At the time of writing, under usual circumstances, Wimbledon should be well on its way. Missing out on this year’s tournament is one of the great sporting disappointments of this pandemic. Some will find solace in the fact that after 3 months of sunshine the end of June and beginning of July the UK has been suitably damp and cold. One thing is for certain – whatever the weather, the Wimbledon fortnight is a show like no other, brilliantly organised, packed with drama and guaranteed to be full of athletic pursuit of the highest order.
To celebrate we look back on some of the best matches of the last decade.
2019: Coco Gauff vs Venus Williams
One of the biggest upsets in the tournaments history, the 15-year-old American qualifier stunned the 5-time Wimbledon champion in straight sets in the first round. “it’s the first time I have ever cried after winning a match” said Gauff, world number 313 at the time. It created an instant global superstar which she has capitalised on since.
2019: Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer
With Federer at the ripe old age of 37 you could be forgiven for thinking this would be an easy ride for Novak. Federer fans would ultimately leave feeling understandably upset, but no-one could deny Djokovic the ultimate tennis prize once more on this showing. After a gruelling 4 sets Federer had two championship points, only for Djokovic to scramble back and triumph in the ultimate show of nerve and poise.
2013: Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic
Although there may have been better quality matches this makes the list as it is difficult to think of a Centre court match with more expectation, more pressure and finally more joy than this. A British man had not won Wimbledon for 77 years and Murray was about to change all that. An excruciating final game in which Murray converted his fourth championship point to send spectators into delirium. The relief on Murrays face plain for all to see. Wimbledon Champion.
2010: John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut
The start of the decade saw one of the most extraordinary matches in living memory. Seldom does a first-round match on Court 18 stay so long in the memory but this matchup was to be no like no other before or since. Isner eventually won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. The fifth-set score no misprint as it was the longest match in tennis history. 138 games played in 11 hours and 5 minutes across 3 days. A rule change since with a tie-break now mandatory in the fifth set at 12-12 means that this one will stay in the record books forever, visible through the plaque in place courtside.
2016: Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber
A highly entertaining final saw Serena win her last Wimbledon title to date in a thrilling and emotional two sets. What made this historic afternoon extra special – it was to be Williams’ 22 Grand Slam singles titles drawing level with the iconic Steffi Graff and cementing her as one of the greatest tennis players to have lived.
2018 Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal
This came highly anticipated as a Semi-Final as there was no doubt that the winner of this match would go on to beat Kevin Anderson to win the tournament. Djokovic would prove this theory correct but to get there he would have to get through 5 hours and 15 minutes of gruelling tennis – the second longest semi-final in Wimbledon history. The match which had to be played over two days due to the 11 pm curfew could have been won by either with both players missing chances to break in the fifth. Eventually Djokovic pulled through with Nadal disappointed but not dejected knowing that this was his best run at Wimbledon for seven years.