Wimbledon 2012: The Championships' 25 Greatest Moments
For a tournament that has been in existence for nearly a century and a half there have been countless moments to remember at The Championships, Wimbledon. In fact there are far too many to even try to remember.
With that in mind, let's just take the top 25 moments of all time at the most illustrious of sporting events in the world.
25. Streaker in 1996 Gentlemen's Final
I am not a fan of public nudity, or nudity in any form. I'm more impressed with the conviction it takes a person to do something so stupid at such a great sporting event.
And this is quite humorous. Another picture shows Richard Krajicheck and MaliVai Washington standing together just staring at the woman.
I guess even in the heat of a possible championship, nudity still grabs people's attention.
It should be noted a man did the same in the 2007 final. That might make the top 25 worst moments in my opinion.
24. Angela Mortimer Defeats Christine Truman in Last Ladies All-British Final
For natives of England, an all-British final is a much bigger deal than it would be for an American. Nonetheless, what made Wimbledon great for so many years was the English influence.
1961 was the last time a ladies final featured two British ladies. Angela Mortimer defeated Christine Truman, which at the time was a bit of an upset.
It is a bit of a sad reality for the Brits that a ladies final has not since featured two of its own.
23. 1991 Rains Force Play to Sunday for First Time Ever
Until 1991, Wimbledon had never ventured to the dangerous world of playing matches on Sunday.
But harsh rain forced action to Sunday in 1991. Since then, rain has delayed many a tournament here. The good news in all of it is that the tournament continued on, and many a champion has wedged an advantage out of the extra rest.
22. Pat Cash Climbs into Stands Upon Defeating Ivan Lendl
Pat Cash of Australia was obviously quite excited about his triumph over Ivan Lendl (straight sets) to capture the 1987 Wimbledon crown.
In fact he did what no one else had really done prior. He ran into the stands and basically embraced the people. I'd like to see that happen, 25 years later, in 2012. Security probably wouldn't even allow him.
The move marked a childlike innocence and shows the great difference in our culture in 2012.
21. Maria Bueno: The Stylish Champion
Maria Bueno didn't only win three straight Wimbledon championships and become the only Brazilian ever to win there, but she did it all in regal style.
She was noted for the dresses she wore at Wimbledon. In some small way she changed Wimbledon, and ladies tennis forever.
20. Sir Cliff Richard Takes to the Mic with His Raquettes
Sir Cliff Richard is a noted name in the English tennis world. I mean how many people get knighted as he is?
In 1996 he took advantage of that fame and a captive audience when he performed along with Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, Virginia Wade and Hana Mandlikova.
The crowd went absolutely bonkers. And the quintet made a memory that Wimbledon will never forget.
19. Tim Henman Loses in Semis to Goran Ivanisevic
In 2001, Tim Henman was considered by many a favorite to take Wimbledon. Of course all of the All England Club was rooting for him in each of his matches.
With each successive victory the hope and anticipation of once again crowning a Brit as Wimbledon champion grew. Then came the evil Goran Ivanisevic (don't all people from those former USSR countries sound evil?) to spoil the hopes of millions of Brits.
Ivanisevic spoiled the day but did so in a classy manner and gave the paid audience quite a spectacle in the process. England didn't get their hope but they got to witness some great tennis.
18. Jana Novotna Weeps After Falling Apart in 1993 Against Steffi Graf
Jana Novotna knew she missed her opportunity. She had one of the greatest players at Wimbledon ever on the ropes, and as Denny Green would say, "let [her] off the hook!"
That is the Duchess of Kent consoling her after her brutal loss. In what other tournament would a duchess come to the aide of a lady from another country to embrace her?
That makes Wimbledon unique all on its own.
17. Venus and Serena Williams Battle One Another for Supremacy at Wimbledon
Venus and Serena Williams have met in Wimbledon finals four times (2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009). Each match has been well played and each one a battle of attrition since the two know each other's styles like the back of their own hands.
No siblings have ever battled one another the way the Williams' have in the history of Wimbledon.
The two of course also made for quite a doubles team.
16. Billie Jean King: The Teen Prodigy Wins...and Then Wins a Bunch More
The photo captured here is actually of Billie Jean King in 1966, four years after her initial victory at Wimbledon.
In 1962, King was little more than a college student with a lot of talent. That year she took the tournament by storm, and the rest really is history.
Ever since then, King's domination at Wimbledon was commonplace and she is one of the most recognizable names in women's tennis history.
That's the power of winning at Wimbledon.
15. The Evil One (Ivanisevic) Goes onto Win Wimbledon After Defeating Henman
If it wasn't Tim Henman to win the 2001 Wimbledon tournament it almost had to be the man who defeated him. And it was.
Goran Ivanisevic arose from the murky weather and numerous rain delays to defeat Pat Rafter. It was after all his fourth finals appearance so the crowd was readily able to move on and root for him. They had grown accustomed to seeing him and had grown fond of the Croatian player.
Ivanisevic himself doesn't know what he would have done if he hadn't won. He is glad he won. "Winning Wimbledon is the most beautiful moment in my career."
14. Rod Laver Wins Again
Rod Laver is one of those guys who just lights up a crowd or a room when he enters it. That's a characteristic many Wimbledon champions have.
His victories always seemed to do that at the All England Club. And when the Australian raised the trophy, as he is here, the crowd went wild.
Something about Laver was special.
13. Boris Becker Killin' Em
What makes a tennis player special? You might say it's when he goes on to dominate his sport for years. Or, at least in Becker's case, he dominates a tournament for years.
Though Becker actually only won three times at Wimbledon, the German made a habit of crushing opponents to the ground and making them look like they couldn't even hold a tennis racket.
12. The Longest Match Ever
Sadly there is little media available going back to 1969 that captures the "longest match ever." It took place at Wimbledon between an American, Richard "Pancho" Gonzales, and Charlie Passarell.
The match was played over two days, lasted five hours and 12 minutes and was actually a first-round match.
The winner did not go on to win the tournament and I don't think by the end of their match either cared if they actually defeated the other. They were probably just happy to have been done.
11. Steffi Graf Dominating and Winning in 1988
Steffi Graf's accomplishments at Wimbledon are beyond impressive. She won seven times in nine years. 1988 may have been her finest tournament. With her forehand shot raking in kill shots (my term) at an alarming rate, opponents had almost no hope against her.
That's the way she liked it. And so did the Wimbledon crowds.
10. Pete Sampras over Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport Wins
In 1999, USA patriotism was higher than it is now. And it didn't hurt that two Americans won at Wimbledon.
Pete Sampras won his sixth title over fellow American Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport did her thing at Wimbledon as well. Both players were dominating tennis in general, and they continued their torrid pace at the most important tournament in the world.
Most consider Sampras' victory over Agassi to be a classic. Not bad for a couple Americans.
9. Johnny Mac Goes Crazy!
If you've watched any sports rankings shows, you've almost certainly seen this clip at least once in your life.
Let's just say it's a memorable moment; perhaps the most memorable moment at Wimbledon. It's not the greatest moment but it certainly has defined to a degree the image of John McEnroe.
8. Fred Perry Wins Third Consecutive Wimbledon Final & Gets Original Trophy
Fred Perry is the last great British champion at Wimbledon. He has a statue (seen here) at the All England Club in his honor.
From 1934-1936 he dominated the championship, and with his third consecutive win he was entitled to the original trophy.
His 1936 win came at the hands of poor Baron von Gottfried who Perry quickly extinguished in 45 minutes (6-1, 6-1, 6-0).
For a tournament so obsessed with its own kind, Perry's victory is now the reason for a landmark in London.
7. Martina Navratilova Wins Eighth Championship
Sure, Steffi Graf won seven times in the course of nine years. Martina Navratilova won eight times at Wimbledon over the course of her career.
None of those was more special to her than her final victory in 1990 over Zina Garrison. It could have been over Graf if she had won that semifinal match. That would have made it slightly more special.
Nonetheless, Navratilova became one of the greatest champions ever by capping her eighth title.
6. Sampras Bows out in Loss to George Bastl
You never expect a great champion like Pete Sampras to fall off his game. You especially don't expect them to fold against the 145th best player in the world. And, if they do, you expect them to come back the next year to win the darn thing.
That's what legends do. Unfortunately even legends go away. The huge second-round upset was the last time Sampras ever competed at Wimbledon.
Perhaps the crowd knew what was up. It was quite a moment. It certainly wasn't as great as any of his victories, but bittersweet and more memorable because of the shocking way it went down.
5. Ashe Beats Connors
Arthur Ashe was a pioneer in too many arenas to count.
One of those just happened to be on the tennis court. He remains to this day the only black champion on the men's side of Wimbledon history.
His 1975 victory over Jimmy Connors came as a bit of a surprise. The difference between them was 10 years, loads of athleticism and experience.
Aside from the experience, it seemed to all favor Connors. Ashe gave Connors a few lessons though, and a huge dose of reality.
4. Virginia Wade: Last Brit to Win at Wimbledon
Fred Perry has a statue at the All England Club. And so does Virginia Wade. Wade's accomplishments don't come close to Perry's but then again she has done something no Brit has done since her victory in 1977.
She is literally the last player of British descent to win a Wimbledon title.
3. McEnroe-Borg Tie-Break
Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe played the greatest tie-breaker in the history of tennis in 1980. It was in the fourth set of their Wimbledon final that year.
The tie break itself went 18-16 in favor of McEnroe. But Borg, ever resilient, then went on to win the fifth set and his fifth consecutive championship at the All England Club.
It was by far one of the greatest moments ever at Wimbledon, or in tennis, period.
2. Wimbledon Opens Its First Tournament
Much has changed since 1877, when the inaugural Championships, Wimbledon were held at the All England Club.
That year marked the start of something great though. Tennis would not be what it is without Wimbledon. Sports may not be what they are without Wimbledon.
1884 also marked the first time ladies were allowed to compete at Wimbledon. Even for a country so steeped in tradition, they were well ahead of their time.
The result has progressed sports and society quite a bit.