The famous Wimbledon honour boards will reportedly be replaced ahead of this year’s grand slam tournament at SW19.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club will reportedly replace its Wimbledon honour boards ahead of the 2022 grand slam tournament, withdrawing titles before the names of its female champions.
According to The Times, honorifics in front of female winners will be removed next month to “move with the times”, while the process of married women taking the initials and surnames of their husbands will also be updated.
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Since the tournament began in 1884, female champions had titles “Miss” and “Mrs” in front of their names, while the men didn’t. For example, former world No. 1 Ash Barty is currently immortalised as “Miss A Barty”, while 20-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic reads “N Djokovic”.
Meanwhile, the name of Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won Wimbledon in 1980, is written “Mrs R Cawley” because her husband’s name is Roger.
Similarly, American tennis icon Billie Jean King is listed on Wimbledon’s honours boards as “Mrs. L.W. King” despite her divorce to Larry King in 1987.
Sports reporter Paul Dennett wrote in The Roar last year: “Surely Wimbledon must do away with such outdated and insulting styling.
“It is time to rewrite the honours board. Remove all the anachronistic instances of ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ and get rid of the initials of female players’ husbands. ‘Miss. R. Cawley’ should be ‘Evonne Goolagong-Cawley’ and ‘Miss. J.M. Lloyd’ should be ‘Chris Evert’.”
In 2019, Wimbledon stopped using terms “Miss” and “Mrs” when announcing the names of players during matches, a move that “surprised” Djokovic.
“I thought that tradition was very unique and very special; I thought it was nice,” the Serbian said at the time.
“It’s definitely not easy to alter or change any traditions here that have been present for many years. It’s quite surprising that they’ve done that.”
The move comes after Wimbledon, widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis event, was stripped of ranking points by the sport’s main tours in response to the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament, essentially reducing Wimbledon to the status of a high-profile exhibition event.
“It is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022,” an ATP statement said last week.
“Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour.
“Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable.”
The ATP decision means defending champion Djokovic will lose 2000 points.
The WTA, which operates the women’s tour, joined their male colleagues in withholding points for the tournament which starts on June 27.