Wimbledon 2008 – The Greatest Tennis Match of All Time (Video)

My favorite tennis tournament is Wimbledon, held each year on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England.

I don’t claim to be a big tennis fan. In fact, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the sport since the Jimmy Connors – John McEnroe – Bjorn Borg era. However, I always follow Wimbledon with at least a casual glance because of its storied history. This year marks the tournament’s 123rd year of competition.

It’s going to be hard for this year to surpass last year’s classic, which featured one of the all-time great men’s finals in which Rafael Nadal won his first Wimbledon title by defeating top-seeded Roger Federer. The final was a fragmented affair due to two rain delays, which stretched the event to over seven hours. The playing time itself made it the longest final in Wimbledon history at 4 hours and 48 minutes.

Best Match Ever – Federer Vs. Nadal 2008 Highlights

Nadal won the first two sets by the same score, 6–4. After being interrupted by rain delays, Federer won the third set in a tie-braker, 7-5. The fourth set mirrored the third by also going to a tie-breaker, in which Nadal took a 5–2 lead. Later in the tie-break, Nadal had two championship points, including one on his serve, but Federer persevered, went onto win 10-8 and forced a final set. In the fifth and final set, Nadal prevailed, winning 9–7. Wimbledon champion John McEnroe lauded it as “the greatest match I have ever seen.”

Those are big words from McEnroe, who many believe (including myself) was part of the greatest Wimbledon final, a classic against Bjorn Bjorg in 1980.

Borg was gunning for his 5th straight Wimbledon title with the younger McEnroe standing in his way. McEnroe jumped out to a strong start by quickly winning the first set, 6-1. Bjorg roared back and took the next two sets, 7-5 and 6-3. In the fourth set, Bjorg held two match points at 5-4 but McEnroe saved them with diving volleys. What ensued would become arguably the greatest tie-breaker in history. McEnroe had seven set points and Borg five more match points, four on his own serve. McEnroe went onto win the 4th set, 7-6 and the tie-braker 18-16. In the 5th and final set, Bjorg conceded only three points on his seven service games and won, 8-6. McEnroe would later admit that the emotional and physical strain of the tie-braker had exhausted him.

My favorite women’s final was in 1978 between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, which Navratilova won in three sets, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. This was considered the greatest women’s rivalry in history, a series that stretched 80 matches. According to Navratilova, the 1978 final was her most memorable of them all. She had just deposed Evert as the world’s top-ranked player and was intent on proving her superiority with a first-ever Grand Slam title.

Nerves seemed to effect Navratilova early but her serve and volley style eventually dominated and she won 12 of the last 13 points. The rest, as they say, is tennis history with Navratilova winning more Wimbledon singles titles (9) than anyone.

A piece of trivia….what female has won the most combined Wimbledon titles (singles, doubles, mixed doubles)? Answer…Billie Jean King (20)

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