The 9 biggest Wimbledon upsets of all time – ranked!

Lukas Rosol, Sabine Lisicki, and Sergiy Stakhovsky
Lukas Rosol, Sabine Lisicki, and Sergiy Stakhovsky feature on our rankings.

Grand Slam events are often predictable, with very few surprise champions – particularly at Wimbledon.

However, there have certainly been some shock results at the All England Club, with some of the greatest tennis upsets ever taking place at SW19.

Ahead of the start of Wimbledon this year, we rank the nine greatest upsets in modern Wimbledon history.

9) 2014: Alize Cornet def Serena Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 – Round 3

After poor Australian and French Open campaigns, Williams was desperate for success at Wimbledon in her hunt to equal Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova’s 18 Grand Slam titles.

But she was forced to turn her attention towards the US Open after a shocking loss to perennial giant-killer Cornet, who beat the great American for the second time that season.

After a one-sided set went against her, the Frenchwoman rebounded in style, and stunned Williams – then a five-time SW19 champion – in three sets to reach the second week.

8) 2003: Ivo Karlovic def Lleyton Hewitt 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-4 – Round 3

No man had ever lost in the opening round of his SW19 title defence until Hewitt was stunned by big-serving Karlovic just over two decades ago.

Former world No 1 Hewitt made mincemeat of the Croatian’s serve in the opening set, but qualifier Karlovic fought back to take set two in a tiebreak.

Perhaps buoyed by that, he was almost untouchable in the third and four sets, breaking his opponent multiple times to seal a historic victory.

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7) 2012: Lukas Rosol def Rafael Nadal 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 – Round 2

Nadal was the French Open champion and Australian Open finalist at this point in 2012, but this shock loss started a poor run of form at the All England Club.

World No 100 Rosol lost a narrow first set to the two-time Wimbledon champion but responded well to take a two-sets-to-one lead on Centre Court.

It looked as if the Spaniard had righted the ship with a dominant second set, but Rosol broke in the decider, and famously hit three aces when closing out the match to claim the win of his life.

6) 1987: Peter Doohan def Boris Becker 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 – Round 2

Having won the title in 1985 and 1986, ‘Boom Boom’ Becker was on a 15-match winning streak at Wimbledon when he stepped onto court against unheralded Australian Doohan.

World No 70 Doohan was 68 spots below the German in the rankings and, after winning the first set in a tiebreak, it felt like his chance had gone after Becker levelled up at one set all.

But the Australian, who reached a career-high of 43rd, dominated the third set, and ultimately closed it out in four sets to seal a memorable victory.

5) 2013: Steve Darcis def Rafael Nadal 7-6(4), 7-6(8), 6-4 – Round 1

One of the craziest Wimbledon’s in recent memory got off to a shocking start when Darcis downed Nadal out on Court 1 on the opening Monday in 2013.

Having once again won at Roland Garros, fifth seed Nadal was expected to write the wrong of his loss to Rosol twelve months before.

But Darcis had other plans, and the Belgian produced a scintillating display to beat the Spaniard in straight sets – a first-ever round one loss at a Slam for the 22-time Grand Slam champion.

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4) 2002: George Bastl def Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 – Round 2

One of Wimbledon’s greatest-ever champions, seven-time winner Sampras was knocked out of his final campaign in shocking fashion by Bastl – who had only made the draw as a lucky loser.

Sixth seed Sampras fell down two sets to Bastl – who reached a career-high of world No 71 – but, after pulling it back to two sets apiece, was certainly the favourite to progress.

However, the Swiss again took charge of the contest, and eventually sealed a stunning five-set win over a legend of the sport.

3) 2013: Sabine Lisicki def Serena Williams 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 – Round 4

As the 23rd seed and a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Lisicki was not as big of an underdog on paper as some on this list – but you have to remember how dominant Williams was at this point.

Williams was the reigning champion and came into this clash on a career-best 34-match win streak, and after dropping the opening set, won nine straight games to lead 3-0 in the decider.

But Lisicki, who would ultimately reach the final, summoned all she could, rallying from that 3-0 deficit – and later a 4-2 deficit – to stun the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

2) 2013: Sergiy Stakhovsky def Roger Federer 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) – Round 2

‘Wacky Wednesday’ in 2013 saw plenty of shocks, but none as big as this win for world No 116 Stahkovsky – who ended Federer’s title defence, and his streak of 36 straight major quarter-finals.

Federer had stormed through his round one match as he looked for his seventh title at the tournament, and edged a tight opening set to aid his quest.

But the Ukrainian had other ideas and edged three tight sets to stun the tennis world on what had already been a day full of drama.

1) 1994: Lori McNeil def Steffi Graf 7-5, 7-6(5) – Round 1

One of the biggest shocks ever saw McNeil – unseeded in the draw – become the first player in the Open Era to beat a defending Grand Slam champion in the opening round of their title defence.

Graf felt untouchable at Slams at this stage, having won three straight Wimbledon titles, and having reached 31 consecutive major quarter-finals.

The American broke late on to claim the opening set and, after a tight second set went to a tiebreak, held her nerve to seal one of the most seismic results in the modern game.

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