Wimbledon, just the name evokes images of strawberries and cream, green grass, and some of the best tennis ever played. There is little doubt that Wimbledon is the most important tennis tournament in the world. In a way Wimbledon is just classier than any other tournament, much the same way the Masters is in golf. In the last few years the play at Wimbledon seems to have been ratcheted up a notch or two, and we as tennis fans are thankful. So with no further pomp and circumstance we will take a look at the five best gentleman’s Wimbledon finals of all time.
5. 2001 Goran Ivanisevic def. Patrick Rafter 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7: The 2001 finals were a moment of redemption for Ivanisevic, as he was able to put behind him three previous failures in the Wimbledon final. He world outlast Patrick Rafter with his serve, tallying 27 aces in the rare Monday final match. Ivanisevic had been in 47 major tournaments before this one, but this was his first and only major title. He would clinch his victory with a service winner on his fourth match point, in front of a unusually boisterous crowd.
4. 2007 Roger Federer def. Rafael Nadal 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2: Federer was able to defend his turf against the young Spaniard for the second year in a row. The match up of the number one, Federer, and number two, Nadal, player in the world lived up to the hype. The first set itself was a marathon that lasted 56 minutes, while the third set clocked in at 54 minutes. In the fifth set it appeared that Nadal was drained and Federer was able to take advantage and secure the victory.
3. 2009 Roger Federer def. Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14: A crushing defeat for Andy Roddick as he lost in the Wimbledon finals to Federer for the third time. The story of the match was a missed opportunity by Roddick. He held a 6-2 lead in the second set tiebreak only to squander it and lose the chance to go up two sets to zero. Roddick could have folded after that, but he battled Federer for as long as he could. Federer helped his cause with 50 aces in the match. The win was Federer’s 15 grand slam title surpassing Pete Sampras’ mark of 14.
2. 1980 Bjorn Borg def. John McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6: This was a match that would tell the world who the best player was at the time, the younger brash McEnroe or the stoic veteran Borg. McEnroe came out blazing hot confusing Borg with his serve. Borg rallied back to take the second and third sets. The fourth set is what made this match a classic. McEnroe was able to save seven match points, while in turn failing to capitalize on six set points of his own. McEnroe won the fourth set tiebreak 18-16, but in doing so seemed to wear himself out. Borg was able to take the fifth set and his fifth straight Wimbledon title.
1. 2008 Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7: This is the best tennis I have ever seen. Nadal had his third straight chance to knock off Federer at Wimbledon and he would not be denied. It was the longest Wimbledon finals match in time at 4 hours and 48 minutes. Nadal and Federer had to battle rain delays, wind, and impending darkness, not to mention each other. The match was quite simply the world’s two best players giving it everything they had until one of them broke. Just when you thought one of them was gaining an edge the other would snatch it away. The darkening skies just added the perfect backdrop to this epic heavyweight battle. At the time it appeared that the torch would be passed from Federer to Nadal for good. Injuries to Nadal and a resurgence in Federer’s game allowed Federer to rule the tennis world again, but on that July night Nadal was definitely feeling like royalty.
Croatian Sensation, cnnsi.com
How Roger Federer And Rafael Nadal Played The Final Of Wimbledon 2007, tennisthoughts.com
Mark Hodkinson, Wimbledon 2009: Roger Federer defeats Andy Roddick to win men’s singles title, Telegraph.co.ukBjorn Borg (Swe) beat John McEnroe (US), BBCsport