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A history of Underdogs at Wimbledon

Underdogs at Wimbledon
Cori Gauff on centre Court in her 3rd round match against Polona Hercog

Our business at PledgeSports revolves around helping fund up and coming sports people, so we are well used to great underdog stories which can create a different dynamic in every sport and show that just about anything is possible. And win or loose that underdog can still inspire a generation.

Cori Gauff 2019

Anyone who followed Wimbledon this year will remember one name. Cori Gauff or Coco as the crowd affectionately roared, got a wild card entry to the ladies singles qualifying draw the week before it began and at 15 years old, no one gave her much of a chance.

Fast forward one week and the whole tennis world knows her name. She beat Venus Williams in the opening round. Then disposed of before Magdaléna Rybáriková in straight sets and then emerging triumphant from a Centre Court classic battle against Polona Hercog.

Unfortunately Simona Halep proved too strong for the 15 year old wining in straight sets 6-3 6-3 to progress to the quarterfinals.

This performance has catapulted Gauff on to the world stage and won her millions of fans as well as a very nice cheque. At this rate of progression she may even challenge her idol and the greatest ladies player of all time – Serena Williams some day.

Boris Becker Wimbledon 1985

greatest sports underdog

In the build-up to the 1985 Wimbledon Championships, a 17-year-old German face focused his preparations on the pre Wimbledon, Queens Club grass.  Have only turned professional the year before, this new serve and volley powerhouse – Boris Becker launched himself on to the tennis circuit by winning the Wimbledon warm up tournament.

Three weeks later he became Wimbledon’s first-ever unseeded champion beating Kevin Curran in 4 sets.  He would go on to win another 5 grand slam titles.

Marcus Wills 2016

This one is close to our hearts as Willis was on PledgeSports! He set up a crowdfunding page on PledgeSports in 2015 to try raise some funds to progress his career, fast forward 1 year and 25 year old Willis is ranked was close to calling time on a professional career which appeared to be going nowhere, but was persuaded to give tennis one last shot by his new girlfriend. Willis took her advice and battled through qualifying matches to to qualify for main draw at Wimbledon.

He pulled off a stunning first-round win over world number 54 Ricardas Berankis on the first Tuesday at Wimbledon, his first win at his first grand slam.

Next round was going to be a little tougher however as he faced the greatest mens tennis player of all time – Rodger Federer who has probably never played against such a low ranked player in any major tournament, the result wasn’t surprising, Roger Federer breezed through 6-0 6-3 6-4. The tennis legend and record setter in tennis had this to say about Willis:

“I have followed it, actually before I even saw him in my section of the draw. It’s one of the best stories in a long time in our sport,” Federer said.

“This is the kind of story we need. I think it’s great. I’m very excited to be playing him actually. It’s not something I get to do very often.”

Great underdog stories from across all sports

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