5. Goran Ivanisevic: From Wild-Card to Win
In 2001, Goran Ivanisevic became the first player to win a Grand Slam having entered the tournament as a wild card and to date, he is the only male entrant to have won a Grand Slam singles title as a wildcard. He defeated former and future World #1 players Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick, and Marat Safin as well as Fredrik Jonsson and Greg Rusedski to reach the semifinal. He also beat home favorite Tim Henman in a rainy, five-set semifinal, setting up a match with the previous year’s runner-up and former U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter. It was Ivanišević’s first singles final since 1998. In a match lasting just over three hours, Ivanišević defeated Rafter 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, 9–7. Two months shy of his 30th birthday, Ivanišević became the lowest-ranked player win Wimbledon.
4. Andy Murray Wins for Britain After a 77-year Drought
After seven decades without a men’s champion, the Scot had the nation in tears of joy when he took the title in 2013. For 77 years, they only had Fred Perry as a winner and the search for his successor was a conversation starter in the early summer days at the All England Club. Finally, after a flurry of booming serves and full-stretch forehand winners, Andy Murray brought the crown back to Britain. Murray, a 26-year-old Scotsman with a rolling gait and a deep competitive streak, put a convincing end to the long drought in singles for the British men at the tournament. He managed it by defeating Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 seed, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
3. Sampras’ Unceremonious Exit
Pete Sampras was the No. 6 seed and expected to easily beat No. 145 George Bastl as they walked onto Court No. 2, a cramped stadium known as the “Graveyard of Champions.” Alas, Sampras lost, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.
He stayed seated while Bastl celebrated, then shuffled off with his head down. He insisted he would return, but never played singles at Wimbledon again.
2. John McEnroe Gives the Most Famous On-court Quote of All Time
“You can’t be serious, man. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS. That ball was on the line. Chalk flew up. It was clearly in. How can you possibly call that out? He’s walking over. Everybody knows it’s in in the whole stadium. And you call it out? (Pause) You guys are the absolute pits of the world, you know that?”
Boom! Penalty point from the elderly chair umpire. Emotions at Wimbledon run high, one of the many reasons we love it.
1. The Heart-Stopping Nadal-Federer Final
Commentator Tim Henman described the match as “undoubtedly the greatest match he had ever seen,” and that doesn’t even do it justice. It had appeared at one stage as if Nadal was going to win the final in straight sets, but then Federer came back into it, and the Spaniard had to gather himself in the decider. In the fourth-set tie-break, Nadal had held two championship points, but Federer saved them both, on the second hitting a backhand pass down the line to deny Nadal. Many players would have turned in on themselves after such a disappointment, but Nadal steadied his nerve for a 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 victory that was twice interrupted by rain. Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980, to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same summer, as well as the first Spaniard to win at the All England Club since Manuel Santana in 1966.