Each year we invite 6 of the games greats to entertain you on Centre Court at The Mere. Below is our player roll call who have appeared at The Mere
Goran Ivanisevic arrived on the global sporting stage in style, flying the Croatian flag in the Opening Ceremonies of both the Seoul and Barcelona Olympic Games in 1988 and 1992 respectively. The big-serving Croat also boats an impressive Davis Cup record with 20 wins and just 6 defeats to his name whilst representing Croatia between 1993 and 2005.
Ivanisevic won the hearts of the tennis world in becoming the first and still the only wild card entrant to win a Grand Slam at the 2001 Championships at Wimbledon, defeating Pat Rafter in a five set thriller: 6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7. After being greeted by nearly 200,000 fans upon return to his hometown of Split, this unprecedented feat led to him being crowned the BBC’s Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. Goran dedicated his 2001 Wimbledon victory to fellow countryman and former NBA star Drazen Petrovic, who died in a car accident in 1993.
Mark burst onto the scene at 19 years old when he knocked top seed Pete Sampras out of the Australian Open. Soon it became clear that a big serving star had been born. He once again had Sampras on the rocks four years later at Wimbledon and, whilst leading, tore a cartilage in his knee forcing him to retire. On-going problems with his knees meant that he struggled to fulfil the promise he showed in 1995 when he became the youngest man inside the world's top 50.
Despite injury troubles, he still reached two Grand Slam finals, at Wimbledon and the US Open. He also played a vital role in the Australian Davis Cup team who defeated France in 1999. Mark now lives in San Diego where he can fulfil his passion for surfing every day. He is a regular face at Champions Tour events around the world and has recently launched his own clothing line, Phlip Apparel.
Fleming was a highly successful professional tennis player. During the 1980s, Fleming teamed up with fellow American John McEnroe to dominate the men's doubles game. The duo won 50 doubles titles together, including four at Wimbledon and three at the US Open. This success triggered Fleming's famous, and modest, quote that "The best doubles pair in the world is John McEnroe and anyone", though arguably Fleming provided a perfect physical, technical and mental counterpart to McEnroe.
Since retiring as a player, Fleming has become a tennis commentator for Sky Sports, Eurosport and the BBC.
Jeremy is one of the UK’s most successful players. He won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon Mixed Doubles titles with Jo Durie as well as carrying British Davis Cup hopes almost singlehandedly for many years.
Former head of performance at the LTA and Captain of the Davis Cup team, he has played an important role in British tennis over the years and is one of very few players who can proudly claim a winning record against John McEnroe. Jeremy is married to Ruth and has two children.
Like Fleming, Jarryd’s singles career can sometimes be overlooked; however the Swede reached the Semi Finals at Wimbledon in 1985 before being knocked-out in four sets by Boris Becker. The same year Jarryd reached his career-high singles ranking World No. 5 in July, and captured the World No. 1 doubles ranking that August. Jarryd had success with his fellow compatriot’s Stefan Edberg and Hans Simonsson, but most of his doubles titles came with Australian John Fitzgerald.
Cedric is a gifted all-court player whose many achievements include reaching the Grand Slam Finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open. He was unlucky enough to meet Pete Sampras on both occasions.
His career highlights include winning the Davis Cup for France in both 1996 and 2001. He also won the prestigious Monte Carlo Masters and reached a career high of number 5. Since retiring from the ATP Tour, Cedric has worked as Tournament Director of the Masters Series event in Paris and with the French Tennis Federation with its elite men. Cedric has three children.
Xavier Malisse is a retired Belgian tennis player. Born in the north-western Flemish city of Kortrijk and nicknamed X-Man, he is only one of two players from Belgium (the other being David Goffin) to have been ranked in the top 20 of the ATP tour, with a career-high singles ranking of World No. 19.
The Swede with an English sense of humour, Mikael has a golf handicap of three, proving that all ball sports are his forte. It would be difficult to find anyone with finer touch or a wider array of shots. Mikael lives in Florida with Kristina and their children, Figge and Bella.
Mikael reached the French Open Final in 1986 on his first appearance at Roland Garros. He won the Masters Series event in Canada and is famously remembered for losing at Wimbledon to Connors after leading by two sets and 4-1. His career was severely blighted by injury, otherwise he would have surely won many more titles.
With his Gallic charm, sense of fun and stunning shot-making ability, he has always possessed the ability to send his supporters home happy. Perhaps Leconte’s proudest moment came while playing for the French Davis Cup team which Yannick Noah captained in 1991. Three months before the final, Henri was considering retirement, however Noah knew that he was the only one other than Guy Forget who could actually beat the phenomenally strong US team, and Leconte did, defeating Pete Sampras in straight sets to set up a French win of 3-1 against the US Team which also included Andre Agassi.
The 'Crocodile Dundee of Tennis', Peter had a distinguished singles career, spending two successive years in the top ten, reaching a high of number 7. He captured several titles including the Masters Series in Hamburg. Macca is perhaps best remembered for his doubles partnership with Paul McNamee. Together they won three Grand Slam doubles titles including two at Wimbledon. Whilst playing at his best, he suffered a horrific knee injury and was told he may never play again; however, he fought back to compete on the Tour, but never recaptured his previous success.
Since retiring, Peter has proved to be an astute coach working with both Mark Philippoussis and rising ATP star Grigor Dimitrov. He now lives in Germany with his wife Petra.
Former world number one in singles and doubles, Kim won three US Open titles and one Australian Open. She was the 1st unseeded player to win the US Open and the 1st unranked player to win a Grand Slam. She was also the rst mother to win a Grand Slam since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.
Younes El Aynaoui
Younes El Aynaoui reached a career high ranking of 14 in singles and is the winner of 5 ATP singles titles. The friendly Moroccan giant (he stands at almost 2 metres tall) faced many obstacles in his youth trying to progress at a time when his home country had few facilities to support his chosen profession. He was the first Moroccan to ever turn professional. Younes enjoyed a great career and continues to work in professional tennis. When not on the exhibition courts he can be found coaching the Qatar Davies Cup Team.
Thomas reached a career high of number 4 and won and impressive 19 ATP World Tour titles, including three Masters Series events. He was a finalist at the Australian Open in 1999 where he lost to Yevgeny Kafelnikov and also reached the Quarter-Finals at Wimbledon.
Since retiring from the main tour, Thomas has worked with the Swedish Tennis Federation and served as the country’s Davis Cup Captain. He is also a regular expert commentator for Eurosport Sweden. He is the Tournament Director at the Kings of Tennis event in Stockholm. Thomas is married to Carine and they have one son, Tim.
French former professional tennis player. Marion won the 2013 Wimbledon Championships singles title after previously being runner-up in 2007 and was a semi-finalist at the 2011 French Open. She also won eight Women’s Tennis Association singles titles and three doubles titles.