HRD SLOG: John Isner of the USA won a Wimbledon marathon against Nicholas Mahut.
HRD SLOG: John Isner of the USA won a Wimbledon marathon against Nicholas Mahut. WILL OLIVER

Wimbledon’s greatest matches

WITH Wimbledon upon us, Australian Regional Media picks its most memorable matches from down the years at the All England Club.

2010 first round: John Isner def Nicholas Mahut, 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68

This might not have been one of the best matches to have been played at SW19 but it was certainly one which caught the attention of the world.

It probably wasn't a great game to watch as big serving dominated but that didn't make it any less fascinating as the action just kept going.

Services were held for 137 times over three days, mostly with games held at love or 15 and the tie lasted in total 11 hours and five minutes to make it the longest match in tennis history.

 

Australia's Margaret Court in action in a 1973 exhibition match.
Australia's Margaret Court in action in a 1973 exhibition match.

1970 final: Margaret Court def Billie Jean King, 14-12 11-9

This match was played a year before the tie-break was introduced at Wimbledon, and a year after its first appearance at the 1970 US Open.

This meant that the two best women players of their generation went toe to toe, and on and on.

Both were in the twilight of their stellar careers but still put on a show for the crowds which will go down in history as one of the toughest women's matches at any tournament.

 

Arthur Ashe holds the men's singles trophy after defeating fellow American Jimmy Connors in the 1975 final of the men's singles championship at the All England Lawn Tennis Championship in Wimbledon.
Arthur Ashe holds the men's singles trophy after defeating fellow American Jimmy Connors in the 1975 final of the men's singles championship at the All England Lawn Tennis Championship in Wimbledon. anonymous

1975 final: Arthur Ashe def Jimmy Connors 6-1 6-1 5-7 6-4

No one gave Ashe a chance against Connors, who was the No.1 player and had crushed Ken Rosewall in the final 12 months earlier.

Ashe, though, used some great tactics - taking pace off his shots and using angles and finesse to defeat the more powerful Connors.

Connors had been an overwhelming favourite but Ashe caused one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history to take the title.

 

Steffi Graf of Germany in action in 1999.
Steffi Graf of Germany in action in 1999. RICK STEVENS

1988 final: Steffi Graf def Martina Navratilova 5-7 6-2 6-1

Martina had ruled the roost at Wimbledon and all round the world for the best part of a decade.

She had won the Wimbledon title for the previous six years and was the world's best player.

But Graf was also at the peak of her powers and she managed to overcome Navratilova on the way to a Golden Slam, winning the four major tournaments and the Olympic Games title in a calendar year.

 

1993 final: Steffi Graf def Jana Novotna 7-6 1-6 6-4

As with the Isner v Mahut clash, this might not have been a classic match but will always be remembered for Novotna's choke.

The Czech looked like ending Graf's hopes of a third-straight Wimbledon crown when she led 5-1 in the final set on the back of a double break.

Nerves got the better of Novotna, however, and she managed to lose what appeared to be the unloseable game.

At the presentation Novotna broke down and cried on the Duchess of Kent's shoulder for what was the endearing memory of the final.

 

Roger Federer of Switzerland.
Roger Federer of Switzerland. PETER KLAUNZER

2009 final: Roger Federer def Andy Roddick, 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14

Roddick's serve was his major weapon and he used it well in this classic final. That was until the final game of the fifth set.

Roddick held serve for 38 straight games until Federer managed to break at 15-14.

It was the longest fifth set in Wimbledon history and gave Federer another title after losing to Nadal the year before.

The American was one of the better players of his generation but failed to win at Wimbledon.

 

Croatian tennis legend Goran Ivanisevic.
Croatian tennis legend Goran Ivanisevic. DEAN LEWINS

2001 final: Goran Ivanisevic def Pat Rafter 6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7

The weather meant the Wimbledon final was played on a Monday with the general public getting dibs on centre court tickets. This made for a raucous atmosphere and the players responded.

Ivanisevic was a wildcard entry into the tournament and never expected to beat the Aussie. But finally, in a match that ebbed and flowed throughout the five sets, the Croatian held his nerve.

He let slip three match points in the 16th game of the last set before digging deep to be the first wildcard winner.

 

Bjorn Borg reacts after defeating John McEnroe to win his fifth consecutive Wimbledon singles championship in 1980.
Bjorn Borg reacts after defeating John McEnroe to win his fifth consecutive Wimbledon singles championship in 1980. ADAM STOLTMAN

1980 final: Bjorn Borg def John McEnroe 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 8-6

Again, this might not have been a game for the purists but did feature the greatest tie-break ever played.

McEnroe saved two match points in the fourth set to level at 6-6. The tie-break swung both ways with match points and set points for each player until at 16-16 Borg hit a forehand before McEnroe converted his seventh set point.

Borg was able to hold the American off in the final set to take his fifth-straight Wimbledon crown.

 

Rafael Nadal of Spain.
Rafael Nadal of Spain. GERRY PENNY

2008 final: Rafael Nadal def Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-7 9-7

Said to be the greatest tennis match ever played, this classic game lasted four hours and 48 minutes - the longest Wimbledon final in history.

In near darkness, the last shot was played just before 9.15pm local time after rain interrupted play twice.

In total time, including the delays, the game was six hours and 40 minutes and the fans loved every minute of it.

Both players were at the top of their games and Nadal had looked to be winning with ease, just as he had done at the French Open a few weeks earlier.

But at two sets down and 0-40 down with the score at 3-3 in the final set, Federer managed one of the best tennis comebacks of all time in a bid to stretch his winning streak to six at Wimbledon.

Not since 1927 had the winner turned around a Wimbledon final to win in five sets but Federer stepped up to take the next two and set up a thrilling finale.

Nadal was not one to back down, however, and in a remarkable final set he prevailed.



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