1986 Wimbledon 

This 1986 Wimbledon tournament saw two great firsts: the replacement of white balls by yellow ones, and Hana Mandlikova‘s first victory over Chris Evert-Lloyd on the courts of the All England Club.

But in the finals, tradition was respected and Martina Navratilova claimed her 6th victory despite Hana Mandlikova‘s fine resistance.

1st round in 1986 Wimbledon : Hana Mandlikova vs Joy Tacon

Mandlikova Cruises Past Tacon in Tournament Opener.

Hana Mandlikova made an easy entry into the tournament, facing little resistance from British player Joy Tacon. Mandlikova lost only 2 games, winning the match in under 40 minutes. However, this quick victory did not provide a convincing test of the Czech player’s form, given the modest level of her opponent.

2D Round in 1986 Wimbledon : Hana Mandlikova vs Catherine Tanvier

Mandlikova Defeats Tanvier at Wimbledon

In the past, Hana has had several complicated matches against France’s Catherine Tanvier, including here at Wimbledon two years ago.

The first set was no exception, as Tanvier, like Mandlikova, loved nothing more than to be back on the London grass.

The Frenchwoman’s aggressive, topspin-based game from the baseline troubled Mandlikova in the first set. For Hana, this was essentially her tournament debut, as her first-round opponent provided little challenge..

But once Mandlikova settled into the match, she put Tanvier to the sword and after a tight first set, 7-5 for the Czech, she then showed her talent and mastery of the grass court game to win the second 6-2.

Hana has now really entered the tournament.

Mandlikova in 1986 Wimbledon

3rd round in 1986 Wimbledon : Hana Mandlikova vs Iva Budarova

Mandlikova Dominate in Scorching Wimbledon Heat

Hana Mandlikova crushed fellow Czech Iva Budarova 6-2 6-0.

Mandlikova, the 1981 runner-up, was in ruthless form as she dealt almost nonchalantly with opposition which at this level might have been expected to provide stiffer resistance.

Mandlikova won the last 10 games against the ever-strugling Budarova. It must have been Mandlikova’s most satisfying Wimbledon performance since appearing in the final five years ago.

4th round in 1986 Wimbledon : Hana Mandlikova vs Carling Bassett

Mandlikova Secures Victory Over Bassett, Advances Quietly at Wimbledon

Third-seeded Hana Mandlikova has been sneaking through the draw, winning easily and not drawing any attention. Yesterday, when she defeated 11th-seeded Carling Bassett 6-4, 7-6, was the first time she played on one of the show courts and the first time she was requested in the interview room. “It doesn’t matter to me that people assume that Chris and Martina (Navratilova) are going to meet each other in the final,” said Mandlikova, the 1981 Wimbledon runner-up to Lloyd. “It puts less pressure on me, which I like.” Mandlikova has yet to lose a set in her victories over Joy Tacon, Catherine Tanvier, Iva Budarova and Bassett.

Considering that Carling Bassett had always been a tricky opponent for Mandlikova, having lost to her in the 1984 US Open quarterfinals and at the 1985 LIPTC, this dominant performance was particularly reassuring for Hana.

“I feel I’ve learned to handle any pressure now, compared to four or five years ago,” Mandlikova said. “This is maybe a bad time for me, because they (Navratilova and Lloyd) are really great players. Being around the same time is very difficult. I’m No. 3 for three years, and of course, I am trying, but they’re so good. I’m good also. I wish they would still be around when I’m No. 1.”

Quarterfinal in 1986 Wimbledon : Hana Mandlikova vs Lori McNeil

Mandlikova Overcomes Early Setback to Reach Semifinals

Yesterday on Court No. 1, Hana Mandlikova faced Lori McNeil in a dramatic match. Mandlikova started strong, winning four of the first five games, but faltered at set point with a double fault, losing the set in a tiebreaker to McNeil, who is ranked 78th in the world. Despite the early setback, Mandlikova rebounded impressively, winning the next ten games and wrapping up the match in less than an hour.

The final score was 6-7 (4-7), 6-0, 6-2, propelling Mandlikova into the semifinals where she will face Chris Evert Lloyd. Mandlikova remained confident throughout, stating,

“I figured I would win all along,”

despite losing three set points in the first set.

McNeil acknowledged Mandlikova‘s superior play, saying,

“I guess that is why she is ranked third in the world. She picked up her game.”

Mandlikova attributed her win to playing percentage tennis, explaining :

“When you are playing against someone who is loose and has nothing to lose, if you play percentage tennis, you usually win.”

Her performance drew praise from Billie Jean King, who commented,

“Hana played a smart match today. I find her so much more confident now. Winning the Open helped her.”

Semifinal in 1986 Wimbledon : Hana Mandlikova vs Chris Evert-Lloyd

Fourteen points in a row. Chris Evert Lloyd lost 14 points In a row in the second set and lost in the Wimbledon semifinals yesterday to Hana Mandlikova. Take a powder, tennis fans. Sure, stranger things have happened on the women’s tour.

Martina Navratllova lost a set once. A teen-ager with pigtails rushed the net once. But otherwise, the women’s game has experienced few more surprising sights than Mandlikova‘s 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 victory on Centre Court. It was not the first time Mandlikova had beaten Evert-Lloyd. In fact, they had split their last six matches.

But yesterday’s victory was Hana‘s first over Chrissie on grass.

“I tried, but when I did, the shots I hit to come back in my last two matches were not there on the big points. I give Hana credit. She played great pressure tennis.”

Mandlikova will play Navratilova In tomorrow’s final on Centre Court. Navratilova, the top seed, easily defeated 16-year-old Gabriela Sabatini, 6-2. 6-2, in yesterday’s other semifinal. Navratilova and Evert-Lloyd had played In three of the previous four finals. But slowly, it seems, the shape of the women’s game is changing.

The reason is Mandlikova. Last year, she defeated Evert-Lloyd and Navratilova on two consecutive weeks of the Virginia Slims Circuit, then defeated Evert-Lloyd and Navratilova to win the U.S. Open.

“I see a big change in Hana as a person and player,” Evert-Lloyd said. “She is a lot nicer and much more relaxed. She is maturing.

Right now, she is playing the best of the other girls besides Martina. She deserves to be in the final. The way I’m playing, I would not have given Martina much of a match.”

Mandlikova in 1986 Wimbledon

Mandlikova will if she plays at all as she did In the last five games yesterday. She won 22 of the last 28 points, broke Evert-Lloyd‘s serve twice and rallied from a 5-2 deficit In the set to close out the match.

Making it even more impressive was that, in the sixth game, she had gotten upset at a linesman’s call and briefly lost her composure. Evert-Lloyd had gone on to break her serve and take a 4-2 lead, then hold to make it 5-2.

“The call bothered me, but after a game or so, I forgot about it.”

Evert Mandlikova in 1986 Wimbledon

When she did, she began her five-game streak by winning 14 points in a row. She held her serve at love in the eighth game, then broke Evert-Lloyd in the ninth with a series of winners. On three of the four points, Mandlikova hit accurate, forceful approach shots that either won the point outright or caused an error by Evert Lloyd.

Still, serving for the match, Mandlikova briefly wavered. hit two forehand passing shots to go ahead in the game, love-30. Mandlikova rallied to 30-all a lob by Evert-Lloyd barely missed the line then hit an unreturnable serve to reach match point. But Evert-Lloyd put her next return at Mandlikova‘s feet, and Mandlikova volleyed into the net.

Deuce. Mandlikova then hit a forehand approach shot over the baseline, giving Evert-Lloyd a break point. If she won it, there would be a tie-breaker. Mandlikova missed her first serve badly, then surprised Evert with a high-kicking second serve. Evert-Lloyd‘s backhand return flew long.

Mandlikova then reached match point again with an overhead winner on the next point, and won the match, fittingly, by approaching net and putting away a backhand volley. She shrieked In delight.

“It is not my best match at Wimbledon, I would say,” said Mandlikova, who lost in the 1981 final in straight sets to Lloyd. “When I beat Martina here in the semifinals In 1981. 1 played a little better.

I think. But today I played very well. Very, very well.

“I hit a very high percentage of serves in. I served good.

When someone puts pressure on you like that, it is difficult. Chris had two tough matches before this. Instead of helping her, I think she was a little tired. She was prepared to play me, but a little tired.”

So now, Mandlikova will play Navratilova for the 25th time In their careers. Navratilova has an 18-6 lead, and has won all three of their matches on grass.

Mandlikova in 1986 Wimbledon

The most recent, though, was a close, three-set match at the 1985 Australian Open. “Hana is capable of beating Martina on grass,” Chris Evert said. “But I still would have to put my money on Martina. Hana, with all her great shots and flashy shots, still is making a few mistakes.” Not many, though. At least not yesterday..

Final : Hana Mandlikova vs Martina Navratilova

Mandlikova starts out strong, but title hopes slip away in rain

Hana Mandlikova’s hopes for the 1986 Wimbledon singles title disappeared in the misting drizzle on Center Court. The 24-year-old Chechoslovakian dominated the first half-hour of Saturday’s championship match. She ran down the shots of Martina Navratilova, drove her own ground-strokes deep and came to net quickly with plenty of time to angle soft volleys. Then the mist started and the grass became Mandlikova‘s second foe. She fell down twice after serving, could not set herself to attempt passing shots and was denied the quick, initial movement crucial for an effective service return.

Navratilova Mandlikova in 1986 Wimbledon

The balls were damp and heavy during the final 40 minutes of the one-hour, 12-minute match, benefitting the stronger Navratilova, who eventually won 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.

Mandlikova explained, “The ball got very heavy and I felt she had the power to hit the ball harder than me. If the ball is lighter, like when I played against Chris (Evert Lloyd in the semifinals), I can do more with it I can hit the serve hard, I can return.

“She just served so well, normally you can Just block it, but the ball was so heavy I couldn’t even do that I prefer sunny weather.”

Mandlikova, who lost the 1981 final here to Evert, has not won a set in either title match, but after Saturday’s match said,

“I had my chances in the first set. She just played a great match.”

More than a dozen years ago, Mandlikova was a ball-girl for Navratilova, 29, at matches in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where both finalists were born.

Mandlikova says that while she no longer idolizes Wimbledon‘s newest seven-time singles champion, she has the greatest respect for her achievement : 

“I don’t think (I’m awed) anymore, I’ve beaten her several times. But I think her achievements are unbelievable. Maybe there’s nobody else who can do it She has the perfect game for grass. It’s unbelievable, like Bjorn Borg.”

“I think it was obvious she was nervous at the beginning,” Mandlikova said. “She’s the No. 1 player in the world and all of the pressure was on her, not on me.” Finally, 14 minutes Into the match, Navratilova held her serve, but was forced to deuce before she did. Her strokes finding every line and seemingly getting the benefit of every net cord, the third-seeded Mandlikova held at love in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead. Although Navratilova held her service to pull to 5-3, Mandlikova served for the first set. It was Navratilova‘s turn to find the lines.

She blocked a backhand service return that hit the sideline, going up love-15. On the third point Mandlikova sailed a backhand long, one of the few unforced errors she bad produced up to that point In the match. Then, Navratilova ripped a cross-court backhand passing shot to reach 15-40 and closed out the break with a backhand volley as both players were at the net. It was Navratilova‘s turn to serve, and she began with an ace, her first of five in the match. Three points later, she had pulled even at 5-5. The two battled into a tiebreaker, which Navratilova won 7-1 after taking the first four points.

The match was 43 minutes old, and Navratilova by now had shaken off her nervousness and had her game In top gear.

Mandlikova couldn’t keep up the pace and Navratilova, her big server-working to perfection, became machine-like in her precision, controlling the tempo and every point ” Mandlikova was the last player to defeat Navratilova on grass in England, in the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1981. And she had a 6-5-lead in the first set Saturday before Navratilova forced the tlebreak. It was to be her last lead in the match as Navratilova took the opening game of the second set. The left-hander began the third game with ace No. 3. and even though she lost the next point it ended a string where Navratilova hit 22 consecutive first serves.

She broke Mandlikova in the fourth game, then held her own service In the fifth game after being, down 15-40. The match, for all practical purposes, was over. Serving for the match, Navratilova found herself down another break point when she let a backhand service return go by. It fell Just Inside the corner. She erased that with her fifth ace, moved to match point with a forehand volley, then captured the title with a backhand volley Into an open court. She raised her arms In relief as much as Joy.

Then the two combatants shook hands and walked off the court with their arms around each other.

“I guess It gets harder (to win Wimbledon) because It means’ more,” Navratilova said. “It really does.”.



  • Wimbledon, UK – June 23- July 7, 1986
  • $1 204 980 – All England Club – Grass

singles : seeded #3

  • R1 : + Joy Tacon 6-1 6-1
  • R2 : + Catherine Tanvier 7-5 6-2
  • R3 : + Iva Budarova 6-2 6-0
  • R4 : + Carling Bassett(11) 6-4 7-6
  • QF : + Lori McNeil 6-7(4) 6-0 6-2
  • SF : + Chris Evert-Lloyd(2) 7-6(5) 7-5
  • F : – Martina Navratilova(1) 6-7(1) 3-6

/ Wendy Turnbull(3)

  • R1 : + Lisa Bonder/ Mary-Lou Piatek 6-4 6-4
  • R2 : + Barbara Gerken/ Dinky Van Rensburg 7-5 7-6
  • R3 : + Kathy Jordan/ Alycia Moulton 7-6 3-6 9-7
  • QF : + Jennifer Mundel/ Molly Van Nostrand 2-6 6-1 6-2
  • SF : + Patty Fendick/ Jill Hetherington 3-3 6-7 6-3
  • F : – Martina Navratilova/ Pam Shriver(1) 1-6 3-6