The station was opened by the District Railway (DR, now the District line) on 3 June 1889 on an extension from Putney Bridge station to Wimbledon. The extension was built by the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) which, starting on 1 July 1889, ran its own trains over the line from a connection at East Putney to its Clapham Junction to Barnes line. The section of the District line from Putney Bridge to Wimbledon was the last part of the line to be converted from steam operation to electric. Electric trains began running on 27 August 1905. Mainline services through Southfields were ended by the Southern Railway (successor to the L&SWR) on 4 May 1941, although the line remained in British Rail ownership until 1 April 1994 when it was transferred to London Underground. Until the transfer, the station was branded as a British Rail station.
Southfields is the most convenient station from which to reach the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, venue of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships; Wimbledon Park station is slightly closer as the crow flies but requires a longer walk. A lift from the platform to the ticket office/exit level was installed (operational from 21 June 2010) in preparation for an increase in traffic during the Olympic Games in 2012, when the Olympic Tennis Tournament was held at the All England Club. The station platform undergoes a makeover each year to coincide with the tournament, funded by a particular company for advertising purposes. For instance, in 2006, the station platform was covered in red flooring, as were the benches, because of American Express's advertising campaign for a credit card that supports an AIDS charity. The station has boarding ramps, wi-fi, payphones and lifts.
Connections: London Buses routes 39, 493, 156 and 639 and night route N87 serve the station. During the two weeks of Wimbledon Tennis a shuttle bus runs from Southfields Station to the tennis courts. Travelcards and bus passes are not accepted on this bus.