Despite a rich history dating back 142 years, which makes it the oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon wasn’t always open to professionals. Prior to 1968, the tournament was contested by top-rank amateurs, but it was with the advent of the Open Era that professional players could participate.
Since then, not only have records been broken at the All England Club, but we’ve been treated to some memorable games of tennis on Centre Court by some of the legends of the sport. Here, we will share some of the most incredible records from the Open Era.
Most gentleman’s singles titles
Of course, this record could only belong to one person – the Swiss ace, Roger Federer. With eight titles to his name to date, could he add to it this year? Find Wimbledon winner odds here. Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, beating Australia’s Mark Philippoussis 7-6(7-5), 6-2, 7-6(7-3).
He also shares the record for the most consecutive gentleman’s singles titles with Björn Borg – having won Wimbledon five years in a row. After his initial championship, Federer went on to record back-to-back victories against Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal.
After two runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2015 (both times losing out to Novak Djokovic), Federer’s eighth and most recent title came in 2017, when he beat Croatian Marin Čilić in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
Most ladies’ singles titles
Martina Navratilova holds the record for the most ladies’ singles titles with nine, which sees her top the all-time list as well as in the Open Era. The Czechoslovak-American star won her first title in 1978, beating Chris Evert 2–6, 6–4, 7–5.
Like Federer, Navratilova also holds the record for the most consecutive ladies’ singles titles, winning Wimbledon six times between 1982 and 1987. The following two years she came runner-up to Germany’s Steffi Graf, before winning her final title in 1990.
Navratilova also holds the record for being the oldest player to win a professional singles match, when she returned to Wimbledon in 2004 as a wildcard after a nine-year absence. She beat Colombia’s Catalina Castaño 6-0, 6-1, before going on to lose in the second round.
Highest gentleman’s singles winning percentage
Björn Borg (1973-1981)
Borg won 92.72% of his games – winning 51 and only losing four.
He made six successive finals, winning five in a row, before losing out to John McEnroe in 1981, 4-6, 7-6(7-1), 7-6(7-4), 6-4.
Two of Borg’s losses came at the quarter-final stage, while his worst finish at Wimbledon was the third round in 1974, which he lost to unseeded Iranian, Ismail El-Shafei.
Highest ladies’ singles winning percentage
Steffi Graf (1984-1999)
Graf won 90.36% of her games – winning 75 and losing eight.
She made nine finals during her Wimbledon career, losing just two of them: the first in 1987 to Martina Navratilova and the second, to Lindsay Davenport in 1999.
In 1994, as number 1 seed, Graf was knocked out in round one, to the unseeded American, Lori McNeil – her worst ever finish at Wimbledon.
Longest men’s match (by time)
The longest men’s match is also the longest tennis match in history. In a 2010 first-round tie, John Isner of the USA and Nicolas Mahut of France battled it out for 11 hours 5 minutes. The match was tied at two sets all, with the fifth and final set lasting 491 minutes, and Isner winning it 70-68.
The longest men’s final was contested by Federer and Nadal in 2008, and lasted 4 hours 48 minutes.
Longest women’s match (by time)
Not quite as long, but still the longest women’s match to date – a 1995 second-round game between Canada’s Patricia Hy-Boulais and Chanda Rubin of the USA lasted 3 hours 45 minutes. The match was tied at one set each, with both of those going to a tie-break, before Rubin won the third and final set 17-15.
The longest women’s final was contested by Davenport and Venus William in 2005, and lasted 2 hours 45 minutes.