So thanks to a truly outstanding performance from the Serbian Novak Djokovic, we were denied two left-handers winning the Wimbledon singles titles...
I’m left-handed myself and found it interesting just how few “lefties” have won the Wimbledon title down the years... especially in the women’s’ game where Saturday’s victor Petra Kvitova became just the third left-handed player in the history of the All England Championships to lift the trophy.
The other two were Martina Navratilova, who originally hailed (like Kvitova) from the Czech Republic, but the first was our own Ann Jones who won the 1969 title by overcoming Margaret Court in the semi-final and Billie Jean King in the final... no mean feat for a 30 year-old in her fourteenth Wimbledon.
Interestingly, Mrs Jones was a five time finalist in the world table tennis championships (under her maiden name of Haydon); coincidentally Fred Perry, the last British player to lift the Wimbledon means’ crown was also more than proficient in ping pong back in the 1930s...
1969 witnessed the first occasion where both singles titles were won by left-handers as the legendary Rod Laver triumphed in the means’ competition. Three of Navratilova’s successes were alongside Jimmy Connors (1982) and West German-born (trivia gold) John McEnroe (1983 & 84) and that was the last time that the “leftie double” was achieved. If Rafael Nadal had won yesterday, I suppose there would have been those who would have smugly pointed out that Rafa is actually right-handed and simply holds a tennis racket in the other one, but that will have to be an argument for another year.
In case you’re interested (and if you’re not now would be a good time to start..!), the other three left-handed Wimbledon single’s champions were the Australians Norman “The Wizard” Brookes (pictured) who won in 1907 and 1914 and Neale Fraser (1960). Sandwiched between the two Aussies was the Czech-born Egyptian passport-holding future British citizen Jaroslav Drobny.
The bespectacled Drobny defeated Ken Rosewall in a classic 1954 final and his popularity amongst the home crowd was such that his victory was almost hailed as a “home” triumph. Drobny was also an Olympian, having competed for his native Czechoslovakia in the 1948 ice hockey competition – and won a silver medal in the process...
But that’s all in the past and back to the present day, let’s give three cheers and a left-handed wave for young Petra Kvitova... long may she (and all the rest of us lefties) reign!!
All my own work... almost.