Anorak News | FLASHBACK: The biggest Wimbledon shocks – ever!

FLASHBACK: The biggest Wimbledon shocks – ever!

by | 29th, June 2012

THIS week’s defeat of former Wimbledon champion and current number two seed Rafael Nadal has been described as one of the greatest upsets in history. His second-round exit at the hands of world number 100 Lukas Rosol was certainly one of the most extraordinary games ever seen at the All England club, and deserves to take its place among the biggest shocks of the world’s top tennis tournament. But is it the greatest ever? Recent decades have thrown up a few serious contenders…

1977: John McEnroe

As Borgmania swept Wimbledon, the seeds of the Swede’s downfall had already been sown by an 18-year-old American amateur. McEnroe got to Wimbledon via the qualifying tournament and then stunned the world by reaching the semi-final, where he lost to Jimmy Connors. It was the best ever performance by an amateur in the professional ‘open’ era. Four years later he would win his first Wimbledon singles title.

1985: Boris Becker

Becker was a year younger than McEnroe had been, and he went one step further than the American too. Having won at Queen’s a fortnight previously, 17-year-old Boris became the youngest winner of a mens’ Grand Slam singles event, and the first unseeded player to do so. He retained his title the following year, before himself becoming a victim of giant-killing in 1987. Becker later provided a bigger shock by fathering a love child in a broom cupboard. He later revealed that the incident actually occurred on the steps of Nobu restaurant, and lasted just five seconds – about the same time as a Boris serve-and-return.

1987: Peter Doohan

The low-ranking Australian earned himself the nickname ‘The Becker Wrecker’ by beating the reigning champ in four sets. To his credit, Becker nonchalantly remarked that he had simply lost a tennis match, and ‘nobody died’.

1996: Richard Krajicek

Richard Krajicek not only beat Pete Sampras in the quarter-final, but then went on to win the entire tournament. Amazingly, Kraijiceck’s victory over Sampras was the American’s only Wimbledon defeat in the years 1993 to 2001. This week he hit the headlines again – blasting the British for criticising Andy Murray.

2000: Vladimir Voltchkov

The Belarussian – dubbed ‘The Vladiator’ – was ranked 237 when he reached the semi-finals, becoming the lowest-ranked player ever to do so. He watched the film gladiator four times during this run, ate pancakes every day, and said his best meal was fish and chips.

2001: Goran Ivanisevic

Three-time Wimbledon runner-up Goran Ivanisevic won the title in 2001 to become the lowest-ranked winner (125 in the world), and the only man to do so after qualifying through a wild card. He supports Hajduk Split and West Browich Albion, and in the year of his Wimbledon success, he actually played for the former.

2002: George Bastl

Another wildcard entry. As world number 145 he didn’t win the tournament, but he did manage to beat seven-times Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras. In main Grand Slam draws, he became the first man to be beaten by Andy Murray.

2003: Ivo Karlovic

As world number 203, Karlovic beat defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round. Hewitt became the first defending Wimbledon champion to do this in the open era. The six-foot-ten beanpole wears size 16 shoes, keeps cats, and is renowned for his powerful serve.


Posted: 29th, June 2012 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink