John Inverdale: the finals of 1972 and 1977

For all the matches that I have been lucky enough to see live at Wimbledon and elsewhere, the two that stick in my mind were games that I watched on television.

Ilie Nastase was my hero when I first started playing, and when he lost the final in 72 in 5 sets to Stan Smith, I took an instant dislike to the giant American which lasted for more than 30 years until I met him and realised how charming he was and maybe not such a bad guy after all.

Five years later, I sat in the TV room at university watching Virginia Wade play Betty Stove in the women's final.

There was a Dutch guy who lived in the room next to me in my hall of residence, and he arrived in the TV lounge draped in orange as the Dutch invariably do.

A group of us who wanted Virginia to win promptly went back to our rooms and found every item of clothing that we had which was red white or blue and laid them out in a makeshift flag on the floor in front of the TV.

Virginia won and he bought us all drinks. 35 years later, we're still waiting for another British victory..............

Memory added on June 25, 2012


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