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Enter the Ladies

Ladies were allowed to play at Wimbledon for the first time in 1884. 13 entries were received the first year and Maud Watson won the first title beating her sister Lillian in the final. They were the daughters of the Bishop of Berkswel and received as trophies, a silver flower basket and a silver glass mirror with a silver backed brush. The menís doubles were also introduced the same year. Maud Watson won again the next year, but when the challenge round was introduced for ladies in 1886, Maud Watson lost to Blanche Bingley.

Lottie Dod was only 15 years old when she won the first of her Wimbledon titles in 1887. She won four more finals, one the following year and three more between 1891 and 1893. She chose to stay away from the Championships in 1889 and 1890 and never lost a match at Wimbledon. Miss Dod played a manís game with the smash and volley being her strengths. Lottie Dod was a prodigious sportsperson, having captained England in Hockey, winning the British Ladiesí Golf Championships in 1904 and being exceptional in archery, music, bridge and skating.

Blanche Bingley, who had beaten Maud Watson for the title in 1886, became Mrs. Hillyard after marriage and went on to win titles in 1889 - when Miss Dod kept away, 1894, 1897, 1899 and 1900.

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