Five of the best Wimbledon finals of all time
The 2018 Wimbledon finals take place this weekend, and over the years they’ve produced more than their fair share of sporting drama.
So ahead of what should be another couple of scintillating showpieces, the Ladbrokes News Team are hitting the rewind button.
Here’s five of the greatest Wimbledon finals…
2008 – R.Nadal bt R.Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-7(8-10), 9-7
Arguably the greatest match in tennis, ever. Rafael Nadal’s five-set win over Roger Federer will never be forgotten. It saw the two best players of the day playing at the peak of their powers in a gruelling and enthralling contest.
It had the storyline to match, too. It came during Federer’s zenith, with the Swiss maestro having won the previous five Wimbledon titles.
Nadal was runner-up in 2006 and 2007, pushing Federer to a fifth set in the latter. So would it be third time lucky?
The match took nearly five hours, included two rain delays, ebbed and flowed at every turn and ended in darkness, but eventually the Spaniard brought the Fed-Express to a halt.
2001 – G.Ivanisevic bt P.Rafter 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7
The year of the famous wildcard winner of Wimbledon. Goran Ivanisevic was a three-time runner-up at SW19 but was world number 125 in the run-up to 2001.
But he was handed a wildcard entry, and the rest is history. He beat Andy Roddick, Greg Rusedski and Marat Safin along the way, before a famous five-set comeback over Tim Henman in the semi-finals after a rain-delay.
That set-up a showdown with Pat Rafter. The Australian was runner-up in 2000, losing to Pete Sampras.
The match swung back and forth, with the two players sharing the opening four sets. A rain delay took it to the third Monday while a raucous crowd of Australians and Croatians made for a sensational atmosphere in the final set.
That too hung in the balance, before Ivanisevic eventually pulled ahead to land it 9-7 and complete a memorable win.
1980 – B.Borg bt J.McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(18-16), 8-6
Before Federer and Nadal came along in 2008, Bjorn Borg’s five-set win over John McEnroe was widely regarded as the great tennis match of them all.
The rivalry was intense too. Borg was the effortlessly-cool Swede with the laid-back style on the court, while McEnroe was the loud, temperamental and thrilling American hotshot.
Borg was the kingpin, seeking a fifth successive SW19 championship, while McEnroe was up and comer seeking his first Wimbledon title.
The American stunned Borg in the first set, before the Swede used his guile and experience to turn the match around.
McEnroe wouldn’t go quietly however, and landed the fourth to level it 2-2 after a gruelling tie-break. It all came for nought though, as Borg responded in typical style to take decider 8-6 and his fifth straight Wimbledon.
2005 – V.Williams bt L.Davenport 4-6, 7-6, 9-7
The 2005 Ladies final was a real heavyweight clash. Both Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport were already Wimbledon champions.
And the pair had to really fight to get to the showpiece. Venus saw off reigning champion Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals, and four-time Slam champ Mary Pierce in the last-eight.
Davenport downed two-time Slam winners Amelie Mauresmo and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Williams and Davenport produced a final of top quality. Davenport took the opening set, before Venus stole the momentum in a second set tie-break.
The duo still couldn’t be split in the decider, until Venus eventually took it 9-7 to bag the third of her five Wimbledon championships.
1988 – S.Graf bt M.Navratilova 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
Rarely has a final swung to such extremes as the 1988 clash between Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova.
It was a real changing of the guard encounter. Graf was still a teenager, while Navratilova was the six-time reigning champion.
The pair had met 12 months before, with the American winning in straight sets. And after Graf defeated Pam Shriver and Navratilova downed Chris Evert in the semis, another contest was secured.
Graf flew out of the blocks to win five of the first eight games. But the experienced reigning champion roared back with six straight of her own to land the first set.
The German was completely unperturbed however, and utterly dominated the match, winning 12 of the next 13 games to secure her first Wimbledon title.
Navratilova would win one more Wimbledon in 1990, but Graf’s victory was the first of seven championships in a dominant eight-year era.