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July Fourth and Wimbledon share memorable moments in history

Five thoughts on Day 2 action at Wimbledon 2017 on the Fourth of July.

LONDON – Sports has always had a weird relationship with July 4. The owners Al Davis and George Steinbrenner—our King George—were both born on July Fourth. We’ve seen no-hitters and Grand Slams on July 4. It was on the Fourth that No. 4, Lou Gehrig, declared himself the luckiest man alive.

But the Fourth is particularly fraught in tennis: the date coincides with Wimbledon—the signature event in the country that triggered the holiday in the first place. It was 36 years ago to the day that John McEnroe won his first singles title at Wimbledon. This prompted Bud Collins approached the curly-haired American following the match that July 4, 1981, and gush: “Stuck a feather in his cap and called it McEnroe-ni!”

On July 4, 1993, Wimbledon offered an All-American final, Pete Sampras beating Jim Courier. In 1999, Sampras beat Andre Agassi to win the men’s title. And another American, Lindsay Davenport, won the women’s title, beating Steffi Graf of all people.

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Pam Shriver was born on July 4. So was Jill Craybas. And young American Ernesto Escobedo, who turned 21 and lost his first round match on Tuesday. Even the date, 7-4, has a tennis ring—sounds like tiebreaker score, doesn't it?

Thomas Jefferson died on July 4—amazingly, fifty years to the day after we adopted the Declaration of Independence. Later that same day, John Adams died. It was Adams who wrote that July Fourth “should be celebrated with shows, games and sports."

We do just that. And so it is that—from England of all places—we wish everyone a happy holiday. 

Here are some thoughts on Day 2 at the All England Club.