Saturday, 16 June 2012

When the wheels fall off.

I was just trying to look into the Wimbledon history and found something interesting. Since the start of Open Era, it has happened only twice that none of the top 4 seeds made it to the semi-finals of Wimbledon. Which years were they?
The first time it happened was in 1992, yes the year Agassi won his first grand slam and his one and only Wimbledon trophy.
The next time it happened was in 1996, when Richard Krajicek, the current tournament director of the  ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, defeated MaliVai Washington to win his one and only grand slam. It was the one and only Grand Slam final appearance for both players during their careers.

Who were the party spoilers in those years? Let us have a look at the results of the top 4 players during those two years.

1992 Wimbledon:
The top 4 seeds at 1992 Wimbledon were:
Jim Courier,
Stefan Edgberg,
Michael Stich (the defending champion), and
Boris Becker.

Courier had routine straight set victories in the first 2 rounds. He lost his first set of his third round clash against Russian Qualifier, Andrei Olhovskiy, but bounced back to take the second set. Olhovskiy, however, was determined not to let Courier get past him and sent Courier home by winning the next 2 sets.
Edgberg, the second seed and two time Wimbledon champion (1988 and 1990) fell short in the quarter-finals to Ivanesevic, loosing in 5 sets.
Michael Stich, seeded 3rd, was the defending champion. He lost to future 7 time Wimbledon champion Pete Samprass in the quarter-finals in straight sets.
Boris Becker, the 4th seed, and 3 time former Wimbledon champion (1985-6 and 89) was sent home by the eventual champion Agassi in quarter-finals in 5 sets.
Agassi was seeded 12th and he defeated Ivanesevic, the 8th seed in the final in 5 sets to take home his first Grand Slam title (It would take him 3 more years to win another Grand Slam, the Australian Open in 1995).

1996 Wimbledon:
1996 marked the second year since the dawn of Open Era, that all the top 4 seeds fell before the semi-final stage. Infact not even a single top 10 player made it past the quarter-finals. The top 4 in 1996 were:
Pete Sampras (defending champion),
Boris Becker,
Andre Agassi, and
Goran Ivanesevic.

Only 2 of the top 10 players made it to the quarter-finals.
Pete Sampras, the top seed, was the three-time defending champion, but he was upset in the quarterfinals by 17th seed and eventual champion, Richard Krajicek, in straight sets. This would be Sampras' only loss at Wimbledon between 1993 and 2000. Krajicek was originally unseeded, but replaced 7th seed Thomas Muster in the draw, when Muster withdrew shortly before the start of the tournament.
Becker, the second seed, damaged his right wrist during his third-round match against Neville Godwin and was forced to withdraw from his match and hence tournament.
Agassi, the 3rd seed, was upset in the first round by Doug Flach. Agassi won the first routine set but lost next three tight sets to pack his bags and fly home.
Ivanesevic, the 4th seed, and 1992 and 1994 runner-up lost to unseeded Jason Stoltenberg in the quarter-finals in 4 tight sets. Ivanesevic, though went on to win his only Wimbledon trophy in 2001 as a Wild Card entrant.

Do you think that all the top 4 seeds, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, will fall before the semi-final stage this year? It does not seem likely that this year will add to the list of the above two years, given the current form and dominance of the big 4 at the majors, but you never know. What are your views???

* The pictures used in the article are not my property.


  1. Murray and Federer Seem Vulnerable even then chances are very slim !! Other three are in the form of their lives and wont be eliminated anywhere before semis !

  2. Right indeed! Federer's form is questionable. He lost in the quarters the last two year's as well. I hope he goes on to win Wimbledon and the top spot :)