1. The Irish Championships
The first modern organized tournament for women was at the Irish Championships in 1879. Wimbledon was actually offered the opportunity to stage the first women's event. Not surprisingly, they turned it down. This also gave us the first women's champion: May Langrishe, who defeated D. Meldon 6-2 0-6 8-6 in the final. The following year saw the first women's doubles event at this same tournament, with May teaming with a Miss Butler to defeat Meldon and May's older sister 6-3 6-4.
Did you know-- May was the younger of at least 2 Langrishe sisters, meaning this tournament also gave us the very first "Sister Act" in tennis.
2. Maud Watson
GS titles won: W-S- 1884, 85
The first Wimbledon singles champ, and thus the first GS singles champ. She defeated her sister in the final. It wasn't considered a big deal at the time. Little did anyone expect that it would take well over 100 years (including the entire 20th century) before two sisters would again meet in a Grand Slam final. Just think of how many modern inventions came into existence during that time.
3. Blanche Bingley Hillyard
GS titles won: W-S- 1886, 89, 94, 97, 99, 1900
The first great GS champion, winning 6 Wimbledon singles titles. First GS singles champ of the 20th century.
4. Charlotte "Lottie" Dod
GS titles won: W-S- 1887, 88, 91, 92, 93
Schoolgirl who became (and still is) the youngest ever to win a GS singles title. Because of her age, she was permitted to wear shorter skirts and less cumbersome outfits than her opponents, who considered it an unfair advantage.
Did you know-- Dod later won an Olympic medal, although not in tennis.
5. Ellen Hansell
GS titles won: U-S- 1887
First winner of the US championships.
Did you know- Hansell was anemic. When she was young, her family doctor recommended putting her on a tennis court daily to build her up.
Last edited by Brian Stewart : Nov 10th, 2004 at 10:11 AM.