As Djokovic won his 5th Wimbledon title in a five-set epic beating Federer in the longest ever Wimbledon singles final, HEKKTA get nostalgic. Rolling back the years, these shots show how the Championships have transformed over time. Through the lens of sports photojournalism legend Gerry Cranham, we are transported back to a time when a bowl of strawberries didn’t put you on the street…
Wimbledon is such a vast operation nowadays, employing thousands of people, selling 27,000 kilos of strawberries with 7,000 litres of cream.
Half a million tennis fans will walk through the gates of the AELTC this year, aswell as several famous faces ready to be papped by eager photographers.
It is easy to forget when walking around the pristine grounds how the Championships used to be 50 years ago.
No longer are there lines of tents, with people camping on the pavement for up to a week before the tournament even begins, just to get a ground ticket.
A far more plush, far more polished event. But needless to say, the magic of the tournament has been exactly the same throughout, and these pictures say just that.
The crowd are feeling the tennis fever as they sprint through the gates on the opening day in 1971.
A single bead of sweat looms precariously upon the nose of Roger Taylor in 1973.
The stoic campers remain upbeat, sat proud in their space in the queue, where admission will cost £7.60, and just £3.60 after 5!
How times have changed…
Photographers and the crowd alike are poised eagerly, anticipating McEnroe’s next move in 1983.
Wimbledon legend Martina Navratilova plays a volley down the court, in 1983, a year that she would go on to win the tournament.
Björn Borg prepares to unleash his serve in 1977, when he successfully defended his title beating Jimmy Connors in the final, 3–6, 6–2, 6–1, 5–7, 6–4.
Centre Court is without it’s new glitzy roof here in 1969.
A woman in an iron lung uses a mirror to watch the action in 1969.
It appears to be a pretty hot year in 1974, with the yellowing grass hosting the last few bouts of the tournament, with spectators packed into every corner.
It was an all-American Wimbledon in 1974, as champions Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert are surrounded by the press and photographers as they parade their trophies.
A rather sultry looking ballboy looks decidedly uninterested in this women’s doubles match; a far cry from the militaristic-style training they all undertake today.
There weren’t even any chairs for the players!
Tennis and women’s rights icon Billie Jean King is pictured here after beating her opponent Ann Jones in 1967 to retain her title.
A British Legion attendant and an official Wimbledon programme seller in 1965.
Arthur Ashe sets off to reach a return during the 1975 men’s singles final where Ashe defeated the defending champion Jimmy Connors 6–1, 6–1, 5–7, 6–4.
Ashe blazed a trail for African American tennis players being the first and only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
He retired in 1980, just five years after winning the Championship.
A doubles match commences in 1963, with Court One looking a shadow of itself nowadays, with just a few stands either side, one not even under cover.
American tennis player Jimmy Connors in action in 1975, when he would go onto lose to Ashe in the final.
Stan Smith arrives at Wimbledon in 1972, and Ilie Nastase dives for a ball in 1976.
Gerry Cranham, who documented the Championships for decades, is widely recognised as a pioneer of modern sports photography.
Now in his 90th year, this ground-breaking photographer’s legacy was celebrated earlier this year in an exhibition, showing all the famous shots captured by Cranham in a career that spanned more than half a century.