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Wimbledon is set to drop an age-old tradition by removing the ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ when referring to females on the championship honour board.
The Grand Slam tournament officials made the move ahead of the upcoming 2022 tournament in order to bring the honour roll more in line with that of the men’s boards.
Since the tournament's inception in 1877, the tradition has maintained that females be referred to as ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’ while the men have just been denoted with their first initial and surname.
The debate arose again after 2021 Wimbledon winner, Australian Ash Barty was pictured in front of the board with her name initialled ‘Miss A.Barty’.
In fact, many of the former Grand Slam winners have had their names changed after they divorced their husbands.
When Chris Evert won the 1981 Grand Slam she was married to John Lloyd with her name initialled on the honour roll as ‘Miss J.M. Lloyd’.
However, when she won in 1987 after their divorce her name read as ‘Miss C.M. Evert’, with this new rule change meaning Evert will be referred to as ‘C.M. Evert’ for all three of her Wimbledon titles.
The likes of Billie Jean King had similarly been listed as ‘Mrs. L.W. King’ before her divorce from Larry King in 1987.
The change signals a progressive stance from Wimbledon, which has made changes in recent years to modernise the game after coming under criticism.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club came under scrutiny in 2018 after the New York Times criticised the practice of officials identifying males and females differently during play.
The practice saw umpires identify women’s names with their titles, while males were referred to simply by their surnames.
The rule saw umpires call out ‘Game, set, match Mrs Williams’ if Serena Williams were to win a matchup, while the officials would instead say ‘Game, set, match Federer’ if Rodger Federer were to claim victory.
A year later Wimbledon decided to change the rule so that females would be referred to by their last names, a rule that has now been reflected in the honour board.
Tennis legend Novak Djokovic was surprised by the move at the time.
He said: “I thought that tradition was very unique and very special. I thought it was nice.
"It's definitely not easy to alter or change any traditions here that have been present for many years. It's quite surprising that they've done that."
Wimbledon is set for some drastic changes this year with the tournament set to not go towards ranking points after the ATP and WTP made the decision following Russian and Belarusian players being banned.
The move renders the event essentially an exhibition tournament.
Featured Image Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy. Instagram/Wimbledon.
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