Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
When World War II broke out in 1939, the All England Club knew that it might be affected because of its situation close to the heart of London. During the six years of war more than 1,000 bombs fell on the borough of Wimbledon, destroying almost 14,000 homes, and one hit the Centre Court on 11 October,1940.
It struck a corner of the competitors’ stand and Wimbledon was unable to repair the damaged section until 1947. The championships did go ahead in 1946 even though the damage meant that 1,200 seats were lost. The decision to play in that summer did put considerable strain on the management committee but Wimbledon went ahead.
Players came from 23 countries and Wimbledon’s position as the world’s leading tournament was quickly re-established. There was no qualifying event in 1946 and players were selected on merit to compete, the first singles champions being Yvon Petra of France and Pauline Betz of the USA.
In 1949 Gussie Moran from the USA played at Wimbledon for the first time. She was 25, from Santa Monica, California, and was the seventh-ranked American. At the pre-championships garden party at the Hurlingham Club she wore a kilt-length all white dress, which was cut sufficiently to reveal glimpses of her lace-edged panties.
Among the ranks of the photographers she caused an instant sensation and they camped on the courts where she was assigned to play. Their pictures went around the world and, for a time, she was one of the most famous tennis players.
Gussie was beaten in the second round of singles but sustained the interest in herself and her attire by playing all the way through to the final of the doubles. She played at Wimbledon the following summer, reaching the quarter-finals, where she was beaten by Margaret du Pont. Later Gussie switched to wearing shorts.
Californian Ted Schroeder acquired the nickname “Lucky Ted.” He smoked a pipe, which would be a rarity on the circuit these days,and walked with a rolling gait, which observers at the time said made him look as if he had just jumped off a horse.
He played the Championships only once, in 1949, his name is there on the honours board as singles champion. Wimbledon made Schroeder, then 28, top seed in 1949, but he had a considerable struggle to maintain a place in the field, let alone justify being top seed.
In four rounds, Schroeder had to play five sets and lost a total of eight sets, a grim record, which stood for 36 years. In the final Schroeder had another five-set match, this time against Jaroslav Drobny, seeded sixth, but survived 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Clearly, it was meant to be his year. He was doubles runner-up the same year.