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Top 10 firsts and records

John Isner returns a shot from Alejandro Falla.
by Mark Hodgkinson
Monday 2 July 2012

Wimbledon's first champion. Strange to think, but the first Wimbledon champion, who won the title in 1877, did not believe that "the game would catch on". Spencer Gore, who received a prize valued at 12 guineas, as well as a silver Challenge Cup, was more interested in real tennis than in lawn tennis.

Longest Grand Slam match in history. Only once in Wimbledon's history has a player who lost in the second round immediately gone on a tour of the television studios, and been invited to throw the first pitch at the Yankees Stadium. It was the match at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships which prompted those strolling through Times Square to stop and stare at the big screens; with John Isner winning an 11-hour match by taking the fifth set 70-68 against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. What was even more extraordinary was that they were drawn to play each other again the next year. The pair, who had become good friends, cancelled the practice session they had had planned. Inevitably, the sequel was a disappointment, with Isner winning easily, and quickly.  

Wimbledon's first £1 million champions. In 2010, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams each received a seven-figure sum for a fortnight's tennis.  

Wimbledon's oldest champion. In the summer of 2003, Martina Navratilova and India's Leander Paes won the mixed doubles title. The victory was remarkable for two reasons. It put Navratilova level with Billie Jean King's record of 20 Wimbledon titles. It also made Navratilova, then aged 46, Wimbledon's oldest ever champion.  

Longest Wimbledon final (by games played). There was some concern, as the fifth set of the 2009 Wimbledon final went on and on, that Roger Federer's heavily pregnant wife, Mirka, would end up becoming the first woman to give birth on Centre Court. In the end, Federer broke Andy Roddick's serve for the first and only time that day, in the 77th game of a 77-game final, for a 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 victory. "Roger is a legend, a stud and an icon," said Pete Sampras, who was sitting in the Royal Box to see his record of Grand Slam titles being superseded. After four-and-a-quarter hours of tennis, Federer had a sixth Wimbledon title, his 15th major. It was a few days later that Mirka gave birth to their twin daughters. 

The fastest serves. Taylor Dent of the United States once hit a 148mph serve at the All England Club. Venus Williams holds the women's record, with a delivery recorded at 129mph.  

The first Championships with equal prize money. Parity of pay was introduced for the 2007 Championships – for more than 100 years the women's pay had lagged behind the men.  

Wimbledon's first black champion. Althea Gibson, an African-American who had been barred from whites-only clubs and competitions in the United States, won her first title in 1957. The following summer, she successfully defended her title.  

Wimbledon's first ladies' champion. Maud Watson wore a straw hat to beat her sister Lilian in the 1884 final, the first year that a ladies' competition had been held. Watson was presented with a silver flower basket worth 20 guineas. 

Wimbledon's first Open tournament. Rod Laver, who had been banned during the amateur era, won the first tournament of the professional age, in 1968. Billie Jean King was the women's champion. 


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20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...

20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."

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