Wimbledon Men’s Tennis Champions
Three men stand head and shoulders above other champions at the All England Club. They have set and broken records, and during their prime were virtually unbeatable on the grass courts of Wimbledon.They are Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer.
“Pistol” Pete Sampras is the outstanding champion of Wimbledon. He claimed no fewer than seven Wimbledon men’s singles titles, and if Richard Krajicek had not come along in 1996 to spoil the party, Sampras would have won eight consecutive Wimbledon crowns.
The American won 14 Grand Slams in his career, was the number one in the world for an amazing six consecutive years, claimed the US Open title an incredible five times , the Australian Open twice, but never managed to tame the clay courts of the French Open.
He broke record after record, becoming the youngest player ever to win a Grand Slam at 19 years and 28 days and he crushed all the top men’s players of the time with ease – the likes of Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Jim Courier fell to the strength and power of the Sampras serve and court craft.
The Wimbledon men’s tennis champion loved the fast-playing grass courts of the All England Club and of his 64 singles titles, 10 of were achieved on grass. Roger Federer, put paid to Sampras’ hopes of an eighth title win in 2001, when he knocked him out in the fourth round of the tournament, breaking Sampras’ 31-match winning streak on grass.
Bjorn Borg’s record of five consecutive Wimbledon wins was broken by Roger Federer in 2007. This takes nothing away from the genius of the Swede. He won 11 Grand Slams in his career, and is the only player to have won at both Roland Garros and the All England Club for three consecutive years, claiming “the most difficult double in tennis”.
Bjorg claimed six French Open titles to match his five Wimbledon crowns, but never won at the Australian or US Open.
The Swede claimed the scalps of the foremost in men’s tennis in the 1970s and 80s – Manual Orantes, Guillermo Vilas, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, Roscoe Tanner and Vitas Gerulaitis all fell to the grace and finesse of the ‘Ice Borg’.
Roger Federer is currently the “sweetheart” of Wimbledon. In 2007 he matched Bjorn Borg’s record of 5 consecutive wins, and is well set to beat Sampras’ record of 7 Wimbledon titles.
Federer has won over a dozen Grand Slam singles titles, surpassing Pete Sampras as the most succesful grand slam champion of the Open Era when he achieved his 6th Wimbledon title in 2009.
2009 also saw Federer win the FrenchOpen for the first time, joining the elite club of champions who have claimed all four of the grand slam titles to earn a ‘career slam’.