LTA To Honor Ann Jones

Written by: on 2nd May 2013
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LTA To Honor Ann Jones  |

Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association has spent $7.5 million upgrading Birmingham’s Edgbaston Priory Club to be a fitting home of the AEGON Classic, the WTA grass court event traditionally played a week after the French Open and a fortnight before the start of Wimbledon. Now the brand new centre court will be named in honor of 1969 Wimbledon champion Ann Haydon (Jones).

Now aged 74, the player born Adrianne Haydon was born just a couple of miles distant from Edgbaston Priory in the Birmingham suburb of King’s Heath and in total won seven Grand Slam titles, including two French Championships singles titles to stand alongside her Wimbledon trophy.

British folklore has it that the Beatles took time out from dubbing their track Golden Slumbers on the Abbey Road album to listen to the radio commentary of Jones beating BJK for her Wimbledon title. She was later the brunt of a series of jokes in the classic television comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Jones, one of only four women to turn professional during the advent of Open tennis, retired from top-flight tennis in 1971 after beating Billie Jean King at the Las Vegas World Pro championship and discovering she was expecting her first child. A year earlier she was one of the founding members of the original women’s-only tennis circuit. She later played one season of World TeamTennis for the Minnesota Buckskins.

Peter Bretherton, President of the LTA, said: “We are delighted that the new Centre Court at the Edgbaston Priory Club will be named in honor of Ann Jones. She is, without doubt, one of the all-time greats of women’s tennis both nationally and internationally and so it is only fitting that her achievements and contribution to our sport are recognized in this way at the very tournament that she helped to bring to fruition.”

For many years, Jones was chairperson of the International Women’s Tennis Council and has long been a member of Wimbledon’s Committee of Management. She became the first ever ‘civilian woman’ (i.e. not a member of the British Royal Family) to present the trophies at Wimbledon, when she awarded the winners of the Mixed Doubles championship their cup in 2007, a ceremony she now regularly performs. She has since also presented the junior girls trophy.

The Ann Jones Centre Court will be officially opened on Sunday, June 9 at the start of this year’s Aegon Classic ladies tennis tournament. An exhibition match featuring Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, Heather Watson and one other player will also take place on this day to mark the occasion.

©Daily Tennis News Wire

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