By ESPNSTAR.com staff
He was 'the' player of the late 1980s. He held the world No. 1 ranking for 270 weeks - a record only bested by Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. And he has eight Grand Slam singles titles to his name.
But Ivan Lendl has never won Wimbledon.
It's still an incredible sentence to read, even though it has been almost two decades since the great Czechoslovakian - he is now a U.S. citizen - retired from tennis in 1994.
Lendl was an all-around strong player. He was actually a much better grass court player than people give him credit for. A perfectionist in training, Lendl's relentless shot-making ability from the baseline made him a formidable opponent on any surface and helped paved the way for the modern era of 'power tennis' that we see today.
His serve was powerful but inconsistent; his net play was not world class either but of a sufficient quality that it did not make him a weak player at Wimbledon. In fact, Lendl reached the finals of Wimbledon twice (1986 and 1987) and the semi-finals on seven occasions.
Lendl is surely the greatest player to have never won Wimbledon; his only fault was playing in an era which included the best grass court players of all time like Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Stefan Edberg.
It was Becker who denied Lendl in the 1986 Wimbledon final, dismantling the Czech in straight sets 6-4 6-3 7-5.
In Lendl's only other Wimbledon final appearance (1987), the world No.1 lost again in straight sets 7-6 6-2 7-5 to Australian Pat Cash.
It takes a special sort of player for Wimbledon queen Martina Navratilova to get excited about. So when the nine-times Wimbledon champion described Justine Henin as the "female Federer", the stage was set for the Belgian to go on to achieve great things at the All England Club.
It just didn't happen.
Henin retired from tennis (for a second time) in 2011 with many impressive accolades to her name - former world No.1 player, seven-time Grand Slam champion - but the title of Wimbledon champion eluded her throughout her career.
It was not like she didn't have chances to win it. Henin made the finals of Wimbledon twice (2001 and 2006) but on both occasions she fell in three sets.
Her first bitter taste of losing a Wimbledon final came in 2001 when she was beaten in ruthless fashion 6-1 3-6 6-0 by Venus Williams. Henin fared slightly better five years later at the 2006 Wimbledon final by taking the first set 6-2 against Amelie Mauresmo before losing two closely contested sets in a row 6-3 6-4.
Why exactly Henin has not managed to win Wimbledon remains a bit of a mystery. She has the game to win on grass including a surprisingly big serve for someone who is 5ft 5in tall, not to mention one of the best one handed backhands tennis has ever seen. She was never afraid to attack the net when the point called for it and her footspeed and footwork was second to none.
Henin's seven Grand Slam titles proved she has the mental toughness to win a two-week long tournament but perhaps the absence of a Wimbledon title suggests she may have been lacking in one area of her game: Athleticism - and the ability to generate that extra bit of power to see her through on the slick grass surface in tough encounters against the 'power-players' of the women's game like the Williams sisters.
Or maybe she simply lacked that little bit of luck which is needed to win any Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
When you talk about the greatest tennis players never to have won Wimbledon, Tim Henman's name must be high up that list. It is true that Henman may not have the same Grand Slam credentials as some of the other illustrious names catalogued here, but you could also say that none of those players - whether it is Lendl or Henin - had to deal with the type of pressure to win Wimbledon which the Brit had to endure.
It was beyond massive.
For nearly a decade Henman carried a whole nation's hopes on his shoulders as Great Britain's most successful tennis player since Roger Taylor in the 1970s. Henman also had a unique family history with the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world - his maternal great-grandmother, Ellen Stanwell-Brown, was the first woman to serve overarm at Wimbledon.
'Tiger Tim' as he is affectionately known as in the UK media, reached four Wimbledon semi-finals (1998, 1999, 2001, 2002) during his career, but it was his five sets loss to wild card Goran Ivanisevic in the last-four of the competition in 2001 which will go down as his best chance at winning Wimbledon.
Henman appeared on the brink of the final when he came from a set down to lead by two sets to one with some dazzling serve and volley tennis. Rain delays caused the semi-final to be played over the course of three days which seemed to affect Henman's rhythm more than Ivanisevic. In the end, the Croatian crushed home hopes of a Henman win by winning 7-5 6-7 0-6 7-6 6-3 and then went on to lift the Wimbledon trophy after defeating Australian Pat Rafter in the final.
Henman's elegant serve-and-volley style made him a popular figure with tennis fans around the world and he enjoyed a successful career reaching a career-high ranking of No.4 in the world and six Grand Slam semi-finals (four came at the All-England Club).
'Tiger Tim' finally called it a day in 2007 and finished with a winning percentage record of just over 64% (his career record on grass is better at 71%), but will always be remembered for his Wimbledon failings.
If there's one player on this list who most people would have loved to see win Wimbledon then it has to be Patrick Rafter. The Australian was held in high regard by his peers and tennis fans alike - and it didn't hurt that he emerged as one of the best serve and volleyers in the game since Stefan Edberg.
Rafter was at his most dangerous on the hard courts of the U.S. Open where his kick-serve provided him with so many free points as well as two Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows (1997 and 1998).
The Australian's best spells at Wimbledon came shortly after his U.S. Open triumphs where he was unfortunate to lose his semi-final tie to an inspired Andre Agassi in 1999. A year later he played one of the best matches of his career to beat Agassi in five sets to reach his first Wimbledon final where he would face another American - 'Pistol' Pete Sampras.
Unfortunately for Rafter, nothing was going to stop Sampras from winning that final in 2000. The big-serving American was gunning for - at the time - a record breaking 13th Grand Slam title and he beat Rafter 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2.
The following year, Rafter again defeated Agassi to reach the finals where he would face another of Wimbledon's greatest nearly men in Goran Ivanisevic. What would unfold in that 2001 Wimbledon final will forever be etched in the mind of any tennis fan who witnessed it.
With the game deadlocked at two sets apiece, the Croatian finally got the break of serve in the 15th game of the fifth set to lead 8-7. Serving to win the championship - a title he had previously lost in the final in 1992, 1994 and 1998 - Ivanisevic began to cry. He kissed the ball. He crossed himself. He was trying to relax but still double-faulted one point from victory.
Finally, on the fourth championship point, Ivanisevic produced a service winner to take the match 6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7 and Wimbledon.
And in the process Ivanisevic ensured that it was his opponent's name - Rafter - and not his own which would make the list as one of the greatest players to have never won Wimbledon.
Andy Roddick's inclusion on this list may be a little premature. After all, the powerful American is ranked 33 in the world by the ATP Tour and still has some time yet at the top of men's tennis being only 29-years old. Yet, you cannot discount the fact that his best chance at winning Wimbledon, may have already passed him by.
Roddick's career shot to prominence in 2003 when he won the U.S. Open and things were progressing smoothly when he reach the Wimbledon final in 2004. In the final, Roddick played the sublime Roger Federer who had to dig deep to win the title 4-6 7-5 7-6 6-4.
The pair would meet again in the 2005 Wimbledon final where the Swiss produced a near-perfect performance to beat Roddick 6-2 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.
Roddick's last appearance at a Wimbledon final came in 2009 where he faced - yes you guessed it - Roger Federer again!
Perhaps sensing this might be his last chance at winning the 'Holy Grail' of men's tennis, Roddick gave it everything he had
When Roddick took the fourth set 6-3 the momentum was clearly with the American heading into the fifth and decisive set. With no tie-break on offer, the match reached epic proportions as both men battled past the four-hour mark.
Finally, it was Roddick who cracked in the 30th game of the set. Three mishits off the frame gave Federer the chance at Championship point and he took it as another Roddick mishit sailed long.
In the process Federer became tennis's greatest men's champion by beating Roddick 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 16-14 to claim his sixth Wimbledon crown and a record - at the time - 15th Grand Slam title.
Roddick showed at last year's Wimbledon that his serve still carries considerable juice - he clocked the fastest serve at the tournament in 2011 with a 143mph fireball. But he'll need more than that alone to win Wimbledon.
A good return of serve is just as important on grass and Roddick will also need to add more consistency to his backhand.
Do this and just maybe Andy Roddick stands a chance at being left off the list the next time the discussion turns to the greatest players never to have won Wimbledon.