A A A A 2R 3R 4R 3R 1R 1R 2R 0 / 14
Wimbledon 2R 2R 2R 4R 2R QF 1R 3R 4R 4R QF QF SF QF SF W SF QF 4R 2R 2R QF 3R 3R 1 / 24
United States A A 4R 2R QF 4R W SF SF A QF QF 2R SF 2R QF 3R QF 3R 3R 1R 2R 2R A 1 / 20
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 3 1 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 2 1 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 2 1 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 3 3 / 63
Career statistics
Year-end ranking 2 3 4 4 8 15 30 59 40 61 89

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

Personal lifeEdit

Wade has no children and has never married. She has said "If I'd done better earlier, and my career had been at its peak earlier and I'd faded, I would probably have had a totally different life." She lives mostly in New York and in Chelsea, London.[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "sonyericssonwtatour.com".
  2. ^ Virginia Wade at the International Tennis Federation  
  3. ^ Lee, Veronica (27 June 2004). "Nice girls finish last". The Guardian. London.
  4. ^ Viner, Brian (29 June 2007). "Virginia Wade: 'We used to think there was a British winner every eight years'". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  5. ^ Grasso, John (2011). Historical Dictionary of Tennis. Scarecrow Press. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-8108-7237-0.
  6. ^ Cheese, Caroline (24 October 2008). "Q&A: Virginia Wade". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 January 2008.
  7. ^ "ROSEWALL HUSTLES TO £1,000 WIN". Daily Mirror. No. 20012. 29 April 1968. p. 23. Retrieved 2 October 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "No. 45984". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1973. p. 6489.
  9. ^ "Wade hopes for Jubilee repeat". BBC. 9 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Queen returns to Wimbledon after 33 years". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2017
  11. ^ "Wimbledon 2014: Britain's Jamie Delgado smashes record with 23rd consecutive All England Club appearance". The Telegraph. 25 June 2014. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  12. ^ Wade, Virginia (2017). "Player Profile - The Championships, Wimbledon 2017 - Official Site by IBM". Official Wimbledon website. Archived from the original on 16 October 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Biographies – Virginia Wade". BBC. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  14. ^ "Official Website of Virginia Wade O.B.E - Last British Women's Wimbledon Tennis Singles Champion, 1977". Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  15. ^ "No. 50551". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1986. p. 11.
  16. ^ "International Tennis Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2006.
  17. ^ "Player profile – Virginia Wade". Women's Tennis Association (WTA).
  18. ^ "Virginia Wade interview: 'I prefer to live in the present'". The Guardian. 18 June 2007.

External linksEdit

Preceded by BBC Sports Personality of the Year
1977
Succeeded by