On July 4, 1987 at Wimbledon, England….there was a certain comfort that Martina Navratilova took in being at this hallowed place of tennis….where the grass courts seem to be like a security blanket to keep the doubts away….when the women’s singles final provided an appointment she has been keeping for the prior five (5) years….for which each were special in their own way. It is said that only the royal family has a permanent place on Centre Court….but Martina Navratilova seemed to be forcing the historians to make an exception to the rule….as she faced the future of women’s tennis and put it on hold….at least for 1987. Navratilova defeated Steffi Graf of West Germany, 7-5, 6-3, thus winning a record sixth consecutive Wimbledon singles title and tying Helen Wills Moody for a record eighth over all.
Any way you cut the pie….this 1987 Wimbledon Womens Final between Martina Navratilova vs. Steffi Graf was a match for the ages….which featured two of the absolute greatest female tennis players to ever grace the court…..as this match transpired when Navratilova was coming to the end of her 332 weeks of dominance before passing the sceptre to Steffi Graf….who would dominate womens tennis for the next 337 weeks.
Martina Navratilova is a former Czechoslovak and later American tennis player and coach….who was selected by Tennis magazine in 2005 as the greatest female tennis player from 1965 through 2005….and she is considered one of the best, if not the best, female tennis players of all time.
Navratilova was World No. 1 for a total of 332 weeks in singles, and a record 237 weeks in doubles….thus making her the only player in history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles for over 200 weeks. She was year-end singles No. 1 seven times….including a record of five consecutive years….as well as year-end doubles No. 1 five times….including three consecutive years during which she held the ranking for the entire year. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles….31 major women’s doubles titles (an all-time record)….and 10 major mixed doubles titles….which combined makes the open-era record for the most number of Grand Slam titles won by one player….male or female. She reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times….including a span of nine consecutive years from 1982 through 1990….and won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon a record nine times and surpassing Helen Wills Moody’s eight, which including a run of six consecutive titles….widely regarded as the best performance by any professional player at a major event….as she and Billie Jean King each won 20 combined Wimbledon titles….which is an all-time record. Navratilova is also one of just three women ever to have accomplished a Career Grand Slam in women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles….called the “Grand Slam Boxed Set”….a distinction she shares only with Margaret Court and Doris Hart.
SteffiGraf is a German former tennis player….who was ranked world No. 1 during her career….while winning 22 Grand Slam singles titles….which put her second on the list of Major wins in the female competition since the introduction of the Open Era in 1968….which ranks third all-time behind Margaret Court (24) and Serena Williams (23). In 1988, she became the first and only tennis player (male or female) to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year…..plus she is the only tennis player to have won each Grand Slam event at least four times.
Graf was ranked world No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for a record 377 total weeks….the longest period for which any player, male or female, has held the number-one ranking since the WTA and the Association of Tennis Professionals began issuing rankings. She won 107 singles titles….which ranks her third on the WTA’s all-time list after Martina Navratilova (167 titles) and Chris Evert (157 titles). She and Margaret Court are the only players, male or female, to win three grand slams in a calendar year five times (1988, 1989, 1993, 1995 and 1996).
This video is without doubt a historic treaure of epic porportions….for never have two legendary champions ever met at center court at Wimbledon quite like these two….which makes this video MUST SEE TV.