Wimbledon’s biggest upsets

Lleyton Hewitt

After Rafael Nadal’s shock exit at the French Open, here is a list of Wimbledon’s biggest upsets. Can you think of any more?

Richard Krajicek defeats Pete Sampras 1996 – Sampras was the world number one and top seed chasing a fourth straight title when he lost. Krajicek went on to win the title.

Peter Doohan defeats Boris Becker 1987 – Becker had been undefeated at Wimbledon since his debut in 1985 while Doohan had never progressed beyond the First Round.

Lori McNeil defeats Steffi Graf 1994 – The first time the defending ladies’ champion had lost in the first round and the first time Graf had lost her opening match in any tournament since 1992.

Ivo Karlovic defeats Lleyton Hewitt 2003 – Karlovic was ranked 203 in the world when he beat top seed and defending champion in the opening match.

Roger Taylor defeats Rod Laver 1970 – The year before Laver had completed a Grand Slam and had won the last two Wimbledon titles.

Jelena Dokic defeats Martina Hingis 1999 – 16-year-old qualifier Dokic beat 1997 champion and world number one Hingis.

Kevin Curren defeats John McEnroe Wimbledon 1985 – McEnroe, a five-time finalist and three-time winner, suffered his most one-sided defeat as world number one.


  1. Bianca M
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Roger Federer defeats Pete Sampras in 2001 – Prevented Sampras from getting his fourth straight Wimbledon title

  2. LC
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Hewitt although seeded no.1 was actually ranked no.2 when he lost in the first round in 2003. Agassi had pinched back #1 the week before Wimbledon.

  3. Grant
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Goran Ivanisevic defeats Pat Rafter in 2001.

  4. Ciaran
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Graf’s loss was actually the first time she had exited the championships before the semis since 1985 (she didn’t play in 1986), so not sure where the 1992 bit comes in?

  5. Posted 2 June, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    i think it as to be Roddick lossing to richard gasquet in 5 sets ever tough roddick was up 2sets and a break. in 2007

  6. Tony
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Reply to Ciaran:
    The 1992 event refers to the Year End Championships

  7. Albert
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Doug Flach beat Andre Agassi in 1996

  8. Ciaran
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Oh right…re-reading now it makes sense. Must have been sleeping yesterday *lol*

    I think Sampras’ losses were the most shocking, particularly against Krajicek as in 1996 he was still the player to beat. Both Hingis’ & Graf’s losses were kind of expected as Hingis was suffering the fallout of the French Open Final and Graf the semi-final loss at the French v Mary Pierce.

  9. Posted 3 June, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I hope Federer returns to the win in Wimbledon.

  10. Dave Moreno
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    anyone remembers Pistol Pete losing to George Bastl???

  11. amey chalke
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    i think sharapova defeated serena williams for 1st wimbledon title with easy win against
    defending champian in final in 2004……

    • elliot
      Posted 20 August, 2009 at 5:28 am | Permalink

      Mrs. LLoyd made all sorts of excuses for that stunning loss!!!

  12. Lon
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Kathy Jordan defeated Chris Evert in the 3rd round 1983: 6:1 7:6
    Evert was at least in the semi final for the previous 11 years !!! & the next 6 years. The winner in 1981 & finalist in 82.
    Jordan was not seded. She lost in the quarter final.

    Jennifer Capriati defeated Martina Navratilova in the quarter final 1991: 6:4 7:5
    Navratilova was the defending champion, all time 9 times champion, finalist in the previous 9 years!! number 4 in the world, 4 seed.
    Capriati was 16-year-old, ranked 12 in the world seeded 10. In her only previous tournament reached 4th round. She lost in the semi final.

  13. Saket
    Posted 4 June, 2009 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    How about Charlie Fancutt defeating Ivan Lendl in 1981?

  14. Posted 4 June, 2009 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Yes I remember as a kid when I saw Steffi was defeated by Lori McNeil. I felt an omen when I heard she was to play Lori in the 1st round match, and it came to be true. This was after her shocking defeat to Mary pierce in the French semis.

  15. Jane D
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    George Bastl? defeating Pete Sampras on No. 2 court

  16. Patrick
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I think Conchita Martinez defeating Martina Navratilova in the ’94 Final is up there with the biggest upsets of all time at Wimbledon. Martina was a 9 time Champion, and possibly the best grass court player of all time. Conchita played her heart out, and proved that she wasn’t just a clay court specialist. Unfortunatly, this was Navratilova’s last time playing singles at Wimbledon, and a match she was highly favored to win.

  17. daniel
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    I remember Ruano Pascal beat Martina Hingis in 2001, First round… that awas a MAJOR UPSET!!!

  18. Daman Arora
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    i think last year men’s finals was biggest upset for me

  19. nidhi arora
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    i think last year men’s finals was biggest upset for me

  20. Posted 8 June, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Well how About maria sharapova..when she upset two time defending Champion Serena Williams in 2004..she was 17 years old..!!

  21. ram
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    marion bartoli d. justine henin…..2007 SF

  22. Posted 20 July, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    It is just sports – there can be nothing upseting in sports.

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