Selected to receive their sport’s highest honor, Goran Ivanisevic, Conchita Martinez and Lleyton Hewitt can find common ground in two areas. The first: seeing their International Tennis Hall Of Fame enshrinement impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivanisevic and Martinez were due to be inducted in 2020, while Hewitt was forced to defer his special day in Newport, R.I. to 2022 as a result of travel restrictions between Australia and the U.S.

The second is a much more uplifting link: Wimbledon glory. Here's a look at their title-winning runs, which played a large part in shaping their respective legacies:

A Rare Feat

While Bjorn Borg dominated at Wimbledon for five years running, the tournament wasn't particularly hospitable to baseliners. After Borg, JImmy Connors and Andre Agassi were the only two players to win from the back of the court in 1982 and '92, respectively. With Pete Sampras dominating after Agassi's win, and big servers Richard Krajicek and Goran Ivanisevic picking up titles, too, it appeared that the aggressive players were going to keep reaping the rewards. That changed in 2002 when Hewitt, the reigning US Open champion and world No. 1, came out on top of an upset-plagued draw to win the title, defeating another baseliner, 28th-seeded David Nalbandian, for the title. In the process, Hewitt became the first Australian male champ since Pat Cash in 1987—though he went about it in a completely different way than his scampering-to-the-net countryman.


Stopping a Legend

When she first hit the tour in the late 1980s, Martinez quickly established herself as one of top clay-courters among her peers. The Spaniard's game was built on versatility, and she experienced success on hard courts and carpet, as well. However, the sleek grass proved a little more difficult to manage until she made a breakthrough on the surface in 1993, by reaching the Wimbledon semifinals. Seeded third a year later, Martinez went even further: After eking out a semifinal win against Lori McNeil, who ousted Steffi Graf in the first round, she would go on to top Martina Navratilova—who was bidding for her 10th singles title at the All England Club—in the final. By denying Navratilova a record-extending win, Martinez became the first Spanish woman to win Wimbledon.

A Win for the Ages

During the 1990s, Ivanisevic was a familiar foil at Wimbledon as he reached the final three times—and lost on each occasion. In his first appearance in the championship match, he fell to Agassi in five sets as both were going for their first Grand Slam crown. On his two other runner-up showings, Ivanisevic fell to Sampras. By the turn of the century, it appeared that the Croatian was destined to go without a major title in his career, and in 2001, Ivanisevic only got into the Wimbledon draw by way of wild card. In one of the sport's great fairy-tale stories, Ivanisevic—ranked well outside the top 100—rode his always-booming lefty serve to the title, defeating Pat Rafter in five sets in the final, to finally lift the trophy after so many heartbreaking defeats.