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Best Wimbledon Matches of All-Time

Best Wimbledon Matches of All-Time

As Wimbledon 2015 is coming to a close and is looking to be another memorable event for the ages, let’s take a quick look back at the most memorable matches that the All England Club has offered.

Although there are two classic matches (one from the 70’s and one from the 80’s), we’ve done our best to keep things up to date by having most of the battles stick within the 1990s up to the present. And as such, don’t be surprised to see eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer more than once on our list.

Let’s not forget to be on top of the latest happenings in Wimbledon. Check out our preview for Federer’s semifinal matchup against fellow former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray here. Another All England match is also on tap between two ladies appearing on this list together in what should be another classic Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova showdown.

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The Top 10 Greatest Wimbledon Matches of All-Time

10. John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut (2011)

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One of only two matches on this list that isn’t a final round bout, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut certainly deserve a spot here for their endurance alone. The match between the American and the Frenchman lasted 11 hours and five minutes, spanning across three straight days.

While Isner came out as the victor of the match, it seems that every tennis fan was just thrilled to witness this grueling marathon of a match that still stands as the longest match in the history of the sport.

9. Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal (2007)

Federer makes his first impression on our countdown with his 2007 All-White classic match against Rafael Nadal. This would be the second encounter between the two superstars at the finals of the All England Club.

[sc:Other240banner ]Boy, was it literally a back-and-forth battle from start to end. Federer won the odd-numbered sets and ultimately his fifth consecutive silver trophy in England with a 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 victory.

Losing his second-straight Wimbledon final to the same man, Nadal would soon have his revenge over Federer in the following year at the same historic event (more on that later).

8. Arthur Ashe vs. Jimmy Connors (1975)

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What Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors’ final encounter lacked in excitement, the social and historical importance of the match more than made up for it.

Ashe — who entered the tournament as the sixth-seed with Connors as the top seed — needed four sets to defeat the heavy favorite Connors to become the first African-American player to win at Wimbledon.

7. Roger Federer vs. Pete Sampras (2001)

Many pundits would consider this as the match that signaled the changing of the guard between two tennis legends in Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. With Sampras approaching the twilight of his career, he symbolically passed the torch over to a teenage Federer in this fourth round match at Wimbledon.

Both icons pushed the match to the limit, going five hard-fought sets with Federer prevailing in the end 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5. Sampras would go on to win just one more Grand Slam title after this bout, while Federer would later tie Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles (and he’s even going for the record-breaking eighth title, which will be decided in less than a week).

6. Steffi Graf vs. Jana Novotna (1993)

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Five years after winning the Golden Slam (all four tennis majors in the same year), Steffi Graf continued to shine well into the 90’s, with her match against Jana Novotna at the 1993 Wimbledon final being one to remember.

With Novotna up 4-1 in the third and deciding set, Graf made an amazing comeback, and came away with the 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 victory for her second of three Grand Slam titles that year. In a show of true sportsmanship, Graf consoled and gave words of encouragement to Novotna who openly wept on the shoulders of the Duchess of Kent after a heartbreaking defeat.

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5 Maria Sharapova vs. Serena Williams (2004)

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Before Maria Sharapova became a household name in the world of tennis, she had to cement her status as a prime contender in the women’s singles division. And what better stage for her to do so than by defeating then-two-time and defending Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.

Sharapova defeated Williams in 2004 at the All England Club to win her first ever Grand Slam title at just the tender age of 17. But the Russian superstar has struggled in her succeeding encounters against the better half of the Williams sisters since then with just a paltry 2-17 career record against Serena to date.

Sharapova has a great chance at redemption this coming Thursday, though, as she is a +375 underdog to upset Williams and advance to her first Wimbledon final since 2011.

4. Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe (1980)

It was ice versus fire in another classic All England Club matchup from back in 1980. Calm and collected Bjorn Borg prevailed over the fiery and intense John McEnroe with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6 victory that had a nail-biting tiebreaker in the final set.

Borg’s legacy was then forever etched into tennis history that day, winning his fifth consecutive (and final) Wimbledon title. Both the Swede and the American had many riveting matches together throughout their careers, but nothing comes close to the battle that they put together in this match.

3. Venus Williams vs. Lindsay Davenport (2005)

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Serena’s older sister Venus beats out her fellow sibling in our rankings, and deservedly so. Williams and Lindsay Davenport would go on to have the longest match in Wimbledon’s women’s final history at two hours and 45 minutes, with Venus emerging victorious 4-6, 7-6, 9-7.

What’s even more impressive about Williams’ win was that she defeated top-seeded Davenport as the 14th seed heading into the tournament. She then became – and still remains – the lowest-seeded female player to win the All England Club’s prestigious title.

2. Goran Ivanisevic vs. Pat Rafter (2001)

2001 has got to be the year of the greatest Wimbledon tournament EVER. We already took note of the epic match that saw Federer’s climb to prominence at the expense of Sampras. We also got an amazing final between Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Rafter.

Entering the All England Club tournament that year, Ivanisevic was ranked a mere 125th in the world due to his recent shoulder injury. He qualified for the event as a wild card, and somehow mustered enough drive and will power to upset Rafter in a three-hour, five set final match that ended 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7.

The Croatian became the first and only wild card entry to win the historic English tournament. Furthermore, that bout between Ivanisevic and Australian Rafter was filled with so much hype and fervor, that BBC called the fans in the stands during that match “the most raucous crowd a Wimbledon final has ever seen.”

1. Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer (2008)

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If you were expecting Roger Federer to be on the top spot of or list, you guessed correctly. But if you thought that it was a match featuring another one of his many triumphs at the All England Club, think again.

The third time would indeed work like a charm for Nadal, who saw Federer for the third consecutive Wimbledon final. This time around, the Spaniard would get the better of the Swiss sensation in their 2008 Wimbledon final match for the ages.

Let’s break down in quick detail exactly what transpired in this epic matchup: A 35-minute rain delay happened before the match even got started, then Nadal went two sets ahead early on. Federer made his comeback in the third set, but another 80-minute rain delay occurred before Federer could close that set out. Fourth set to Federer, but not before another rain delay heading into the fifth and final set. Nadal then needed 16 games to prevail over Federer in the deciding set.

Final Score: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7. Game-set-match: Nadal. The true winner of Wimbledon 2008: every single tennis fan in the universe.

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Joel
Written by Joel

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