Wimbledon trophy: what is it called, how much is it worth and what is it made of?
The Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy was first presented 1877, the oldest championships in the world following on from the Challenge Cup.
The cathedral of tennis welcomes its parishioners in a new edition of the oldest championship. Wimbledon just breathes history. The tournament is known for its traditions, its trophies and its grass courts. All tennis players dream of glory in London’s SW19 and taking over from the Field Cup (1877-1883) and then the Challenge Cup (1884-1886).
Wimbledon men’s trophy not for keeps
In 1877, the All England Club unveiled the first individual trophy known as the Field Cup. Seven years later, the Challenge Cup replaced it until 1886. By twice winning the singles titles three times in succession, British tennis player William Renshaw was able to retain ownership of them, as was the initial plan. So, to avoid this in future years, in 1887 members of the All England Lawn Tennis Club decided that the cup could not be given away annually. It cost them 100 guineas (one guinea was worth just over one British pound) to buy it.
The cup is made of silver gilt and stands 18 inches tall with a diameter of 7.5 inches. The cup bears the inscription ‘The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World’. The dates and names of every champion were engraved around the bowl.
Because there was no room to engrave the names of the champions by the time we reached 2009, a solution was found with the use of a black plinth with an ornamented silver band. Each Wimbledon champion receives a three-quarter-size replica of the cup with the names of all previous champions engraved on it (height 13.5 inches).
Interesting fact: Rafa Nadal was the last tennis player whose name was engraved before the change.
Its design is rather classic, with two handles at the base of which you can see two heads with a winged helmet and flowers on the edges. The most characteristic feature is the pineapple that crowns the trophy. One theory for this derives from the custom of the time.
British sailors adorned the entrances of their houses with a pineapple to announce their return. The pineapple was also a symbol of welcome, hospitality and recognition. King Charles II of England also posed with this fruit in a portrait representing the privilege of the powerful.
Wimbledon women’s plate from Venus
The women’s tournament features a very different trophy. It is a circular plate or silver salver called the ‘Venus Rosewater Dish’ with a diameter of 18.75 inches (47 cm). The decoration of the trophy is based on mythology.
The central figure of the plate is Temperance, represented by a woman seated on a chest with a lamp in her right hand and a jug in her left. The sickle, pitchfork, and caduceus can also be seen. Around that you can also see different mythological figures: Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and the Goddess of Water surround the central part.
On the edge you can see Minerva presiding over the liberal arts: Astrology, Geometry, Arithmetic, Music, Rhetoric, Dialectics and Grammar.
The first woman to lift the trophy was Blanche Blingey in 1886. However, the name of Maud Watson, champion of the first two editions of the tournament, when the dish did not exist, has been recorded along with the different winners since.
Wimbledon doubles a prize of note
The Gentlemen’s Doubles Trophy is a silver challenge cup for the Gentlemen’s Pairs’ competition, while the Ladies’ Doubles Trophy is an elegant silver cup and cover, known as The Duchess of Kent Challenge Cup- You’ll never guess who gets to present that one! There is also a is a silver challenge cup and cover for the winners of the Mixed Doubles Trophy .