View Full Version : Early Slam Results as Predictor of Future Greatness?

Jan 8th, 2009, 07:59 AM
So I was looking through Justine's early slam career and noticed something very interesting. These were her slam results until her slam breakthrough (I consider a breakthrough to be a SF; we could include QF to be generous, but in Justine's case it doesn't matter). In particular, I was interested in who she lost too, i.e. who it took to take her out of the tournament.

At 16 years of age:
1st Slam: 1999 RG - 2nd round loss to (2) Davenport. Served for the match in the third set at 5-4. Davenport would go on to reach the QF and push eventual winner Graf to 3 sets.

At 17 years of age:
2nd Slam: 1999 USO - 1st round loss to (15) Mauresmo in straight sets.

3rd Slam: 2000 AO - 2nd round loss to (1) Hingis in straight sets. It was Hingis's 23rd consecutive win at the Australian Open.

At 18 years of age:
4th Slam: 2000 Wimbledon - 1st round loss to (9) Sanchez-Vicario in 3 sets. Arantxa had reached the RG semis 2 weeks prior and would only go on to lose to Seles.

5th Slam: 2000 USO - 4th round loss to eventual finalist (2) Davenport in straight sets.

6th Slam: 2001 AO - 4th round loss to (4) Seles in 3 tight sets. Seles had eventual winner Capriati on the ropes before succumbing in their QF.

At 19 years of age:
7th Slam: 2001 RG. Slam breakthrough. Loses SF to (12) Clijsters after choking away a 6-2 4-1 lead.

I didn't think she would have lost to scrubs, but this is really impressive. All those players she lost to were slam winners, or turned out to be slam winners. All were no. 1 at some point.

I'm too lazy to work this out for other players. But please do. Perhaps we could observe a pattern that will help us identify "greats".