Men's boards have always used just the initial and surname and now women's names will follow the same format as well.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 2, 2022. It has since been updated.
Wimbledon is ditching the practice of using the honorifics “Miss” and “Mrs.” for women winners. The women's winners board will now be similar to that of the men's board and this will mean Larry King won't get any more credit for Billie Jean King’s wins. The tennis legend had her name listed as "Mrs. L.W. King" on the winners' board reflecting her marriage to Larry King, an American attorney and real estate broker between the years 1965 and 1987. That will no longer be the case. Billie Jean King will now be recorded as "B.J. King" on the women's winners' board. Although Wimbledon dropped the archaic practice of referring to women by their titles three years ago, the winners' board still continued to reflect winners by their honorifics. Wimbledon is now pushing for more equality, with the latest move reported by The Times. “Terrific to see Wimbledon making this important change,” tweeted King.
Men's boards have always used just the initial and surname and now women's names will follow the same format as well. For example, Roger Federer was penned as "R. Federer" on the winner's board. The women's singles competition was started in 1884 and the first winner Maud Watson, who was not married, was listed as "Miss M. Watson." Similarly, last year's women's singles champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia was listed on the winners' board as "Miss A .Barty." But women's champions who were married at the time of the win were recorded as "Mrs." followed by the initials and last name of their husbands. Chris Evert won her first singles title in 1976 and was recorded as "Miss C.M. Evert" on the honors board but her 1981 win came following her marriage to John Lloyd and her name was recorded as "Mrs. J.M. Lloyd." The name wasn't changed despite the couple divorcing in 1987. Similarly, Evonne Goolagong was recorded as "Mrs. R. Cawley" following her 1980 victory. This will now be recorded as "E. Goolagong Cawley."
Wimbledon will remove “Miss” and “Mrs” titles from women’s champions board, finally matching the men’s board which does not show titles.— SHOT:CLOCK (@shotclock_media) May 28, 2022
Women will also no longer be identified by the initials and surnames of their husbands which has been done for married winners in the past. pic.twitter.com/1xhQAZjxiL
Wimbledon had the practice of referring to women players with their titles until three years ago. Wimbledon spokeswoman Alexandra Willis said, “We’ve got to move with the times. Hopefully we surprise people with the way we do that,” reported News.com.au. Many argued it was to champion equality while a few others said the competition was abandoning tradition. Novak Djokovic was one among them. “I thought that tradition was very unique and very special,” said Djokovic. “I thought it was nice. It’s quite surprising that they’ve done that.” Willis argued that Wimbledon wasn't necessarily doing away with traditions but rather respecting the players. “Some of the traditions — white clothing, playing on grass — they are our greatest strengths and the things that we do,” said Willis. “Others absolutely have to move with the times. You have to respect the wishes of the players. I suppose the challenge for us is how much you rewrite history."
The matter became a topic of discussion after Serena Williams got married to Alexis Ohanian. A regular champion at Wimbledon for more than two decades, her fans and others found it weird to hear the seven-time champion being referred to as “Mrs. Williams” by umpires. Her sister Venus said at the time, “Janet Jackson had that song and she said ‘Miss Jackson’. I like that. I am ‘Miss Williams.’” When Djokovic was asked if he would prefer to be called Mr. Djokovic on court, he replied, "No, I really don’t mind. I mean, sure, if that is the reason, then why not? I support that. It’s definitely not easy to alter or change any traditions here that have been present for many years," reported The Sun.