The grass courts of SW19 has witnessed some of the most memorable matches of all time.
The Wimbledon Championships is the world’s oldest tennis tournament and is widely regarded as the most prestigious. It has been held since 1877 and is the only Grand Slam that does not conduct night matches.
The ongoing Wimbledon tournament is the 135th edition of the tournament, with Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty it’s defending gentlemen’s and ladies’ champions.
Over the years the competition has witnessed some of the most entertaining, hard-fought, gripping matches, and here are five of the best gentlemen’s singles matches to have been played at the grass Major.
Plenty of chances but no finished product
5) Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer 
Rafael Nadal was the master on clay and Roger Federer on grass. The Spaniard tried hard to break Federer’s hold on Wimbledon but fell short in the 2006 and 2007 finals. Unperturbed, Nadal returned to the 2008 edition in the form of his life — a 23-match winning streak which included a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 win against Federer in the Roland Garros final.
The two titans met again in the Wimbledon final and in a match that lasted four hours and 48 minutes due to two rain interruptions, Nadal outlasted the five-time champion 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 to claim his maiden Wimbledon title.
In doing so, the Mallorcan became the first man since Borg (1980) to complete the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double and ended Federer’s all-time record 65-match winning streak on grass.
4) Goran Ivanisevic vs Pat Rafter 
Goran Ivanisevic finished as runner-up at Wimbledon thrice in the 1990s. He came into the 2001 final as the underdog, facing Australian Pat Rafter. The 29-year-old, ranked World No. 125, fought hard and took the match into a fifth set. He made the crucial breakthrough at 7-7 in the decider, before clinching the tie, and the title, with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 win on his fourth championship point.
The match has since become popular as ‘The People’s Final’, and Ivanisevic remains the only wild card to capture the Gentlemen’s Singles title in tournament history.
3) Pete Sampras vs Patrick Rafter 
Before the current era of the Big Three, Pete Sampras was the man who dominates the grasscourts in London. Between 1993 and 2000, he won 53 of 54 matches across and went level with William Renshaw’s then-record haul of seven titles.
In the 2000 final, Sampras came from a set down to beat Patrick Rafter 6-7(10), 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 for his 13th Grand Slam crown, which moved him into first place on the Grand Slam titles leaderboard, breaking a tie with 12-time Grand Slam winner Roy Emerson.
2) Boris Becker vs Kevin Curren 
Unseeded German Boris Becker survived back-to-back five-set encounters against Joakim Nystrom and Tim Mayotte, and beat Henri Leconte and Anders Jarryd in four sets to reach his maiden Grand Slam final against Kevin Curren.
The unfancied 17-year-old went in all guns blazing, needing three hours and 18 minutes on Centre Court to beat Curren 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-4 to become the youngest champion in the tournament’s history.
1) Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe 
Several title showdowns have happened over the years, but very few come close to the 1980 final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Four-time defending champion Borg met first-time Wimbledon finalist McEnroe in the summit clash. The former was looking for his third straight Roland Garros-Wimbledon double, while the latter was eyeing his second Grand Slam trophy after his 1979 US Open triumph.
Though Borg started slowly, he charged back and found himself on the brink of victory in the fourth set. He earned seven championship points and McEnroe saved each one. McEnroe won a memorable 22-minute tie-break 18/16 to take the match into a decider, where Borg broke through in the 14th and final game to clinch the title with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(16), 8-6 victory; and with it his fifth straight Wimbledon crown.
For more updates, follow Khel Now on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Leave a Reply