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Wimbledon Top 10: Showmen and women

John McEnroe shakes hands with Roger Federer
by Simon Cambers
Wednesday 3 July 2013

They make some of the special moments of The Championships. Wimbledon.com brings you the top 10 for entertainment value. 

1. John McEnroe. Few people split opinion as much as McEnroe in his playing days. The American’s talent was never in doubt as he won his three singles titles at Wimbledon in the early 1980s and dominated the sport for a few years. His temper – which often got the better of him at Wimbledon – was not to everyone’s taste back then, but now, on the seniors’ tour and in his commentating duties, it’s a matter of fun. One of the best players ever, and a fabulous serve and volleyer.

2. Jimmy Connors. If McEnroe got into trouble because of the directness of his temper tantrums, Connors was a little smarter in his tirades, often shielding his face when swearing at the umpires. Never one to shirk a fight, Connors’ never-say-die attitude saw him through to many titles and made him a huge favourite at Wimbledon.

3. Ilie Nastase. For all his talent and undoubted ability, Nastase will be remembered as much for his antics as his tennis. The Romanian was a past-master at stalling and general gamesmanship, annoying his opponents at various times. When it was done in humour, it was well received though, and he was a favourite of the Wimbledon crowd.

4. Goran Ivanisevic. There will surely never be another Goran. His run to the title in 2001 as a lowly-ranked wild card was as brilliant and emotional as it was improbable, especially having lost in the final three times before. His occasional outbursts on court were hilarious and his tales off-court were even funnier. Which other champion would admit to watching Teletubbies every day during the Championships?

5. Henri Leconte. The Frenchman was blessed with an abundance of talent and the left-hander was perfectly suited to the grass courts. But it was his ability to play to the crowd which made him such a favourite. Never have the words “ooh la la” been said so many times at the All England Club.

6. Mansour Bahrami. The Iranian’s back story deserves to be better known, from being banned from travelling by the Iranian government after the revolution to ending up in France as a result. But it is trick shots and personality that have made him more money than his (rather good) results in tournament play ever did. Bahrami still thrills the crowds around the seniors’ tour.

7. Andre Agassi. The oohs when Agassi revealed his all-white kit in an early visit to Wimbledon said it all. The Las Vegan loved the big stage and loved to have the crowd on his side. From the long hair and denim of his early days to his more cerebral look late on, Agassi always shone in the biggest arenas and won the title in 1992, just for good measure.

8. Jean Borotra. The Frenchman loved nothing more than getting the crowd involved and seemed to like to chase a wide shot, in the hope he might end up in the crowd itself. If any of the young women in the crowd at Wimbledon caught his eye, he would throw his black beret to them. To top it all off, he was the champion in 1924.

9. Fred Perry. The last British man to win the singles title at Wimbledon was a dashing all-court player, who also had a keen eye for the ladies. When his career was over and he moved to the United States, he had a string of high-profile relationships, his gift of the gab as smooth as his tennis, which won him three straight Wimbledon crowns.

10. Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The American is a fine player in her own right but at an early stage in her career she made a decision that she would maximise the publicity she receives by dressing in a rather unusual way. With boots and her trademark long socks, she certainly stands out from the crowd.

 

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