The 2023 edition of Wimbledon has been and gone, with The Championships getting underway at the prestigious All England Lawn and Croquet Club in southwest London on July 3 before concluding with the men’s singles final on July 16.
History appeared to be in the making this year, as seven-time champion Novak Djokovic looked on course to match Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles. If the Serbian was to do that, it would have been his fifth successive time lifting the sought-after gold trophy — which would have resulted in him emulating the previous best tally set by Bjorn Borg and Federer.
Djokovic was, therefore, the odds-on favourite to win The Championships in the men’s singles’ betting market. However, much to the delight of the thousands who filled Centre Court for the final, youngster Carlos Alcaraz dethroned the 36-year-old with a thrilling 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory.
Due to controversies off the court, some might not hold Djokovic in the same high regard as the likes of Federer and so on. But he will get more chances to become the most decorated player in history and there’s no doubt he will go down as one of the greats on the grass. That said, let’s take a look at some of the most iconic players in Wimbledon history.
Where better to start than with the man we have talked about so much to this point? For many, Federer is the best grass-court player of all time — if not the greatest tennis player in history. The Swiss became a fan favourite in SW19 due to his elegant style of play, precision and sheer dominance on Centre Court.
He won Wimbledon for the first time in 2003 and that was the beginning of a streak that continued until 2007. Federer’s other triumphs came in 2009, 2012 and 2017, while he also reached the final in 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2019.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest female players of all time, Martina Navratilova stands alone as the most successful professional in Wimbledon history with an incredible nine titles to her name. The Czech-born American dominated the women’s singles from 1978 to 1990, winning all nine of her titles in that 12-year span.
Navratilova won six-straight Championships from 1982-1987 but reached nine successive finals from 1982-1990, losing the 1988 and 1989 showpieces to Steffi Graf before regaining the Wimbledon title for the final time in 1990. She had the chance to secure a landmark 10th victory in 1994 but lost to Conchita Martinez. She also won the women’s doubles seven times and mixed doubles three times.
Bjorn Borg’s record of five Wimbledon titles might not be as lavish as Federer’s, Djokovic’s or Pete Sampras’s, but that doesn’t make him any less of a legend in SW19. In fact, with the Swede winning all five of his Championships in succession between 1976 and 1980, he deserves to be mentioned among the greatest.
Borg’s memorable clashes with old rival John McEnroe, especially when he beat the American in the 1980 final over the course of five sets, arguably make him an even bigger Wimbledon icon as those great matches are still shown today and will go down in folklore.
Serena Williams is the embodiment of a true champion. She holds the record for the most women’s singles titles in the Open Era with 23 and seven of those victories came at Wimbledon. The American first won The Championships, her maiden singles Grand Slam, in 2002.
Williams’ longevity on the grass courts is impressive, with 14 years between her first and seventh Wimbledon title in 2016. She reached the final twice more in 2018 and 2019 but couldn’t add to her list of wins. Serena won the women’s doubles six times with sister Venus and the mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi in 1998 when she was just 17 — a record for the youngest Slam winner that still stands today.
Billie Jean King, a trailblazer both on and off the court who won a total of 20 Wimbledon titles and transformed the women’s game, and seven-time men’s champion Pete Sampras, who won his titles in the space of eight years, deserve a mention.