Wimbledon: Vote for your favourite men’s singles final

wimbledon men's finals vote

Clear your diaries. It is the second Sunday of July. It is the men’s singles final at Wimbledon.

When the clock strikes 2pm, you know you need to be parked on the sofa in front of the television, or if you’ve got an engagement you really can’t avoid, within listening or touching distance of radio and online commentaries.

This year is very different. With Wimbledon not happening, Sue Barker and an expert panel will be spending this Sunday reminiscing over the greatest men’s finals of the Open era and counting down to their top choice.

But, before that programme on BBC One at 14:05 BST, we want you to look back on the panel’s 10-match shortlist and then vote for your favourite at the bottom of the page.

1975: Arthur Ashe v Jimmy Connors

Ashe won 6-1 6-1 5-7 6-4

Arthur Ashe (right) shakes hands with Jimmy Connors at the net after the 1975 Wimbledon final

Arthur Ashe was American. Jimmy Connors was American. That’s about all they had in common when they lined up to play the 1975 final.

Ashe was older and wiser, Connors was younger and brasher, their polarising personalities and contrasting careers teeing up a narrative which had sports fans hooked.

Connors, 22, was the hot favourite after winning three of the four Grand Slams and losing just four times in 103 matches during the previous year.

Yet it was the wily Ashe – after concocting a plan over blackjack in a Mayfair club to get under Connors’ skin – who triumphed.

1980: Bjorn Borg v John McEnroe

Borg won 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 (16-18) 8-6

Bjorn Borg holds the Wimbledon trophy after beating John McEnroe in the 1980 final

Like Ashe and Connors, here were two more contrasting personalities going for greatness. The ice of Borg versus the fire of McEnroe.

Borg – all meditation and superstition – was going for his fifth straight Wimbledon title, with the ‘superbrat’ McEnroe ranked as the best bet to stop him.

Five sets, almost four hours and that 18-16 tie-break. The stuff of legend which was so dramatic it even spawned a Hollywood film…

1981: Bjorn Borg v John McEnroe

McEnroe won 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4

John McEnroe waves both hands in the air after winning the 1981 Wimbledon final

Same time, same place, Borg and McEnroe reprised their roles a year later. This time it was McEnroe’s day, lifting his first Wimbledon title by ending Borg’s monopoly at the All England Club.

Yet, it nearly never happened. You cannot be serious? Yes, entirely. Because 1981 was the year when McEnroe shouted that immortal line in a frenzied fury at chair umpire Edward James.

The American was fortunate, judging by accounts at the time, not to be kicked out of the Championships.

While the match “lacked the spontaneity and drama” of the previous year’s final, according to the New York Times, McEnroe didn’t care.

1985: Boris Becker v Kevin Curren

Becker won 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4

Boris Becker kisses the Wimbledon trophy after his 1985 win

This was a final which turned out to be the defining moment of each man’s career.

Becker, unseeded and aged 17, became Wimbledon’s youngest men’s champion, the launchpad that rocketed him to superstar status.

Curren, seeded eighth and the overwhelming favourite, saw a concrete opportunity to earn Wimbledon immortality slip through his grasp. The South African-born, naturalised American never reached those heights again.

Neither the tournament, nor the final, was straightforward for Becker. The German said not knowing his grandad had died on the eve of the Championships ensured he maintained the mental strength to go through the fortnight, while he had to overcome injury and deficits in earlier rounds.

A brief wobble when serving for the title threatened to stall his ascension before his serve – the weapon that had helped scatter his previous opponents – helped him over the line.

2000: Pat Rafter v Pete Sampras

Sampras won 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2

Pete Sampras kisses the Wimbledon trophy in the darkness of Centre Court

The moment when Pete Sampras sealed his place, then at least, as the greatest of all time.

At 8:57pm, the camera flashes illuminated a near-dark Centre Court as the American welled up when the magnitude of his achievement hit home.

After two rain delays led to a looming threat of a Monday finish, Sampras wrapped it up in the nick of time to win a record seventh men’s title at the All England Club and an unmatched 13th major victory.

Yet history was close to taking a different turn. A pair of double faults from a nervy Sampras helped Rafter take the first-set tie-break before the Australian became rattled and failed to convert a 4-1 lead in the second-set tie-break. What might have been…

2001: Goran Ivanisevic v Pat Rafter

Ivanisevic won 6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7

A tearful Goran Ivanisevic falls to the Wimbledon grass in celebration after beating Pat Rafter

Poor old Patrick Rafter. While he might feature in two of these 10 great men’s finals, the Australian ended up on the wrong side of them.

Even he could not begrudge Croatia’s Goran Ivanisevic victory in what became known as the ‘People’s Final’.

A washout of a final Sunday meant the showpiece was moved to the Monday without a ball being hit, allowing 10,000 fans to queue for more than 24 hours and grab a ticket which they never expected to get.

What they witnessed didn’t disappoint. Ivanisevic, a three-time beaten finalist and only playing after being given a wildcard, became the first unseeded player since Boris Becker to lift the title.

2008: Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal

Nadal won 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (8-10) 9-7

Rafael Nadal lies on his back with his arms spread out as he celebrates his first Wimbledon triumph

Star names, quality, drama, suspense… the final part of the ‘Fedal’ trilogy had the all ingredients of a blockbuster. And it lived up to the hype.

Federer and Nadal were ranked as the world’s best two players, with the Spanish second seed trying to end the Swiss’s five-year reign at the All England Club after losing the previous two finals.

After almost seven hours – because of rain delays – 22-year-old Nadal finally dethroned Federer as darkness descended on an enraptured Centre Court.

2009: Roger Federer v Andy Roddick

Federer won 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 16-14

Roger Federer jumps into the air after winning the 2009 title at Wimbledon

Twelve months after being denied by Nadal, Federer reacquainted himself with the trophy. Not only that, he became the greatest male player of all time by claiming his 14th Grand Slam title and surpassing Pete Sampras’ nine-year record.

The Swiss had to dig deep against an in-form Andy Roddick, however. The American held four points for a two-set lead and then battled back to force an epic fifth set as the match became the longest men’s singles final ever in terms of games played.

Thirty games and 95 minutes later, a weary Roddick finally buckled. A framed forehand looped into the stand and Federer jumped for joy.

2013: Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray

Murray wins 6-4 7-5 6-4

Andy Murray takes the acclaim of a delighted crowd after winning the Wimbledon title in 2013

This one needs little introduction to British fans. The day the Wimbledon men’s title finally came ‘home’.

After 77 years of hurt, the ghost of Fred Perry was finally laid to rest by 26-year-old Andy Murray.

The Scottish second seed may have landed his first Grand Slam title at the previous year’s US Open, but this was the prize that he – and the nation – really wanted.

In his way stood Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and, although there was a wobble as he tried to close out victory, Murray won in straight sets to achieve his dream.

2019: Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer

Djokovic wins 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3)

Novak Djokovic stretches for a forehand in his Wimbledon win over Roger Federer

We thought it couldn’t get even better after an epic semi-final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. We were wrong.

Federer, approaching his 38th birthday and in pursuit of a ninth Wimbledon title, had enough gas left in the tank to push top seed Novak Djokovic to a fifth set – and then the drama went up another notch.

The Swiss was unable to convert two match points at 8-7 in the decider, which then went to a historic tie-break at 12-12.

Djokovic took control to hold three Championship points, taking the first when Federer spooned a return. With the mood among the pro-Federer dampened, Djokovic confounded them further by grazing on a bit of the Centre Court grass to celebrate.

If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please click here to vote.

Link to Original Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *