Tennis fans will be quick to tell you that Wimbledon is the most eagerly anticipated event of the year; and that’s not down to the Pimms or the strawberries and cream. Wimbledon has become synonymous with not only the fans, but the Great British public also and some of the sport’s biggest stars have all created history in SW19. 

The 2019 edition promises to contain all the thrills and spills we’ve come to expect from over the years, as the third tennis major of the year gets set to welcome the players all aiming to carve their names in Wimbledon folklore. The tournament has produced some absolute classics so let’s take a look back at some of Wimbledon’s most iconic moments, but before we do, be sure to check out all the latest prices for this year’s event right here –

John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut – 1st round

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this first round clash between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut was going to be a drab affair; but their 2010 clash turned out to be one of the best matches that Wimbledon has ever played host to. 

It wasn’t so much the quality of tennis that has seen this match go down in Wimbledon folklore, but it took some three days for a winner to be determined, with the total gameplay standing at 11 hours and five minutes. It was Isner who eventually came out on top in this battle of endurance, winning the fifth set 70-68. 

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal – 2008 final 

Two of the greatest tennis players of all-time treated us to quite possibly the best tennis match in history, let alone a Wimbledon final. The 2008 showpiece saw Roger Federer face Rafael Nadal in what would be the Swiss’ sixth consecutive Wimbledon title if he could manufacturer a win, but Nadal had other ideas and managed to beat his rival for the first ever time on grass. Both players were arguably in the form of their lives and this was more than obvious during the match, which Nadal managed to win 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7. It still gives us goosebumps now. 

Björn Borg vs John McEnroe – 1980 final

28 years before the Federer v Nadal classic, Björn Borg and John McEnroe treated tennis fans to another epic in the 1980 final; which saw Borg take the glory in a five-set thriller. The quality of tennis throughout the match was a joy to behold with both players showing their world class ability, but it was the fourth-set tie-break that will be remembered most. In total, it took 22 minutes for McEnroe to save five match points before squaring the match at two apiece. However, it was Borg who regained his composure and to win the last set 8-6 and complete his fifth consecutive Wimbledon win.  

John McEnroe vs Tom Gullikson – 1981 outburst

When you think of iconic moments at Wimbledon, there aren’t many that are more fondly remembered than John McEnroe’s outburst during his match against Tom Gullikson in 1981. McEnroe was renowned for throwing a strop on court and still remains one of the most entertaining players that tennis has ever seen, but his four-word tirade at the umpire after an ace was called out will live on in tennis – and sporting memory – for eternity. A series of: “You cannot be serious” was blasted towards umpire Edward James from McEnroe, all for Centre Court and the watching world to see and hear. 

Martina Navratilova vs Zina Garrison – 1990 final

To this day, Martina Navratilova still holds the record for most single title wins (9) and the pinnacle was reached some 29 years ago now. The Czech champion had eight titles to her name but lost consecutive finals to Steffi Graf before finally completing her record haul in 1990. It didn’t take Navratilova long to dismantle Zina Garrison in the final, winning 6-4, 6-1 in just 75 minutes. Four years later, Natratilova had the chance to make it into double figures but lost out to Conchita Martinez in the final. 

Boris Becker vs Kevin Curren – 1985 final

Not only did unseeded Boris Becker shock the world by winning Wimbledon in 1985, he became the youngest ever men’s champion to do so at 17 years and 227 days old. The German beat the previous record held by Borg (20 years old, 1976 win) after his 6–3, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(7–3), 6–4 victory over American Kevin Curren. Admittedly, the likes of Borg, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl all suffered earlier exits so Becker did have a smoother route to victory, but it was still an excellent achievement. 

Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic – 2017 final

This final won’t be remembered fondly for the match itself, but an eighth Wimbledon title is what Federer secured in his 2017 final win over Marin Cilic; and he beat Pete Sampras’ and William Renshaw’s record of seven titles in the process. 

The victory effectively immortalised Federer as one of the greatest ever tennis players in the modern era, and he is certainly the best that Wimbledon has ever seen. The Swiss superstar didn’t even drop a set on his way to an eighth title, further highlighting his immortal status in SW19. 

Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic – 2013 final

After the heartbreak of losing out to Roger Federer in the 2012 final, Andy Murray wasn’t going to let history repeat itself when he faced Novak Djokovic in the 2013 showpiece. The Brit was in scintillating form throughout the tournament and even survived going down two sets to Fernando Verdasco in the quarters, but he outclassed world number one Djokovic in straight sets to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Cue tears of joy and a rather emotional Centre Court who could finally pay homage to a new hero. 


Published by Matthew Piggot