NBC analyst Donald Dell, who also represented Roscoe Tanner, persuaded Tanner to delay in the locker room with a "bathroom emergency,” allowing NBC to get both players coming onto the court. Bjorn Borg went on to win the five-set match.
The following year, the "Battle of 18-16” tiebreaker between Borg and McEnroe boosted popularity for the morning telecasts. Historic matches followed with Boris Becker becoming the youngest men’s winner in 1985 at the age of 17, the Williams sisters riveting the crowd with their athleticism and Pete Sampras’ record run of championships.
McEnroe called Roger Federer’s victory over Rafael Nadal in the men’s finals last year "the greatest match we’ve ever seen.” That epic five-setter drew the best audience in 17 years.
Unfortunately for tennis, those ratings are rare as the sport rarely has recaptured the excitement of those early "Breakfast at Wimbledons.”