The 9 men to defend their Wimbledon titles in the Open Era as Carlos Alcaraz joins Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer on list

Ewan West
Roger Federer Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz with Wimbledon trophies
Roger Federer Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz with Wimbledon trophies

Nine men have successfully defended the Wimbledon title since the start of the Open Era, with Carlos Alcaraz the latest player to achieve the feat after going back-to-back in 2023 and 2024. 

Pete Sampras is in a league of his own while Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Bjorn Borg are some of the other tennis icons to have accomplished this impressive milestone.

Here are the nine players to successfully defend the Wimbledon men’s singles title in the Open Era.

Rod Laver

In 1968, Rod Laver won the first edition of the Wimbledon Championships held in the Open Era, defeating compatriot Tony Roche in straight sets in the final.

Laver defended his crown a year later with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory over another fellow Australian, John Newcombe, in the title match. This was Laver’s fourth and final Wimbledon title, following Amateur triumphs in 1961 and 1962.

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John Newcombe

Having won the last Amateur edition of Wimbledon in 1967, John Newcombe claimed his second title in 1970, when he downed countryman Ken Rosewall in five sets in the final.

The Australian secured his third and final crown at the All England Club in 1971 as he won a five-set championship match for the second consecutive year.

Newcombe overcame Stan Smith, who would win Wimbledon the next year, 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to defend his title. He was also a runner-up in 1969.

Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg won his maiden Wimbledon title in 1976, when he beat Ilie Nastase in straight sets in the final, and he went on to successfully defend his crown four straight times.

The Swede thwarted Jimmy Connors in both the 1977 (3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4) and 1978 (6-2, 6-2, 6-3) title matches, before he edged out Roscoe Tanner 6-7(4), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the 1979 final.

In 1980, Borg defeated John McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(16), 8-6 in an epic Wimbledon final — which is considered to be one of the greatest matches ever.

Borg’s five consecutive Wimbledon titles is a record he shares with Roger Federer. He was also a runner-up in 1981.

John McEnroe

Having claimed his first Wimbledon title in 1981, John McEnroe added his second crown at the All England Club in 1983 with a final demolition of Chris Lewis.

The American steamrolled his rival Jimmy Connors 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in the 1984 championship match to secure his third and final Wimbledon title. McEnroe was also a finalist in 1980 and 1982.

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Boris Becker

Boris Becker secured his maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 1985, when he saw off Kevin Curren in four sets in the final.

In 1986, the German downed Ivan Lendl 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in the title match in to defend his crown at the All England Club. Becker won his third and last Wimbledon title in 1989, while he was also a runner-up in 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1996.

Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras won the first of his seven Wimbledon titles in 1993 with a four-set final triumph against compatriot Jim Courier.

The American defended his crown in 1994 and 1995, when he defeated Goran Ivanisevic, 7-6(5), 7-6(0), 6-0, and Boris Becker, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2, in the respective finals. Sampras then secured four straight titles at the grass-court Grand Slam between 1997 and 2000.

In the finals, he overcame Cedric Pioline in straight sets in 1997; Ivanisevic 6-7(2), 7-6(9), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in 1998; Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 in 1999; and Patrick Rafter 6-7(10), 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 in 2000.

Sampras’ five successful title defences at Wimbledon is a record.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer claimed his maiden Wimbledon crown in 2003 with a straight-set victory against Mark Philippoussis. Like Borg, Federer defended his title four times in a row after his first triumph.

The Swiss saw off Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the 2004 final and 6-2, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the 2005 final. In 2006 and 2007, he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3 and 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2 in the respective title matches.

Federer added Wimbledon titles in 2009, 2012 and 2017 to take his tally to a men’s record of eight, while he was also a runner-up in 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2019.

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Novak Djokovic

Having secured the first of his seven Wimbledon titles in 2011, Novak Djokovic added his second in 2014 with a five-set win against Federer in the championship match.

The Serbian successfully defended his crown for the first time in 2015, when he downed Federer 7-6(1), 6-7(10), 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

Djokovic won Wimbledon for the fourth time in 2018 and went on to defend his title in each of the next three editions.

He overcame Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) in a thrilling 2019 final, before downing Matteo Berrettini in four-set title matches in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Djokovic was also a Wimbledon finalist in 2013 and 2023.

Carlos Alcaraz

Spanish sensation caused a bit of a stir when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2023 final as the Serbian was unbeaten at SW19 for several years. They delivered an epic one as he beat the seven-time champion in a marathon five-setter, coming out on top 1–6, 7–6(8), 6–1, 3–6, 6–4.

The pair returned for the final in 2024 and this time it was a clinical display from Alcaraz as he beat Djokovic 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (4).