Wimbledon broke its own tradition through Serena Williams.
Competitions as old as the Wimbledon tennis tournament often have traditions that if you look at it today, are considered completely irrelevant.
Take for instance its use of honorifics for women: the New York Times reveals that at Wimbledon, female competitors are still defined by their marital status, regardless of whether they’ve taken their spouse’s name.
For some background, Wimbledon started in 1877 and only allowed women female players in 1884; and as Busted Racquet writer Liz Roscher discovered, married female winners were listed on the All England Club’s board of champions by their husband’s name — even if they weren’t publicly using his name.
For example, Chris Evert won in Wimbledon as a single woman in 1974 and 1976, and was listed as “Miss. C.M. Evert.”
But when she won in 1981, after marrying John Lloyd, she was listed as “Mrs. J.M. Lloyd.”
We don’t’ know about you, but when we win in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, we’d like to see our name on the board and through sports history, and not as somebody’ s wife, thank you.
“Even if female tennis players do decide to take their husband’s last name in competition, the board of champions still lists them using their husband’s initials and last name. Billie Jean King took the last name of her then-husband (tennis player Larry King), but next to the years of her six Wimbledon wins, she’s listed as Mrs. L.W. King, giving credit to the husband she would divorce in 1987,” Roscher writes.
Well, that all changed with Serena Williams.
Addressing her as “Mrs. Williams,” the umpire alludes to her marital status but respects that fact she hasn’t yet decided if she wants to start using her husband’s last name in her matches.
Roscher calls it “a step in the right direction” away from Wimbledon’s male-centric past; although they still have so much more to do.