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KEY DATES FOR WIMBLEDON 2017

Qualifying begins: 26 June

The Draw: 30 June

Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July

Order of Play: 2 July

Championships begin: 3 July

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Friday 17 March 2017 09:34 AM GMT
From the archive: Harold Mahony
On St Patrick's Day, Wimbledon.com remembers the last Irish singles champion at The Championships... READ MORE

Harold Mahony was a proud Irishman, and despite triumphing in the Gentlemen's Singles 121 years ago, he remains the most recent Irish singles champion at the All England Club.

Harold Segerson Mahony was the son of Richard and Mary Mahony, whose principal home was at Dromore Castle in County Kerry. However, the Mahonys, who were wealthy land-owners, also had a house at Leith and it was during one of their visits to Scotland that Harold was born on 13 February 1867. 

Most of Harold’s childhood, nevertheless, was spent at Dromore Castle, where a tennis court was laid in response to his blossoming interest in the sport. 

The Irishman never looked back after a tough five-sets victory in the first round over Reggie Doherty, who would go on to win the title in 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1900. After beating Wilberforce Eves 6-2, 6-2, 11-9 in the All-Comers’ Final, Mahony faced the defending champion, Wilfred Baddeley, in the Challenge Round. Mahony won 6-2, 6-8, 5-7, 8-6, 6-3; at 57 games it was the most played in a final until Jaroslav Drobny needed 58 games to overcome Ken Rosewall in 1954.

Mahony, who was the third and last Irishman to win the Gentlemen’s Singles at The Championships, lost 4-6, 4-6, 3-6 to Doherty in the following year’s Challenge Round. He reached one more All-Comers’ Final, losing in five sets to Doherty’s brother, Laurie, in 1898.

In the same year Mahony won the singles titles at both the Irish and the German championships and in 1900 he won three medals at the Olympic Games in Paris: silver in the men’s singles and mixed doubles and bronze in the men’s doubles.

An accomplished amateur musician and a playboy with a reputation as a “ladies’ man”, he was in great demand as a coach. He gave freely of his time to youngsters who were learning the game and was particularly successful as mentor to Charlotte Sterry, who won the Ladies’ Singles at The Championships five times.

Mahony spent time in both London, where he had a residence at Earls Court, and in Germany, but it was back in County Kerry that he met an untimely death in June 1905 when he fell from a bicycle at the foot of a steep hill near Killorglin. He was just 38 at the time.

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