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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

Hi. My articles are now published on two sites: The Bleacher report and an Australian website called the Big Tip

http://www.thebigtip.com.au/tennis/8...-win-wimbledon

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/4...-win-wimbledon

Hope you like the article: Read on.....


With Wimbledon fast approaching, it would be interesting to take a look at some of the best players who excelled at Wimbledon but never managed to lift the trophy in the last 30 years

.

Ivan Lendl

Ivan had a very good grass court record. He made it to two finals in 1986 and 1987, plus the semifinals in 1983, 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1990.



You won’t get a much better record than that. Plus, there have been players who have won Wimbledon with nowhere near as good an overall record of wins. Lendl lost in straight sets to a brilliant Boris Becker in 1986 and Pat Cash in 1987.

Lendl had many attributes to win Wimbledon, including a big serve plus athleticism, but the criticism was that he changed his game for the grass by serving and volleying when he should have played his natural game instead.

This critique is tough because back then everyone came to the net, and the grass courts weren’t as playable for baseline tennis as they are now.



Pat Rafter

Pat Rafter did not have his best results at Wimbledon until towards the end of his career.

A contemporary of Sampras and Ivanisevic , Rafter took to the grass courts from 1998 onwards—up until that point, Rafter was a hard court player due to the big kick serve and even bounce hard courts offered his game.

One can argue Rafter was unlucky; in 1999 he lost in the semifinal to an inspired Andre Agassi.

In 2000, Rafter played the best match of his career beating Agassi in five sets in the semifinal but came up against Sampras in the final. Even though Rafter won the first set in a tiebreak, Sampras was always threatening to run away with the match by persistently returning well, and he eventually did after turning around the second set tiebreak.

In 2001, Rafter came from behind twice to defeat Agassi in a five-set thriller in the semifinal and then played one of the best matches of the Open era against Ivanesivic in an amazing five set final with both players desperate to win after Sampras’ demise.

Both players deserved to win, but Goran came through 9-7 in the fifth to avoid being included in this discussion.

Rafter had all the physical and mental attributes to win Wimbledon but maybe just didn’t have the little bit of luck needed at the highest level to pull it off.



Andy Roddick

Perhaps I’m too quick to include Andy here because he’s still on the Tour and not yet 30 years old.

But you wonder if his last chance has gone after blowing the second set tiebreak last year against Federer in the final.

Roddick has been to three finals, each time losing to Roger Federer, so one can argue that he has been slightly unlucky.

However, I can also argue that out of everyone in this list, Roddick is the least talented and relies too much on his serve. He doesn’t possess the athleticism of the other players mentioned, and his return game is the least effective.

The media is always focused on the serve, but if you cannot return serve well, winning Wimbledon is impossible.

As Sampras has always said, it’s the return of serve that wins Wimbledon—otherwise we would see Karlovic and Rusesdki win Wimbledon were it just about the serve.

Roddick still has time so lets see what happens.



Tim Henman

Henman is an interesting choice because he never actually made a final. But he did make it to four semi finals from 1998 to 2002.

Henman had a lot going for him. He was very athletic, he had fanatical home support, and had a very nice return game.

His best chance came in 2001 when he had Ivanesivic on the rack in the third set, but the rain came and changed everything.

He also gave Sampras a good match in 1999, taking the first set, but Sampras’ experience proved too much in the end.

In my view the reason Henman never won Wimbledon was he simply did not have the power to go with his athleticism.

His serve wasn’t strong enough consistently, and he was never able to serve many aces or unreturnables, so he always had to work hard, and eventually that takes its toll against the best players—in other words, Henman wasn’t able to intimidate the opposition into mistakes.



Mark Phillippoussis

Mark made it to the final in 2003, losing to Roger Federer, who won his first Wimbledon.

Roger was the better player that day, and even though there were two tiebreaks, Roger’s return game made the difference.

Mark had many gifts—he was physically imposing and had one of the biggest and best serves in the game.

Unfortunately Mark had many injury issues, and the word is that he didn’t have the discipline to work hard enough on his game to get the best out of himself.

Therefore you can argue that Mark was a wasted talent—unfortunately for him.



Justine Henin

Like Roddick, Justine is still on the tour, having come out of retirement with the goal of trying to win Wimbledon.

Justine has been to two finals and one semifinal, losing to Venus Williams in three sets in 2001 and Amelie Mauresmo in three sets in 2006.

Justine has a beautiful game for grass, she’s athletic, and she's not afraid to attack the net or serve and volley. Plus Justine can use the slice to keep the ball low against the many two-handers out there on the backhand side.

What has prevented Henin winning Wimbledon up to now?

In my view Justine has the same issue as Henman. Her lack of power so far has made the difference and prevented her from being able to able to conquer Wimbledon.

Lets see what happens this year.



Arantxa Sanchez Vicario

Arantxa has a record similar to Lendl—finalist twice and semifinalist on a few occasions.



Arantxa faced Steffi Graf in 1995 and 1996. In 1995, Arantxa gave everything, but there was an incredible ninth game in the third set which lasted almost 25 minutes, andSteffi was bale to eventually break and serve out for the title. In 1996 Steffi was always in control.

Arantxa was a crafty and intelligent player who was tactically aware. She won the French Open three times and the US Open once, beating Graf in a great final in 1994.

But again, at Wimbledon, Arantxa just lacked the power and athleticism of her rivals, including Graf, Novotna, and Navratilova.



I would like to finish the article with a few honourable mentions who had the game to win Wimbledon and managed to win after coming so close on many occasions.



Honorable Mentions (winners)

Goran Ivanesivic, Jana Novotna, and Amelie Mauresmo.

Last edited by laurie; Jun 18th, 2010 at 08:39 PM.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurie View Post
Hi. My articles are now published on two sites: The Bleacher report and an Australian website called the Big Tip

http://www.thebigtip.com.au/tennis/8...-win-wimbledon

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/4...-win-wimbledon

Hope you like the article: Read on.....

By the way, its not just about men players, two women players are covered in the article


With Wimbledon fast approaching, it would be interesting to take a look at some of the best players who excelled at Wimbledon, but never managed to lift the trophy in the last 30 years.

Ivan Lendl – Ivan had a very good grass court record. He made it to two finals in 1985 and 1986 plus semi finals in 1983, 1984, 1988, 1989 and 1990. You won’t get a much better record than that plus there have been players who have won Wimbledon with nowhere near as good an overall record of wins. Lendl lost in straight sets to a brilliant Boris Becker in 1986 and Pat Cash in 1987.

Lendl had many attributes to win Wimbledon including a big serve and athleticism but the criticism was that he changed his game for the grass by serving and volleying and should have played his natural game instead. Tough because back then everyone came to the net and the grass courts weren’t as playable for baseline Tennis as they are now.


Pat Rafter – Pat Rafter did not have his best results at Wimbledon until towards the end of his career. A contemporary of Sampras and Ivanesivic, Rafter took to the grass courts from 1998 onwards – up until that point, Rafter was a hard court player due to the big kick serve and even bounce hard courts offered his game.

One can argue Rafter was unlucky; in 1999 he lost in the semi final to an inspired Andre Agassi. In 2000 Rafter played the best match of his career beating Agassi in 5 sets in the semi final but came up against Sampras in the final. Even though Rafter won the 1st set on a tiebreak, Sampras was always threatening to run away with the match with persistent good returning, which he eventually did after turning around the 2nd set tiebreak.

In 2001, Rafter came from behind twice to defeat Agassi in a 5 set thriller in the semi final and then played one of the best matches of the Open era against Ivanesivic in an amazing 5 set final with both players desparate to win after Sampras’ demise. Both players deserved to win but Goran came through 9-7 in the 5th to avoid been included in this discussion!

Rafter had all the physical and mental attributes to win Wimbledon but maybe just didn’t have the little bit of luck needed at the highest level to pull it off.

Andy Roddick – Perhaps I’m too quick to include Andy here because he’s still on the Tour and not yet 30 years old. But you wonder if his last chance has gone after blowing the 2nd set tiebreak last year against Federer in the final. Roddick has been to three finals, each time losing to Roger Federer so one can argue that he has been slightly unlucky.

However, I can also argue that out of everyone in this list, Roddick is the least talented and relies too much on his serve. He doesn’t possess the athleticism of the other players mentioned, and his return game is the least effective. The media is always focused on the serve but if you cannot return serve well, winning Wimbledon is impossible.

As Sampras has always said, it’s the return of serve that wins Wimbledon – otherwise we would see Karlovic and Rusedski win Wimbledon if it was just about the serve.

Roddick still has time so lets see what happens.


Tim Henman – Henman is an interesting choice because he never actually made a final. But he did make it to four semi finals from 1998 to 2002.

Henman had a lot going for him. He was very athletic, he had fanatical home support and had a very nice return game. His best chance came in 2001 when he had Ivanesivic on the rack in the 3rd set but the rain came and changed everything. He also gave Sampras a good match in 1999, taking the 1st set but Sampras’ experience proved too much in the end.

In my view the reason Henman never won Wimbledon was he simply did not have the power to go with his athleticism. His serve wasn’t strong enough consistently, he was never able to serve many aces or unreturnables, so he always had to work hard, and eventually that takes its toll against the best players – in other words, Henman wasn’t able to intimidate the opposition into mistakes.

Mark Philippoussis – Mark made it to the final in 2003, losing to Roger Federer who won his first Wimbledon. Roger was the better player that day, and even though there were two tiebreaks, Roger’s return game made the difference.

Mark had many gifts, he was physically imposing and had one of the biggest and best serves in the game. Unfortunately Mark had many injury issues, and the word is that he didn’t have the discipline to work hard enough on his game to get the best out of himself. Therefore you can argue that Mark was a wasted talent – unfortunately for him.


Justine Henin – Like Roddick, Justine is still on the tour, having come out of retirement with the goal of trying to win Wimbledon. Justine has been to two finals and one semi final, losing to Venus Williams in 3 sets in 2001 and Amelie Mauresmo in 3 sets in 2006.

Justine has a beautiful game for grass, she’s athletic and not afraid to attack the net or serve and volley. Plus Justine can use the slice to keep the ball low against the many two handers out there on the backhand side. What has prevented Henin winning Wimbledon up to now? In my view Justine has the same issue as Henman, her lack of power so far has made the difference and prevented her from being able to able to conquer Wimbledon.

Lets see what happens this year.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario – Arantxa has a record similar to Lendl, finalist twice and semifinalist on a few occasions. Arantxa faced Steffi Graf in 1995 and 1996. In 1995 Arantxa gave everything but there was an incredible 9th game in the 3rd set which last almost 25 minutes, Steffi was bale to eventually break and serve out for the title. In 1996 Steffi was always in control.

Arantxa was a crafty and intelligent player who was tactically aware. She won the French Open 3 times and the US Open beating Graf in a great final in 1994. But again, at Wimbledon, Arantxa just lacked the power and athleticism of her rivals including Graf, Novotna and Navratilova.

I would like to finish the article with a few honourable mentions who had the game to win Wimbledon and managed to win after coming so close on many occasions. They are Goran Ivanesivic, Jana Novotna and Amelie Mauresmo.
A couple of observations.

Lendl got to the 1987 final, not in 1985 .

Sabatini without a doubt should be up there. Gaby even has more SF (3-1) showings at Wimbledon than Sanchez Vicario, and was just 2 points away from winning it in 1991 in the final..

I would not certainly include Philipoussis, the guy just reached past the QF round at Wimbledon just once. That would be similar to saying that Nalbandian should have a Wimbledon title by now. Hmm. Mark had the serve and power, he really lacked the physical atheticism to win at Wimbledon. He got to two slam finals though, probably i can understand why you choose him.

Nice work btw, great job!

Gabriela Sabatini 2006 HOF
18 Grand Slam SFs, Won 27 titles, 1 GS Sin, 1 GS in Dubs,2 Masters
Sabatini vs Martinez ?
Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 9
Straight Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 6
Seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 5
Straight seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 4
Tier II and above titles
Sabatini 24 Martinez 17
Record at the Masters
Sabatini has 2 titles 2 Runner up and 3 SF
Martinez has 0 titles, 0 RU, and 0 Sf
Record against the best players
Sabatini 40% Martinez 21%
Head to Head
Sabatini leads 9-6 over Martinez
FWTT Hard 111(111 + ny)Carpet 104(104 + ny)Clay 107(107 + 4) Grass 100(100 ny)
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

Henman

How overrated
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:27 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

You write like a child.
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

Spencer, thanks for pointing that out, I knew it was 1986 and 1987, I'll amend that.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

Franklin,

I look forward to reading your articles - if you have the guts to do anything like that and put yourself up for scrutiny.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:43 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

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I would like to finish the article with a few honourable mentions who had the game to win Wimbledon and managed to win after coming so close on many occasions. They are Goran Ivanesivic, Jana Novotna and Amelie Mauresmo.[/B]
Mauresmo never came close to winning Wimbledon before 2007 , let alone on "so many occasions"

Mandlikova made 2 finals, beating Navratilova in one semi and losing to Evert in the final and then beating Evert in another semi and losing to Navratilova in the final but she gets no mention.

and on ATP "As Sampras has always said, its the return of serve that wins Wimbledon" tell that to Michael Stich who didn't achieve so much as a break point against Edberg in the semi final.

But otherwise well written.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

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Mauresmo never came close to winning Wimbledon before 2007 , let alone on "so many occasions"

Mandlikova made 2 finals, beating Navratilova in one semi and losing to Evert in the final and then beating Evert in another semi and losing to Navratilova in the final but she gets no mention.

and on ATP "As Sampras has always said, its the return of serve that wins Wimbledon" tell that to Michael Stich who didn't achieve so much as a break point against Edberg in the semi final.

But otherwise well written.
she made 3 semifinals in 4 years then won the title the next year... The one time in that span she didnt make the semis she didnt play.... Id say thats pretty close...

Venus Ebony Starr


Serena Williams

Sharapova

Hantuchova
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:51 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

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Arantxa Sanchez Vicario – Arantxa has a record similar to Lendl, finalist twice and semifinalist on a few occasions. Arantxa faced Steffi Graf in 1995 and 1996. In 1995 Arantxa gave everything but there was an incredible 9th game in the 3rd set which last almost 25 minutes, Steffi was bale to eventually break and serve out for the title. In 1996 Steffi was always in control.

Arantxa was a crafty and intelligent player who was tactically aware. She won the French Open 3 times and the US Open beating Graf in a great final in 1994. But again, at Wimbledon, Arantxa just lacked the power and athleticism of her rivals including Graf, Novotna and Navratilova.
I am still not over the 1995 loss. So close, yet so far away. Definitely the one that got away for Arantxa.

Nice read, thanks!


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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

Henin lacks power? She hits 90+ mph groundstrokes

Waiting for Ana Ivanovic to just retire already .
Justine Henin. Amelie Mauresmo. Francesca Schiavone.
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 04:01 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

Laurie

The reason Henin hasn't won Wimbledon is not because of a lack of power. Henin is one of the most powerful players on the tour. Don't let her small size fool you, she is very powerful.

I am not conceited, I am just convinced
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

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Henin lacks power? She hits 90+ mph groundstrokes
Not on a consistent basis. I know she is varying her game etc... but still she never won Wimbledon with this kind of game. Her lack of power definitely cost her this title.
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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 04:07 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

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Laurie

The reason Henin hasn't won Wimbledon is not because of a lack of power. Henin is one of the most powerful players on the tour. Don't let her small size fool you, she is very powerful.
Yeah but Henin lacks a powerful consistent and reliable serve for a fact. That is mainly why she has not won there.

Gabriela Sabatini 2006 HOF
18 Grand Slam SFs, Won 27 titles, 1 GS Sin, 1 GS in Dubs,2 Masters
Sabatini vs Martinez ?
Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 9
Straight Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 6
Seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 5
Straight seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 4
Tier II and above titles
Sabatini 24 Martinez 17
Record at the Masters
Sabatini has 2 titles 2 Runner up and 3 SF
Martinez has 0 titles, 0 RU, and 0 Sf
Record against the best players
Sabatini 40% Martinez 21%
Head to Head
Sabatini leads 9-6 over Martinez
FWTT Hard 111(111 + ny)Carpet 104(104 + ny)Clay 107(107 + 4) Grass 100(100 ny)
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

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Mauresmo never came close to winning Wimbledon before 2007 , let alone on "so many occasions"

Mandlikova made 2 finals, beating Navratilova in one semi and losing to Evert in the final and then beating Evert in another semi and losing to Navratilova in the final but she gets no mention.

and on ATP "As Sampras has always said, its the return of serve that wins Wimbledon" tell that to Michael Stich who didn't achieve so much as a break point against Edberg in the semi final.

But otherwise well written.
As stated by Tennisstar86 Mauresmo was actually very close from winning. In fact she was leading by set and break in those SF matches that she lost.

Mandlikova deserves this mention no doubt. Mandlikova is always up there in anything to GS titles/rankings/underachiements IMO...

Gabriela Sabatini 2006 HOF
18 Grand Slam SFs, Won 27 titles, 1 GS Sin, 1 GS in Dubs,2 Masters
Sabatini vs Martinez ?
Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 9
Straight Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 6
Seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 5
Straight seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 4
Tier II and above titles
Sabatini 24 Martinez 17
Record at the Masters
Sabatini has 2 titles 2 Runner up and 3 SF
Martinez has 0 titles, 0 RU, and 0 Sf
Record against the best players
Sabatini 40% Martinez 21%
Head to Head
Sabatini leads 9-6 over Martinez
FWTT Hard 111(111 + ny)Carpet 104(104 + ny)Clay 107(107 + 4) Grass 100(100 ny)
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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2010, 04:11 PM
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Re: Article - A look at the best players never to win Wimbledon

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Yeah but Henin lacks a powerful consistent and reliable serve for a fact. That is mainly why she has not won there.
I agree that her serve is a liability, but I don't think her serve needs to be more powerful. I think she needs to be able to hit her spots better. Her serve is very predictable.

I am not conceited, I am just convinced
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