Martina Navratilova defeats Steffi Graf 7-5, 6-3
Racquet used: camouflaged Dunlop Max 200G
Another memorable fortnight for Martina Navratilova at the All England Club, as the naturalized American extended her record of most consecutive Major final appearances to a 10th Grand Slam final – before winning her eighth Wimbledon ladies singles trophy by defeating Steffi Graf in straight sets and stopping her opponent’s impressive 45 match streak. At the same time, Martina conquered an unprecedented sixth consecutive title on Centre Court, tying Helen Wills as the player with the most singles titles in the history of the tournament.
It was a most significant win not only in historical terms, but also in the light of Steffi Graf’s emergence at the highest level: both had played an epic three setter at the Roland Garros final, one month prior, with the German prevailing on the Parisian clay courts; on the grass, though, Navratilova’s attacking game, shot making variety and extensive experience proved too much. Steffi’s speed around the court and powerful serve/forehand combination kept Martina busy until the very end of the first set, but she insisted on assaulting the net exposing her young opponent’s weaker wing (the backhand) and the second set was easier. At 30 years old, it would be Navratilova’s 16th Grand Slam title.
“There are great players in different eras and I’m one of the greatest in mine.”
“Don’t know how many of these you have to win to be considered the greatest player of all time… but the closer I get, the more it really doesn’t matter. There are great players in different eras and I’m one of the greatest in mine”, underlined Martina when the question whether she should be considered the best of all times arose yet again. A propos, Steffi asked her “How many more Wimbledons do you want?”, as both players were waiting for the Duchess of Kent to present the trophies. “Nine is my lucky number”, answered the champion – who would effectively win a ninth and final title at the All England Club three years later. Invigorated after 229 days without a tournament triumph. Navratilova would also beat her young German rival in the final of the US Open; that year, Graf’s only two defeats were inflicted by Martina in Major finals. For the anecdote, the Prague native had adopted a Dunlop racquet similar to Steffi’s but, under contract with Yonex, had to play with a black paint job on it with the Yonex logo sprayed onto the strings; the camouflage didn’t quite work, as everybody recognized the familiar shape of the frame.
Written by Miguel Seabra, author, tennis and watch journalist, TV and radio commentator and Editor of Espiral do