Wimbledon: Top five all-time classic matches
AS Andy Murray begins another campaign to be the first British player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, we look back on some of the greatest matches ever to grace the grass courts at SW19
Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe contested two Wimbledon finals (both of which could be argued to be classics), the first of which Borg won in 1980. The Swede would go on to admit that, despite winning the final, he felt McEnroe had gotten the better of him, and so it eventually came to pass the following year. McEnroe defeated Borg with more than 60 winning shots; it would mark Borg’s last-ever appearance at Wimbledon.
Martina Navratilova was chasing a 10th Wimbledon title against Conchita Martinez, but few gave the 37-year-old a chance against her younger opponent. Though Navratilova put up a worthy challenge against Martinez, it was the Spaniard who emerged victorious, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. However, in many ways this was Navratilova’s final - effectively her Wimbledon swansong, she received a rousing, heartfelt standing ovation from an appreciative Centre Court.
Roger Federer’s first Wimbledon title in 2003, where he burst into tears after defeating Australian Mark Philippoussis, could easily be cited as the match that marked the start of Federer’s long reign in tennis. But this fourth round meeting with Pete Sampras, the only ocassion on which the two met at Wimbledon, was equally, if not more compelling. Sampras had won 31 matches on the trot at Wimbledon. Federer’s adventurous, pinpoint tennis saw off Sampras in a five-set thriller, and this match felt very much like a changing of the guard.
Goran Ivanisevic won his first Wimbledon final at his fourth attempt, defeating Pat Rafter in an epic five-set final. The big-serving Croatian’s previous attempts had ended in defeat to Andre Agassi in 1992, Pete Sampras in 1994 and Sampras again in 1998.
Venus Williams - not to mention her sister Serena - has imposed herself like few other players at Wimbledon, winning a total of five singles titles and four doubles titles. Her most hard-fought victory came against Lindsay Davenport in 2005, which remains the longest women’s Wimbledon final in history at 2 hours 45 minutes. Davenport had the opportunity to win the match in the final set at 5-4, but failed to take the opportunity; Williams subsequently clawed her way back from the precipice, eventually winning the same set 9-7.
• Do you have any classic Wimbledon matches to add to our list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section
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