Sarah Virginia WadeOBE (born 10 July 1945) is an English former tennis player. She won three Grand Slam singles championships and four Grand Slam doubles championships, and is the only British woman in history to have won titles at all four Grand Slam tournaments. She was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in singles, and No. 1 in the world in doubles. She won the women's singles championship at Wimbledon on 1 July 1977, in that tournament's centenary year, and remains the last British woman to have won a Grand Slam singles tournament. 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[edit]Edit

Born in Bournemouth in England, Wade learned to play tennis in South Africa, where her parents moved when she was one year old. Her father was the Archdeacon of Durban. When Wade was 15, the family moved back to England and she went to Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School and Talbot Heath School. She went on to study mathematics and physics at the University of Sussex, graduating in 1966

Tennis careerEdit

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 (her birthplace). She turned down the US$ 720 first prize. Five months later, she had become a professional and captured the women's singles championship at the first US Open (and the prize-money of $6,000)($39,611 today), defeating Billie Jean King in the final.

Wade's second Grand Slam singles championship came in 1972 at the Australian Open. There, she defeated the Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley in the finals 6–4, 6–4.

Wade's most notable victory came at Wimbledon, England, in 1977. It was the sixteenth 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 finals, she faced Betty Stöve. Not only was 1977 the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Wimbledon Championships, but it was also the 25th year of the reign (the Silver Jubilee) of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen attended the Wimbledon championships for the first time in a quarter-century to watch the final. Wade beat Stöve in three sets to claim the championship, nine days before her 32nd birthday. Wade received the trophy from Queen Elizabeth, and the audience at Centre Court burst out into a chorus of "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow!" to celebrate her triumph.

Wade also won four Grand Slam 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 through 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.

Since 1981, Wade has been a reporter on tennis events for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1982, Wade became the first woman to be elected to the Wimbledon Committee.

In 1983, at the age of 37, she won the Italian Open women's doubles championship, along with her teammate Virginia Ruzici of Romania.

The 24 times that Wade has played in the women's singles tournament at Wimbledon is an all-time record

In 1986, Wade was honoured with the distinction of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

In 1989, Wade was also inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island

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