Sub-Categories: Wimbledon Trivia
On September 20, 1973, in front of a crowd of more than 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome, female tennis star Billy Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in a much publicized "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match. Riggs had boasted that no woman could defeat a professional male player because women were simply the weaker sex. This chauvinistic attitude was a sore spot with female players who made much less money than the top male athletes. King, a vocal supporter of women's rights, accepted Riggs' challenge and defeated him soundly, winning in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
For a tennis player, winning the "Grand Slam" involves winning four tournaments in the same calendar year: the Australian Open, French Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon. Only a handful of tennis players have accomplished this extraordinary feat, including Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Smith Court (1970), Steffi Graf (1988), Don Budge (1938), and Rod Laver (1962 & 1969) who managed to win the Grand Slam TWICE!
In 1985, Boris Becker became the first unseeded player to win Wimbledon. Only seventeen-years-old at the time, he also became the youngest player to win the title, as well as the first German. In the finals, he overpowered eighth-seeded Kevin Curren 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Becker would go on to win a total of six grand slam events before retiring in 1999.
John Isner of the United States won the longest tennis match in history on June 24, 2010 when he defeated France's Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon. The first-round match took 11 hours and 5 minutes over three days, lasting so long it was suspended because of darkness--two nights in a row. Isner won the epic marathon 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.
In August of 1988, after feeling numbness in his hand, legendary tennis star Arthur Ashe learned that he had contracted the AIDS virus, presumably from a blood transfusion he had received five years earlier following a double-bypass surgery. He went public with his disease in 1992 and died the following year, on February 6, 1993, at the age of 49, from AIDS-related pneumonia. According to author Ralph Wiley, when asked if AIDS was the most difficult thing he had ever had to deal with, Arthur Ashe said, "No, the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with is being a black man in this society." Ashe did much to break down barriers and advance the cause of his race in tennis: He was the first black man to play for the U.S. Davis Cup team, the first black man to play in South Africa's national championship, the first black man to win a Grand Slam title, the first black man to win the U.S. Open, and the first black man to win at Wimbledon.
When asked about Tim Henman's chances of winning Wimbledon in 2005, Pete Sampras told The Times of London, "Is Tim the best player in the world? No. Is he truly a great player? No. But he is an extremely talented player and if things fall in to place it can happen. He needs the right players to lose, he needs to be scheduled at the right time, he needs to shut out the voices he doesn't need to hear. I had the single-minded focus that he is still trying to find." Sampras won 14 major championship titles during his career including Wimbledon singles titles in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000.