Our guide to the best moments caught on camera at the world's best tennis tournament, the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon SW19
With the most anticipated fortnight in the tennis calendar coming to a conclusion this weekend, we look back on some of the most jaw-dropping televised moments from Wimbledon’s past.
From dramatic debuts to phenomenal fightbacks, from entire games to snapshot moments, it’s all here, starting with…
Virginia Wade’s 1977 ladies’ singles title
While a nation sat on the edge of its collective seat, Wade beat Dutch ace Betty Stöve to win the coveted Venus Rosewater Dish in the championship’s centenary year. The celebrations may have been more muted if people had known that this would be the last time a British player would win a Grand Slam singles tournament for 35 years!
Fire meets Ice in the 1980 men’s singles final!
The 1980 Centre Court showdown was more than just a clash of different styles, it was a battle of two opposite personalities as John McEnroe’s fiery temperament met Bjorn Bjorg’s ice-cool calm. Borg held on to his title, leaving McEnroe looking as broken as Phil Mitchell on the wrong end of an all-night session in The Vic. However, rather than wallow in defeat, McEnroe was to come back the following year, better – and louder – than ever.
A teenage Becker takes SW19 by storm!
Seventeen-year-old wonderkid Boris Becker had been an unseeded outsider coming into the 1986 tournament, but his flamboyant style and huge serve proved too much for everyone who faced him. That included Kevin Curren, the South African-born American, who could do little to stop the now familiar face on his way to becoming one of the most iconic figures in Wimbledon history.
Jimmy Connors’ cracking comeback
Roger Federer made a stunning recovery against Marin Cilic this year, but it’s not the first time a player has come back from the brink. In 1987, facing Mikael Pernfors in the fourth-round, Jimmy Connors found himself 4-1 down in what looked like being the last set of his championship. One paper even went as far as saying as much in its early edition. However, digging deep, he fought back to clinch a match that was more dramatic than a live Corrie crash stunt.
John Isner proves it ain’t over til it’s over
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s 19-17 final-set slog to beat American John Isner was an incredible sight, but it’s just a blink of a Hawk Eye compared to Isner’s previous Wimbledon record. In 2010, he came out on top against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut after a final set that went to 70–68. It’s the longest professional match ever played at 11 hours and five minutes. Longer, even, than The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert serve up a classic
In the 1978 women’s final, Martina Navratilova came up against two-time champ Chris Evert. Navratilova’s serve and volley ended up besting the deep, baseline game of Chris Evert in a thrilling match. It was the beginning of a career that would see Navratilova claim nine Wimbledon singles titles over three decades – a record that may never be broken.
Steffi Graf’s golden tournament
1988 was the year that Steffi Graf achieved the seemingly impossible, winning the Golden Slam (taking all four grand slam titles). It’s an achievement unmatched by any player since – and ended Navratilova’s domination of Wimbledon into the bargain. Not only that, but it marked the beginning of Graf’s own reign, which saw her win no fewer than seven singles titles.
Goran Ivanisevic’s wildcard win
An unseeded Croat wildcard came up against Britain’s best hope in years of a Wimbledon title on his way to the 2001 final. After rain interrupted play with Tim Henman in a commanding position in the semi-final, Ivanisevic took control, and staged an almightly comeback. Henman Hill was awash with tears. The only consolation being that the Croat went on to win the title in one of the biggest tournament shocks of recent times.
The greatest game ever?
In a contest that packed more punch than Batman v Superman, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s rivalry hit a peak. It was their third consecutive meeting at the final – Federer had won the previous two, and was now looking for his sixth Wimbledon title on the trot. Nadal went two sets up, then after a break, Federer battled back to make it two-all. The last set saw Federer two points away from claiming victory but, with light fading fast, Nadal secured an epic win.
Andy Murray comes of age
It had been 77 years since a British man had held the singles trophy aloft. To do it against a player of Novak Djokovic’s quality and in straight sets was enough to ensure smiles all round – including the usually dead-set serious Scot. The good feeling even extended as far as Djokovic, who produced one of the most gracious losing speeches Centre Court has ever seen.
Coverage of Wimbledon continues on BBC1 and BBC2 this weekend as Andy Murray vies to win the men’s title for the second time