Wimbledon scrap ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ titles on honours board in end of 138-year tradition

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Wimbledon is to scrap the use of the titles “Miss” and “Mrs” for female champions on its honours boards ahead of this summer’s Championships.

Martial honourifics have traditionally been placed ahead of the initial and last name of female winners, despite umpires ceasing to use the prefixes when announcing the score during matches back in 2019.

The practice, which has been in place since the first tournament in 1884, is not employed for male winners, however, with last year’s men’s singles victor, Novak Djokovic, displayed on the board as “N. Djokovic” while the women’s champion, Ashleigh Barty, was written as “Miss A. Barty”.

Organisers feel the tradition has served its time and the existing honours boards, including that in the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s main clubhouse, will be replaced ahead of this year’s tournament, which begins late next month.

The AELTC will also abolish its practice of giving married female champions their husband’s initials and surname. The great Billy Jean-King, for instance, had all six of her victories honoured under the name “Mrs. L.W. King” in reference to her marriage to Larry King, from whom she divorced in 1987.

Among those to welcome to the change on social media was three-time champion Chris Evert, whose first Wimbledon success in 1981 has until now been listed as “Mrs. J.M. Lloyd” after her former husband John Lloyd.

The moves are the latest in a number of steps Wimbledon has belatedly taken to improve gender equality in recent years, having been the last of the four Grand Slams to introduce equal prize money for men and women back in 2007.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Last year, male and female players were given identical towels for the first time, while organisers have also moved to ensure equal playing time on the main show courts.

Meanwhile, the row between the AELTC and the game’s leading tours is continuing over the decision to strip Wimbledon of its world ranking points in response to its ban on Russian and Belarusian players following the invasion of Ukraine.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has said she may skip the tournament because of the lack of points on offer, with former SW19 winner Andy Murray leaping to the tournament’s defence.

Yesterday, brother Jamie called the situation “a bit of a mess”. He was due to be in action alongside doubles partner Bruno Soares in the second round of the French Open this morning.

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