Top 10 Unforgettable moments in the history of Tennis
‘Serena Slam’ in 2002-2003
In addition to the three women—Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, and Steffi Graf—to have completed the calendar-year Grand Slam, only two other women, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams have held all four of tennis’ major titles simultaneously. Serena joined the elite group with a dominant run from 2002 to 2003, during which time she won the French Open, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open consecutively in a feat that was dubbed the “Serena Slam.”
What made Serena’s accomplishment even more remarkable was the fact that she defeated her sister, Venus, in each of the four finals. Serena established herself as the superior Williams’ sister—and the world’s best player.
Federer vs Nadal – Wimbledon 2008
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have contested the fiercest rivalry in tennis over the last two decades. Both are incredibly talented players, having their preference for different surfaces (Federer-hard court, Nadal-clay) but have always challenged one another whenever they play. The two have played against each other 40 times with Nadal leading the head to head 24-16.
The Wimbledon Final in 2008 was one of the greatest matches between Federer and Nadal. In an exhilarating 5 set match that lasted for 4 hours and 48 minutes, the Spaniard defeated the five-time defending champion with both players displaying an unimaginable action of tennis.
Russian Revolution of 2004
For the second half of this decade, Russia has been the dominant nation in women’s tennis. Half of the Top 10 players in the 2008 year-end rankings were Russian, and in 2004, 2006 and 2009, four of the Top 10 were Russian. The inception of this “Russian Revolution” came in 2004, when five of the eight berths in Grand Slam singles finals went to Russian players.
But the most enthralling major Russian victory of 2004 came at Wimbledon, where a 17-year-old Siberia native named Maria Sharapova took down Serena Williams, the defending champion and top seed, in straight sets. In one of the more enduring images that Centre Court has seen, the teenager sank to her knees, her face in her hands, overwhelmed by the realization of what she had just accomplished.
Djokovic vs. Nadal rally (2013 US Open Final)
Rafael Nadal beat World no. 1 Djokovic in a pulsating 4 set final to claim his second US Open title in New York. The Spaniard did not give up till the 3rd set and won the contest 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 in three hours and 21 minutes.
An incredible 54 shot rally, which was the longest in the tournament by 20 shots, summed up the battle and thrilled the 23,000 spectators in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Jennifer Capriati defeats Serena Williams in 2004 U.S. Open quarterfinals with help of bad call
“No, no, no, no, no,” cried Serena Williams. “That was my point! What are you talking about? What’s going on? Excuse me? That ball was so in.
What the heck is this?”
This was because of the incorrect line call and Capriati using the Instant Replay. Williams was an unfortunate victim in the 2004 US Open quarterfinals. In one of the rallies she ended it with a punishing backhand and the ball landed several inches inside the side-line for a winner and the linesperson signaled that the ball was in but the Chair umpire overruled the decision and called the ball wide. Williams was angered with the decision and argued with the chair umpire.
However, the decision of the Chairperson was so egregious, that the US Open officials called Williams to apologize.
Serena Williams’ 2009 U.S. Open tirade
Her momentary loss of reason and composure during her U.S. Open semi-final left everyone, in a state of is-this-really-happening amazement. Williams was facing Kim Clijsters for a spot in the final. Down a set and serving at 5-6, 15-30, she was called for a foot fault on a second serve. What came out of Williams’ mouth next would be a nominee for the filthy quote of the decade if such a category existed: “You better be f—ing right! You don’t f—ing know me! I swear to God, I’m going to take this ball and shove it down your f—ing throat!”
After the lineswoman told the chair umpire and tournament director, Brian Earley, what Williams had said to her, the defending champ was assessed a point penalty. The next day, Williams would be fined $10,000 by the USTA, and eventually, the ITF would slap her with a record $82,500 fine and two-year probation. However, Williams called the ITF’s decision unfair and sexist.)
Serena Williams’ 23rd Grand Slam
Serena Williams is one of the few players who dominated the sport of tennis like no other. She wrote her name in the tennis history books by winning her 23rd Grand Slam on January 28, 2017.
Williams defeated her sister Venus 6-4, 6-4 in the 2017 Australian Open to win her 23rd Grand Slam title, surpassing Steffi Graf as the all-time leader in Grand Slam titles in the Open era.
It’s tough to see anyone surpassing this record in both the men’s and women’s games for some time.
Andre Agassi’s retirement
There are very few names that are included in the debate of the greatest tennis player of all-time but Andre Agassi is definitely one of them. In a career spanning over 20 years, Agassi won each of the Grand Slams at least once and won 76.05% of his 1,144 professional matches.
In addition to his success on the court, Agassi’s style of play and connection with tennis fans around the world has seen him credited with playing an influential role in increasing the sport’s popularity. It’s no surprise that the American’s final match in 2006 was an emotional one.
While everyone loves watching the best of the best battle and the biggest prizes in the sport, there’s still something special about a major upset. When Robin Soderling came up against Rafael Nadal at the 2009 French Open, barely anyone expected Soderling to win against Nadal.
Nadal was going for a record fifth successive French Open title, was yet to lose a single match at Roland Garros and hadn’t dropped a set since 2007 final when he met Soderling in the fourth round. Against all the odds, Soderling beat Nadal 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6.
Isner vs. Mahut – Wimbledon 2010
Tennis is renowned for being a physically demanding sport. Played at an intense speed, elite players need to work on their endurance as much as their technique to compete at the highest level.
The difference between the men and women’s game at a Grand Slam (five sets compared to three sets) means the average duration of a match is slightly longer (2.5-3.5 hours for the men compared to 1.5-3 for the women). The match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon 2010 was something completely out of the ordinary and unimaginable.
The match was played over three days and on June 24, Isner won the 138th game of the fifth set to take the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. After 183 total games and 11 hours and five minutes of play, Isner vs. Mahut is by far the longest match in the history of tennis.
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