On Sunday, Roger Federer made history by winning the 7th Wimbledon title of his career, and his 17th Grand Slam title. That pulled him even with Pistol Pete Sampras at the All-England Tennis Club, but put Roger up by 3 in the total titles category. So today, in honor of Sir Roger’s great achievement, we’re taking a look at all the men who have won multiple Wimbledon Singles titles.
However, before we get started, I need to give a quick explanation of how we’ll be looking at the record books here.
Usually, when you’re talking about records in Tennis, there’s a distinction made between “the amateur era” and “the open era.” You see, for a long time, the very idea of the “professional athlete” was considered crass. Athletics was about competition and sportsmanship, and money was seen as corrupting these virtues. Thus, the world’s greatest tennis tournaments only allowed amateurs to compete for a long time. The effect of this was that players would remain amateurs while in their prime, then turn pro later to actually earn some money (which is pretty much how figure skating works today). However, in 1968 everything changed when tournaments began allowing professional players (because they saw the writing on the wall).
Anyway, talk of records in tennis usually makes note of this distinction between the amateur era and the open era. However, that isn’t really fair to players of the amateur era. So for today’s list, we’re making the distinction differently. We’re looking at Wimbledon winners after 1922.
Why 1922? Because prior to 1922, the returning champion only had to play one match against the winner of a “challengers tournament” to retain the title. From 1922 on, the returning champion had to play a whole tournament just like everybody else.
Thus, everyone on today’s list is somebody who won two or more Wimbledon titles the hard way.
Now let’s get started.
Australia's Gerald Patterson (left) and the USA's Bill Tilden (right) both won multiple Wimbledon titles on either side of the 1922 divide. Patterson won in 1919 and then again in 1922, becoming the first to win under the new format. Tilden, still considered one of the best tennis players of all time, won in 1920, 1921, and 1930. But you see the problem in grouping Tilden with the other multiple champions: in 1921, Tilden only have to win one match to retain the title.
Still, it didn't seem fair to leave these two off the list since each won two titles by "going the distance" and playing a complete tournament. So they get honorable mentions.
Yep, this is the guy who invented the polo/tennis/golf shirt and founded the company still making the high-end apparel with the crocodile logo to this day. The Frenchman won 3 French Opens, 2 U.S. Opens, and 2 Wimbledons—in 1925 and 1928. So in addition to starting a fashion revolution, he was also a pretty great tennis player.
17. René Lacoste (2)
Along with our previous entry (René Lacoste) and our next one, Jean Borotra was a member of the "Four Muskateers"—a group of French tennis players who dominated the 1920s. Borotra won Wimbledon in 1924 and 1926...wearing a beret...'cause he's French.
16. Jean Borotra (2)
Cochet (second from the left) is the third of the French tennis legends known as the "Four Musketeers" to appear on this list. (Strangely the fourth, Jacques Brugnon, first from the left, never won a major singles title.) He won Wimbledon in 1927 and 1929. Thus, if you're keeping score at home, every Wimbledon title from 1924 through 1929 was won by either Lacoste, Borotra, or Chochet—not a bad little run for the French.
15. Henri Cochet (2)
Australian Lew Hoad won his 2 Wimbledon titles back-to-back in 1956 and 1957. It should also be noted that Hoad also won the Australian and French Opens in 1956, then made it to the finals of the U.S. Open. So 1956-57 was a pretty good run for Hoad.
14. Lew Hoad (2)
American Don Budge won back-to-back Wimbledon titles in 1937 and 1938 during one of the most dominant runs in the history of tennis. You see, Budge won 6 consecutive Grand Slam events (from the 1937 French Open to the 1938 U.S. Open), becoming the first player ever to win the singles Grand Slam in one season.
13. Don Budge (2)
Two of Aussie Roy Emerson's 12 Grand Slam titles (third-most all time) came at Wimbledon. One came in 1964, the other in 1965. He's one of seven men to win all four Grand Slam titles, and he was the first to win each one twice. So he's kinda one of the best players of all time.
12. Roy Emerson (2)
Jimmy Connors Wimbledon titles were more spread out than most of the guys on this list. He won his first in 1974 (when he also won the Australian and U.S. Opens), then he didn't win again until 1982—at the ripe old age of 30.
11. Jimmy Connors (2)
Sweden's Stefan Edberg was, in my opinion, the most boring of the great players in the modern era. But I may just be crazy. And anyway, who cares what I think? Among the guy's 6 Grand Slam titles are two at Wimbledon in 1988 and 1990.
10. Stefan Edberg (2)
Don't let this Spaniard's measly 2 Wimbledon titles fool you: if his career didn't line up with that of Roger Federer, he'd be the best player of his generation hands down. Hell, the guy in only 26 and he's already won the career Grand Slam and 11 titles overall. And that includes Wimbledon titles in 2008 and 2010, which is impressive for a clay-courts specialist.
9. Rafael Nadal (2)
Fred Perry is the last British man to win the Wimbledon title. (Actually, he's the last British man to win any Grand Slam title.) And this fact is quite excruciating for British tennis fans, given that Perry's Wimbledon titles came back-to-back-to-back in 1934, 1935, and 1936.
8. Fred Perry (3)
Australia's John Newcombe won Wimbledon twice in the open era (1970 and 1971) and once in the Amateur Era (1967). He also 2 Australian Opens and 2 U.S. Opens, bringing his Grand Slam total to 7.
7. John Newcombe (3)
The most famous arguer in tennis history won 7 Grand Slam titles. However, none of those came south of the Equator (0 Australian Open titles) or in a country where they eat lots of snails (0 French Open titles). Instead, 4 of Johnny Mac's Grand Slams came at the U.S. Open, and 3 came at Wimbledon—in '81, '83, and '84.
6. John McEnroe (3)
Germany's Boris Becker was McEnroe's heir as the King of Wimbledon's Centre Court. He won 3 of his 6 Grand Slam titles there in 1985, 1986, and 1989.
5. Boris Becker (3)
Now we're getting into truly elite territory.
If you're debating who the greatest men's player of all time is, the discussion starts with Australia's Rod Laver. The guy won a record 200 career titles, was ranked #1 for 7 straight years, and won the Grand Slam in a single year not once but twice. (That feat has only been done 6 times total, by man or woman.)
Laver's 11 Grand Slam titles include 4 at Wimbledon: '61, '62, '68, and '69. Not bad.
4. Rod Laver (4)
During the second half of the 1970s, you just couldn't beat Sweden's Bjorn Borg between May and July. The guy won French Open titles in '74, '75, '78, '79', '80, and '81; and Wimbledon titles in '76, '77, '78, '79, and '80. If he only could have been tougher in January and August (when the Australian Open and U.S. Open are held respectively), he'd probably be considered the greatest male tennis player of all time.
3. Bjorn Borg (5)
Pete Sampras never won 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles; however, I'd still argue that his run at the All-England Tennis Club was more dominant than Borg's. After all, if not for one fluke quarterfinals upset to eventual champion Richard Krajicek in 1996, the guy could have won a ridiculous 8 consecutive titles. As it is, he won in '93, '94, '95, '97, '98, '99, and '00. And that's pretty amazing.
Oh, and by the way, in 2001, Sampras's Wimbledon reign ended when he lost in the 4th round to this 19-year-old Swiss kid named Roger Federer.
2. Pete Sampras (7)
Like Borg, Federer has won 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles (2003-2007). Unlike Borg, Federer has managed to win a couple more after that run, including yesterday's victory over Britain's Andy Murray. Also unlike Borg, Federer has won every other Grand Slam tournament, too. He's won the Aussie Open 4 times, the French once (2009), and the U.S. Open 5 times.
That brings Roger's Grand Slam total to 17 now—which is 3 more than Sampras; 5 more than Emerson; and 6 more than Laver, Borg, and Nadal.
1. Roger Federer (7)
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