As Pat Cash rightly said, sports people are essentially entertainers. And boy has tennis had its fair share of fun! Here’s our list of the top five moments – what would you add?
1. Wimbledon Final,2008: Roger Federer Vs Rafael Nadal
If you happened to be in London watching this match at the time, you will remember putting everything on hold that Sunday afternoon to see this through to the end.
An arduous five hours and five sets later, one of the longest games in Wimbledon history, Nadal collapsed onto the historical Centre Court turf after defeating five-time champion Roger Federer.?
2.French Open,1992: Monica Seles Vs Steffi Graf
At the age of just 18, Monica Seles beat an experienced Steffi Graf, establishing herself as one of the game’s greatest sportswomen.
Incredible defensive and offensive play from both sides, Seles turned out to be the tougher of the two on the day. The victory also saw the beginning of a longstanding rivalry between the two stars.
3.Boris Becker winning Wimbledon at 17
Calm, collected but assertive, an astonishingly young Becker became the youngest male to win the coveted Championship in 1985. After his victory over South-African-born American Kevin Curren, with surprisingly mature foresight, he said:
“This is going to change tennis in Germany. I am the first Wimbledon winner and now they have an idol.”
4.Wimbledon Final,1980: Bjorn Borg Vs John McEnroe
It looked as though John McEnroe had this one in the bag after the first set. But then the Swede and former World Number 1 came fighting back, and we got a tie-break that’s become ingrained in tennis history.
McEnroe had seven set points and Bjorn Borg had five more match points, four on his own serve. Borg snatched the title from his notoriously outspoken opponent with a final backhand pass.
We all had to get used to pronouncing her surname, but it had to be done. And it’s a challenge picking just one moment that defines the legend that she is.
Billie Jean King, former World Number 1, described Navratilova as “the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who’s ever lived.” It’s no surprise, considering this influential woman has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women’s doubles title(all-time record), and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
Her ultimate victory was in mixed doubles, playing alongside Bob Ryan at the 2006 U.S Open final, at the impressive age of 49.
Navratilova’s 16-year old rivalry with Chris Evert has often been described as one of the greatest of the game, meeting on the court a record number of 80 times – 60 of them finals.
Off the court, she was also the first sports star to announce that she is gay, undoubtedly going on to inspire and empower countless others.
Of course, the game’s most memorable moments can’t just be limited to five. What have we missed? Which do you think are the best moments in tennis history? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Originally published on the Champions Tennis League website here.