Six love: No 1 Court moments to stir the memory

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The Independent Online
1969

Graebner v Roche

CLARK GRAEBNER, a tall, strong American, was also distinctive because of his thick-framed spectacles. But they were to prove his undoing when rain began to fall at the climax of this compelling encounter with the left-handed Australian Tony Roche, who had been the runner-up at Wimbledon the previous year. The rain started with the score at 7-7 in the fifth set after Graebner had won the first two sets and squandered three match points. But amid mounting tension, his irritation was palpable as he scowled at the skies and continually took off his glasses to wipe them. The umpire refused to call a halt, though, and Roche eventually won 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 11-9.

1976 Barker v Navratilova

AT 20, Sue Barker was the bright new star of British women's tennis, while Martina Navratilova, younger by a year, was a gifted but moody Czechoslovakian who had yet to make her mark on Wimbledon. Their quarter-final, on one of the hottest days of the hottest ever tournament, was in the tradition of near-misses by home players. Seeded seven to Navratilova's four, Barker served for a 5-1 lead in the third set, but missed two backhand drop shots and lost the game. She had another chance serving at 5-4, but again her nerves let her down. Despite winning, Navratilova complained about bad bounces and accused the line judges of being biased..

1977 McEnroe v Dent

IN HIS first Wimbledon, John McEnroe set a record for a qualifier by reaching the last four. This was the quarter-final in which he did it - a tense five-setter against Phil Dent, a solid Australian, which offered some early insights into the young American's character. McEnroe was only 18 - his progress in the men's singles eventually forced him to pull out of the junior event - but that did not stop him from offering angry opinions to the umpire over doubtful line calls. One newspaper described the New York student as "an engaging young man with infinite promise and confidence" but also noted that "as the match see-sawed constantly, he became victim to waves of depression".

1979 Borg v Amritraj

BJORN BORG rarely progressed to a Wimbledon title without a scare along the way, but this second-round match, in the year in which he made it four in a row, gave him one of his worst and provided an outstanding example of his coolness under pressure. Vijay Amritraj's exquisite volleying touch and flowing groundstrokes were often seen to their best effect at Wimbledon. Borg was hampered by a damaged hamstring and for much of the match the graceful Indian completely bamboozled him. Amritraj led by two sets to one, 3-1, and then 3-2 and 40-0. But, fatally, he hesitated, let Borg back in, and eventually the defending champion went through 2-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.

1986 Castle v Wilander

Arguably the most heroic failure in British tennis history. The 22-year-old from Taunton was ranked 287th in the world compared to the Swede's No 2. Although Mats Wilander, a winner of six Grand Slam titles but never Wimbledon, was rarely comfortable on grass, Andrew Castle's achievement in extending him to five sets was astonishing, and had a packed No 1 Court crowd in ferment. Castle won the first set 6-4 and calmly survived two set points at 3-5 in the second before losing it on a tie-break. He then won a tie-break to take a two sets to one lead before losing the fourth 6-4. An exhausted Castle had nothing left to offer after that and lost the fifth set 6-0.

1994 Bruguera v Rafter

A MEMORABLE encounter between two men whose contrast in styles produced some of the best tennis seen at Wimbledon in recent years. Sergi Bruguera, the Spaniard who had just won a second French Open title, was a committed baseliner. Patrick Rafter, a glamorous young Australian, was a serve-and-volleyer of great panache. On a ferociously hot afternoon, Bruguera won the first set, Rafter the next two. But Bruguera dug in on a surface that was alien to him and won the fourth set 7-5. The pair then stood toe-to-toe and hammered at each other in a monumental fifth set that eventually went to Bruguera 13-11 after Rafter had suffered cramp.

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