Anthony Wilding: The hero who set Wimbledon hearts a-flutter

Friday, 23 April 2021

Long before the PR driven age of image rights and social media, before Borg, Laver and even Perry, Wimbledon had its own matinee idol - Anthony Wilding. Yet despite him being a superstar of his day, and a war hero, why is there relatively little awareness of him today?

New Zealand born, with English parents, Wilding won four consecutive Wimbledon championships, two Australian Opens, and four Davis Cups, before his career was cut short due to the outbreak of World War One.

His incredible on court success was matched by his off court cult-following where, blessed with an irresistible mix of good looks and charisma, he became arguably the first superstar of tennis. He reportedly set many hearts a-flutter among spectators, with newspaper reports of a number of women fainting in the Wimbledon crowd, such was his charm.

But when World War One began he signed up for the British Army and was killed in action in France in 1915.  KEEP READING

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