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FedSampras
05-07-2007, 08:31 PM
Wimbledon's greatest champions by decade

Special to FOXSports.com

http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/3697512

Can anyone topple Roger Federer on the grass of Wimbledon? It's doubtful, as the 23-year old top seed has a stranglehold on the place, like other great champions in the place they've held premiere tennis tournaments since 1877.

1. 2000s: Roger Federer

He showed up for the first time as a teenager in 1999. Since then, Federer is 18-4 at Wimbledon, with back-to-back Championships. He even defeated Pete Sampras in a fourth-round match in 2001. It's a little early to place him with Sampras, Borg, and Laver; but not much.


2. 1990s: Pete Sampras

This quiet assassin with the booming serve dominated Centre Court for over a decade. He won in 1993, 1994, and 1995. He won in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. He compiled a 40-2 match record on Centre Court at Wimbledon and 63-7 overall at All England Club.

It's hard to pick his greatest Wimbledon conquest. It may have been in 1999, when he trounced Andre Agassi in straight sets. It may have been in 1995, when he defeated three-time champ Boris Becker. It may have been his epic, five-set match in the 1998 Final against Goran Ivanisevic.


3. 1980s: Martina Navratilova

On the gentlemen's side, John McEnroe won three singles championships in this era, as did Boris Becker, who showed up in 1985 to become the youngest player to win Wimbledon, doing it as an unseeded player. But the competition was too fierce (throw in Borg and Connors at the beginning of the 80s, and Edberg, Cash, and Lendl at the end) for any player to truly dominate. In the Ladies tournament, Ms. Navratilova won an incredible nine times in thirteen years. Here's the judgement call: Navratilova's reign is considered superior in this column to Steffi Graf's five titles in six years (1988-1993). Why? Navratilova, who was 8-0 in her first eight Wimbledon Finals, was miles above the rest of the field. Graf won three of her titles (1993, 1995, 1996) almost immediately after the world's number one player Monica Seles was stabbed by an obsessive fan of Steffi's.


4. 1970s: Bjorn Borg

Mr. Borg should have been prominently mentioned in two previous columns of mine. His streak of five consecutive Wimbledon championships (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980) is worthy of inclusion in any list of great individual streaks. And his retirement in 1982 was certainly one of the great endings any athlete ever had.

He defeated Ilie Nastase in the 1976 Finals. He defeated Jimmy Connors in the Finals in both 1977 and 1978. The big-serving Roscoe Tanner went down to Borg in the 1979 Finals. And then, standing in the way of a fifth consecutive Lawn Tennis championship in 1980, was John McEnroe.

They battled a quarter-century ago on the famed Centre Court, the seemingly emotionless Swede and the brash kid from Queens, New York. They went at it for close to four hours. When it was over, Borg had come out on top, in five thrilling sets. McEnroe won by losing, by saving seven match points and showing the heart of a champion. The fourth-set tiebreak was unbelievable, the fabled "Battle of 18-16". Borg had five chances to win the match, but couldn't close the deal. McEnroe missed out six times to send the match into a fifth-set, before finally accomplishing the feat.

Every great champion needs a great challenge. Borg was a great champion, but needed McEnroe to show the world how truly great he was.


5. 1960s: Rod Laver

His left arm was twice as big as his right arm, and he used his southpaw advantage at Wimbledon many times. He was a Wimbledon finalist in 1959 and 1960. He won in 1961 and 1962. Then, in 1963, he joined a professional tour and could not enter the Grand Slam events. By the end of the decade, in a newly created Open era ("open" meaning both professionals and amateurs could enter), Laver again won back-to-back championships, in 1968 and 1969. If given the chance, he might have won nine consecutive Wimbledon titles.


6. 1950s: Maureen Connolly

Althea Gibson and Maria Bueno won consecutive Wimbledons in this era, but Connolly won three straight in 1952, 1953, and 1954. "Little Mo" is one of the great stories in sports history. She was a poor San Diego girl competing in a rich person's sport, and burst through to win Wimbledon by the age of 17. At 20, she was a three-time winner, but her career soon came to a crashing halt after her three-peat due to a freak riding accident (she was crushed against a cement truck while horseback riding) which tore up her leg. She never got a chance to win her fourth Wimbledon in a row. She died of cancer at the age of 34, in 1969.


7. 1940s: Jack Kramer

I could be funny, and claim that a player named Not Held is inscribed in the list of Wimbledon champions each year from 1940-1945. But, I'll choose the man whose racket I first played with as a youngster.

Jack Kramer was a tennis prodigy from Southern California. He became a wartime member of the U.S. Coast Guard, where he continued to play in tennis tournaments, until he was sent to the South Pacific, where he commanded a tank landing craft in five invasions. He was discharged in January of 1946, with the rank of lieutenant. It took him just a few months to regain his top tennis form. Painful blisters cost him the 1946 Wimbledon championship, but in 1947, he easily defeated American Tom Brown 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. He became the first Wimbledon champion to wear tennis shorts, by the way.

In November of 1947, he signed a $50,000 contract to tour with professional champion Bobby Riggs. He soon became the top professional player of all time, and the highest paid, but that wasn't enough for Kramer. He had ideas about staging professional players tours, and signed up the best amateur players beginning in the early 50s.

He won in '47, and was the best player in the decade. If professionals were allowed to compete, he would have been top seeded in '48 and '49.


8. 1930s: Fred Perry

Perry was a table-tennis champion before taking up tennis at the age of 18. An English champion (it was easier 75 years ago for Brits; the lack of accessible and affordable air travel made it nearly impossible for foreigners to enter Wimbledon), Perry was a great three-time champion. Among his quotes: "I was always a believer in stamping on my opponent if I got him down, at Wimbledon or anywhere else. I never wanted to give him the chance to get up. If I could have beaten him six-minus-one instead of six-love I would."

Perry won consecutive Wimbledons in 1934, 1935, and 1936. He didn't attempt to win a fourth straight, preferring to turn professional.


9. 1920s: Suzanne Lenglen

From 1919-1926, Suzanne Lenglen lost only one tennis match and that was by default. She won six Wimbledon titles in 7 years beginning in 1919 remember, due to World War I, there was no Wimbledon tournament from 1915-1918 and was one of the biggest sports stars of the 20s. She turned back Helen Wills in 1926, and avoided Wills the rest of her career. Lenglen was the first major tennis star to turn pro. She died of leukemia at the age of 39.


10. The Early Years: Lottie Dod

What a great name! Lottie Dod won in '87, '88, '91, '92, and '93. Of course, that was in the 1800s.

roysid
05-07-2007, 10:08 PM
That's the most non-controversial judgement to be made :)
2000s - Federer and 1990s - Sampras is obvious.

I would like to present both mens' and women's decade. Then it's debatable.
Men
2000s - Fed
1990s - Sampras
1980s - The first half dominated by Mcenroe (3 titles), second half by Becker (3 titles). Close call, whom do you want to pick. I go for Mcenroe
1970s - Bjorn Borg

Women
2000s - Till now, it's Venus (3 titles), edging out Serena (2 titles)
1990s - Graf. She won 5 titles. Though the Seles question remains, she won 2 while Seles was in prime and was always better on grass.
1980s - Navratilova. 7 titles, 6 consecutive, 9 consecutive finals
1970s - Billi jean king(3 titles) edges out Evert, Evonne and Navratilova (2 titles each)

capriatifanatic
05-07-2007, 10:32 PM
1990s - She won 5 titles. Though the Seles question remains, she won 2 while Seles was in prime and was always better on grass.


Though the Seles question remains? LOL! This is Wimbledon you do realize. Seles was never going to be the player of Wimbledon in the 90s, heck she would have been lucky to even win 1 Wimbledon.

roysid
05-08-2007, 04:55 AM
Though the Seles question remains? LOL! This is Wimbledon you do realize. Seles was never going to be the player of Wimbledon in the 90s, heck she would have been lucky to even win 1 Wimbledon.
Hey I wrote "Though the Seles question remains, she won 2 while Seles was in prime and was always better on grass.".
I know Seles was underdog in Wimbledon. And Graf defeated Seles convincingly in '92.

But then you never know. Seles could have improved and posed challenge to Graf

caulcano
05-08-2007, 05:46 AM
Nice.

That's the most non-controversial judgement to be made :)
2000s - Federer and 1990s - Sampras is obvious.

I would like to present both mens' and women's decade. Then it's debatable.
Men
2000s - Fed
1990s - Sampras
1980s - The first half dominated by Mcenroe (3 titles), second half by Becker (3 titles). Close call, whom do you want to pick. I go for Mcenroe
1970s - Bjorn Borg

Women
2000s - Till now, it's Venus (3 titles), edging out Serena (2 titles)
1990s - She won 5 titles. Though the Seles question remains, she won 2 while Seles was in prime and was always better on grass.
1980s - Navratilova.
1970s - Billi jean king(3 titles) edges out Evert, Evonne and Navratilova (2 titles each)

Ditto:

2000s - Federer
1990s - Sampras
1980s - Mcenroe
1970s - Borg

Women
2000s - Venus*
1990s - Graf
1980s - Navratilova
1970s - King

*Current because it could change in 3 years time.

noeledmonds
05-08-2007, 06:51 AM
I pretty much agree with what I am hearing hear. In the men's game the only debatable decade after 1950 is the '80s. However I think you have to give the edge to McEnroe despite Becker's impressive record.

What about the French Open, Who would you have?

1960s: Ken Rosewall

With 7 consecutive French Pros and 1 FO in the 60s. He was the most dominant player on clay by some way. Technically of course he only played 2 FO in the 60s (1 win and 1 final loss to Laver) as he turned professional before 1960. However if we take French Open to include French Pro (as this was professional eqivalent of FO before open-era) then Rosewall definately has the best record.

1970s: Bjorn Borg

The true king of clay domianted from the mid-70s until the early 80s demolishing all competition. Borg only lost to Panatta at the FO in his entire career. Borg won 4 FO in the 70s (out of 6 entered), including 1 without the loss of a single set.

1980s: Ivan Lendl

I give this to Lendl narrowly over Wilander. Both players have 3 FO titles in the 80s. Lendl had 4 consecutive finals from '84-'87. Lendl's game was also more adabtable than Wilander's on clay. Lendl had a more to him than just super pushing, which is essentialy what Wilander's game was. Note that if Borg had played on another few FO he might well have the 80s too. However his played 2 and won 2 record is not enough tournaments entered IMO.

1990s: Jim Courier

This is a tough decade where no clay courter really domianted. Courier's 3 consecutive finals and back-back titles are impressive though. I always considered Bruguera as one of the weaker 2 slams FO champions, however Muster has to be up there with over 40 clay court titles to his name. However just 1 FO title means I find it hard to give Muster the nod. Kuerten of course burst onto the scene with an extremely impressive title, however he bloomed more towards and after the change of the decade.

2000s: Nadal?

Nadal is my predicted winner for the 00s due to his impressive recent form and back-back FO titles. Kuerten will have to make quite a come back to turn the odds against Nadal and currently I don't see that happening. However with 3 titles still to be won anyone could have it really.

caulcano
05-08-2007, 07:09 AM
I pretty much agree with what I am hearing hear. In the men's game the only debatable decade after 1950 is the '80s. However I think you have to give the edge to McEnroe despite Becker's impressive record.

What about the French Open, Who would you have?

1960s: Ken Rosewall

With 7 consecutive French Pros and 1 FO in the 60s. He was the most dominant player on clay by some way. Technically of course he only played 2 FO in the 60s (1 win and 1 final loss to Laver) as he turned professional before 1960. However if we take French Open to include French Pro (as this was professional eqivalent of FO before open-era) then Rosewall definately has the best record.

1970s: Bjorn Borg

The true king of clay domianted from the mid-70s until the early 80s demolishing all competition. Borg only lost to Panatta at the FO in his entire career. Borg won 4 FO in the 70s (out of 6 entered), including 1 without the loss of a single set.

1980s: Ivan Lendl

I give this to Lendl narrowly over Wilander. Both players have 3 FO titles in the 80s. Lendl had 4 consecutive finals from '84-'87. Lendl's game was also more adabtable than Wilander's on clay. Lendl had a more to him than just super pushing, which is essentialy what Wilander's game was. Note that if Borg had played on another few FO he might well have the 80s too. However his played 2 and won 2 record is not enough tournaments entered IMO.

1990s: Jim Courier

This is a tough decade where no clay courter really domianted. Courier's 3 consecutive finals and back-back titles are impressive though. I always considered Bruguera as one of the weaker 2 slams FO champions, however Muster has to be up there with over 40 clay court titles to his name. However just 1 FO title means I find it hard to give Muster the nod. Kuerten of course burst onto the scene with an extremely impressive title, however he bloomed more towards and after the change of the decade.

2000s: Nadal?

Nadal is my predicted winner for the 00s due to his impressive recent form and back-back FO titles. Kuerten will have to make quite a come back to turn the odds against Nadal and currently I don't see that happening. However with 3 titles still to be won anyone could have it really.

Sounds about right. Like you said in the 90's no one really dominated like previouosly. Also, it looks odds on Nadal will be the 2000s winner.

fastdunn
05-08-2007, 10:43 AM
I think Sampras was the last true grass court great.

From 2001-2003, the traditional grass court has disappeared.
Federer is a new Wimbledon dominator, not a traditional grass court player, IMHO.

caulcano
05-09-2007, 12:01 AM
I think Sampras was the last true grass court great.

From 2001-2003, the traditional grass court has disappeared.
Federer is a new Wimbledon dominator, not a traditional grass court player, IMHO.

It's probably because a 'traditional grass court player' can't dominate Wimbldeon anymore.

FedSampras
05-09-2007, 08:48 PM
Though the Seles question remains? LOL! This is Wimbledon you do realize. Seles was never going to be the player of Wimbledon in the 90s, heck she would have been lucky to even win 1 Wimbledon.

As evidenced by Graff struggling horribly in later W finals against the likes of Sanchez and Novotna, Seles would probably have started to win W too. Seles was too good too quickly but she was only 19 years old at the time of the knifing and was still improving. In only her 2nd attempt at Wimbledon, Seles already made it to the finals in '92. Graff won her 1st Wimbledon on her 3rd attempt.

Seles' previous effort had been clearly hampered by her stifling of her admittedly annoying grunting at the Brit media's insitence . Perhaps this showed a vulnerability that would later be become more obvious following the stabbing.

chiru
05-09-2007, 08:52 PM
As evidenced by Graff struggling horribly in later W finals against the likes of Sanchez and Novotna, Seles would probably have started to win W too. Seles was too good too quickly but she was only 19 years old at the time of the knifing and was still improving. In only her 2nd attempt at Wimbledon, Seles already made it to the finals in '92. Graff won her 1st Wimbledon on her 3rd attempt.

Seles' previous effort had been clearly hampered by her stifling of her admittedly annoying grunting at the Brit media's insitence . Perhaps this showed a vulnerability that would later be become more obvious following the stabbing.

I'm so sick of the stupid seles thing. a few months ago it was fed vs. sampras as goat. before that, which racket does roger really use? now this is the boards favorite circular argument, but unlike the other two, its neither contemporary, nor do we have any new information about it...ever...

FedSampras
05-10-2007, 06:42 PM
I'm so sick of the stupid seles thing. a few months ago it was fed vs. sampras as goat. before that, which racket does roger really use? now this is the boards favorite circular argument, but unlike the other two, its neither contemporary, nor do we have any new information about it...ever...

Intelligent discourse is interesting & seldom a waste of time. Speculation & revision are also part & parcel of life. There is nothing wrong with looking back & rehashing prior notable events in an effort to decipher "what might have been".

It's an open message board and everyone should speak what they think.. Get HELP, we love you.