Goran’s glory, Murray’s joy and Novotna’s tears – Centre Court’s best moments

Twelve of the standout moments from a century of action.

By Press Association Published: 20 June 2022 - 5.00am

This summer’s Wimbledon marks the 100th anniversary of Centre Court.

The famous stadium, which gained a retractable roof in 2009, has been the stage for some of the greatest and most dramatic moments in sport.

Here, the PA news agency picks out 12 of its most memorable occasions.

Murray brings it home

Andy Murray celebrates his landmark first Wimbledon title in 2013, ending a 77-year wait for a home men's singles champion
Andy Murray celebrates his landmark first Wimbledon title in 2013 (Adam Davy/PA)

Seventy seven years after Fred Perry won his third Wimbledon singles title, Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in dramatic and emotional fashion in the 2013 final to end the long wait for a home men’s singles champion.

Novotna’s tears

The Duchess of Kent consoles Jana Novotna
The Duchess of Kent consoles Jana Novotna (Neil Munns/PA)

Jana Novotna famously cried on the Duchess of Kent’s shoulder after surrendering a lead against Steffi Graf in the final in 1993. Fittingly, it was the Duchess who presented the trophy when Novotna, who died of cancer five years ago, finally claimed the title in 1998.

Teenage kicks

Boris Becker lifts the trophy in 1985
Boris Becker lifted the trophy in 1985 (PA)

With his strawberry blond locks and fresh-faced exuberance, 17-year-old Boris Becker’s triumph in 1985 is one of Wimbledon’s most famous moments.

Nadal wins a classic

Rafael Nadal celebrates his epic 2008 victory over Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal celebrates his epic 2008 victory over Roger Federer (Sean Dempsey/PA)

The 2008 final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is widely regarded as the best tennis match in history. After losing in successive finals to his great rival, Nadal came out on top 9-7 in the fifth set with darkness descending.

Royal approval

The Queen presents Virginia Wade with the trophy
The Queen presents Virginia Wade with the trophy (PA)

The Queen has made only sporadic visits to Wimbledon but in 1977 she marked her Silver Jubilee by presenting the trophy to a British champion after Virginia Wade defeated Betty Stove to win the women’s singles title.

Goran’s glory

Goran Ivanisevic at the moment of his memorable 2001 triumph
Goran Ivanisevic triumphed in 2001 (Tom Hevezi/PA)

Wimbledon had never seen anything quite like the 2001 men’s final. Bad weather pushed the clash between crowd favourites Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Rafter back to the Monday and a raucous crowd saw Ivanisevic win a five-set thriller to clinch his first grand-slam title in his fourth Wimbledon final.

Cliff steals the show

Sir Cliff Richard leads a Centre Court singalong
Sir Cliff Richard leads a Centre Court singalong (Adam Butler/PA)

What more British way to put up with a rain break at Wimbledon than a singalong led by tennis fan Sir Cliff Richard? That is exactly what happened in 1996, with tennis stars including Wade as backing singers.

Tie-break drama

Bjorn Borg won his fifth successive title in 1980
Bjorn Borg won his fifth successive title in 1980 (PA)

One of the most memorable finals took place 42 years ago, when Bjorn Borg defeated John McEnroe in five sets to win a fifth straight title. The match is most famous for the fourth-set tie-break, which McEnroe won 18-16, saving seven match points.

Daring streak

Melissa Johnson
Melissa Johnson ran across Centre Court (Adam Butler/PA)

Security is tight on Centre Court but 23-year-old Melissa Johnson evaded it in 1996 ahead of the men’s singles final between Richard Krajicek and MaliVai Washington, streaking across the turf wearing just a small apron.

Laver back on top

Rod Laver marks his return to Wimbledon with the trophy
Rod Laver marks his return to Wimbledon with the trophy (PA)

Many of the top players did not play at the grand slams for most of the 1960s after turning professional. When tennis ditched its amateur status, the sport came back together, and Australian great Rod Laver picked up where he left off by lifting the trophy again.

Nine for Navratilova

Martina Navratilova holds the singles trophy for a record ninth time
Martina Navratilova holds the singles trophy for a record ninth time (David Giles/PA)

Martina Navratilova ruled the lawns of the All England Club in the late 1970s and 80s, winning a record nine singles titles in 13 years, the final one in 1990 at the age of 33.

Historic triumph for Ashe

Arthur Ashe lifted his first Wimbledon title in 1975
Arthur Ashe lifted his first Wimbledon title in 1975 (PA)

American Arthur Ashe shocked compatriot Jimmy Connors in the men’s singles final in 1975 to become the first, and so far only, black man to win a Wimbledon singles title.

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