Iconic Tennis Moments To Inspire You To Create Your Own Memories At Your Local Court
Off the heels of the mammoth Australian Open, the appetite for tennis is at an all-time high.
Whether you’ve caught the bug or you’ve been a die-hard fan for years, we wanted to show you the moments that everyone needs to know - the moments that have gone down in tennis history.
For these players, it all began at a local tennis court crafting the memories that would eventually lead to these moments that have been shared with the world.
1980 Wimbledon Final - Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe and the fourth set tie-breaker.
A rivalry and match that was so storied and intense that it was detailed in the 2017 film Borg vs McEnroe.
John McEnroe had reached his first men’s singles final at Wimbledon and faced up against Bjorn Borg who was aiming for his record fifth consecutive Wimbledon final.
The American entered the court to a raucous chorus of boo’s after he had been outspoken in his exchanges with umpires in the semi-final clash. However, this awkward entrance didn’t deter him, as he started off by claiming the first set in convincing fashion.
Borg fought his way back to lead the game before the infamous fourth set, where a tie-breaker lasted 20 minutes. McEnroe eventually won it 18-16.
Borg went on to snatch the title in the fifth set with a final backhand. The game has been dubbed one of the greatest of all time.
2001 Wimbledon Final - Goran Ivanisevic vs Pat Rafter
Another magic Wimbledon final moment came in 2001 as the Croatian Goran Ivanisevic came up against Aussie Pat Rafter.
Rafter had failed to win the previous year, falling in the final to Pete Sampras. Meanwhile, Ivanisevic had failed in three Wimbledon finals himself (‘92, ‘94, ‘98) and headed into the 2001 tournament unseeded and ranked at 125.
Both were reaching the twilight of their careers and both were desperate to add a Wimbledon title to their resume.
The matchup was as even as possible with Ivanisevic drawing first blood and the first four sets finished with 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6.
The crowd were firmly behind Ivanisevic the underdog going into the fifth, who attempted to serve out at 8-7 and hit three double faults in the process, including two on Championship point.
Yet he held his nerve to become the first unseeded player to win the Wimbledon Championship since Boris Becker in 1985.
Steffi Graf Claims Golden Slam In 1988
Steffi Graf is largely regarded as one of the greatest professional tennis players of all time.
She was ranked as world No.1 for 377 consecutive weeks, the longest period for any player, male or female, and her 22 major single titles puts her at third most of all-time behind Margaret Court and Serena Williams.
However, it is her 1988 calendar year that saw her cemented as a one-of-a-kind athlete claiming the Golden Slam - which saw her win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon Championships, and an Olympic singles gold medal - all in the same year.
She didn’t lose a set throughout the whole of the Australian Open, claimed the French Open in a 34-minute final, defeated Martina Navratilova, who was looking for her seventh straight title at Wimbledon, and defeated Gabriela Sabatini in three straight sets at the US Open.
When she finally won the Olympic Gold Medal at the Seoul Olympics, she became the first player to win what was dubbed by media as the ‘Golden Slam’. A first in tennis history.
2008 Wimbledon Final - Federer vs Nadal, Nadal’s first Wimbledon final
It wouldn’t be a greatest tennis moments list if we didn’t include a Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal matchup.
Their 2008 meeting was iconic for multiple reasons. Firstly, it saw Nadal claim his first Wimbledon trophy. The matchup itself gave the aforementioned Borg vs McEnroe final a run for its money as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time.
Federer had won 12 Grand Slams prior to the meeting, while Nadal had fallen short to Federer in the ‘06 and ‘07 Wimbledon finals. The Spaniard was absolutely itching to set the record straight.
In a five-set thriller that raged on for five hours and survived two rain delays, Nadal finally defeated Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-7(8-10), 9-7, with each set going down to the wire.
The 2008 Wimbledon Final gave birth to one of the most iconic rivalries in tennis legend, and that in itself cements its place as one of the greatest tennis moments.
While you may not ever reach the grand heights of a Wimbledon rally or Golden Slam title there are more than enough local courts to create your own memories that will last a lifetime.
If these moments have whet your tennis appetite, pick up a racquet and head over to the Play Tennis website where there are hundreds of courts throughout Australia to book.
Go on, head to your nearest tennis court, who knows we could have the next Steffi Graf or Rafael Nadal on our hands.