Grammar

Wimbledon Drops Miss, Mrs. Courtesy Titles for Female Champions

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A recently-announced change involving the end of courtesy titles for female athletes at Wimbledon seems many decades overdue.

Some hail the move as an important step towards equality in the sports world. But others wonder why Wimbledon is only now dropping courtesy titles for its female athletes.

The change is the latest in a string of changes affecting female athletes who are demanding fair treatment.

Wimbledon announced last week it would drop courtesy titles before the names of female athletes on its honor board. As long as the tournament has been around, male athletes were listed by first initial and last name. But female athletes were listed on their leaderboards with either a Miss or a Mrs. preceding their name.

For example, in 1981, Chris Evert’s name appeared as “Mrs. J.M. Lloyd.” That name recognized her then-husband, John Lloyd, rather than Evert herself. USA Today reported that prior to her marriage, the honor board listed her as “Miss C.M. Evert.”

It was either Mrs. or Miss. You had no third choice. It would seem Wimbledon never even caught up with the 1970s’ alternate courtesy title Ms. Women favored Ms. because they did not want to be identified by their marital status.

The Times in London first reported the change.

When it comes to courtesy titles like Mrs., Ms. and Miss — and even the male versions, Mr. or Master — different style guides do it differently. The New York Times, for example, loves such titles. The Associated Press, in its Associated Press Stylebook, prohibits such titles.

In the case of female athletes, it’s the women, not their husbands, who earn the awards and the placement on the honor board. I’m amazed anyone thought listing them that was could be appropriate. I’m even more amazed it took this long to rectify the problem.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

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