No Federer? No Venus? No worries. After all, two of the greatest Wimbledon finals included Goran Ivanisevic — one involved Gabriela Sabatini. So while Tomas Berdych isn’t a household name, he and Rafael Nadal certainly could crack this list with a huge performance on Sunday. How huge? Glad you asked:
10. Agassi def. Ivanisevic (1992)
6-7 (8-10), 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
Andre Agassi, in his free spirit, wild-hair days, put the finishing touch on his first Grand Slam title by throwing a wrench into the old Wimbledon staple of “serve-and-volley.” The 22-year-old instead stood toe-to-toe with Goron Ivanisevic — and his booming serve — and rifled baseline winners past the 6-foot-4 Croatian.
9. Navratilova def. Evert (1978)
2-6, 6-4, 7-5
Chris Evert, who recently had been displaced by Martina Navratilova atop the world rankings, was searching for her third Wimbledon title and came out swinging early. But Navratilova’s serve-and-volley style eventually took control of the match and she won 12 of the final 13 points to claim her first Grand Slam championship.
8. Edberg def. Becker (1990)
6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4
The third consecutive Wimbledon final between the smooth Swede and “Baron von Slam” proved to be the best. Stephan Edberg jumped out to a commanding lead with supreme technical play before Boris Becker used his booming serve to draw even. In the fifth set, Becker took an early advantage before Edberg stormed back to take control for good.
7. Graf def. Sabatini (1991)
6-4, 3-6, 8-6
Steffi Graf was coming off a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the semifinals of the French Open when she faced Gabriela Sabatini — who had defeated her 10 months earlier in the U.S. Open final. Sabatini had two cracks at serving out the match in the third set but was broken both times.
6. Williams def. Davenport (2005)
4-6, 7-6, 9-7
This two-hour, 45-minute thriller was the longest Wimbledon women’s final in history. The drama was riveting. Venus Williams, down 4-5 and staring at match point, slammed a backhand winner and rallied past Lindsay Davenport, becoming the first female finalist to save match point and go on to win in 70 years.
5. Court def. King (1970)
The only straight-set match on this list — and for good reason. Margaret Court and Billie Jean King battled for two hours and 28 minutes at the All England Club, stretching play over more games than any women’s final in Wimbledon history. Three months later, Court would win the U.S. Open, completing a season Grand Slam.
4. Ivanisevic def. Rafter (2001)
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7
Ivanisevic had been a hard-luck runner-up three times in the 90s to Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras (twice) entering this match. Heavy rain pushed play to Monday, leading to a boisterous walk-up crowd and a carnival-like atmosphere at Centre Court, where Ivanisevic became the first wild card to win a major.
3. Federer def. Roddick (2009)
5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14
Roger Federer was a heavy favorite — and 18-2 lifetime against Andy Roddick — but got more than he bargained for against the refined American, who arguably played the greatest match of his career. Still, it wasn’t enough, as Fed Express’ tremendous fitness took over late and Roddick’s gutsy play and power serve wilted in a marathon fifth set.
2. Borg def. McEnroe (1980)
1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16), 8-6
The “Ice Man,” Bjorn Borg and the … um … “feisty” John McEnroe put on perhaps the greatest late-match show in Wimbledon history, with McEnroe saving off match point five times in the fourth set. The battle of opposing wills continued into the fifth, with Borg dropping only one point in his final six service games to win his fifth straight Wimbledon title.
1. Nadal def. Federer (2008)
6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7
As if it could be anything else? Federer’s 65-match win streak on grass was in serious jeopardy early, but he roared back in the third and fourth sets — saving off two match points in the process. After two rain delays and with daylight fading, Federer’s forehand slammed into the top of the net, sending Nadal crashing down to the grass in celebration and giving the Spaniard his first Wimbledon championship.