Isn’t there something special about Wimbledon, the most prestigious and the oldest tennis tournament in the world? It has its own romance, its own thrill factor, which isn’t quite there for the rest of the year. The chants of the audience, the summer breeze, the traditions, the outstanding performances of the tennis greats, are some of the reasons that probably might explain the crazy popularity of the game. The Championships have witnessed a lot of exciting and phenomenal episodes in the Wimbledon history. Here’s a list of top 10 Wimbledon highlight moments, so that you can relive a myriad of such magical moments in a reading!
10) Wildcard Winner
Goran Ivanisevic is the only person to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon as a wildcard, in 2001. Before the year he was ranked 125th, but after his historic win, his rank became 16th. Having previously lost championships in 1992, 1994, and 1998, his victory in 2001 brought him and his fans immense joy and satisfaction. After winning against Rafter in five pulsating sets that year, he said “Winning Wimbledon is the most beautiful moment in my career.”
9) Sibling Rivalry
It was in 2002 when 2 sisters, Venus and Serena Williams, were pitted against each other in the Wimbledon Championships-Women’s Singles finals. Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus Williams 7–6(7–4), 6–3, achieving world number 1 ranking for the first time. It was her 1st Wimbledon title, 3rd different Grand Slam title, and her second consecutive in the “Serena Slam”. She also defeated Venus in the 2003 finals, eventually proving herself better among the 2. Both the sisters kept challenging themselves and brought the game to a whole new level altogether.
8) Murray for the win
The 2013 Wimbledon Championships Men’s Singles final witnessed Djokovic-Murray rivalry for the 4th time in a Grand Slam Final. Andy Murray defeated world number one Novak Djokovic in all 3 sets to win the championship, becoming the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to do so. He also became the first Scottish man since Harold Mahony in 1896 to win the title and the first British man in the Open Era to do so. The match was watched by 17.3 million people in the UK on BBC One, becoming one of the major highlight Wimbledon moments of all time.
7) Arthur Ashe emerges victorious
Arthur Ashe is the only black male athlete to win the Wimbledon Singles Championship in 1975, creating history. Not only was his victory magnanimous, but also implausible, as he was up against defending champion Jimmy Connors that year, defeating him 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in front of the Wimbledon crowd. Ashe’s win made him instantly popular and was considered to be his greatest achievement in tennis on court. “They said me being seven years older was a disadvantage,” Ashe remembered. “But I figured that seven years older meant seven years wiser; that I’d be more amenable to thinking of new ways of approaching the game.”, he later added.
6) The endless match
In the year 2010, American 23rd seed John Isner defeated French qualifier Nicolas Mahut to win the Championships title in what was the longest match ever in the history of Wimbledon, measured both by time and number of games. The match was completed after a staggering 11 hours and 5 minutes of play over 3 days, for a record breaking total of 183 games, 216 aces and 980 points. With a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68, the last set itself being longer than the previous longest match, Isner emerged victorious and Mahut remained grateful, saying “It was really an honor to play the greatest match ever at the greatest place for tennis.”
5) Steffi Graf’s 7th Wimbledon title
German tennis star and number 1 seed Steffi Graf is the most successful player of her generation, winning 22 Grand Slam titles. Moreover, she is the only player to take out each Grand Slam at least 4 times. It was in 1996 when she beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 7-5, claiming her 7th Wimbledon title. “Knowing the situation I was in two weeks ago, physically, it’s just, it just seems amazing to me to really come through like this”, she said after her win, adding, “I don’t know how I do it. I just keep on doing it. I really don’t know how.”
4) When Perry dominated the 1930s
Fred Perry was an English tennis player and former world number 1 who ruled the 1930s, claiming 3 consecutive Wimbledon Championships titles from 1934 to 1936, all in straight sets. At 26, he became the first player to achieve the “Career Grand Slam” title. Among his 3 consecutive wins, the most impressive was the first one in 1934, when he overcame defending champion Jack Crawford 6-3, 6-0, 7-5. His second win was against Gottfried von Cramm, the first German to reach a Wimbledon Men’s final in 1935, with a score of 6–2, 6–4, 6–4. He received his 3rd Wimbledon Championships title in the next year, defeating Gottfried von Cramm 6–1, 6–1, 6–0.
3) The tie break
The 1980 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe is regarded as the greatest match ever played, next to the 2008 Federer-Nadal final. Remembered as the war of 18-16, or simply as the tie break, the match witnessed John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg fighting for the Championships title. Borg defeated McEnroe 1–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–7(16–18), 8–6 and emerged victorious; but in the final’s 4th set tie-breaker that lasted for 20 minutes, McEnroe managed to save 5 championship points to win 18-16, even though he could not break Borg’s serve in 5th set. Described as “the most riveting episode in the sport’s history”, the tie break remains one of the best episodes in Wimbledon history.
2) The youngest champion
At a time when renowned tennis legends in their 20s/30s were fighting for their Wimbledon Championship titles, it seemed almost impossible for a teenager to swoop in and win one for himself. However, this tremendous feat was achieved by none other than Boris Becker, a 17 year old teenager in 1985, who went on to become the youngest player ever and the 1st German in history to win the most coveted trophy. Though unseeded, this child prodigy had brought the game in his hands right from the start, finishing it in only 3 hours and 18 minutes by overpowering eighth-seeded South-African-born Kevin Curren 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.
1) The greatest match
What happens when 2 of the world’s greatest tennis players are pitted against each other for a Championship win? The world gets to witness a nail-biting, legendary battle with some of the finest performances put up by the tennis greats. The 2008 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Finals was one such match – in fact, it was the match – that witnessed such an epic battle between then world number 1 Roger Federer and then world number 2 Rafael Nadal. The match had a lot of significance, drama and tension due to the Federer-Nadal rivalry that that had fueled up in the previous years. After a gripping 4 hour and 48 minutes, Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer to win the Championship title, with a final score of 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7.