Djokovic and Nadal
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, along with Roger Federer and Andy Murray, have dominated the Wimbledon since the turn of the century. Image Credit: AFP file

It was the early days of television in India and probably my first impression of Wimbledon. An epic battle between the undisputable king Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. It went on and on and the black and white TV, a wee bit late into the night and little did I know then that it was one of the classic matchups at the centre court in the history of Wimbledon Championships.

The sport struck a chord immediately, which only grew a few years later when Boom Boom Boris Becker was born on the centre court of the All England Club at the tender age of 17, beating Kevin Curren in the final.

It was an era that had the baseliners and the serve and volley players. The visuals of an acrobatic volley by Becker or Stefan Edberg, literally parallel to the grasscourt, is still fresh in the memory. I was fortunate to see many legends of the game like Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, who twice missed the Wimbledon title, Chris Event, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, who along with Becker made it a double for Germany in the late 1980s.

Pete Sampras holds the men's singles trophy on the Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2000. Sampras defeated Patrick Rafter in the final 6-7 (10-12), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Seles threatens Graf supremacy

The 1990s saw the domination of Americans, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi. Graf’s supremacy was threatened by the young Monica Seles, whose career came to a sad premature end. The 1992 final saw Graf preventing Seles from achieving a calendar grand slam.

Slowly, towards the end of the century, the serve-and-volley game gave way to the baseliners and Goran Ivanisevic was a welcome relief to come up with the unanswered booming serves. The left-hander time and again getting no response from the other side of the net and continued all the way to put his hand on the coveted trophy.

The famous four

The turn of the century brought the famous four — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic — into the picture and no one was able to break their monopoly over the men’s title. At least the landmark 100th anniversary brings a new champion this year!

The women’s game saw the Williams sisters dominate the grasscourts with Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli and Amelie Mauresmo breaking their stranglehold on odd occasions. Serena last won her title in 2016 for her 23rd Grand Slam crown. Now the American has returned with a mission to claim the record-equalling 24th crown.