The unlikely destroyer trio and a few more
A statement that Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Boris Becker are among the three most dominating players at Wimbledon would lead to probably no dispute or disagreement. Surprise of surprises, Sergiy Stakhovsky, George Bastl and Peter Doohan are an unlikely trio who has had shock wins over these three fearsome champions at Wimbledon.
Let’s know a bit more about these by and large unknown players.
Aussie Peter Doohan had a highest ranking of world number 43 and reached the 4th round of a Grand Slam only twice, once each at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. At French Open he never progressed beyond 1st round and even at US Open he only reached the 2nd round just once.
However in the second round of the 1987 Wimbledon in 1987 Doohan defeated 2 time defending champion Boris Becker. This is regarded as one of the biggest upsets of Wimbledon ever.
Doohan’s upset of Becker came in handy for his fellow Aussie Pat Cash who won the only Slam of his career. Cash, who was world number 413 a year ago due to injuries put in a tremendous performance against reigning US Open and French Open Champion Ivan Lendl who had lost to Becker a year ago. Wimbledon remained the only Major which Lendl could not win in his illustrious career and interestingly he lost to both Becker and Cash in straight sets.
Federer is from Switzerland and so is George Bastle However they indeed have contrasting careers. Doohan’s career actually is a good one as compared to Bastl, whose highest ranking was 71 and who only reached the 2nd round of US Open twice and 3rd round of Wimbledon once.
At Wimbledon 2002 Bastl incredibly defeated none other than the great 7 time champion Pete Sampras in the second round before losing to eventual runners-up Nalbandian in the final. That year Hewitt became champion to lift his 2nd Major after the 2001 US Open. Ironically Hewitt lost in the 1st round the next year to an unknown Ivo Karlovic. Probably it was destiny that Pete Sampras lost his last two matches at Wimbledon to Swiss players, namely Bastl in 2002 and to Federer a year earlier.
Ukrainian Stakhovsky , currently ranked Number 99 has had a high ranking of 31 and has won 4 ATP titles. However his biggest claim to fame will always be defeating world number 3 Federer in the 2013 Wimbledon championships. His rank was 116 at that point of time. This was Federers earliest loss after 10 years, the previous being at 2003 French Open and he had entered at least the Quarter finals of Grand Slams a record 36 times.
Doohan, Bastl and Stakhovsky have been chosen as by and large they have not done anything major in their careers , yet defeated such huge exponents of the game, that too at Wimbledon where they have had incredible performances.
In his own way, Rafa Nadal too is an extraordinary Wimbledon champion. He not only won the title in 2008 and prevented Federer from 6 in a row. He won a 2nd Wimbledon title in 2010 and was runners up to Djokovic the next year, in what was an extraordinary year for Novak.
However interestingly and almost inexplicably, from 2012 to 2015, for 4 consecutive years Rafa lost to players ranked below 100. These were Likas Rosol in 2012, Steve Darcis in 2013, Nick Kyrgios in 2014 and Dustin Brown in 2015. Even more astonishingly Dustin Brown has a 2-0 career head-to-head against Rafa, with both wins coming on grass.
Qualifier Jelena Dokic defeating Martina Hingis in 1999 , Lori Mcneil defeating Steffi in 1993 and Roger Taylor defeating Rod Laver in 1970 are other famous upsets at Wimbledon of unknowns defeating favorites, that too in the 1st round.
Any more upsets you can think of ?? Either at Wimbledon or at any of the other Grand Slams.