The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, better known as Wimbledon, is hosting the All England Championships for the 105th time. The club has been the site of many memorable matches, and here TV commentator and tennis historian Bud Collins discourses, in his own inimitable fashion, on 10 of them.
1. 1919 women's final: Suzanne Lenglen (below) beat Dorothea Lambert Chambers 10-8, 4-6, 9-7. The 40 year-old Lambert Chambers nearly grabbed her eighth title in this generational gasp. But Lenglen, 20, fortified by third-set brandies, couldn't be denied the first of her six championships.
2. 1935 women's final: Helen Wills Moody beat Helen Jacobs 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Eight-time champ Moody was shadowed throughout her career by the "other Helen." Four times Jacobs lost Wimbledon finals to Moody.
3. 1937 Davis Cup: Don Budge beat Germany's elegant Baron Gottfried von Cramm 6-8, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 8-6. From 1-4 in the fifth set, Budge battled back to give the U.S. a 3-2 win in this Cup semifinal. Before the match von Cramm received a pep-talk phone call from Adolf Hitler.
4. 1953 men's third round: Jaroslav Drobny beat Budge Patty 8-6, 16-18, 3-6, 8-6, 12-10. Surviving cramps and six match points, Drobny, a chunky lefthanded Czech defector (an earlier version of Martina?), surged for the last eight points in the 93-game thriller.
5. 1969 men's first round: Pancho Gonzales beat Charlie Pasarell 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9. The match-that-wouldn't-die (five hours and 12 minutes over two days) went to grandpop Pancho, 41, who gave away 16 years to Pasarell.
6. 1970 women's final: Margaret Court beat Billie Jean King 14-12, 11-9. Despite Court's gimpy ankle and King's gimpy knee, the two took turns frustrating each other in the longest women's final—two hours, 26 minutes. Court squandered three match points before winning the toughest leg of her Grand Slam.
7. 1976 women's final: Chris Evert beat Evonne Goolagong 6-3, 4-6, 8-6. A lob on match point slipped Evert through a seesawing third set in which she startlingly took the net away from Goolagong.
8. 1980 women's quarterfinal: Navratilova beat King 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 10-8. The two-day heart-thumper was King's last magnificent stand on her "home" court, Centre, where site won so many matches. She missed out by a whisker: Rain fogged her spectacles when she led 5-1 in the tiebreaker. Navratilova won on her 10th match point as her mishit return pinked a line.
9. 1980 men's final: Bjorn Borg beat John McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6. This epic of them all featured the Battle of 1816, in which McEnroe tap-danced around five match points. A smorgasbord of brilliant shotmaking, the match had everything but Pauline on the railroad track.