But now Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have reunited for another dance display, this time reviving a historic tradition of a winners’ pas de deux at the Wimbledon ball.
The pair, Williams in a lace, nude-coloured floor-length ballgown and Djokovic in a dinner suit with a matching handkerchief in his top pocket, boogied to 1970s disco hit Night Fever by the Bee Gees, from the Saturday Night Fever film which starred John Travolta.
The decision for the champions of the men’s and women’s singles competition to dance together at the beginning of the Sunday night ball at the Guild Hall brought back a tradition which had lain dormant for decades.
The tradition had taken place for many years until 1977, when the ceremony moved to a different date and smaller space.
The duo previously took to the dancefloor together on court during the Australian Open kids’ day event in 2013, which saw even the line umpires join in as the Korean pop single was blasted around the arena.
After recreating some of the famous moves from the film in a choreographed performance at Sunday’s ball, Williams and Djokovic shared an embrace before they returned to their seats.
The pair did not take to dancing perhaps as naturally as they do to tennis, with Williams looking slightly awkward. However, Djokovic threw himself into the performance.
“I was very pleased,” Djokovic said at the All England Club yesterday, a day after beating Roger Federer in the final to collect his third Wimbledon title. “Serena is a great dancer.”
American tennis star Williams, who won her sixth Wimbledon trophy on Saturday after defeating Garbiñe Muguruza, tweeted a link to a photo of her and Serbian Djokovic at the dinner, and wrote: “Wimbledon champions/clowns. Congrats, we brought back the dance!”
There used to be a formal ball held each year at the end of the tournament, and the men’s and women’s singles champions would dance there, but the musical part of the proceedings was discarded decades ago.
Djokovic called it a “tradition that was a bit forgotten”, and said he suggested to Williams and the chairman of the All England Club, Philip Brook, that they bring the dancing back.
“They accepted it, fortunately,” Djokovic said. He admitted that the choice of song had not been his, saying he would have opted for something more traditional.
He said: “I was thinking more of a waltz or something more sophisticated – something that blends in, in the environment and the beautiful hall.
“But Serena wanted to move a little bit more, so then we considered other options and Night Fever came to life.”
In 1992, the dance became a source of controversy when, at the height of the Balkans crisis, Croatia’s Goran Ivanisevic suggested he would find it difficult to ask Yugoslavia’s Monica Seles to dance if they both won their finals. In the event, neither were crowned Wimbledon champion that year.