Wimbledon — The Premier Win in All Of Tennis
Its official name is “Championships Wimbledon”, but we know it as “Wimbledon”, or simply “The Championships”.
Played at the All- England Club, it is the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, and even those of us who aren’t generally tennis fans — or even sports fans — have been known to tune in to watch tennis champions battle it out to win the prestigious Wimbledon title.
Wimbledon Winner Greats = The Great Debate
The top ten champions of Wimbledon is always open for debate, so I compiled my top ten list using my own random list of criteria on why I think these Wimbledon Champions deserve to be in the top ten. I went outside the box a bit and thought about the tennis champ as a winner and as a person, and took into account not only their win, but what stood out about it … and about them. For some reason, or in some case for many reasons, these players stood out and appeal to both tennis lovers and those of us who were weekend watchers. We know their names even though we didn’t really follow tennis, and some of them drew us to the game and made us fall for it and them.
It was hard to pick only ten, because winning Wimbledon by default implies tennis greatness, and a lot of names standout — so many that it was very hard to choose. No doubt that anyone on the complete list of Wimbledon winners deserves recognition and is of course talented and one of the best. Here is my list of the best of the best, and why I think they deserve to be there.
I wasn’t born when many of these players played, but through the medium of film, I know the players’ names and I’ve seen the games; these make my list because even a casual viewer such as myself knows their names. They are simply that good.
Not necessarily in order, here are my top ten Wimbledon winners of all time.
1. Martina Navratilova
Everyone who knows anything at all about tennis knows her name and her legacy. Widely considered the greatest tennis player ever, Martina Navratilova spent her career dominating not only Wimbledon, but tennis as a whole. She holds many records, and she won Wimbledon 9 times, which is also a record — and that’s just her singles wins.
Martina shines both on and off the court, with a tennis career — and wins — spanning decades. She has a strong pursuit for winning off the court, too, as a tireless champion for human rights and animal rights.
A powerhouse of a woman, Martina is known as one of the greatest female athletes of all time.
2. Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson was a pioneer who paved the way for African-Americans in tennis and is one of the most historic figures in tennis, hands down. She was the first black player to play in and win Wimbledon, and would have two wins back-to-back — 1957 and 1958. No African-American male or female before her had ever won a Grand Slam title.
Beyond her Wimbledon championships, Gibson broke the color barrier in other areas of tennis, and faced tough times during her tennis career, being challenged in a white dominated sport and unable to play in certain clubs due to her skin color. But she battled on not only as a black tennis player, but as a black athlete, and excelled in many sports.
Gibson’s time off the court would be riddled with difficulty, as back in her time there were no million dollar endorsements, and she face tremendous financial difficulties.
She went on to serve the State of New Jersey as State Commissioner of Athletics and on various boards and councils.
4. Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King beat some major players during her tennis career, but The Battle Of The Sexes match in which she beat tennis champion Bobby Riggs will go down in history as one of greatest –if not technically, then just for the history of it.
It was proof that women can play just as well as men, (That match is deserving of an article all its own!) and what better than that to happen to Billie Jean, a major champion for women in sports. While Riggs was a little older, no concessions were made for Billie Jean King — she won, period, and Riggs ate humble pie while male chauvinists ate crow.
Billie Jean didn’t stop there. She went on to battle for women’s rights, has won numerous awards and has had many accomplishments, including being awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom in August 2009.
Game, Set, Match : Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King, admired around the world, is a six-time Wimbledon champion and without a doubt one of the best players ever.
The Men of Wimbledon — From Gentlemen to Brash Brats
4. Bjorn Borg
Five-time Wimbledon Champion, one of the greatest tennis players ever, Bjorn Borg was as fast with his foot work and athleticism as he was slow to show emotion, earning him the nickname “Ice Man”. A true example of sportsmanship, Borg kept calm under intense pressure, even during some hairy matches.
Among those matches, none stands out more than his 1980 pairing with John McEnroe, which would for decades be the game to beat all games, the match reverently known as The Tiebreak. Beating McEnroe out for the Wimbledon title, Bjorn would claim his fifth consecutive and final Wimbledon victory.
With his speed, timing and handling, Bjorn Borg would influence the way tennis was played and that influence is still seen today.
Retiring at 25, Bjorn made his mark fast and brilliantly.
5. Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe had one Wimbledon victory to his credit before he passed away in 1993 from AIDS complications — he had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion.
That Wimbledon victory was one of a host of other achievements, including being the first African-American man to win a Wimbledon title.
An active Civil Rights champion, Arthur Ashe was considered a gentleman both on and off the court, and brought as much civility to game as he tried to bring to the world.
As tennis player and activist, Arthur Ashe would leave a legacy of awareness and change, and a true sadness at the loss of a great competitor and person.
6. Boris Becker
He set the courts on fire with his fiery red mane and his powerful volleys –his nickname was “Boom Boom” –claiming his first Wimbledon title at the tender age of 17. Millions of girls all over the world suddenly became interested in tennis … and redheads.
Famous for his athletic skills, and infamous for his prowess off the court while courting the ladies, Becker saw tennis courts and courts-of-law — divorce, paternity suit, tax evasion — and volleyed charges of a different kind.
He speaks frankly and is known for wild but truthful comments, and despite that, or perhaps because of it, he comes out well-liked and respected. He won three Wimbledon titles and brought a new type of drama to the court — sexy and stylish flair, with his own little expressions and dances, and anger directed at himself rather than to his opponent.
Despite the occasional tantrums, when he did lose a round, he took it all in stride, famously quipping “nobody died” and showing us what it was like to win, and lose, gracefully.
Boris Becker is not only one of the best players, but also one of sexiest — and still has a mane to die for. But more than just good looking, he’s the youngest to ever win the men’s singles, and is also the first German ever to win Wimbledon.
7. Pete Sampras
With seven Wimbledon wins to his name, Pete Sampras is universally regarded as one the greatest tennis players to ever grace a court, and grace the courts he did.
With strength, style, and perseverance, Sampras is often named as the greatest of the greats, the best of all time. Known as The King of Swing, Pete Sampras’ aggression on the court is contrasted by his easy-going, likable personality.
He is often named as a role model and an example of everything to do right in tennis.
He won quietly and without antics, and proved that sometimes it wasn’t just winning and it wasn’t just how you played the game – it was actually both.
8. John McEnroe
“You can not be serious!” — is perhaps the most famous phrase in tennis history.
Known as much for his antics as for his skill, McEnroe, or “SuperBrat”, claims three Wimbledon wins in men’s singles, and is reigning king of tantrums in tennis.
More than just a tennis champion, McEnroe is a pop-culture icon known for his temper and scathing remarks both on and off the court.
He was the other half in what is known as the greatest match ever –or was until recently — losing to Bjorn Borg in 1980 in a match that required not just skill, but nerves of steel and stamina to match.
No one knows which came first — The Mac or the phrase, but they are undeniably forever intertwined.
9. Jimmy Connors
Jimmy Connors boasts two Wimbledon championship wins, and is known for his harsh style and attitude, including charges of racism, and was so brash that he was actually booed at Wimbledon in a rare display of emotion from the spectators.
Controversial, and at times vulgar, insensitive, brash, and always passionate, Connors could rile up the crowd and push things a little bit further — he admits that whether positive or negative, he fed off the energy of the crowd.
Over the years he kept his spirit of competition and toned down the negative aspects of his personality, keeping fans enthralled and reminding them that his likability is as much about actually winning as it is about his personality.
10. Roger Federer
He’s the new greatest of the great, the young upstart with six Wimbledon wins and a winning personality.
It was his match against Rafael Nadal — which Nadal won — that became the best final ever, overcoming the decades old McEnroe v Borg that had been the best game ever played. The brilliance of that match stood the test of time, and held up until Nadal versus Federer. McEnroe and Borg were watching, too, and agreed that they had been usurped.
Charitable in nature and in cause, Federer is recognized for his support and work for many charities and causes.
As of 2010, Roger Federer is ranked #1 in the world, and is nicknamed “The Natural” by his peers. He names Boris Becker as one of his heroes, and is himself, a hero to many, and shows that great sportsmanship as well as just being all around great, are not mutually exclusive.
There is not doubt that naming the top ten of anything is bound to be controversial, but the Top Ten Wimbledon Winners of all time will always make for great debate.
More than just their game, more than their scores or wins, tennis champions often become great, notorious, and even loved for a variety of reasons.
Retrieved (2010, May 4) from Martina Navratilova. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/407053/Martina-Navratilova
Althea Gibson. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.altheagibson.com/
Billie jean won for all women. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016060.html
Bjorn borg. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Bo/B/Bjorn-Borg.aspx
Arthur ashe. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cmgww.com/sports/ashe/
Boris becker. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Be/B/Boris-Becker.aspx
Bio & career. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.samprasfanz.com/bio/bio.html
John mcenroe. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Mc/J/John-Mcenroe.aspx
Connors conquered with intensity. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00014143.html
Roger federer. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Top-Players/Roger-Federer.aspx
“Martina Navratilova.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. Retrieved May 04, 2010 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Navratil.html