The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century
Steve Flink


"Steve Flink is the right person to take on the task of selecting the best matches of the twentieth century. He knows the game of tennis as well as anybody. He is a good journalist, but he also has a tennis player's mind."
- Chris Evert, Former World Champion, Current NBC Tennis Analyst

"The perceptive Steve Flink takes you to courtside for the game's most illustrious matches and brings them back to life."
-Bud Collins, Boston Globe and NBC Sports

"The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century is a masterful tennis epic. Its pages are brimming with insight, hindsight, and as always with Steve Flink, 20/20 vision of the subtleties and complexities of a match. From Budge to Becker and 'Little Mo' to the mighty Martinas, he will guide you through the greatest matches you ever saw, or never saw. The game's finest players and brightest moments will come alive and play again, right before your eyes. This book is a tennis treasure."
- Mary Carillo, CBS Television Commentator

"Stroke by stroke, match by match, year by year, no writer knows the sport of tennis better than Steve Flink. Here, he brings his perspective, encyclopedic knowledge and unmatched passion to a subject too often treated frivolously, and in the process pulls off a bravura piece of scholarly journalism. For the serious tennis fan, this book goes beyond required reading-it stands as the rarest of accomplishments: an instant classic."
-S.L. Price, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated

"To see tennis through the eyes of Steve Flink is to wander through a wonderland. These are not fantasies, because Steve captures the essence of tennis matches in graphic detail. There is no one more passionate or caring about his subject."
- Cliff Drysdale, ESPN Tennis Anchor, Former World Top Ten Player

"No sports library in the twentieth century can be complete without Steve Flink's The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century. Flink has filled the pages with rich detail and background and makes you want to close your eyes and replay the points. His keen sense of drama and unfailing memory guide you through all the important elements-before, during, and afterward. This will be a book for the ages."
- Neil Amdur, Sports Editor, The New York Times

"Steve Flink has hit one ace after another. Anyone interested in the history of the game will be fascinated by this book. I couldn't put it down. This is a must read for all tennis fans."
- Jack Kramer, former Wimbledon and U.S. Champion

"Recommended Christmas reading: 1) The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century featuring Steve Flink's priceless combination of a fan's passion and a historian's attention to detail…"
- Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/27/99

"If you love tennis-and you people know who you are-there is a terrific coffee table book out from my old friend Steve Flink, who actually does love tennis more than anyone I know. It is called The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century and is published by Rutledge Books, Inc."
- Mike Lupica, "Shooting from the Lip", Daily News, 12/19/99

"Steve Flink has been casting his mind back to the great moments of the century and he has produced The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century. It is a collection of 30 contests, beginning with Suzanne Lenglen against Helen Wills at the Carlton Club and ending with Steffi Graf beating Martina Hingis at the French Open this year."
- Alix Ramsay, The Times (London), 12/18/99

"There is no shortage of personality in The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, by Steve Flink. Flink, a journalist and broadcaster from New York, has selected 30 matches, ranging from the 1920s-'when the sport's first towering figures and fascinating match-ups emerged'-to the summer of 1999, when Steffi Graf triumphed in an emotional French Open women's singles final against Martina Hingis. This author's extensive knowledge, and his sense of proportion, ensure the book is a work of intellect as well as passion."
- John Roberts, The Independent (London), 12/14/99

"… Clean, efficient, well-lit writing that gets to the guts of the match. Like its author, The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century is an essential part of the sports lore."
- Inside Tennis, December 1999- January 2000

"Last month, with the 1990s drawing to a close, there was a significant addition to tennis literature-The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, by American writer Steve Flink. A former editor of the defunct World Tennis magazine, Flink is a peerless analyst of stroke-by-stroke on-court action. He has surveyed the tennis scene for more than 30 years and personifies the term "student of the game."
- Tom Tebbutt, Toronto Globe & Mail, 1/1/00

"Flink's accomplishment is mighty, hearty, and a delicious reading experience. Though the premise of the book is simple, executing it with Flink's characteristic elan and brio is as arduous a challenge as playing Bjorn Borg on clay."
- Joel Drucker,, 1/4/00

Ranking the Greatest Matches of the Twentieth Century

1. Bjorn Borg d. John McEnroe, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6; final; Wimbledon; grass; 1980.
2. Suzanne Lenglen d. Helen Willis; 6-3, 8-6; final; Cannes, France; clay, 1926.
3. Don Budge d. Baron Gottfried von Cramm; 6-8,5-7,6-4,6-2,8-6; Davis Cup; grass; Wimbledon, 1937.
4. Ken Rosewall d. Rod Laver; l 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6; final; WCT Dallas Finals; indoor; 1972.
5. Chris Evert d. Martina Navratilova; 6-3, 6-7, 7-5; final; French Open; Paris; clay; 1985.
6. Pancho Gonzales d. Charlie Pasarell; 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9; first round; grass; Wimbledon; 1969.
7. Henri Cochet d. Beill Tilden; 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3; semifinal; Wimbledon; grass; 1927.
8. Monica Seles d. Steffi Graf; 6-2, 3-6, 10-8; final; French Open; clay; Paris; 1992.
9. Margaret Court d. Billie Jean King; 14-12, 11-9; final; Wimbledon; grass; 1970.
10. Pete Sampras d. Boris Becker; 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4; final; ATP Tour World Championships; Hanover, Germany; indoor; 1996.
11. Lew Hoad d. Tony Trabert; 13-11, 6-3, 2-6, 3-6, 7-5; Davis Cup; Melbourne; grass; 1953.
12. Martina Navratilova d. Christ Evert; 6-7, 6-4, 7-5; final; Australian Open; Melbourne; grass; 1981.
13. Rod Laver d. Tony Roche; 7-5, 22-20, 9-11, 1-6, 6-3; semifinal; Australian Open; Brisbane; grass; 1969.
14. Helen Wills Moody d. Helen Jacobs; 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; final; Wimbledon; grass; 1935.
15. Jimmy Connors d. Bjorn Borg; 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4; final; U.S. Open; clay; 1976.
16. Pancho Gonzales d. Lew Hoad; 3-6, 6-3, 14-12, 6-1, 6-4; final; U.S. Pro Championships; Cleveland; indoor; 1958.
17. Billie Jean King d. Evonne Goolagong; 3-6, 6-3, 7-5; final; U.S. Open; Forest Hills; grass; 1974.
18. John McEnroe d. Mats Wilander; 9-7, 6-2, 15-17, 3-6, 8-6; Davis Cup; St. Louis; indoor; 1982.
19. Jack Kramer d. Don Budge; 6-4, 8-10, 3-6, 8-6; Davis Cup; St. Louis; indoor; 1982.
20. Maria Bueno d. Margaret Smith; 6-4, 7-9, 6-3; final; Wimbledon; grass; 1964.
21. Pete Sampras d. Andre Agassi; 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; final; U.S. Open; Flushing Meadow; hard court; 1995.
22. Steffi Graf d. Martina Hingis; 4-6, 7-5, 6-2; final; French Open; Paris; clay; 1999.
23. Stan Smith d. Ilie Nastase; 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; final; Wimbledon; grass; 1972.
24. Maureen Connolly d. Doris Hart; 8-6, 7-5; final; Wimbledon; grass; 1953.
25. Arthur Ashe d. Jimmy Connors; 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4; final; Wimbledon; grass; 1975.
26. Martina Hingis d. Monica Seles; 3-6, 6-3, 7-6; final; Hilton Head Island, SC; clay; 1997.
27. Sarah Palfrey Cooke d. Pauline Betz; 3-6, 8-6, 6-4; final; Forest Hills; grass, 1945.
28. Stefan Edberg d. Ivan Lendl; 6-7, 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 9-7; semifinal; Australian Open; grass; 1985.
29. Fred Perry d. Ellsworth Vines; 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; Pro Tour Opening; Madison Square Garden, New York; indoor; 1937.
30. Althea Gibson d. Darlene Hard; 3-6, 6-1, 6-2; final; Forest Hills; grass; 1958.

The Twenty Best Players of the Twentieth Century


1. Pete Sampras
2. Rod Laver
3. Jack Kramer
4. Bill Tilden
5. Bjorn Borg
6. Don Budge
7. Pancho Gonzales
8. Jimmy Connors
9. John McEnroe
10. Ivan Lendl and Fred Perry (tie)


1. Steffi Graf
2. Martina Navratilova
3. Chris Evert
4. Helen Wills Moody
5. Margaret Smith Court
6. Suzanne Lenglen
7. Maureen Connolly
8. Billie Jean King
9. Monica Seles
Martina Hingis

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