Dramatic victories, historic milestones and exhilarating matches are woven into the fabric of Wimbledon. More than 13 decades of competitive tennis at the All England Club has brought forth a stream of unforgettable moments in the sport. Many tennis legends have made their names and built Hall-of-Fame careers on Centre Court.
No tennis fans will forget these 10 memorable moments from Wimbledon's past:
1. Federer's Greatest RecordRoger Federer has been dominant at Wimbledon throughout his career. His string of five consecutive Wimbledon tiles from 2003 to 2007 to match an earlier record set by Bjorn Borg offers ample evidence of that fact. Federer claimed his most important record in 2009, though, when he outlasted Andy Roddick in an epic final that lasted a record 77 games and gave him his 15th career Grand Slam title. With the win, he finally passed Pete Sampras' mark of 14 career grand slam titles.
2. Isner Outlasts Mahut
The endless match captured worldwide attention in 2010. A first-round match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut turned into the ultimate test of endurance. The match lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes and was played over three days before a winner was finally decided. Isner prevailed in the fifth set 70-68 to win the match. It set multiple Wimbledon records and is the longest recorded tennis match in history.
3. Navratilova Wins her Ninth Single Title
During her prime, no player owned the grass courts at Wimbledon quite like Navratilova. She ran off a Wimbledon record six consecutive singles titles from 1982 to 1987 and had won eight total by 1988. Getting number nine took a while after Steffi Graf arrived on the scene and knocked Navratilova out in the final two years in a row. Navratilova finally broke through in 1990 when she faced Zina Garrison and put on an almost flawless performance. She dominated Garrison, winning 6-1, 6-4 and setting a Wimbledon record that still stands.
4. From Wildcard to Champion
Goran Ivanišević had enjoyed a successful career in the '90s that included reaching three men's singles finals at Wimbledon in 1992,1994 and 1998. By 2001, Ivanišević was in the twilight of his career and had dropped to No. 125 in the world rankings. He qualified for Wimbledon that year as a wildcard and promptly made an unprecedented run. Ivanišević reached his fourth final and defeated Patrick Rafter to win his only grand slam. He remains the only wildcard qualifier to win a championship at Wimbledon.
5. Gibson Breaks Color Barrier
Althea Gibson was the ninth consecutive champion from the United States when she won the Wimbledon women's singles title in 1957. Gibson was special among that group, however, because she was the first African-American woman to be crowned champion. Gibson defeated her doubles partner Darlene Hard 6-3, 6-2 in the final and changed the face of tennis forever.
6. McEnroe Ends Borg's Streak
Few people truly believed Bjorn Borg could lose when he reached the 1981 Wimbledon men's singles final against John McEnroe. Borg was sporting a 41-match winning streak at Wimbledon and had taken down McEnroe in the final the previous year. McEnroe fumed his way to the top, starting with his infamous "You cannot be serious" rant in his first round match. Still, he finally beat his Swedish rival 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 and ended Borg's dominance of Wimbledon.
7. Laver's Triumphant Return
The dawn of the open era allowed pro tennis players to finally prove their worth at Wimbledon. It opened the door for Rod Laver to showcase his dominance after a five-year hiatus from the grand slam. Laver beat fellow Australian Tony Roche 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the final and came back to win again a year later to compete his second straight sweep of the Grand Slams in a single year.
8. Ashe Defeats Connors
Ashe followed Gibson as a tennis pioneer when he knocked off top seeded Jimmy Connors to win the 1975 Wimbledon men's singles final. Connors came in as the defending champion, but met his match with Ashe. The match went four sets, with Ashe winning the first two easily. Connors came back and won the third. Ashe rallied in the final set, winning six of the last seven games to win the match 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. He became the first African-American man to win a singles title at Wimbledon.
9. Samparas Earns Seventh Title
Pete Sampras owned Centre Court during much of the 1990s. Sampras enjoyed a stretch of seven Wimbledon titles over eight years. He only came up short in a shocking quarterfinal loss to Richard Krajicek in 1996. Sampras' final title in 2000 was one of his most dramatic. He battled through tendonitis and back pain to rally for a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 over Patrick Rafter in the final. Sampras set a new career grand slam record at the time with his 13th title. He would win one more title at the 2002 U.S. Open to conclude one of the most successful careers in tennis history.
10. Williams Outlasts Davenport
Williams and Davenport produced the longest women's singles final in Wimbledon history. It ended in Williams' favor with a 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7 victory over Davenport. Williams mounted an incredible rally in the third set to win. Trailing 4-2 to Davenport, Williams came back to win 7 of 10 games and take the match for her third of five Wimbledon singles titles.
John Coon has covered tennis at all levels as a sports reporter based in Salt Lake City. Coon was raised in a tennis loving family. All three of his sisters played competitively and Coon himself enjoys playing at a recreational level.
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