How the ‘Graveyard of champions’ got its name

Court No2 Graveyard of champions

The All England Club announced last Friday it would build a new court on the site of Court 2. “The new court, containing enhanced spectator amenities, will be built on the site of old Court 2 (capacity of 2,192 + 770 standing). The work will start in July 2009 and be completed by May 2011.”

With a new Court 2 in use this year and now a new court to be built on the old Court 2 it’s worth taking a minute to lay some flowers at the graveyard of champions.

Here are my three favourite upsets on Court 2 with list of champion upsets. Can you think of any more?

1. 2002 George Bastl def. Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.
Pete Sampras was nearing the end of a glorious career when he lost in the second round on No2 Court to George Bastl, the world No145. The result stunned the crowd but as much as it stunned Sampras, who sat in silence as the court emptied around him.

The Times wrote of the match: “Witnessing Sampras stooping slightly through the walkway on to the court was like watching royalty being moved out of the palace and into a semi-detached in Surbiton.”

2. 2005 Jill Craybas def. Serena Williams 6-3, 7-6(4)
“I think I was better off staying home,” two-time champion Serena Williams said after losing to Jill Craybas, ranked 83rd, on Court No2. “I shouldn’t have lost this match. I didn’t play a good enough match. She didn’t have to do anything exceptionally well. She just pretty much had to show up.”

Craybas was of a different opinion: “The win is absolutely fantastic,” she said, having won a total of seven games in two previous matches with Williams.

3. 1988 Patrick Kuhnen def. Jimmy Connors 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3
Jimmy Connors was so unimpressed by the conditions on Court No2 after his loss to Patrick Kuhnen in 1988 that he suggested the All England Club should switch surfaces from grass to anything but grass.
“I don’t mind going out there if I have a chance to hit the ball,” said Connors, the fifth seed. “One hit me in the face, one bounced over my head and one rolled along the court. All you want is a little consistency. If I knew they were all going to roll, it would be OK.

“Except for Wimbledon and Queens, most of the grass-court tournaments are all gone. (Changing the surface) may be something they don’t want to go along with.”

2007 Laura Granville def. Martina Hingis 6-4, 6-2

2006 Jelena Jankovic def. Venus Williams 7-6(8) 4-6 6-4

2005 Jill Craybas def. Serena Williams 6-3, 7-6(4)

2002 George Bastl def. Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.

1999 Lorenzo Manta def. Richard Krajicek 6-3, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 4-6, 6-4

1996 Doug Flach def. Andre Agassi 2-6 7-6 6-4 7-6

1991 Thierry Champion def. Pat Cash 7-5, 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-1, 12-10

1988 Patrick Kuhnen def. Jimmy Connors 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3

1984 Carina Karlsson def. Virginia Wade 6-2, 4-6, 11-9

1983 Kevin Curren def. Jimmy Connors 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6


  1. Posted 2 June, 2009 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    O M G, I ever knew about Graveyard but not about some champions, this is one of Wimbledon charms.

  2. Gary Hancock
    Posted 14 June, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Not one single former singles champion who was relegated to the Graveyard in 2008(Amelie,Maria,Serena, and, oh yeah, DEFENDING Champion Venus-has ANY defending champion had to play in the Graveyard as often as Venus and Serena have???) lost. A fitting burial for the detestable patch of dirt that was COURT NUMBER 2. Good riddance, and do NOT R.I.P.!

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