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Five of the best - Great Wimbledon finals of our time
AS the All England Club gears up for its 127th finals weekend, the BFP serves up a list of ace finals to grace the centre court at the greatest tennis championships in the world.
Boris Becker v Kevin Curren, 1985
Exploding onto the scene with a phenomenal first year in the professional game, 17-year-old Boris Becker took the title at Queen’s before using it as a springboard to the biggest prize in tennis.
Becker became the youngest ever singles champion when he beat Kevin Curren in four sets to lift the coveted Wimbledon trophy in 1985.
A blitz of power and pace saw the youngster prove too much for the South African, who had knocked out tournament hopefuls Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe en route to the final.
And records tumbled for Becker as he became the first ever German to triumph at the All England Club, as well as the first unseeded player to do so.
Rafael Nadal v Roger Federer, 2008
Regarded by many as the best tennis match bar none, this era-defining classic saw arguably the two greatest athletes of the modern age go toe to toe.
Fiery Spaniard Rafael Nadal was desperate to topple the hitherto unshakeable king of cool, Roger Federer, who was cruising on a five-year consecutive winning streak on centre court.
What followed was the longest Wimbledon final in history, with the world’s top two slugging it out for nearly five hours as night drew in.
And after an epic fifth set which looked as if it may never end, Nadal collapsed to the ground as winner at 9-7 despite Federer’s superhuman effort to pull the game back to two sets all.
Nadal’s first win outside of Roland Garros, the match signalled a power shift, with the first cracks starting to show in Federer’s stranglehold on the world’s top events.
Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic, 2013
Ok, so the less said this year’s title defence the better, but no one can take away from us the triumphant and long awaited scene of Andy Murray becoming the first Britain since Fred Perry in 1936 to lift the coveted men’s singles trophy.
After losing the previous final to Roger Federer, the British public once again held its breath that the Scot could put 70-plus years of hurt behind him and finish the job.
And he didn’t disappoint. Going into Wimbledon, Murray hadn't lost a match on grass since the previous year's final, and was on a winning streak of 11 matches on grass.
Despite starting as second favourite to the Serb, Murray dominated the game and triumphed in straight sets, winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
This set up a photocall with the famous trophy which, quite possibly, the British public might have to rely on for comfort for some time yet – especially with the potential for an independent Scotland looming large.
Steffi Graf v Jana Novotna, 1993
The year Steffi Graf clinched her fourth Wimbledon singles title, this legendary match will always be remembered for the moment it all became a little much for runner-up, who looked to have the match in the bag before Graf turned the tables.
Looking on as the German lifted the shield that looked destined for her at 4-1 up in the final set, Novotna burst into tears and had to be comforted by prizegiver the Duchess of Kent.
However, after another runners-up medal in 1997, this time against Martina Hingis, the Czech stalwart finally tasted Wimbledon singles victory when she clinched the title in 1998 as she approached her 30th birthday.
Goran Ivanisevic v Pat Rafter, 2001
Goran Ivanisevic said after his astonishing Wimbledon victory that fate had destined him to lift the trophy before he retired, and who was anyone to argue given the odds stacked against him.
Languishing at 125 in the world rankings coming into the tournament, the lanky Croatian and three-time runner-up was handed a wildcard to enter the tournament in 2001.
The king of the big serve, Ivanisevic looked destined to become the ‘nearly man’ of the men’s tour, having never lifted a grand slam trophy.
And the determined Croat fought tooth and nail to overcome US Open champion Pat Rafter in a thrilling three-hour encounter on centre court, eventually triumphing 9-7 in a gruelling fifth set.
He remains the only wildcard entry to ever win at Wimbledon. The stuff of movies, this.
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