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9 Of The Greatest Wimbledon Upsets Of All Time

by: Howard Cosmell On  Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Tags:  Tennis   Upsets   Venus Williams   Wimbledon  

Yesterday, 79th-ranked Elena Vesnina of Russia upset tennis superstar Venus Williams. Williams’ loss came as a surprise to many. While no one expects the now 32-year-old veteran to play at the same level she did in her prime, a first-round loss at Wimbledon had to hurt. Even so, Venus can at least say she’s in good company. Through out the years, some of the greatest names in the game have fallen victim to unexpected upsets while playing at the All England Club. Here are nine of the greatest Wimbledon upsets of all time.

9. Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga Over Roger Federer (2011)

When Roger Federer took to the grass to play Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga last year, he had to be feeling confidant. Not only had he won the tournament five previous times, but he had also defeated Tsonga in five prior match-ups. But despite taking a two-set lead, Federer came crashing down, and Tsonga advanced, only to be beaten by Novak Djokovic.

8. Maria Sharapova Over Serena Williams (2004)

As the #13 seed in the 2004 tournament, Maria Sharapova was certainly a force to be reckoned with. However, at age 17, no one expected her to dismantle first seed and two-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams. But that’s why they play the game.

7. Ivo Karlovic Over Lleyton Hewitt (2003)

Having won the tournament the previous year, people were expecting big things from Lleyton Hewitt at 2003′s Wimbledon. However, the only thing Hewitt was able to deliver was a big loss. He was upset in the first round by Ivo Karlovic, becoming only the second returning champ to go out so early on in the competition.

6. Arthur Ashe Over Jimmy Connors (1975)

In 1975, 22-year-old Jimmy Connors was the returning Wimbledon champion. When he advanced to the finals to face waning veteran Arthur Ashe, the match-up was personal. There was a history of animosity between the two, and Connors had recently filed a law suit against his opponent. However, in the end, it was Ashe who had the last laugh, besting the young returning champ and claiming his last Wimbledon title before his retirement.

5. Lori McNeil Over Steffi Graf (1995)

Going in to Wimbledon in 1995, Steffi Graf had won five of the last six tournaments, including the previous year’s competition. And in 108 years, the returning female champ had never lost in the first round. But all that changed when Lori McNeil shocked the world of Tennis by defeating the Graf, the world’s best player, and advancing as far as the semi-finals.

4. Peter Doohan Over Boris Becker (1987)

In 1987, Boris Becker was only 19. Despite his young age, he was that year’s number-one seed and a two-time returning champion. On the other hand, Peter Doohan had never even won a match during his four previous appearances at the All England Club. But that didn’t stop him from shocking the world and defeating Becker in the second round.

3. George Bastl Over Pete Sampras (2002)

Before it was demolished during renovations, the old Court 2 at the All England Club had earned the nickname “Graveyard of Champions”. In 2002, Pete Sampras learned why. Despite the fact that Sampras seemed to own Wimbledon, George Bastl managed to defeat the seven-time champion in the second round.

2. Kevin Curren Over John McEnroe (1985)

In 1985, the smart money was on John McEnroe going into the Wimbledon finals. But since you’ve read this far, you can probably guess that the “smart money” ended up going to to some stupid people. Despite the fact that he had won the previous two tournaments and three out of the last four, McEnroe fell to Kevin Curren, but not without a lot of screaming.

1. Jelena Dokic Over Martina Hingis (1999)

In 1999, Jelena Dokic was 16-years old and was ranked 129th in the world. So when she came up against top-ranked Martina Hingis in the first round of Wimbledon, no one was expecting her to win, much less win in straight sets. But somehow, that’s exactly what she did, pulling off possibly the greatest upset in the history of the tournament.