Randy Walker is the managing partner for New Chapter Media and the author of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY, available at www.NewChapterMedia.com. June 28
1977 – Eighteen-year-old John McEnroe becomes the first qualifier to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon when he defeats Phil Dent of Australia 6-4, 8-9, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the men’s quarterfinals. Says the No. 270-ranked McEnroe of Jimmy Connors, his semifinal opponent, "I haven't played him. I've never even met him."
1995 - Chanda Rubin of the United States defeats Patricia Hy-Boulais of Canada 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-5), 17-15 in a 3-hour, 45-minute second-round match that is the longest women’s singles match in Wimbledon history. Played on Court No. 16, the 58-game match is also the longest women’s singles match in games in Wimbledon history. Says Rubin after the marathon, "You are never going to forget a match like that. We were friends before this match. Even though somebody had to win, I think we will still be good friends. You definitely won't forget something like this." Says Hy-Boulais, “It's almost a pleasure, knowing that we have both given our best. Like I stretched her or she stretched me. We both took each other one notch higher."
1997 – Playing in her first-ever Wimbledon match, future champion Venus Williams, age 17, falls in the first round to No. 91 Magdalena Grzybowska of Poland 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.Says the 59th-ranked Williams after the match, "Everyone does have high hopes and everyone wants to win. I'm not too disappointed. It's my first Wimbledon and there will be many more to come and I think I tried to do my best and I never gave up during the match." The much-hyped and talked about Williams reaches the final of the U.S. Open later in the summer and wins her first major singles title three years later at the All England Club.
1990 – Fourteen-year-old Wimbledon debutant Jennifer Capriati, the youngest player to win a match at the All England Club, claws out a 7-5, 6-7, 6-3 win over Robin White to set up a fourth-round confrontation with world No. 1 Steffi Graf. Capriati overcomes missing out on five match points in the second set and wins the final six games of the match. Says Capriati, “I was thinking that it was good that I was able to pull that out. But I was upset, saying, `Why aren't you closing these matches out?' " Capriati’s Wimbledon is ended in the next round in a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Graf.
1979 – Eighteen-year-old Californian Linda Siegel wears a backless, braless tennis dress during her 6-1, 6-3 loss to Billie Jean King on Centre Court and has her “peek-a-boo” moments photographed and published in London’s tabloid photographers. Says King of Siegel’s dress, "That's great, if she's happy. The audience sure was happy. If you're well-endowed, you might as well show it." Writes Barry Lorge of the Washington Post, “A couple of times during her match, the amply-endowed Siegel momentarily fell out of her frock.”
1983 – Thirty-nine-year old Billie Jean King reaches the semifinals of Wimbledon for a 14th time with a 7-5, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over Kathy Jordan, while in the men’s field, Ivan Lendl reaches his first Wimbledon semifinal, defeating 1979 finalist Roscoe Tanner 7-5, 7-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Lendl returns to the All-England Club after skipping the 1982 tournament, citing an allergy to grass. Says Lendl of his win over Tanner, ''I would say it was probably my best match on grass courts.”
1989 - Thirty-six-year-old Jimmy Connors, the oldest player in the Wimbledon field, is defeated in the second round by a 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 margin by fellow American Dan Goldie. Says Connors after the match when talk of retirement is brought up in the post-match press conference, ''I've put my reputation on the line since I was 18 years old so why should I not do that now? Don't write that I'm retiring and quitting. Just gently write that I'm gonna finish this year and decide after that.''
1988 – Patrick Kuhnen, ranked No. 90 in the world and No. 9 in Germany, posts the biggest of his career, defeating 35-year-old Jimmy Connors 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 on Wimbledon’s Graveyard No. 2 court in the round of 16.''He's got something no one can take from him, experience,'' Kuhnen says of Connors. ''You have to beat him because he is a fighter and will not make mistakes. He hangs in there.''
2007 – The Tim Henman era comes to a close at Wimbledon, as the four-time semifinalist, four-time quarterfinalist and crowd favorite at the All England Club plays what ultimately becomes his final Wimbledon match, a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 2-6, 6-1 second-round loss to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez. In his post-match press conference, Henman says he will return to play at Wimbledon, put later in the summer announces that the U.S. Open would be his final tournament and he plays his final two matches – a singles and doubles victory in Davis Cup for Britain – at the All England Club in September.1902 – Trailing Marion Jones 6-2, 1-0 in the challenge round final of the U.S. National Championships (the modern day U.S. Open), Elisabeth Moore faints and is unable to continue play at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Jones refuses to be given the title and agrees to post-pone the match and continue it two days later on a Monday. When Moore still is not feeling well when the match is scheduled to resume, tournament officials award the championship to Jones, her second U.S. national singles title after winning in 1899.
1991 – Thirty-year-old former top 10 player Tim Mayotte saves four match points and defeats 19-year-old and No. 9 seeded Michael Chang 6-7 (8-6), 4-6, 7-6 (11-9), 6-2 in the first round of Wimbledon. The loss is Chang’s first-ever opening round loss in a major tournament, while Mayotte’s win comes in his first tournament match since April due to a bad back and bad knees. Says Mayotte, ranked No. 94, of his win, “It was just a good time out there. I came in realizing that, with no preparation and coming off injuries and stuff, I couldn't go out there expecting too much. So I just tried to get into the atmosphere out on the court, and the crowd really got behind it. It was infectious really, and I just started laughing more and more. It was really one of the most fun matches I have played."
1996 – Three-time Wimbledon champion and No. 2 seed Boris Becker is forced to retire with a right wrist injury in the first set of his third-round match with No. 223-ranked Neville Godwin of South Africa. In the first point of the first-set tie-breaker, Becker, the reigning Australian Open champion, hits a forehand return of serve off his frame and grabs his wrist in pain. He receives a three-minute injury timeout and has the wrist taped, but realizes he cannot continue, defaulting the match to Godwin by a 6-6, (1-0, retired) scoreline. Says Becker after the match, “My wrist gave way and I heard something pop. I couldn't hold the racket anymore. I thought I had broken my wrist. I know it's serious. I have had many injuries in my career before, and I know when it's something serious and when something can heal in a few days."