Born in Bournemouth, England, the former British tennis champion Virginia Wade won the ladies’ singles title at Wimbledon in 1977 – and was known as Britain’s number one women’s player for 10 consecutive years. Since retiring in 1986, she has stayed active in tennis, working as an analyst for the BBC and for various US television networks – but where exactly does the famous female tennis icon call home after a long day’s work?
After a 26-year long tennis career, Virginia Wade OBE – born Sarah Virginia Wade, retired with world-champion status in the sport.
Recognised as a sporting icon for her skills and determination, Wade has paved the way for women in tennis.
Born July, 10, 1945, Virginia started playing tennis in 1961 when she joined the team at Wimbledon’s County Girls Grammar School, going on to win the ladies singles at Wimbledon just 16 years later.
She moved from the UK to South Africa in 1946, when she was just one year old, where she learned to play tennis.
Virginia and her family fled apartheid in Durban, South Africa in 1960 when she was 15, returning to live in Kent. She continued to play tennis as a refuge to the difficult move.
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Life off the court
Her work since retiring has involved a four-year stint as a coach, and has seen her thrust into the limelight, though this side on the sidelines of the tennis court, working as a commentator for the BBC, Eurosport and CBC in the US.
Though she has revealed little about her private life, it is understood that Wade has no children and has never married.
When asked about her choice to lead a life focused on her career in an interview with The Guardian, she said: “You make sacrifices… but if you’re enjoying what you do, they’re not really sacrifices.
“It’s not like you sit down and say, ‘Well, today I’m going to play for one more year and then I’m going to stop and have a family.’
“Life isn’t like that – you tend to do the things that you enjoy doing, and it’s hard to know when to quit.”
She published her autobiography, Courting Triumph, in 1978, sharing details of her career using original photographs of her career highlights and powerful words from the tennis icon herself.
Five things you might not know about Virginia Wade OBE…
1. She studied Maths & Physics at Sussex University, graduating with a degree in 1966
2. Virginia Wade attended Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School
3. Wade entered the 1977 Wimbledon Championships in 1977 with a world ranking of No 3, and won
4. Over the course of her career Wade won 55 singles titles, eighth on the all-time list
5. At age 23, Wade won the inaugural US Open, doing so as the No 6 seed with a stunning victory over top seed, Billie Jean King