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  Monday, 9 July, 2001, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
One of the great vintages
Goran Ivanisevic
Ivanisevic was a popular winner of a great Wimbledon
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Warshaw

There will always be an outspoken minority who reject the very notion of grass-court tennis.

But whatever anyone says about the surface, with its short, serve-dominated points and its unpredictable bounces, Wimbledon 2001 was surely one of the great vintages.

From the opening day, when Martina Hingis was dramatically ousted by a previously unknown Spaniard, to the last heart-stopping point in a breathtaking men's final, it was the Grand Slam tournament that had just about everything.

Goran Ivanisevic basks in the crowd's applause
Ivanisevic basks in the crowd's applause
It had dramatic upsets and memorable recoveries, emotional victories and devastating defeats.

It unearthed two 19-year-old stars in Roger Federer and Justine Henin. It had Henmania at its most vociferous and, of course, it produced the most unlikely of men's champions in Monday's so-called People's Final.

The unpredictability began on the very first day when Hingis, the world number one, was sent packing by Virginia Ruano Pascual, a player the Swiss Miss would have devoured nine times out of ten.

Predictably, the Spaniard herself lost in the next round and for the rest of the women's event, the status quo was restored.

But that didn't mean there were no stories.

Jennifer Capriati made sure of that. The American star, who had seriously lost her way on and off the court a few years ago, got so close to completing the third leg of what would have been the most sensational Grand Slam of all time.

Tim Henman bids the Centre Court farewell
Henman bowed out after the semis once more
Then there was Henin, who not only put Belgian tennis on the map but showed the world one of the most stylish backhands ever seen in the women's game.

She wasn't the only 19-year-old to set Wimbledon alight. Roger Federer, of whom great things had been predicted for over two years, stunned defending champion Pete Sampras with possibly the best individual display of the fortnight.

The Swiss teenager looked a certain champion of the future, even when losing to Tim Henman in the quarter-finals.

Ah, Tim Henman. This year, just like every year, any Brit with the remotest interest in tennis became a Henman fan for two weeks.

Especially on Centre Court. They screamed, they cheered, they did everything they could to urge on the British number one.

It should have been enough for a fired-up Henman to break the 65-year jinx for British men at Wimbledon. And it so nearly worked.

Justine Henin
Belgium's Henin is set to be a star of the future
With Sampras out of the draw, Henman never had a better chance and was well in control of his semi-final against Goran Ivanisevic.

But a combination of rain and, perhaps, fate conspired to wreck Tim's hopes and take the unseeded Croat into Monday's delayed final instead.

The rest, as they say, is history. At the fourth time of asking and against all the odds, Ivanisevic finally realised his dream in the greatest Wimbledon story of them all and in arguably the best ever atmosphere.

A wild card victor who had not won a title of any description for three and a half years. A remarkable end to a compelling fortnight and an inspiration to all no-hopers, whatever their sport.

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Links to more Wimbledon 2001 stories are at the foot of the page.


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