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100 years of Centre Court: The greatest moments on Wimbledon’s main stage

| 26.06.2022

12 greatest moments on Centre Court

Wimbledon 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Centre Court.

The famous stadium, which gained a retractable roof in 2009, has been the stage for some of the greatest and most dramatic moments in sport.

Here we look back at 12 of the most memorable occasions on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Murray brings it home

British tennis fans had waited 77 long years for a men’s Wimbledon champion. Ever since Fred Perry won his third Wimbledon singles title, the drought was seemingly never ending but the wait was ended in the 2013 final when Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in dramatic and emotional fashion.

Novotna’s tears

Jana Novotna famously cried on the Duchess of Kent’s shoulder after surrendering a lead against Steffi Graf in the final in 1993. Fittingly, it was the Duchess who presented the trophy when Novotna, who died of cancer five years ago, finally claimed the title in 1998.

Jana Novotna, Centre Court, tennis

Teenage kicks

With his strawberry blond locks and fresh-faced exuberance, 17-year-old Boris Becker’s triumph in 1985 is one of Wimbledon’s most famous moments.

Nadal wins a classic

The 2008 final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is widely regarded as the best tennis match in history. After losing in successive finals to his great rival, Nadal came out on top 9-7 in the fifth set with darkness descending.

Royal approval

The Queen has made only sporadic visits to Wimbledon but in 1977 she marked her Silver Jubilee by presenting the trophy to a British champion after Virginia Wade defeated Betty Stove to win the women’s singles title.

Virginia Wade, Centre Court, tennis

Goran’s glory

Wimbledon had never seen anything quite like the 2001 men’s final. Bad weather pushed the clash between crowd favourites Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Rafter back to the Monday and a raucous crowd saw Ivanisevic win a five-set thriller to clinch his first grand-slam title in his fourth Wimbledon final.

Cliff steals the show

What more British way to put up with a rain break at Wimbledon than a singalong led by tennis fan Sir Cliff Richard? That is exactly what happened in 1996, with tennis stars including Wade as backing singers.

Cliff Richard, Wimbledon, Centre Court, tennis

Tie-break drama

One of the most memorable finals took place 42 years ago, when Bjorn Borg defeated John McEnroe in five sets to win a fifth straight title. The match is most famous for the fourth-set tie-break, which McEnroe won 18-16, saving seven match points.

Daring streak

Security is tight on Centre Court but 23-year-old Melissa Johnson evaded it in 1996 ahead of the men’s singles final between Richard Krajicek and MaliVai Washington, streaking across the turf wearing just a small apron.

Laver back on top

Many of the top players did not play at the grand slams for most of the 1960s after turning professional. When tennis ditched its amateur status, the sport came back together, and Australian great Rod Laver picked up where he left off by lifting the trophy on Centre Court again in 1968.

Rod Laver, Centre Court, tennis

Nine for Navratilova

Martina Navratilova ruled the lawns of the All England Club in the late 1970s and 80s, winning a record nine singles titles in 13 years, the final one in 1990 at the age of 33.

Historic triumph for Ashe

American Arthur Ashe shocked compatriot Jimmy Connors in the men’s singles final in 1975 to become the first, and so far only, black man to win a Wimbledon singles title.

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Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.