The moustache at Wimbledon

John Newcombe

John Newcombe

Who had the best moustache at Wimbledon?

We ask this question because it’s Movemeber – the month formerly known as November. Movember is described on its website as “a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men’s health”.  Essentially, you grow a moustache and people sponsor you to keep it on your face for a month.

You don’t see a lot of facial hair during The Championships anymore, particularly of the moustache variety. But to mark Movember, the Wimbledon blog would like to start a debate that has been ignored for too long: which player at Wimbledon had the greatest moustache?

We would like to submit the case for John Newcombe and his mo.

It was certainly one of the most successful moustaches to ever grace the grass courts, winning the men’s singles title in 1971, 1970, 1967 and the men’s doubles in 1974, 1970, 1969, 1968, 1966 and 1965.

Newcombe’s moustache, which he grew on a holiday to Hawaii and never shaved off, has also become one of the great sporting icons in Australia. So much so that Newk, as he is known, registered it as a trademark.

“The moustache captures the essence of Newk – that you can have plenty of fun and not take life too seriously while at the same time playing your heart out on the court,” wrote Eddie McGuire, an Australian media personality.

“As far as great sporting moustaches go, tennis great John Newcombe’s is one of the best of all time,” wrote the Aussie sports magazine Alpha. “It rates right up there with [cricketers] Merv Hughes’ and David Boon’s. But apart from being skilled at growing facial hair, Newcombe was also pretty handy with a tennis racquet.”

And when Newcombe accused Maria Sharapova of cheating when she grunted during a match, the Age newspaper noted: “What Newk appears to have forgotten is that, during his own playing days, his trademark moustache represented a kind of offensive weapon in itself. And nobody tried to ban that.”

When Newcombe retired as Davis Cup captain in 2000, as a tribute the Australian players all grew droopy, Zapata moustaches for his final tie – except for 19-year-old Lleyton Hewitt, who could not compete.

Newcombe the player was popular because he was successful, sporting and easy on the eye – everything you also look for in a moustache.

Can you name a better Wimbledon moustache?

One Comment

  1. Elizabeth
    Posted 5 November, 2009 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, Ian Tiriac. Handsdown (or handlebars down)


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