Tennis has produced some of the world’s best known sports heroes and icons. Here are 10 of the most unforgettable matches played by them.
1. Bjorn Borg vs. McEnroe: 1980 : Wimbledon Final
When Bjorn Borg faced John McEnroe, a cocky 21 year old, at Wimbledon, few people realized that they were about to watch an epic match. It lasted 3 hours and 53 minutes and is considered to be one of the finest finals ever played. Borg eventually won the title, but only after playing Wimbledon’s longest tie breaker during the 4th set at 18-16.
2. Nadal vs. Federer : July 7, 2008 : Wimbledon Final
There is one more Wimbledon Final which can compete to be among the best finals ever played. The last set of this match was played in near darkness and the umpires had to be given night goggles in order to be able to see the ball clearly. Even though Nadal went on to win this title, it was a match which at any point could have gone to the other way.
3. Venus Williams vs. Lindsay Davenport : 2005 : Wimbledon Women’s Final
In 2005 Davenport was the top seed and sailed to the finals with fairly easy victories. However in Venus Williams she met her match, and in the longest ever Wimbledon final she was defeated 4-6, 7-6, 9-7. Twice during this game she had match points or was serving for the match, but as she said later, Venus was mentally the far superior player.
4. Bjorn Borg vs. Jimmy Connors: 1977: Wimbledon Final
This match was the confirmation of the Borg era. The five setter final was a touch and go match throughout, and it was a pleasure to watch the advent of Borg’s classy style of tennis. This was his fourth Wimbledon title and he went on to rule the tennis scene for years.
5. Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal: 2009: Madrid Semi Finals
In the semi finals of the Madrid Open in 2009, Rafael Nadal came back from a break in the third set to winning the tie breaker at 11-9. He saved three match points during this clay court match, which was a best of three games. The match lasted 4 hours 2 minutes and was the highlight of the tournament.
6. Bobby Rigg vs. Billie Jean King: September 23, 1973: Houston, Texas
Termed as the Battle of the Sexes, this nationally televised tennis match generated a great deal of interest. Riggs had challenged one of the world’s female greatest tennis players to prove that females played a lesser brand of tennis. However, Billie Jean King was more than a match for him and defeated him 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
7. Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi: 1995: US Open Final
Pete Sampras was a great grass court tennis player. His finest games were played on these courts and the 1995 final against Agassi was one of his best. Their contrasting styles and temperaments were very much in evidence here, and when Sampras won, he stopped Agassi’s winning streak.
8. Arthur Ashe vs. Jimmy Connors: 1975: Wimbledon Final
Arthur Ashe’s four set victory over Jimmy Connors on this day surprised everyone on the Centre Court. Ashe was also the first African American to win a Wimbledon title. Ashe defeated Connors, the defending champion and the odds-on
9. Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert: 1978: Wimbledon Women’s Final
This is the day where Navratilova’s reign really began. It was a changing of the guard, her first Wimbledon victory. She went on to win 9 Wimbledon titles and to tower over the women’s tennis scene for many years.
10. Helen Wills Moody vs. Suzanne Lenglen: 1926: Cannes
Moody had not lost a set from 1927 till 1933, except against the French Champion Suzanne Lenglen in Cannes. She lost the two setter after a grueling match.