AP Photos: Women’s champions from Wills Moody to Serena

Jun 26, 2015, 8:43 AM
FILE – In this July 6, 1935 file photo, Helen Wills Moody regains the women’s singles c...
FILE - In this July 6, 1935 file photo, Helen Wills Moody regains the women's singles championship when she defeated Helen Jacobs in the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London. Wills Moody won eight Wimbledon titles in an 11-year span, with her final victory coming in 1938. The California-born Wills Moody is considered to be one of the greatest female players in history with 31 Grand Slam titles in all forms. She also won two Olympic gold medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics, the last time tennis was an Olympic sport before being reintroduced at the 1988 Seoul Games. (AP Photo, File)
(AP Photo, File)

LONDON (AP) — At Wimbledon, Serena Williams is often at her best. And this year she has a chance to win a third major title of 2015, taking her ever closer to becoming the fourth woman to win a calendar Grand Slam.

Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf are the only three to achieve the feat in the same season.

Williams has won the Venus Rosewater Dish five times, but only once in the last four years. The famous shield was first presented in 1886, two years after Maud Watson became the first women’s singles champion.

The first foreign success came in 1905 when May Sutton of the United States defeated defending champion Dorothea Douglass.

Like the men, the tournament was very different after World War I. France enjoyed a grip on the women’s title with Suzanne Lenglen winning six out of seven from 1919-25. The baton then passed to Helen Wills — later Wills Moody — who won eight in an 11-year period through 1927-38.

After World War II, it was all about the Americans. Every finalist from 1946-55 was from the United States, with Connolly winning three straight from 1952-54. In 1953, “Little Mo” became the first woman to win all four majors in the same year.

In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win Wimbledon, almost two decades before Arthur Ashe would achieve the same feat in the men’s tournament. Maria Bueno then internationalized women’s tennis when the elegant Brazilian won two straight titles in 1959-60.

Billie Jean King became a dominant force just before and after the Open era began in 1968, winning six titles from 1966-75. King was also a prominent campaigner for equal rights.

Since 1978, women’s tennis at Wimbledon can be divided into three eras of dominance. Martina Navratilova won nine titles from 1978-90, Graf won seven from 1988-96, and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have won five each since 2000.

The Associated Press has been covering Wimbledon for decades. Attached are some of the great Wimbledon champions as captured by photographers from the AP.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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AP Photos: Women’s champions from Wills Moody to Serena