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From the archive, 9 July 1934: Great Britain’s Wimbledon

9th July 2012

The nation celebrates as Great Britain wins both the men’s and women’s singles at Wimbledon

Those patient hundreds who waited nineteen hours in order to get into Wimbledon on Saturday had their patience richly rewarded. The day was perfect, the centre court was packed, the King and Queen were present, an Miss Round won her first Wimbledon singles title, the first Englishwoman to gain that honour since 1926. Great Britain has brought off a great double, the men’s singles and the women’s singles. Nineteen hundred and thirty-four is certainly England’s vintage year.

Though there were other finals, it was the women’s encounter, Miss Round against Miss Jacobs, that the crowd longed to see, especially the women, who greatly predominated. Their faces during the match were a study – so serious, so intent, they sighed when Miss Round failed, applauded rapturously when she won. They remembered that she had defeated Miss Jacobs last year, and she had taken set from Mrs Moody, but those comforting memories did not disguise the tough problem with which she was faced.

Miss Round knew that Miss Jacobs was exceedingly hard to beat but the English girl rose to the occasion and played tennis which compared favourably with that of Mile Lenglen and Mrs Moody, which is high praise. Her best stroke was her backhand, the best of any woman now playing, properly produced, and either across court or down the line.

In the first set Miss Round was at her best, in command of the match, and only two games went to deuce. A convincing set and one that presaged a straight set win, provided the forehand held, for she was better than Miss Jacobs in other respects. The second set was a fight on level terms to three all; then Miss Round’s forehand became unsteady, she was too close to the ball and fell away as she struck, and Miss Jacobs led 5-3. Miss Round found her forehand again and levelled at five all. So it was to be a straight sets win! The crowd guessed wrong; Miss Jacobs ran out at 7-5, with Miss Round uncertain, having hit out three consecutive shots.

The crowd was more serious now. Miss Jacobs was so sure and Miss Round was making too many mistakes on her forehand; but they hoped for the best and cheered their champion. The final set showed them a fine fight and a fine champion. Level to three-all, then the best Miss Round, the great one, came most opportunely into court, her ground strokes won points. Miss Jacobs met the storm nobly but was fairly outplayed and Miss Round led 5-3 after some great play and a half-volley which drew special applause from the King.

Now the gallery shouted loudly. “Come on Dorothy” murmured a man who one wagered had never spoken with the lady, “now’s your chance!” Miss Jacobs to serve, she stood 15-40, two match points. Miss Round lost one. Still a match point in hand: a rally and then Miss Jacobs put her forehand into the net. Miss Round had won the singles. The crowd rose as one and cheered and cheered, and the King and Queen clapped their delight.

What a Wimbledon in retrospect! One can hardly believe it – both the singles for Great Britain. We have been so long used to defeat that it is hard to believe that we are now victors and our long sojourn in the shadows make it a trifle difficult to get used to the high light. It may be safely predicted that we shall be modest winners if only to justify how well we used to lose.

[The Wimbledon’s men’s singles that year were won by Fred Perry. Click here for the Manchester Guardian’s report on his victory] © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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