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This thread is dedicated to those players who were more famous for a loss in their careers than for a win. Some may have been very good players - others marginal - but when their names come up, the tennis fan immediately thinks of a match they lost rather than won.

I'll throw a few ideas out there:

Laura Golarsa - victim of a huge comeback by Chris Evert in her final Wimbledon - how Evert hit that passing shot from completely off the court I'll never know.

Mary Ann Eisel - never saw her play, but she lost a bag full of matchpoints against Evert in Chrissie's first USO.

Irina Spirlea - I'll never forget the "bump" with Venus Williams in her loss at the USO semi.

Jana Novotna - I don't care that she won Wimbledon later, her lasting image will be crying on the Duchesses shoulder after crumbling against Steffi.

Natasha Zvereva - a great doubles player, but she's forever destined to be remembered as a losing 60 60 finalist to Graf in the '88 French Open.
 

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Natasha Zvereva - a great doubles player, but she's forever destined to be remembered as a losing 60 60 finalist to Graf in the '88 French Open.
This is the one and only famous loser that comes to my mind for her loss @ the French.

Being a teen back then, I can even remember what I did and how the weather was on that very day. And usually, you only keep such things in mind on days like 9/11...
 

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This thread is dedicated to those players who were more famous for a loss in their careers than for a win. Some may have been very good players - others marginal - but when their names come up, the tennis fan immediately thinks of a match they lost rather than won.

I'll throw a few ideas out there:

Laura Golarsa - victim of a huge comeback by Chris Evert in her final Wimbledon - how Evert hit that passing shot from completely off the court I'll never know.

Mary Ann Eisel - never saw her play, but she lost a bag full of matchpoints against Evert in Chrissie's first USO.

Irina Spirlea - I'll never forget the "bump" with Venus Williams in her loss at the USO semi.

Jana Novotna - I don't care that she won Wimbledon later, her lasting image will be crying on the Duchesses shoulder after crumbling against Steffi.

Natasha Zvereva - a great doubles player, but she's forever destined to be remembered as a losing 60 60 finalist to Graf in the '88 French Open.
If you mean that they were famous for a single loss, then all of these indeed spring to mind. But in terms of 'famous losers', I think that the public tend to remember Evonne Goolagong and Virginia Wade in particular for their losses far more than they do their victories. A perception I've never quite understood.
 

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QUOTE: Mary Ann Eisel - never saw her play, but she lost a bag full of matchpoints against Evert in Chrissie's first USO.

This was the first player I thought of, as she is most remembered for losing THAT match in 1971. But she did not lose the match - Chrissie won it. Evert's returns, gets and angled passing shots are nothing short of eerie and she even serves an ace at one point!! Mary Ann definitely did not crack, though at one point she had the match on her racket, all she had to do was to volley the ball in court and it agonisingly went out by mere inches...

I have a lot of time for "losers" who managed to thoroughly entertain us by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory - especially when they pressed the "self-destruct" bottom and went into full meltdown mode in the process:

1. Virginia Wade (especially at the Italian Open)
2. Hana Mandlikova
3. Pam Shriver (especially against blonde baseliners)
4. Martina Navratilova (especially at the US Open)
5. Helen Kelesi (anywhere!)
 

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Helen did not choke, Helen was betrayed. ;)

By umpires, audiences, linesmen, ballkids, whoever.
 

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QUOTE: Mary Ann Eisel - never saw her play, but she lost a bag full of matchpoints against Evert in Chrissie's first USO.

This was the first player I thought of, as she is most remembered for losing THAT match in 1971. But she did not lose the match - Chrissie won it. Evert's returns, gets and angled passing shots are nothing short of eerie and she even serves an ace at one point!! Mary Ann definitely did not crack, though at one point she had the match on her racket, all she had to do was to volley the ball in court and it agonisingly went out by mere inches...

I have a lot of time for "losers" who managed to thoroughly entertain us by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory - especially when they pressed the "self-destruct" bottom and went into full meltdown mode in the process:

4. Martina Navratilova (especially at the US Open)

I thought Martina conquered the U.S. Open choke around 1983 and aftewards, her losses were legitimate maybe for 1989 and 1990. The choke job was the French in 85,86, 87.
 

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Virginia Rucizi. She had her moments holding the trophy several times, including the French Open. But without checking out the information, I seem to recall she was a finalist almost as many times as she won titles, (she won 15 in her career) often in big occasions.
 

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If you mean that they were famous for a single loss, then all of these indeed spring to mind. But in terms of 'famous losers', I think that the public tend to remember Evonne Goolagong and Virginia Wade in particular for their losses far more than they do their victories. A perception I've never quite understood.
Wade? Her entire career (unfortunately, because it was far from the best tennis she played) is defined by that triumph at 1977 Wimbledon.
 

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Wade? Her entire career (unfortunately, because it was far from the best tennis she played) is defined by that triumph at 1977 Wimbledon.
I think her entire career is indeed defined by that one moment of glory (although of course, in reality, she had many others), but that's my point! She is remembered greatly for all the painful and inexplicable losses both before and after that one triumph at Wimbledon. Had she even made one other final (a la Jones) her losses would be less painfully recalled. I know many, many people who still cringe when they think of her 1980 Wightman Cup loss to Chris Evert, having led 5-1 40-0 in the final set. Yep, Ginny lost!
 

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I know many, many people who still cringe when they think of her 1980 Wightman Cup loss to Chris Evert, having led 5-1 40-0 in the final set. Yep, Ginny lost!
I will NEVER forget that match! It was the decider for the cup, I think Ginny lost the first game to love, doing everything except hit the ball in court. Then she played sublime tennis for the next six games, until 40-0, when for some reason she decided to simultaneously implode!

I was watching with my mother, I remember turning to her and saying: "Britain is going to win!" She said knowingly: "Just you wait... Chris Evert NEVER gives up!" And she didn't!
 

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I will NEVER forget that match! It was the decider for the cup, I think Ginny lost the first game to love, doing everything except hit the ball in court. Then she played sublime tennis for the next six games, until 40-0, when for some reason she decided to simultaneously implode!

I was watching with my mother, I remember turning to her and saying: "Britain is going to win!" She said knowingly: "Just you wait... Chris Evert NEVER gives up!" And she didn't!
It has to be one of the most excruciating defeats in tennis history. Britain didn't seem to stand even a hope of getting one of the seven rubbers before the cup started. Wade & Barker were both barely still in the top 20 and Hobbs was somewhere down in the 60's. The two doubles teams (Wade & Barker were one, I can't recall the other, perhaps Durie & Hobbs?) weren't of any real standard at all. The US team was Evert (#1), Austin (#2), K.Jordan (#12) and the doubles teams were Smith & Jordan (#1) and Casals & Evert, a top ten ranked pair. Things didn't really get any better when Austin had to pull out on the day of the first rubber, as she was replaced by Jaeger, who was ranked in the top 10 herself.

Wade lost the opening match to Jaeger, despite Jaeger flying in from Japan and complaining of jet lag and no preparation. But incredibly, Anne Hobbs played the match of her life to beat Kathy Jordan to level the tie. Next day, Casals & Evert crushed the British team and Evert slaughtered Barker in the singles to make it 3-1 to the US.

But on the final day, Barker came from nowhere to down Jaeger in a thrilling 3-set match, to pull back to 3-2. It all hinged on Wade beating Evert, something she'd not done since Wimbledon 77. Evert seemed to be on cruise control until Wade amazingly got back into the match and started dictating. Evert was floundering and Wade was firing on all cylinders. She got to 5-1, 40-0 in the 3rd set and then it all fell apart. Wade collapsed and Evert made one of the most amazing comebacks I've ever seen to take the match. Indeed, the 6 straight games she rattled off was included in the BBC's "100 Greatest Sporting Moments" back in the 1980's. Had Wade won to square the tie at 3-3, it's doubtful the US would have lost the doubles anyway, and indeed, they didn't. But who knows? The pressure would have been completely different.
 

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It's great to read the match descriptions of the 1908 Wightman Cup from those who were there. Is it true that the Royal Albert Hall makes a great tennis venue?

Two bits from the Wade match.

"My shoe laces got untied" Wade, when asked how she lsot after having match points. When I read this I assumed it was made in jest.

Evert declared that her poor performance was due to her period.
 

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It's great to read the match descriptions of the 1908 Wightman Cup from those who were there. Is it true that the Royal Albert Hall makes a great tennis venue?

Two bits from the Wade match.

"My shoe laces got untied" Wade, when asked how she lsot after having match points. When I read this I assumed it was made in jest.

Evert declared that her poor performance was due to her period.
Ah. The same excuse Evert used for losing to Goolagong at Wimbledon. Good to know it's always in the back pocket to explain away erratic play. As for Wade, I just thought she bottled it.

The Albert Hall isn't ideal for tennis, but it's certainly spectacular. It's a shame the Wightman Cup was halted. It had become a joke indeed and the US were sending there Z list players and still winning handily, but it's a shame it folded nonetheless. There was great history there.
 

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Ah. The same excuse Evert used for losing to Goolagong at Wimbledon. Good to know it's always in the back pocket to explain away erratic play.
Evert did not say that she lost to Cawley at Wimby for this reason. She stated that she had a letdown after defeatng Martina in the semis having been defeated by her in the two previous finals.
 

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Evert did not say that she lost to Cawley at Wimby for this reason. She stated that she had a letdown after defeatng Martina in the semis having been defeated by her in the two previous finals.
Actually, Evert Lloyd (as she was then) did use that excuse. It's recalled in Evonne's autobiography. The same problem afflicted both players in their 1979 Wimbledon semi, but Evonne took a prescribed drug to avoid the same thing happening in 1980. Evert did not apparently. Unless you're saying Evonne made it up?
 

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Actually, Evert Lloyd (as she was then) did use that excuse. It's recalled in Evonne's autobiography. The same problem afflicted both players in their 1979 Wimbledon semi, but Evonne took a prescribed drug to avoid the same thing happening in 1980. Evert did not apparently. Unless you're saying Evonne made it up?
Well Chris never mentioned it in either of her two autobiographies and would never have made such a comment to the press (mentioning "menstruation" was not her style, at least not directly after a match, she would mention it in retrospect about matches, but never immediately after, few players do, even if it is true.), she also did not mention it in her farewell article in Sports Illustrated right before her retirement, where she did list that match as "one that got away". If Evonne did mention it that means that Chris told Evonne privately that she had a visit from her "aunt Flo" as she made no mention of it publicly. In any case, Chris never publicly made such a statement which I think would argue against your "same excuse" theory.
 

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I have Evonne's book. I'll have to check that one out.

I remember Chris talking about how women had a 50% chance during any GS of having an off day or two due to the affliction. She mentioned Martina having one during a known GS just as she had. But I don't remember a specific tournament mention.

This huge problem that faced all of the women at one time or another is something men have no ideal about. That and playing with "two melons" (Rosie Casals said something like that as I recall in an article) on your chest. This is partly why I prefer women's tennis. The broads really are tougher than the men in my opinion when you factor in the girl things they have to overcome.
 
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