Four of the greatest Wimbledon finals of all time

Wimbledon is one of the most captivating sporting events in the world, with thousands of people flocking to the All England Club in southwest London to indulge in top-class tennis for a strawberries and cream or a summer cocktail, while millions more tune in on television sets from near and far for two weeks of The Championships.

Given the history, tradition and prestige that surrounds Wimbledon, it’s no surprise that The Championships is one of the handful of events in the entirety of sport that garners the attention of almost everybody on the planet and not just of those who follow the racquet game week in, week out.

The men’s and women’s singles finals are when viewership peaks, and this year will be no different. Novak Djokovic will be hoping to be there as he seeks a record 23rd Grand Slam title, while Iga Swiatek will want to deliver on her favourite status in the women’s Wimbledon betting odds and reach the final for the first time. Both showpieces have produced all-time sporting moments, so let’s take a look at some of the best Wimbledon finals.

2008: Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal

Two titans of the game, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal faced each other in the Wimbledon final for the third time in a row in 2008 — but this time what transpired is considered by many to be the best Championships finale of all time. 

Nadal had lost to his Swiss rival for the last two years in a row, but this time came out on top after a gruelling four hours and 48 minutes. It was an extraordinary showpiece with intense rallies and fantastic shots.

The Spaniard, who had also beaten Federer for the third time in succession in the French Open final at Roland Garros just one month earlier, ultimately won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 to land his first Wimbledon title.

1980: Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe

Another final that is still shown time and again in the build-up to Wimbledon is Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe in 1980. Up there with the 2008 finale, this match-up was a battle between fire and ice with the hot-headed McEnroe the polar opposite of the cool, calm and collected Borg.

The Swede had won Wimbledon four times in a row ahead of the 1980 renewal and was looking to extend his Open Era record for the most victories in succession to five, but McEnroe wouldn’t go down without a fight — saving seven championship points in the incredibly close match.

After almost four hours, Borg finally prevailed 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(16), 8-6 to land title number five on the trot — a record that was later matched by Federer. McEnroe got his revenge the following year when ending his rival’s run with a win over the Swede in the final. 

1985: Martina Navratilova vs Chris Evert

After looking at two men’s finals, let’s take a look at a couple of women’s singles match-ups. The first is Martina Navratilova vs Chris Evert in the 1985 showpiece. The pair had one of the biggest rivalries ever in the sport, facing each other 80 times throughout their respective careers — 60 of which were in finals and 14 in Grand Slam finals.

In 1984 and 1985, the pair avoided each other just twice in the eight major finals — much to Evert’s frustration we’re sure as she came out on top just once in the 1985 French Open. Navratilova got her revenge for that Roland Garros defeat a month prior at the All England Club though, coming back from a set down to beat her fellow American 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

That marked a sixth-straight Wimbledon success for Navratilova, while it was also the fifth Wimbledon final victory over Evert in just eight years. She would go on to win twice more consecutively before losing to Steffi Graff in 1988. 

1993: Steffi Graff vs Jana Novotna 

Speaking of Graff, she pulled off what is arguably one of the best comebacks in a final of all time when coming back from behind to beat Jana Novotna for a third-straight and fifth overall Wimbledon title in 1993.

The Czech lost the first set via a tie-breaker but won the second easily (6-1) and was up four games to one in the third. She appeared to be cruising to a monumental victory, only for the pressure to prove too much to handle against the experienced German as Graff won five-straight games to win the final set 6-4.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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