Top Moments from the Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Today is what would usually be Day 1 of one of the most prestigious Grand Slam events, Wimbledon.
For the first time since World War II the Championships has been cancelled, so instead in 2020 we will have to look back at some of the memories of the past years and the incredible tennis that this tournament has delighted us with.
Without further ado, let's jump straight into some of the most inspiring, memorable, and thrilling moments of the Open Era.
Quiet please. Play.
Top 11 Wimbledon Moments
11. Marathon match
Round 1, 2010. Day 1 is not typically where you expect record-breaking and memorable moments to happen, but that is exactly what happened during this epic match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Records broken during this match include:
- Most games in a single set (138)
- Most aces in a match (113)
- Longest match (11 hours 5 minutes)
With a final score of 6–4 3–6 6–7, 7–6 70–68 - this was truly a marathon.
10. Final ends in a tiebreak
As you can see in the previous match, fifth set tiebreaks are not a Wimbledon thing. That was until last year in 2019 when the fifth set tiebreak was introduced for the first time in the Championship's history (probably to avoid 11 hour matches!) although only once regular play had gone to 12-12 in the fifth.
What better way to end a thrilling tournament then, with arguably two of the GOATs contesting the trophy in the new fifth set tiebreak format. Djokovic showed off his typical resilience and never-say-die attitude by saving match points before clinching the title.
9. Steffi breaks the streak
Martina Navratilova was one of the most dominant forces in women's tennis. With 18 Grand Slam singles titles to her name at times she was near unbeatable.
In 1988 Martina was entering into the Wimbledon championships after having won the previous 6 years, with the 1987 ending in a win over young up-and-comer, Steffi Graf. This year's final, a rematch between the two legends.
This year, however, Steffi made her mark. Winning the final to break the Navratilova reign and kick-off the start of an illustrious career - this was Steffi's first of seven Wimbledon titles.
8. Pete Sampras wins his 7th title
You can't talk Wimbledon and not mention Pete Sampras. Although most would say that Federer is the all-time Wimbledon great, there was a long stretch during which this accolade was undoubtably Pete's.
Pete went into the 2000 Wimbledon final as the previous year's champion. He was looking for his 7th Wimbledon title and 13th slam overall (which would earn him a first place for most Grand Slam titles, a record he would go on to one-up by winning the 2002 US Open).
His opponent, Pat Rafter. A serve-volley specialist from Down Under who had won the US Open twice in the few years prior. Pete won the match in four sets and secured the records for most Wimbledon singles titles and most total Grand Slam titles at the time.
7. Martina Navratilova wins record 9th single's title
As we said before, Martina Navratilova's career was a picture of dominance. In 1990 she once again took the Wimbledon crown, this time for a record-breaking (and still current record-holding) 9th time.
She almost one-upped her own record in 1994 (at the age of 37 which would have made her one of the oldest champions in Wimbledon history), but lost in a three-set final to Conchita Matinez of Spain.
6. Changing of the guard
Round 3, 2001. Again, hardly a moment that you'd expect to see in a "top memories"list.
However, looking back, this may be one of the most momentous and foreshadowing matches of men's singles at Wimbledon.
Sampras, seven-time Wimbledon champion and hailed at the time as one of the best players ever, faces a young, extremely talented although somewhat temperamental, Roger Federer.
Neither Federer nor Sampras won the title that year - but this match stood for something else. Federer beat Sampras in a five-set thriller and announced his arrival to the tennis world.
As we all know Federer has since become one of the GOATs, and Wimbledon is his best tournament as he now holds a record 8 titles.
5. The Nadal-Federer epic
Considered by many (especially Nadal fans) to be one of the greatest Wimbledon finals of all time, in 2008 we saw Nadal achieve what many thought was impossible.
Federer and Nadal. only 26 and 22 years old respectively, were still early in their careers yet already had many titles and were being touted as two of the greatest players ever. Federer had won the five previous Wimbledon single's titles and many thought he was unbeatable on the centre court grass.
Nadal on the other hand was a clay court specialist and, despite only 22 years of age, had four Grand Slam titles to his name - all from Roland Garros. Many critics of the young Nadal would say though that his game was too specialised for clay and that he had no chance on hardcourt, let-alone grass.
Although he had taken Federer to five sets in the 2007 final, most critics believed he would never take Federer's crown. Never one to listen to the critics, Nadal achieved the near-impossible feat of ending Federer's 41-match win streak in a thrilling five-set final.
4. A Williams sisters' classic
2008 was an incredible year for the William's sisters, ending with two Grand Slam titles, the WTA Tour Championship trophy, and an Olympic Gold.
Being such dominant players on the WTA it was inevitable that the two would face each other in many matches, many finals, and many Grand Slam finals. In fact, during their careers the sisters faced each other 16 times in Grand Slams - 9 of those in the finals.
The 2008 final was one of these, but the match was different. It was one of their best. John McEnroe called it a "classic".
Despite being the runner up in most of their prior meetings, Venus took the title that year in two sets of incredible tennis.
3. Federer's record-breaking win
The 2009 final was one for the history books.
Federer's opponent was Andy Roddick, a legend in his own right yet often a bridesmaid in major tournaments. This was his third time facing Federer in a Wimbledon final, after beating homegrown favourite, Andy Murray, in the semi-final.
The match was a five-set marathon which ended with Federer winning the fifth and final set, 16-14. It also gave Federer his 15th major title, breaking the record previously held by Sampras.
2. The wildcard win
My personal favourite in the list of Wimbledon highlights. This was an achievement that is unlikely to be repeated.
Goran Ivanisevic may not be a household name now, but most tennis fans will know who he his. The larger-than-life Croatian tennis player was an amazing entertainer and had an outstanding serve-volley game to back it up.
At the peak of his career he reached number 2 in the world behind Pete Sampras.
Wimbledon was his best tournament, one where he had made the final three times already prior to 2001 - narrowly losing in all three to Andre Agassi (1) and Pete Sampras (2).
By 2001 he was in the twilight years of his career and a mixture of poor performance and a shoulder injury in previous years saw him drop to 125th in the world rankings. With a ranking so low he did not directly qualify for the tournament and was given a wildcard into the main draw.
The big-serving Croat proceeded to show off the skills that had taken him to three previous finals.
Probably the most crucial moment of his whole tournament was the semi final vs Tim Henman, another player who was often so close yet so far from glory.
The match looked to be Tim's until a fortuitous (for Goran!) rain delay pushed the match into the following day and allowed Goran to change the momentum and win in five sets.
The final against Pat Rafter wasn't going to be easy either, but after another five set battle and a few match points squandered with very nervous double faults - Goran finally got the trophy he had been trying to win for over a decade.
1. Murray ends the drought
For years the weight of a nation lay on the shoulders of aforementioned Tim Henman. A fantastic serve-volley player and one of the last of this breed (with changing technologies and court surfaces, the classic serve-volley has since been replaced by long baseline rallies), his play style and the home crowd advantage meant that for many years Wimbledon was his for the taking.
Unfortunately despite many semi-final appearances, Henman was unable to win the title.
Then in 2012 the nation watched as a young Andy Murray made his way to the final - but unfortunately once again Wimbledon was denied a local champion.
2012 was Murray's true break-through year in which he won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open only a couple of months after his narrow defeat in the Wimbledon final, as well as an Olympic gold medal.
This momentum carried through to 2013 where he again made his way though the draw to the final. It was certainly not an easy road - in the quarter-finals Murray came back from two sets down against Verdasco to win in five, before beating Janowicz in four sets in the semi.
Murray then faced Djokovic, the tournament favourite, in the final. Despite the odds being in Novak's favour, Murray won in a quick three sets and became the first Brit since Fred Perry to claim the Wimbledon trophy - finally ending a 77-year drought.