Wade wins Jubilee Wimbledon

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Wade wins Jubilee Wimbledon

Wimbledon, London The 1st of July 1977 AD

It was a time of enormous hope, and no little success. The whole musical world was changing, for example – have you heard about The Sex Pistols? In between the incessant strikes there were moments that brought the nation together, like the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrated with street parties where the sophisticated drank Liebfraumilch. And in the centenary year of the championships there was even a British winner at Wimbledon.
Virginia Wade had, rather unexpectedly, brushed aside top-seed Chris Evert at the semi-final stage, clearing the way to meet (equally unexpectedly) Betty Stove of the Netherlands, who had surprised Sue Barker (previous year’s champion at the French Open) in their semi. So it was British born Wade, (albeit South African raised) the number three seed, against Stove, seeded seven. The tall Dutchwoman rather unkindly had been said at times to move as her name indicated. Wade had won the US Open in 1968 and the Australian in 1972, so there was no grand slam monkey on her back. Surely nothing could go wrong?
Naturally Stove took the first set (6 – 4). Would the entire nation – and the Queen who for the first time in a quarter of a century had decided to attend – be disappointed? No, Wade got better as Stove’s game fell apart – to be fair to her at least one ‘patriotic’ line call gave her very good reason to lose her cool – and the Brit took the second 6 - 3, the final set a relaxed 6 – 1. Wade wins at the 16th attempt – we love a tryer. The Duchess of Kent gives a clenched fist salute – go on you beauty.
Before the final Land of Hope and Glory was played to honour the monarch. After it the crowd sang ‘For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ to laud the champion. And it was so sunny.
For the record Wade was not the last British Wimbledon champion, and we don’t mean in the juniors. It was Murray of course – Jamie, in the mixed doubles in 2007.

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