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Wimbledon top 10: Oddest moments

Steffi Graf (GER) in action during the 1991 Championships.
by Mark Hodgkinson
Thursday 4 July 2013

There's always at least one at each Championships. Wimbledon.com brings you some of those odd moments.

1. This was Andy Roddick's analysis after losing the 2009 final to Roger Federer: "I threw the kitchen sink at him, but he went to the bathroom and got a tub". 

2. The first streaker on Centre Court was a London student, Melissa Johnson, who ran on to the grass, wearing just an apron, as Richard Krajicek and Malivai Washington warmed-up for the 1996 final. John McEnroe, who was commentating on the match, called for "replays from all angles". But Washington didn't later find the incident so amusing – indeed, the streaker had unsettled him: "I got flustered, and three sets later I was gone.”

3. To celebrate beating her sister Venus in the 2009 final, Serena came dressed for her post-match interviews wearing a T-shirt with the provocative slogan on the front: "Are you looking at my titles?" 

4. When a man called out to Steffi Graf one summer, "Steffi, will you marry me?", she immediately responded: "How much money do you have?", and the crowd cheered.

5. When Roger Federer returned to Switzerland after winning his first Wimbledon title, in 2003, he was presented with a cow. "It was a great idea, very funny, and a total surprise," said Federer. "I'm going to milk it." 

6. Maria Sharapova tried to ignore a naked man cartwheeling across the Centre Court grass. Sharapova's sniggering opponent, Elena Dementieva, kept on looking, but the Siberian turned away. "It was the strangest thing that had ever happened to me on a tennis court, it was really bizarre. I wasn't frightened as I looked at the security guards, and they were laughing," Sharapova said after beating Dementieva in the quarter-finals of the 2006 Championships. "Then they took out this red blanket, so they must have been prepared. It was kind of funny. But I didn't look at the guy. I didn't want to look at all the details."

7. Ilie Nastase played under an umbrella. "I got beaten by the heavy-hitting American Dick Stockton in the fourth round in a match that was interrupted several times by the rain," Nastase wrote in his autobiography when recalling the 1974 Championships. "The only thing everybody remembers about the match is that at one point I grabbed a spectator's umbrella. I wasn't trying to distract Dick, as some people thought. But it was getting to a crucial part of the match: I was down two sets to love, and the fourth set was going with serve and reaching a critical stage. It had begun to drizzle and I thought we should go off, but to dispel the tension I thought it would be fun to play a couple of points with the umbrella in my hand. It was a completely spontaneous act and it's a classic example of, 'OK, I lost the match, but I gave people pleasure and fun', and, even 30 years on, they still remember. And that makes me really proud, as proud in fact as some of my victories. It means I left an impression on people that was not just about the tennis, not just about the arguments, it was also about the fun."

8. Rod Laver on playing imaginative tennis on the Wimbledon grass: "I often surprised myself. You can't plan some shots that go in, not unless you're on marijuana, and the only grass I'm partial to is Wimbledon's."

9. While the film 'Wimbledon' attracted mixed reviews, it amused Serena Williams: "It must be a comedy if a British player is winning Wimbledon." 

10. An American player, Pat Stewart, once competed at Wimbledon in the 1960s in a short dress and with her phone number embroidered on her knickers. 

Follow the latest news and scores from Wimbledon 2013 on Wimbledon.com or download the official iPad,  iPhone and Android apps.


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