July 7, 2019
WIMBLEDON WOULDN’T BE WIMBLEDON WITHOUT AMERICANS!
Try to imagine Wimbledon over the years without Americans. It just wouldn’t have been the same, would it?
Rebellious, record-breaking, glamorous or just utterly brilliant, the Americans always add something – and that’s why we can’t wait to welcome them in 2024. A new generation of US stars has risen to the top – and they’re already fascinating to watch.
Coco Gauff first captured British hearts at the 2019 Championships, when she beat the great Venus Williams at the tender age of fifteen. An epic comeback on Centre Court against Polona Hercog further ignited global interest. From that moment, it felt as though an American youngster had come of age at Wimbledon – and we loved her for it.
Now we can welcome Coco back to Wimbledon 2024 as a Grand Slam singles champion! And we don’t mind admitting it, we were cheering her all the way as she secured the 2023 US Open title. Everyone loves Coco. Her extraordinary talent apart, she is quite obviously such a caring person. American and British fans will create fresh Coco-Mania at Wimbledon 2024. The atmosphere and strength of support for her should be truly special.
The great thing is, another American top-ten star can share the pressure of expectation at major tournaments like Wimbledon. The super-talented Jessica Pegula is Coco’s singles rival, doubles partner and friend on tour. Let’s not forget, Pegula could well have won the 2023 US Open herself. And she was a Wimbledon 2023 quarter-finalist, showing her ability to adapt to grass. America is truly blessed to have
Coco and Jessica representing the USA’s new generation. They may not amass twelve Wimbledon singles titles between them, like the incredible Williams sisters managed to do. But the future is bright for American women’s tennis. And watching them at Wimbledon is going to be very rewarding.
SHELTON, FRITZ AND TIAFOE
Ben Shelton’s big breakthrough at the 2023 US Open, typified by his exciting quarter-final victory over his compatriot Frances Tiafoe, tells us plenty about the future awaiting American men’s tennis. Like Coco Gauff, Shelton looks destined for greatness as a supreme tennis entertainer. Just thinking about either of them raises a smile. And there’s a depth to this growing excitement.
Who can forget the epic Wimbledon quarter-final between Taylor Fritz and the great Rafael Nadal in 2022? It was Nadal who edged that classic encounter – but Fritz came of age and won so many new fans at Wimbledon that year. At Wimbledon 2024, Taylor could have the confidence and experience to go all the way. As with Shelton and Tiafoe, Fritz is very much a superstar in the making.
So many of Wimbledon’s most iconic moments have involved Americans. John McEnroe yelling ‘you cannot be serious.’ at the umpire in 1981. (Tournament Referee Alan Mills once admitted that McEnroe was usually right when he exploded.) And how we were moved by Arthur Ashe’s monumental title win six years later! Who can forget Pete Sampras winning Wimbledon for the seventh time in 2000? Meanwhile it’s an indisputable fact that American women have taken most of the Wimbledon singles titles since the late 1920s. Maureen Connolly won three titles in succession in the 1950s and Billie-Jean King took six, starting in 1966.
There is a glorious Wimbledon-Hollywood fusion that you can feel in the air each year, and it gives this particular Grand Slam even more glamour. Over the years we have seen the likes of Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and Robert Redford strolling around the grounds of the All England Club, just soaking up the wonderful history of the place. And yet Wimbledon has also had to move smoothly with the times to remain such an outstanding success. And Americans have never been slow to point out where The Championships needed modernising when it came to facilities, officiating, prize money and equality. So another fusion, between past and future, has also owed a lot to the American influence as Wimbledon adapted to stay on top of the game.
Andy Roddick, who lost three finals to Roger Federer but made so many friends when he lost that epic fifth set 14-16 in 2019, best expressed what Wimbledon means to Americans. ‘Wimbledon is our special place. It’s our Augusta, where someone who has never seen tennis in their life can walk through and appreciate…it’s not even a conversation that it’s the most special venue in tennis.’
Since the days of Bill Tilden and Don Budge in the1920s and 1930s, the Americans have always been able to boast multiple Wimbledon winners. The feisty Jimmy Connors divided opinion with his controversial fits of rage on his way to victories in 1974 and 1982. Not as much as McEnroe, who triumphed in 1981, 1983 and 1984. British crowds were shocked and even a little thrilled by the subversion of Connors and McEnroe. It lives long and rather deliciously in the memory.
We can’t conclude this tribute to Wimbledon’s Americans without saying farewell to the great Serena Williams. Thank you Serena, and your sister Venus, for your remarkable contribution to Wimbledon in the 21st Century. Serena and Venus were so dominant that they took seven and five singles titles respectively.
The future is bright for American tennis. And Wimbledon is a natural destination for all tennis-loving Americans. That’s the way it has always been. The British love it that way too! That’s why Americans will always be made to feel so very welcome at the All England Club. We can’t wait to see what fresh glamour and drama you will bring to the party in 2024!