Wimbledon 2012: Best Moments in Wimbledon History

Amit BatraCorrespondent IIIJune 27, 2012

Wimbledon 2012: Best Moments in Wimbledon History

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    Wimbledon is arguably one of the most coveted Grand Slams a player can win in the game of tennis. 

    The All England Club is home to some of the best tennis matches of all time.

    From a 17-year-old winning Wimbledon to Roger Federer winning six Grand Slams on the grass, the memories here are something special.

    Heck, one of the longest matches ever played has been a part of the All England Club.

    So grab a cup of tea and enjoy this list of the best moments in Wimbledon history. 

1. Federer vs. Nadal Wimbledon 2008

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    Arguably the best match to ever be played, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had an amazing encounter in the 2008 Wimbledon final.  At the time, Federer was No. 1 in the world while Nadal came in at No. 2.

    It was very intense and went on into the night in England. It was very close to a 10 p.m. finish.

    It was a battle of two bulls. Federer was dominating the tennis world at the time, but Nadal had just beaten him on the red dirt at the French Open.

    These two had quite the rivalry at the time. If Federer had won the event, he would have six Wimbledon titles. What's even more shocking is that it would be his sixth consecutive win at the All England Club.

    Federer was two points away from the win. He couldn't pull it out in a classic. Nadal prevailed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7.

    The match was halted by rain and darkness.  There was a chance the match could have been postponed to Monday.

    Neither guy was the winner in this match, tennis was. 

2. Martina Navratilova Owns Wimbledon

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    No player would live up to what Martina Navratilova has done at Wimbledon. 

    From 1982 to 1987, Navratilova won a Wimbledon record of six consecutive singles titles. 

    In 1990, Navratilova was looking for her ninth, after falling to Steffi Graf for two straight years in 1988 and 1989.  She defeated Zina Garrison 6-1, 6-4.  Her placing of nine Wimbledon titles is still a record.

    While Navratilova had a sensational career in both singles and doubles, her play at Wimbledon was certainly jaw-dropping. 

3. Wildcard Wins Title

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    Goran Ivanisevic was never able to get past a Wimbledon final.  He was able to make three finals in 1992, 1994 and 1998.  However, he was never able to get it done.

    It seemed hopeless until 2001.  By the time the 2001 Wimbledon Championships came around, Ivanisevic fell to No. 125 in the rankings.  It looked as if his career was done.

    The Croatian came into Wimbledon as a wildcard.  He made quite a run, making a fourth trip to the finals.  Ivanisevic beat guys such as Henman, Marat Safin, Andy Roddick and Carlos Moya.  On the other side would be Australian Patrick Rafter.

    Well, Ivanisevic shocked the world.  He defeated Rafter 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7.  His strong lefty serve was key throughout the match.

    Ivanisevic remains the only wildcard to win Wimbledon. 

4. Tim Henman Gets Close, but Never Gets to a Final

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    Tim Henman was the next great hope for England.  He got to the semifinals on four different occasions, but never got over the hurdle.

    Henman was a semifinalist in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002.  He could never get over the hump against Pete Sampras and Lleyton Hewitt.

    Thousands of spectators who didn't have tickets would watch the face of England tennis on 'Henman Hill,' an area on the grounds of the All England Club located near Court 1. 

    Many Brits would be on the edge of their seats watching Henman on his path to greatness at Wimbledon.  Unfortunately it wasn't good enough. 

5. Fred Perry Makes England Happy

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    Fred Perry is an English tennis legend.  He won three consecutive Wimbledon titles from 1934 to 1936.  Perry was also No. 1 for four years in a row.

    Perry was the last man from England to win Wimbledon in 1936.  Guys like Tim Henman and and Andy Murray have not gotten to the ultimate prize at Wimbledon. 

    Perry won eight majors in his career.  The 1936 Wimbledon final went only 40 minutes, as Perry was able to defeat German Baron Gottfried von Cramm 6-1, 6-1, 6-0.  It was the second-shortest final of all time. 

6. Rod Laver Wins Calendar Year Grand Slam...Twice

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    Wimbledon was a very special place for Australian Rod Laver. 

    Laver won the calendar year Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969.  He was able to win Wimbledon four times in his career.

    This is about the rarest feat in all of tennis.  For Laver to do it twice, that is something remarkable. 

    While Novak Djokovic had his opportunity at the French Open this year, Laver was able to do this twice in absolute dominant performances. 

7. Althea Gibson Breaks Color Barrier at 1957 Wimbledon

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    Althea Gibson was the first African-American woman to win at Wimbledon.  In 1957, Gibson defeated her doubles partner Darlene Hard 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

    Considered the "Jackie Robinson of Tennis," Gibson would go on to break the color barrier and win 11 Grand Slams, six of those in singles. 

    Gibson changed the face of tennis to this very day.  She would go on to play professional golf as well, being the first African-American lady to play golf. 

    Gibson would go on to defeat Hard in two Grand Slam finals in her historic career. 

8. Arthur Ashe Defeats Jimmy Connors

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    The first African-American man to win at Wimbledon, Arthur Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors in 1975. 

    Connors was the defending champion, but Ashe would win in four sets, 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. 

    Why is this match such an epic milestone in Wimbledon history?  Well, Ashe is the only African- American to win this Grand Slam. 

    It was such an upset as well, as Connors was the heavy favorite going into the match. 

    Even more impressive was that Ashe was 31 years of age when he defeated Connors. 

9. Sampras Wins Seventh Title at Wimbledon

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    In 2000, Pete Sampras won his 13th Grand Slam and record seventh Wimbledon crown.

    In a battle against Aussie Patrick Rafter, Sampras was victorious against age and the crafty Rafter. 

    Sampras won 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 to make history at the All England Club.

    His seven Grand Slams at Wimbledon are still in the history books to this day. 

    What's even more impressive is that the American enjoyed seven Wimbledon titles over eight years. 

10. Federer vs. Nadal 2007 Final

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    These two can't get enough of each other.  Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had another classic at the Wimbledon final in 2007.

    Federer got the better of Rafa this time around, winning his fifth consecutive title to tie Bjorn Borg, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2.

    Nadal struggled with a right knee injury throughout the match, but Federer was just too dominant on this big stage. 

11. Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick Wimbledon 2009

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    Another classic Wimbledon final.  American Andy Roddick and Swiss Roger Federer have always been rivals.  Federer has usually gotten the better hand of his American foe.

    It looked as if Roddick could finally get the better of the Swiss at the Wimbledon 2009 final.

    Then again, you should never count out Fed Ex.

    Federer won in a classic, 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14.

    The Swiss made history winning his sixth Wimbledon and 15th major of his career and he surpassed Pete Sampras in the process.

    In the match, Fed was able to hit 50 aces and regain the No. 1 ranking. 

    Roddick certainly had his chances in the two tiebreaks, but the moment and nerves got the better of him. 

    The match lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes. 

12. John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut

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    Just look at that scoreboard.  This match went the distance and then some.  It all occurred at Wimbledon 2010.

    American John Isner was able to defeat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 in a first round match that lasted over three days and 11 hours.

    It's the longest match in tennis history.  It went a total of 183 games. 

    The 23rd seeded American was able to win in a match that will probably never be duplicated.

    Both men were awarded gifts after the match.  Both guys served over 100 aces in this absolute endless match.

    This match will always be remembered by tennis fans. 

    Then again, it only lasted from June 22-24.

13. Ivo Karlovic Defeats Defending Champion Lleyton Hewitt

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    Now this was a complete shocker.  It was one of the biggest upsets to happen at Wimbledon. 

    The 6'10 Croatian Ivo Karlovic defeated Australian Lleyton Hewitt at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships.  Hewitt was the defending champion and the No. 1 player on tour.

    Karlovic's serve was too much for the Aussie, as he took the match 1-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.

    Hewitt's unforced errors got the better of him, and Karlovic's massive serve took its toll on the defending champion.

    Karlovic finished with 18 aces.  Only once had a defending champion lost in the first round prior to Hewitt's departure. 

14. Venus Williams vs. Lindsay Davenport Thriller

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    This match was an absolute battle between two Americans.  Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams collided at the 2005 Wimbledon final.

    It was the longest ever Wimbledon final on the women's side.  Williams went on to win her third crown at the All England Club.

    After her wins in 2000 and 2001, Venus proved to be too much in route to her 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7 victory. 

    Davenport, the No. 1 player at the time, had the opportunity to serve out the match in the second set, but was broken by Williams. 

    Davenport also had a match point in the third set.  The final lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes.

    This match was memorable on Centre Court. 

15. Young Sharapova Beating Serena Williams

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    Who can forget this one?  A 17-year-old Maria Sharapova absolutely destroyed tennis legend Serena Williams.  It was the Russian's first Wimbledon crown, as she was the third youngest player to win at Wimbledon.

    Sharapova had too much power on this day, as she cruised past Williams 6-1, 6-4.  She won the first set in 30 minutes. 

    It would be Williams' third straight Wimbledon crown. 

    Sharapova fell to her knees as she captured her first Grand Slam.  This would be one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history.