Sunday 5 July 2015


Conchita Martinez won the 1994 Wimbledon title defeating nine-time winner Martina Navratilova
The 1994 Wimbledon championships is remembered for a lot of reasons. Who can forget Conchita Martinez and her fairy tale win. Her triumph was against the veteran Martina Navratilova - who previously had won the coveted Wimbledon singles title nine times. If this made a 'headline to remember ' for Conchita Martinez; at the start of the tournament, Steffi Graf made headlines which she would like to forget.

Consider this for a record - before the start of the 1994 Wimbledon, Steffi Graf had entered quarter-finals in all of the Grand Slams since 1985. The German who was the defending champion, had won this title five times and since 1982, no other player apart from the German ace and Martina Navratilova had won the singles title. Then came the unlikely upset - the defending champion Graf knocked out by an unseeded player in the opening round.

Lori McNeill knocked the defending champion Graf in the first round - a feat never witnessed before
In 1992, Lori McNeill playing at the Virginia Slims Tournament (WTA sanctioned event) had achieved a similar feat against Graf. It was rare for a player like Graf to suffer a loss in the opening match of any tournament. Playing in New York at the Madison Square Garden, McNeill on that day played a better game to overhaul the German. If that was at the indoor carpet surface, a year and a half later, on the lush grass courts of Wimbledon, Lori McNeill did it again. Graf's loss to McNeill marked a defending champion lose an opening round match for the first time

Lori McNeill continued her impressive start and went all the way till the final four. She lost a close semi-final clash against Conchita Martinez, with third set decided at 10-8 in favour of the Spaniard. The American emulated her best performance at the grand slams (semi-finalist at the US Open 1987) and Martinez went on to win her first and only title of her career.

After a wait of more than ten years, there was a new name etched on the ladies single's title. Navratilova, as it turned out, played her last singles game at the grand slams (she continued playing doubles) while Steffi Graf won the next two Wimbledon editions before bowing out of the game for good in 1999 after losing to Lindsay Davenport in the title clash at Wimbledon. 

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