Latest News & Items

Uruguay World Cup Football 1930

10th November 2022

More…

King Charles III and Cricket

15th September 2022

We have been contemplating the huge job in front of King Charles III. We reminded ourselves what an able man he has shown himself to be over the years. Us being us, we looked to sport for the clues. We all know what a great polo player and general equestrian he was. We’ve seen him […] More…

England’s Lionesses in the Women’s Euros 2022: How far women’s football has come!

21st July 2022

How proud would these pioneers of women’s football from 1918 be to see England’s Lionesses perform in the Women’s Euros 2022?! When this Scottish women’s team played in 2018, they would have rightly believed they had already come far. Despite attempts to set up and build up women’s football in the nineteenth century, it was […] More…

Was he in or was he out? Ted Dexter in 1968

4th November 2021

More…

It’s just not cricket…or is it?

25th April 2019

It’s just not cricket…or is it? Cricket as a sport has always been seen as one steeped in good manners. In recent years, however, we have all lived through incidents of ball tampering and match fixing in recent cricket matches. Is this a recent phenomenon? Or despite cricket’s gentlemanly reputation, has cunning behaviour been a […] More…

Sports Books titles – the best of all time?

5th October 2018

The (ab)use of the pun in the titles of sports books:  The use of puns in the titles of sports books, particularly biographies, is nothing new. 1951 gave us Plum Warner’s “Long Innings” and Jim Laker’s “Spinning Round The World”, and so a new tradition was established. Ever since these early attempts at punnery any […] More…

Cricket records aplenty at the Oval

13th September 2018

Two huge cricket records at the Oval smashed  by two different cricketers and best friends in the last Test match before one of them retires from international cricket…it reads like a plot of a corny cricket novel. But, as we all know, James Anderson and Alastair Cook made it happen in the latest Test match, […] More…

Farewell Ray Wilson, England World Cup Winner

17th May 2018

How many male footballers can be described as an England World Cup Winner?! Very few, but Ray Wilson could. An England player, who started his career with Huddersfield Town, Wilson died a few days ago at 83. He was a quiet, modest, key member of England’s 1966 winning football team. England’s men’s football team winning […] More…

British Triumph at the Winter Olympics

22nd February 2018

The Winter Olympics are not often the scene for British sporting triumphs. At this year’s Olympics we have 4 medals to date, one of which is gold. We may possibly win another medal, which would make the Pyeongchang Olympics our most successful Winter Olympics ever. We have, however, managed a few sporting coups at the Winter Olympics over […] More…

Football Transfer Frenzies

11th January 2018

Footballers are on the move again in this month’s football transfer window.  Remember the first £1 million transfer deal, done in 1979? Legendary Nottingham Forest manager, Brian Clough bought Trevor Francis from Birmingham City for £1,180,000 including VAT and fees. Francis’ deal was double the amount received by Liverpool when Kevin Keegan was sold to […] More…

Archives

Search

The 1954 Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship

7th July 2016

wimbledon, signed, tennis, jaroslav drobny, maureen connolly, lew hoad, little mo, ken rosewall, tennis memorabilia, sportspages
THE 1954 LAWN TENNIS ASSOCIATION’S DINNER MENU – SIGNED BY MANY WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONS

The 1954 Wimbledon Tennis Championship was hugely significant for its two eventual champions: Male singles champion, Jaroslav Drobny and female singles champion, ‘Little Mo’ Maureen Connolly. 32 year old Drobny won his first and only Wimbledon title in 1954 after 11 previous, unsuccessful attempts. He also won the competition as an Egyptian citizen, the only Egyptian citizen to do so in the history of Wimbledon. For 19 year old ‘Little Mo’ Connolly,  already a phenomenon in tennis, the 1954 women’s Wimbledon title was to be her third and unexpectedly her last. They, along with several of their finalists, signed this dinner menu for the ball (code: 38174), celebrating the end of that year’s Wimbledon competition.

Jaroslav Drobny was a Czech sports star, excelling in both tennis and ice hockey. When he won Wimbledon, he achieved a number of firsts. He was the first and only male tennis player to win Wimbledon, wearing glasses! Over his long tennis career, he also competed at Wimbledon under 4 different national identities. In 1938 he entered the championships as a Czech citizen. By the following year Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia. So Drobny competed under the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. In 1948 a coup led to a Communist government in Czechoslovakia. Drobny was subjected to travel restrictions, which limited his tennis career. So in 1949 Drobny and his doubles partner defected while in Switzerland. Drobny tried unsuccessfully to become a Swiss citizen. Then he tried for American and then Australian citizenship. Finally he was successful – Egypt granted him citizenship and so Drobny became the first Egyptian citizen to win a Grand Slam title!

In 1954 Drobny defeated a young 19 year old in the final, Ken Rosewall, who would become one of the greatest male tennis players of all time. In his early days, however, his fellow tennis players called him ‘Muscles’ for his lack of them. He was small, 5’7″ and he was skinny. But he was also fast, agile, tireless and had a deadly volley. Like ‘Little Mo’,  a fellow Wimbledon finalist in 1954, Rosewall was only 19 in 1954. He had something else in common with her too. Both Little Mo and Ken Rosewall were natural left handers, who had been taught by their respective fathers to play right handed instead. It’s hard to imagine how good they might have been if they had been allowed to continue left handed.

Little Mo was already a tennis superstar in 1954. In 1953, aged just 18, she had become the first woman to win all 4 Grand Slam tournaments during the same calendar year. 1954 was to be her third win at Wimbledon…and unexpectedly her last. Little Mo had been brought up by her mother and her aunt after her parents’ divorce when she was 3. Little Mo had at first wanted to become a horse rider. She turned to tennis because her mother couldn’t afford horse riding lessons. In 1954 Wimbledon finished on the 2nd July. Presumably Little Mo decided to treat herself to a bit of her favourite hobby after the championships. So it was on the 20th July, only two and a half weeks after the tennis tournament finished, that Little Mo had  a terrible riding accident that ended her tennis career.

We found this fantastic footage of all the key Wimbledon players of 1954 – a great slice (not too much pun intended) of Wimbledon history You can see how cool Drobny was in his glasses and how slight Ken Rosewall was…as was Little Mo’ for that matter!