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This Week in Tennis History – Wimbledon Edition

Break out the strawberries and cream – it’s a Wimbledon themed edition of “The Week in Tennis History”.

June 23rd

1988 John McEnroe suffers a 2nd round straight sets loss to Wally Masur losing 7-5, 7-6, 6-3 at Wimbledon. It marks the 3-time champion’s earliest loss at the tournament since a 1st round loss in 1978.

1990 Future 7-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras wins the 1st grass court title of his career, defeating Gilad Bloom 7-6, 7-6 at the Manchester Open.

2011 Wimbledon wildcard Sabine Lisicki beats the reigning French Open champion Li Na 3-6, 6-4, 8-6. It’s the second French champion Lisicki has beaten at SW19, and it would not be the last.

June 24th

2004 47 year-old Martina Navratilova loses her final singles match at Wimbledon, losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to Gisela Dulko in the 2nd round. It is Navratilova’s 1st singles match since 1994.

2006 In a pre-Wimbledon press conference, 1992 champion Andre Agassi announces that the 2006 tournament will be his last and he will retire from competitive tennis at the U.S. Open in August.

2010 On Court 18 at Wimbledon, the match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut finally ends, with Isner winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. It played out over 3 days and was 11 hours and 5 minutes long , making it the longest match in tennis history – both in terms of matches played and length. A plaque on Court 18 commemorates the match.

2013 In one of the biggest shocks of Wimbledon, Steve Darcis beats Rafael Nadal 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 on Court 1. In the post-match conference, Nadal refuses to blame his loss on his knees and asks that the journalists stop asking him questions about it. Darcis withdrew from his next match.

June 25th 

1973 Wimbledon begins but without 82 of the top men’s players who boycott the event in support of Yugoslav player Nikki Pilic, who is suspended by the International Lawn Tennis Federation for not participating in Davis Cup. The boycott is led by the new men’s player union, Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and includes players such as Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe and John Newcombe. Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors are among the notable players who refuse to boycott.

1979 Wimbledon’s famous Graveyard of Champions – Court 2 – claims 2 high profile 1st round victims as Arthur Ashe is defeated by Chris Kachel 6-4, 7-6, 6-3, while Vitas Gerulaitis is beaten by Pat DuPre 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 6-3.

1996 Hen-mania begins at Wimbledon as 21 year-old Tim Henman wins his 1st big match at Wimbledon, saving 2 match points, to upset reigning French Open champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5 in the 1st round. Henman goes onto reach the quarter-finals, where he is beaten by America’s Todd Martin.

2005 Jill Craybas, the world No.85, beats 2-time champion Serena Williams 6-3, 7-6 at Wimbledon. The match was originally scheduled for Centre Court but, due to the weather, it was held on Court 2 – the infamous “Graveyard of Champions.” At one point during the match, Williams misses a backhand and shouts, “What am I doing out here?!”

June 26th

1951 On a cold afternoon, Althea Gibson becomes the 1st black player to compete at Wimbledon. She beats Great Britain’s Pat Ward 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 on Centre Court.

1962 Billie Jean Moffitt [now King] beats No.1 seed Margaret Smith 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the opening round of Wimbledon, creating history as the first player to knock out the women’s No.1 in the 1st round at the tournament. Billie Jean goes on to win a record 20 titles at Wimbledon including 6 singles titles, 1o in doubles and 4 in mixed.

2002 Pete Sampras plays what ultimately becomes his final Wimbledon match, losing in the 2nd round – on Court No.2 – to George Bastl 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4. Bastl, who enters the match having only won 1 main draw grass court match in his career, gains entry to Wimbledon when Felix Mantilla withdraws.

2007 In his last Wimbledon singles match, Justin Gimelstob makes history as the 1st player to use the “Hawk-Eye” instant replay system at the All England Club. He used it to challenge one of his serves in his 1st round loss to fellow American Andy Roddick.

June 27th

1970 Britain’s Roger Taylor end the 31 match Wimbledon winning streak of Rod Laver, handing the Australian his first loss at the tournament since 1960 in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 fourth round match.

1985 Anne White turns heads at Wimbledon when she wears a white bodysuit in her 1st round match against Pam Shriver. White wears the all-body leotard to keep her warm on a chilly day before play is suspended. Wimbledon referee Alan Miles calls the outfit not appropriate tennis attire and forbids her from wearing it again. White returns the next day, in ‘proper attire’, and loses 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.

1992 For the first time in Wimbledon history, a qualifier beats the No.1 seeded player as Andrei Olhovskiy defeats the reigning Australian and French Open champion Jim Courier 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

2006 Roger Federer wins his record 42nd consecutive match on grass, demolishing then 20 year-old Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. The win moves Federer past Bjorn Borg, who won 41 straight matches from 1976-1981. Today, Roger’s record stands at 65 wins, from 2003-2008.

June 28th

1977 18 year-old John McEnroe becomes the first qualifier to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon when he defeats Phil Dent of Australia 6-4, 8-9, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-finals. His semi-final opponent would be Jimmy Connors.

1983 Billie Jean King reaches the semi-finals of Wimbledon for the 14th time with a 7-5, 6-4 quarter-final victory over Kathy Jordan. On the men’s side, Ivan Lendl reaches his first Wimbledon semi-final defeating Roscoe Tanner 7-5, 7-6 6-3.

2007 Hen-mania comes to an end as the 4-time semi-finalist plays what would ultimately be his final match at Wimbledon, a 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 2-6, 6-1 2nd round loss to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez. In the post-match press conference, Henman says he will return next year but later in the summer announces that the U.S. Open would be his final tournament.

June 29th

1977 Virginia Wade stuns No.1 seed Chris Evert 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to become the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon women’s singles final since Ann Jones in 1969. Hopes of an all-British final are dashed by Holland’s Betty Stove who beats Sue Barker 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the other semi.

1994 Martina Navratilova sets a Wimbledon record, playing her 266th career match, when she and Manon Bollegraf beat Ingelisa Driehuis and Maja Muric in the Women’s Doubles. Navratilova surpassed Billie Jean King’s record of 265 matches.

Eilis Brennan, Pundit Arena.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.