By Randy Walker
The dateline July 2, 2013 provides some interesting anniversaries in Wimbledon women’s history, as documented in the new This Day In Tennis mobile app (www.TennisHistoryApp.com)
With Sabine Lisicki’s historic upset of world No. 1 Serena Williams, it is interesting to note that July 2, 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of another blonde-haired German with a booming serve and powerful groundstrokes, Hall of Famer Steffi Graf, winning the first of her seven Wimbledon women’s singles titles.
The woman who Graf defeated on this day 25 years ago also won a Wimbledon title 30 years ago on July 2, 1983, defeating Andrea Jaeger in the final. Navratilova won an astounding nine Wimbledon women’s singles titles. Petra Kvitova, also from the Czech Republic like the naturalized American Navratilova, will be looking to join Navratilova as the only Czech-born multiple winner of Wimbledon women’s singles titles, following up her singles victory in 2011.
Navratilova and Chris Evert, who have each won 18 major singles titles, have been much discussed in the conversation of Serena Williams adding to her major singles title collection as both American legends have won only two more major singles titles than where Serena currently sits with 16 majors. However, the player who Serena should be aiming for is Helen Wills Moody, who has won 19 career major singles titles and is the American record holder in this category. It was 75 years ago on July 2, 1938 when Wills Moody won her 19th and final major title at Wimbledon, defeating Helen Jacobs in the championship match.
The following are the excerpts as seen in the “This Day In Tennis” mobile app. To order a hard copy of this compilation, the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY is available for sale at www.newChapterMedia.com and wherever books are sold.
1988 – Nineteen-year-old Steffi Graf ends Martina Navratilova’s six-year stranglehold on the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, defeating the eight-time champion 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 to win her first Wimbledon singles title and capture the third leg of her eventual Grand Slam. Navratilova fails in her attempt to win her ninth Wimbledon singles title and breaking the record that she shares with Helen Wills. Says Navratilova of the loss, “This is how it should happen. I lost to a better player on the final day. This is the end of a chapter, passing the torch if you want to call it that.”
1983 – Martina Navratilova concludes a dominant performance at Wimbledon, defeating Andrea Jaeger 6-0, 6-3 in 54 minutes to win her fourth championship at the All England Club. Navratilova wins seven matches without relinquishing a set en route to the title in less than six hours total time. Says Navratilova, “I’ve been the favorite the last two years to win every match that I’ve played. If I don’t live up to it, the whole world seems to come tumbling down. It’s a disaster, a tragedy, like there’s nothing worse that could happen in the world to you but lose a tennis match. After the French, everyone was predicting that I would come apart at the seams. If anything, it inspired me to play better, more aggressively.” Entering the final, Navratilova had lost only four matches in 18 months, most recently to unheralded Kathy Horvath in the fourth round of the French Open four weeks earlier in one of the biggest upsets in tennis history.
1938 – Thirty-two-year-old Helen Wills Moody wins her 19th – and final – major singles title, easily defeating rival Helen Jacobs 6-4, 6-0 in the women’s singles final at Wimbledon. Jacobs plays the match despite a severely-strained Achilles tendon, which hampers her as she loses the final eight games of the match. The final is the 11th and final meeting between “the two Helens” – with Wills Moody winning the rivalry by a 10-1 margin. Wills Moody’s 19 major singles titles is the all-time record until it is topped in 1970 by Margaret Smith Court, who goes on to win 24 major singles titles.