Sarah Virginia Wade, (born 10 July 1945) is a former professional tennis player from Great Britain. She won three Major tennis singles championships and four Major doubles championships, and is the only British woman in history to have won titles at all four Majors. She was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in singles, and No. 1 in the world in doubles. Three times a Major singles champion, her most famous success was winning Wimbledon on 1 July 1977, the tournament's centenary year, and the year of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen attended Wimbledon for the first time since 1962 to watch the final. Wade was the last British tennis player to have won a Major singles tournament until Andy Murray won the US Open in 2012. She remains the most recent British woman to have won a Major singles title. After retiring from competitive tennis, she coached for four years and has also worked as a tennis commentator and game analyst for the BBC and Eurosport.

Early life

Wade was born in Bournemouth, England on 10 July 1945. Her father was the archdeacon of Durban. At age one, Wade moved to South Africa with her parents. In South Africa, Wade learned to play tennis. When Wade was 15, the family moved back to England and she went to Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School and Talbot Heath School, Bournemouth. In 1961 Wade was in the tennis team of Wimbledon County Girls' Grammar School. She went on to study mathematics and physics at the University of Sussex, graduating in 1966.

Tennis career

Wade's tennis career spanned the end of the amateur era and the start of the open era. In 1968, she scored two notable firsts. As an amateur, she won the inaugural open tennis competition – the British Hard Court Open at Bournemouth. She turned down the US$720 first prize. Five months later, she had turned professional and won the women's singles championship at the first US Open (and prize-money of $6,000 - $ today), defeating Billie Jean King in the final. Wade's second Major tennis singles championship came in 1972 at the Australian Open. There, she defeated the Australian Evonne Goolagong in the final 6–4, 6–4. Wade was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1973 Birthday Honours for services to lawn tennis. Wade won Wimbledon in 1977. It was the 16th year in which Wade had played at Wimbledon, and she made her first appearance in the final by beating the defending champion Chris Evert in a semifinal 6–2, 4–6, 6–1. In the final, she beat Betty Stöve in three sets to claim the championship, nine days before her 32nd birthday. Not only was 1977 the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Wimbledon Championships, but it was the Silver Jubilee year of Elizabeth II, who attended Wimbledon for the first time since 1962 to watch the final. She was the subject of ''This Is Your Life'' in December 1977 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the National Sports Stadium at London's Crystal Palace. Wade also won four Major women's doubles championships with Margaret Smith Court – two of them at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, one at the Australian Open, and one at the French Open. Over her career, Wade won 55 professional singles championships and amassed $1,542,278 dollars in career prize money. She was ranked in the world's top 10 continuously from 1967 to 1979. Her career spanned a total of 26 years. She retired from singles competition at the end of the 1985 tennis season, and then from doubles at the end of 1986. In 1983, at the age of 37, she won the Italian Open women's doubles championship with Virginia Ruzici of Romania. The 26 times that Wade played at Wimbledon is an all-time record, 24 of those times being in the women's singles.

After tennis

Since 1981, while she was still playing, Wade has been a reporter on tennis events for the BBC. In 1982, she became the first woman to be elected to the Wimbledon Committee. Wade was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1986 Birthday Honours for services to lawn tennis. In 1989, Wade was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Wade now lives in the U.S. with her actress partner Marylou Mellace keeps a cottage and the family home in Kent.

Major finals

Grand Slam finals

Singles: 3 (3 titles)

Women's doubles: 10 (4 titles, 6 runners-up)

Year-end championships finals

Doubles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner–up)

Singles titles (55)

:''Bold type indicates a Major championship'' *1968 – US Open, Bloemfontein, Bournemouth, East London, Dewar Cup-Crystal Palace *1969 – Cape Town, Hoylake, Dewar-Perth, Dewar-Stalybridge, Dewar-Aberavon, Dewar-Crystal Palace, East London *1970 – German Indoors, West Berlin Open, Irish Open, Stalybridge, Aberavon *1971 – Cape Town, Catania Open, Rome, Newport-Wales, Cincinnati, Dewar-Billingham, Dewar-Aberavon, Dewar Cup Final-London, Clean Air Classic *1972 – Australian Open, VS Indoors-Mass., Merion, Buenos Aires *1973 – Dallas, Bournemouth, Dewar-Aberavon, Dewar-Edinburgh, Dewar-Billingham, Dewar Cup Final-Albert Hall *1974 – VS Chicago, Bournemouth, VS Phoenix, Dewar-Edinburgh, Dewar Cup-London *1975 – VS Dallas, VS Philadelphia, Paris Indoors, Eastbourne, Dewar Cup, Stockholm *1976 – U.S. Indoor Championships, Dewar Cup *1977 – Wimbledon, World Invitational Hilton Head, Tokyo Sillook *1978 – Mahwah, Tokyo Sillook, Florida Open (Source: WTA)

Major singles performance timeline

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.

See also

* Performance timelines for all female tennis players who reached at least one Grand Slam final


External links

* * * *
Virginia Wade's appearance on This Is Your Life
{{DEFAULTSORT:Wade, Virginia Category:1945 births Category:Alumni of the University of Sussex Category:Australian Open (tennis) champions Category:BBC Sports Personality of the Year winners Category:British expatriates in South Africa Category:British female tennis players Category:English female tennis players Category:English sports broadcasters Category:English sports coaches Category:English tennis coaches Category:French Open champions Category:Grand Slam (tennis) champions in women's doubles Category:Grand Slam (tennis) champions in women's singles Category:International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees Category:Living people Category:Officers of the Order of the British Empire Category:People educated at Talbot Heath School Category:People educated at Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School Category:Sportspeople from Bournemouth Category:Sportspeople from Durban Category:Tennis commentators Category:US Open (tennis) champions Category:Wimbledon champions