There have always been many surprises at the Wimbledon Championships over the years. Whether it be the upsets like Novak Djokovic’s 3rd Round loss at Wimbledon 2016 or Rafa Nadal’s upsets since 2012. Or, even Roger Federer’s 2nd round loss to Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013. There have been many surprising title runs as well, where, the player beat all the odds to win the Wimbledon title.
We take a look at the major unexpected winners at the tournament over the years.
Dutchman Richard Krajicek won Wimbledon 1996. He remains the only Dutch player to have won Wimbledon. In the QFs of the tournament he defeated Pete Sampras in straight sets. This was Sampras’ only singles defeat at Wimbledon between 1993 and 2000.
Coming into Wimbledon 1996, Krajicek had never progressed beyond the 4th round at the tournament. He also had been defeated in the 1st round in the previous 2 years at Wimbledon. Pete Sampras was the clear favorite as he was the 3 time defending Champion. But, Krajicek surprised everyone by beating Sampras in the QFs and then going on to win the title. It went on to be his only Major title and also the only Major final of his career.
Croatian player Goran Ivanišević was runner-up at Wimbledon on three occasions. He was defeated in 1992 final by Andre Agassi. Later, in 1994 and 1998 he was defeated in final by Pete Sampras.
By the time he reached Wimbledon 2001, he was ranked 125th in the World and was given a wildcard for the tournament. He defeated former and future World #1 players Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick and Marat Safin en route to the Semifinals. In the Semifinal, he defeated home favorite Tim Henman in 5 sets. He beat previous years’ runner up and former US Open Champion Patrick Rafter in 5 sets in the final. It was Ivanišević’s first singles final since 1998. Ivanišević became the lowest-ranked player and the first wildcard entry to win Wimbledon. To date, he is the only male entrant to have won a Grand Slam singles title as a wildcard.
Maria Sharapova of Russia became the third youngest woman to win Wimbledon in 2004.
Coming into the tournament Sharapova was seeded 13th and was only 17 years of age. During the tournament she reached her first Grand Slam semifinal. In the final, Sharapova upset top seed and two time defending champion Serena Williams to win her first Major singles title. She became the first Russian woman to win Wimbledon and only the second Russian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title. The final win over Williams was 1st of the only 2 wins over Williams. Williams currently holds a 19-2 record in the head to head. It remains the only Wimbledon title Sharapova has won.
At 1985 Wimbledon Championships Boris Becker became the youngest Wimbledon winner till date at 17y 7m 15d of age. He also remains the second youngest player to win Grand Slam singles title after only Michael Chang who won the 1989 Roland Garros title at 17y 3m 20d of age.
Coming into the 1985 Wimbledon Championships, Becker was unseeded. He also had reached only one ATP singles final and was ranked 20th. He became the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title, defeating Kevin Curren in four sets in the final.