The 10 greatest players to never win Wimbledon

Andy Roddick reacts during the Wimbledon Championships

Winning Wimbledon is one of the marks of the great players down the years, but there have been megastars who have missed out.

Here we look at the ten greatest players never to win a Wimbledon singles title.

We have not included any players that are still playing in our list.

Five men and five women make up our run down of the 10 greatest players to never win Wimbledon.

Andy Roddick

A top player often fails to achieve a milestone simply because an even better player comes along and consistently denies them.

Andy Roddick lost three Wimbledon finals to Roger Federer, but it was the third of those that was most agonising.

Roddick lost back-to-back Wimbledon finals in 2004 and 2005 to Federer, going down in four sets and then three.

In 2009, Roddick came closest to glory when he contested an epic five-set final against Federer with the match setting records for the longest Grand Slam final by games and also the longest fifth set in Majors history.

Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl may have helped other players claim Wimbledon glory, including Sir Andy Murray, but he wasn’t able to win the title himself.

No player in the open era achieved as much Grand Slam success as Lendl without winning Wimbledon however, the Czech born star would only manage to be runner-up twice.

Lendl won Queen’s twice, but his two appearances in the Wimbledon championship match were underwhelming by his high standards.

He went down in straight sets to Boris Becker and Pat Cash in 1986 and 1987 respectively, while Lendl was a fixture in the Wimbledon semi-finals between ’86 and 1990.

Ilie Nastase

As brilliant as he was explosive, Ilie Nastase was one of the first bad boys of professional tennis.

Unlike fellow bad boy, John McEnroe, Nastase wasn’t able to master Wimbledon.

Nastase didn’t have an issue with grass, as he reached two Wimbledon finals and won the US Open in 1972 when it was still contested on the surface.

Nastase was denied by Stan Smith in the 1972 final and Bjorn Borg in 1976’s championship match.

Pat Rafter

Pat Rafter was a gifted athlete and great tennis player but his Wimbledon dreams would never come to fruition.

Rafter enjoyed excellent form at Wimbledon between 1999 and 2001 sporting a 17-3 record in that time.

His two appearances in the final of Wimbledon had the air of a supporting role in somebody else’s destiny.

In 2000 he failed to deny Pete Sampras a seventh Wimbledon title and fourth in a row and in 2001 he was scripted to be the bridesmaid in Goran Ivanisevic’s fairy tale ending

Fred Stolle

We aren’t going to pretend that we’ve taken in many of Fred Stolle’s best matches but the Australian’s prowess on court has been well documented.

His Wimbledon frustration too was well noted as Stolle came close but didn’t get his hands on the big one.

Part of a golden generation of Australian talents playing elite tennis when that meant being an amateur, Stolle lost three successive Wimbledon finals in the mid-1960s.

Stolle remains the only male player to lose his first five Grand Slam finals which included his three appearances in the Wimbledon final.

Justine Henin

On to the ladies and the most recent example of a top player missing out on a Wimbledon title that almost seemed inevitable in Justine Henin.

Henin enjoyed a career that saw her win seven Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal but suffer only heartache after heartache at Wimbledon.

She lost two Wimbledon finals and also tasted semi-final defeat on a further three occassions.

Venus Williams and one-Slam wonder Amelie Mauresmo were the players to get the better of her in her championship match outings.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario wasn’t terrifically popular with the Wimbledon crowd as she played pantomime villain to SW19 hero Steffi Graf across a two-part drama.

The first championship match meeting between Graf and Sanchez Vicario was by far the more lauded spectacle with the German battling back to claim what was then her sixth title.

In the second meeting a year later, Graf dominated on the scoreboard although it was never as clear cut as the score seems to suggest.

Monica Seles

Another player denied by the greatness of Graf, Seles’ career path was suddenly and dramatically changed when a fan who saw her as the mortal enemy of German tennis’ golden child took horrendous action against her inflicting scars both physical and mental on a player who might otherwise be in the women’s tennis GOAT discussion.

Seles’ early successes gave way to struggles and though she had a good career when she returned she never regained her momentum and didn’t look a great threat at Wimbledon.

In her only Wimbledon final in 1992 she was blown away by Graf, who with that claimed her fourth singles trophy at the All England Club.

Hana Mandlíková

Hana Mandlíková is one of the less-heralded stars of a golden era of women’s tennis in the 1980s and early 1990s.

She would reach the finals of all four Grand Slams but could not secure the Wimbledon winner’s trophy.

Her two championship match losses came at the hands of true icons in Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova five years apart.

Despite missing out on Wimbledon she won titles on all three surfaces having claimed grass court Australian Open wins on two occasions to go with her titles on clay (French Open 1981) and hard courts (US Open 1985)

Gabriela Sabatini

Gabriela Sabatini playing Wimbledon
Gabriela Sabatini playing Wimbledon. Photo: Alamy

Gabriela Sabatini achieved a lot in tennis in a short space of time but she definitely left the game wanting more.

Sabatini has remained a captivating but elusive figure and fans on the Argentine have really helped build up her mystique as a player with questions of what might have been if she had the hunger to play on beyond 26.

Her best outing at Wimbledon came in 1991, when as the second seed she went all the way to the final only to be denied by, you might have guessed it, Steffi Graf.

That final is among the great championship matches played at Wimbledon down the years and still holds up as a spectacle today.

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