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View Full Version : The shortest Wimbledon finals


BeckerFan
02-23-2007, 04:55 PM
When fans talk about the shortest and most lopsided title matches in history, John McEnroe's 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 win over Jimmy Connors in 1984 is often mentioned. The match took only 80 minutes. The previous year, McEnroe dismissed Chris Lewis in only 85 minutes.

But if you think that's something, check out these statistics ...

- The shortest Wimbledon final of all time was played in 1881. Willie Renshaw defeated the Rev. John T. Hartley 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 in only 37 minutes!

- The shortest final since the elimination of the Challenge Round was Fred Perry's 1936 victory over Baron Gottfried von Cramm, giving Perry his third consecutive title. The Briton won 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 in 40 minutes. Coming in second is Jack Kramer's 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 win over Tom Brown in 1947, which lasted 45 minutes.

- Rod Laver is the only player to have won two Wimbledon finals in under an hour. His 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win over Chuck McKinley in 1961 took 55 minutes, while his 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over Marty Mulligan in 1962 took just 51 minutes.

- Laver also holds the record for the shortest final of the Open Era ... which also happened to be the first. He beat Tony Roche 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in 1968 in exactly one hour.

- Finally, here's a real curiosity: the Wimbledon record book shows that R.F. Doherty beat his brother, H.L. Doherty, in the 1898 final in only 55 minutes ... but the match is supposed to have gone a full five sets! The scoreline reads 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1. I don't suppose anyone knows the story behind that one ...

urban
02-23-2007, 11:27 PM
The timing is correct, BeckerFan. They were quite fast in the older days, no sit down between games. i think, Hoad was also under an hour in his win over Cooper in 1957. To von Cramm's excuse is to say, that he hurt his leg in the opening game, which endured over ten minutes, and could only limp through the match. He didn't want to scratch, and later apologized after the match. Perrye was critizised afterwards, to punish his foe so relentlessly.

BeckerFan
02-24-2007, 09:15 AM
Even by nineteenth-century standards, the pace of that 1898 all-Doherty final seems to have been pretty remarkable. They played 45 games in just 55 minutes ... that's an average of about 1 minute 13 seconds per game! (By contrast, the 1881 final averaged about 1 minute 51 seconds per game.) The next shortest five-set final was Borotra's 1924 win over Lacoste, which took 42 games and lasted 80 minutes. That's about 1 minute 54 seconds per game.

So the fast-paced matches of the early years hovered around 2 minutes per game, which is extraordinarily quick by today's standards. But the 1898 final came closer to just 1 minute per game ... I can't even conceive of that, especially spread over a full five setter!

BeckerFan
02-24-2007, 02:55 PM
You're right about the 1957 final, urban: 57 minutes. That qualifies as the second-shortest final between a number one and number two seed ... the shortest being 1936. Budge's second victory in 1938 is a close third, at 59 minutes.

BeckerFan
02-24-2007, 02:59 PM
On a related note: the longest final of all time took place in 1982, when Connors upset McEnroe 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in 256 minutes. Strange that only a couple years later, these same two would play the shortest final of the last 37 years ...

Nick Irons
02-24-2007, 03:22 PM
On a related note: the longest final of all time took place in 1982, when Connors upset McEnroe 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in 256 minutes. Strange that only a couple years later, these same two would play the shortest final of the last 37 years ...

Great notes ! Thanks for sharing !

THUNDERVOLLEY
02-24-2007, 06:46 PM
Cool facts, BeckerFan! Thanks!

armand
02-24-2007, 07:54 PM
Mal Washington was in the finals and wasn't he like 5'7"?

I slay me.

BeckerFan
02-24-2007, 11:48 PM
Washington was actually a towering 5'11".

On the other hand, Ken Rosewall was only 5'7", and he reached the finals four times.

I believe two-time winner Henri Cochet 'tops' them all at just 5'6"!

chaognosis
02-25-2007, 10:51 PM
Very interesting, BeckerFan. I wonder if similar data is available for the other Grand Slam tournaments.

ne1410is
02-28-2007, 04:43 PM
haha yeah, ken rosewall = "muscles" good ole aussie humour.

dima
02-28-2007, 07:28 PM
Does anyone who's the shortest man to win Wimbledon?

chaognosis
02-28-2007, 09:16 PM
I'm pretty sure BeckerFan answered that above: Henri Cochet @ 5'6". Almost Rochus-sized.

And Cochet won it twice, no less!

BeckerFan
03-02-2007, 12:59 PM
I was just reading a book called 'The Complete Lawn Tennis Player' by A. Wallis Myers, and he provides a little background to Canon J.T. Hartley's three Wimbledon final appearances. Apparently he had suffered a bout of cholera and was in no condition to play, though he admits he couldn't have beaten Renshaw (the game's first truly great player) under any circumstances.

Also of note: for his first title in 1879, Hartley beat a certain Vere Thomas St Leger Goold ... a notorious gambler who was later convicted of murder. Interesting that the only clergyman to win Wimbledon and the only murderer to make the final should have met, with the man of the cloth prevailing. :-)

AndrewD
03-02-2007, 03:10 PM
Urban,

Hoad's win took just 56 minutes. Not as quick as other finals but he did give up only 30 points. I've heard Cooper and Mal Anderson (they're both locals) talk about Hoad and it's always entertaining. Cooper suspects he got a bit of charity in that final and Anderson thinks that he saw Hoad play better against Gonzales when he won a set to love in under 15 minutes.

Funny thing is, Anderson felt that the only player as devastating as Hoad, when he was in form, was Rex Hartwig - a name you don't hear too often.

chaognosis
03-02-2007, 03:28 PM
This question of who was the "best" or "most devastating" at the height of their game comes up a lot, but it seems to be something of a wild goose chase. Players and writers almost always choose the most talented of their contemporaries. So yes, there's an entire generation who feel that Hoad was tops in this respect... and they're mostly still alive and influential, which is why Hoad continues to show up on all-time lists despite his relatively modest results. But there were many older players and writers who felt that Vines at his best was even better than Hoad--Kramer, Budge and Riggs included. The older writers, guys like Al Danzig, sometimes said that Cochet was the most talented player who ever wielded a racket. Even older observers sometimes make a case for Norman Brookes or H.L. Doherty... I've also seen arguments that R.F. Doherty, at his best, was even superior to his more accomplished brother. These debates go back as far as Ernest Renshaw, who was supposedly more naturally gifted than Willie, tennis's first great superstar. And they'll never stop. Lots of fans today feel that Federer is the most unbeatable; some hold out for Sampras, others for Becker, and quite a few choose McEnroe. Ultimately, there's no way to sort out all these impressions. I have no idea who was "better," Vines, Hoad or Federer, in peak form, and in fact it's something we'll never know.

armand
04-06-2007, 06:56 AM
This question of who was the "best" or "most devastating" at the height of their game comes up a lot, but it seems to be something of a wild goose chase. Players and writers almost always choose the most talented of their contemporaries. So yes, there's an entire generation who feel that Hoad was tops in this respect... and they're mostly still alive and influential, which is why Hoad continues to show up on all-time lists despite his relatively modest results. But there were many older players and writers who felt that Vines at his best was even better than Hoad--Kramer, Budge and Riggs included. The older writers, guys like Al Danzig, sometimes said that Cochet was the most talented player who ever wielded a racket. Even older observers sometimes make a case for Norman Brookes or H.L. Doherty... I've also seen arguments that R.F. Doherty, at his best, was even superior to his more accomplished brother. These debates go back as far as Ernest Renshaw, who was supposedly more naturally gifted than Willie, tennis's first great superstar. And they'll never stop. Lots of fans today feel that Federer is the most unbeatable; some hold out for Sampras, others for Becker, and quite a few choose McEnroe. Ultimately, there's no way to sort out all these impressions. I have no idea who was "better," Vines, Hoad or Federer, in peak form, and in fact it's something we'll never know.I am impressed by the tennis history you own, props to you chaognosis.

grizzly4life
04-09-2007, 10:59 AM
On a related note: the longest final of all time took place in 1982, when Connors upset McEnroe 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in 256 minutes. Strange that only a couple years later, these same two would play the shortest final of the last 37 years ...

just finished mac's book. and was going to mention the very quick W final between them.

not sure if OP cared about women's but martina made quick work of alot of players. chris evert in particular in finals.

Tchocky
04-09-2007, 11:56 AM
What was the length of Federer's straight set win over Roddick in the 2005 Final.

AndrewD
04-09-2007, 01:13 PM
Actually, the shortest Wimbledon final (men's) was in 1931 when Sydney Wood beat Francis Shields in a walk over.

chaognosis
09-22-2007, 09:09 PM
Washington was actually a towering 5'11".

On the other hand, Ken Rosewall was only 5'7", and he reached the finals four times.

I believe two-time winner Henri Cochet 'tops' them all at just 5'6"!

I'm digging up the past in more ways than one here, but I just learned that Frank Hadow, who defeated Spencer Gore in the very first Challenge Round at Wimbledon, stood only 5ft4in!

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/features/championships/gore.html

CEvertFan
09-22-2007, 11:49 PM
just finished mac's book. and was going to mention the very quick W final between them.

not sure if OP cared about women's but martina made quick work of alot of players. chris evert in particular in finals.


Believe it or not but most of the GS finals between Evert and Navratilova went the full three sets.

BTURNER
09-23-2007, 09:50 AM
just finished mac's book. and was going to mention the very quick W final between them.

not sure if OP cared about women's but martina made quick work of alot of players. chris evert in particular in finals.

At Wimbledon They played 5 finals and 3 of which went three sets. They played 4 semifinals ALL of which went 3 sets and two of which Evert won. The spankings went to Jaeger 6-0 6-4 and garrison 6-4,6-1.

lambielspins
09-24-2007, 04:48 AM
Believe it or not but most of the GS finals between Evert and Navratilova went the full three sets.

If memory serves me correct:

1975 French Open final- 3 sets (Evert wins)
1978 Wimbledon final- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)
1979 Wimbledon final- 2 sets (Navratilova wins)
1981 Australian Open final- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)
1982 Wimbledon final- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)
1982 Australian Open final- 3 sets (Evert wins)
1983 U.S Open final- 2 sets (Navratilova wins)
1984 French Open final- 2 sets (Navratilova wins)
1984 Wimbledon final- 2 sets (Navratilova wins)
1984 U.S Open final- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)
1985 French Open final- 3 sets (Evert wins)
1985 Wimbledon final- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)
1986 French Open final- 3 sets (Evert wins)

So 9 of the 13 finals went the full 3 sets. Interestingly enough that is the same ratio as their head to head in those finals, 9-4 for Navratilova.

In semis I believe it went:

1975 U.S Open semis- 2 sets (Evert wins)
1976 Wimbledon semis- 3 sets (Evert wins)
1980 Wimbledon semis- 3 sets (Evert wins)
1981 U.S Open semis- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)
1987 French Open semis- 2 sets (Navratilova wins)
1987 Wimbledon semis- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)
1988 Australian Open semis- 2 sets (Evert wins)
1988 Wimbledon semis- 3 sets (Navratilova wins)

So in semis they were 4-4 unless I am forgetting one. 5 of the 8 matches in Slam semis also went the full 3 sets.