most significant slam level underachiever(s) in last 25 yrs - male

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by shakes1975, May 22, 2007.

  1. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Hi,

    who do you think were the most significant underachievers as far as the number of slams are considered ?

    i am not looking at players like rios, mecir, leconte etc. who underachieved by not winning a slam. rather, i'm looking at players who won slams, but who could've won quite a few more, if they had the dedication that some of their peers had. i'm primarily considering multiple slam winners, and my main picks are these two:

    mcenroe - marriage to tatum in 1984, followed by his own lack of work ethics, drugs etc. prevented him from winning at least 3-4 slams in the 1985-1987 period. his 1992 AO match against becker, as his matches in the senior tour against much younger opposition, show that he could've held his own even against the power players who followed him, like becker, lendl, edberg etc.

    becker - significantly underachieved. lost the plot mentally post-1989. after his 1989 USO victory, his demolition of edberg in the 1989 wim F and davis cup, everyone thought he would be able to build on that. sadly, 1990 saw a very pale version of becker - a becker who no longer had the same fire in his belly. wasn't until 1995 until he finally recovered his zest for the game. his epic matches against sampras and agassi in 1995-1996, and the way he beat rusedski, kafelnikov, and chang in the 1996 AO gave a brief glimpse of what he could've been IF he had discovered the same zeal just 3 yrs earlier.


    your picks ?
     
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  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Yeah definitely Becker. Mac to a lesser degree, since he is generally regarded as one of the best of alltime despite the fact that he could have won more. Mac was so dominant for a time(year end #1 four times, while 0 for Becker)


    Even more so, look how he underachieved in '87/'88 after a great '86 where he was a close #2 behind Lendl. Becker could have dominated the late 80s like Sampras if he had a better work ethic. How could he lose to Doohan at '87 Wimbledon & Gilbert at the '87 US Open & Cahill at the '88 US Open???

    Becker won 2 Wimbledons before turning 19! that's insane. Borg won his first at 20, Federer & Sampras won their first at 21. Yet Becker only won Wimbledon 3 times, while those guys won more.

    also, I know you wanted to limit this to multiple slam winners, but stich was a huge underachiever as well. he had a winning head to head over sampras & beat Muster at the '96 French(when Muster was as dominant on clay as nadal is now) guy had so much talent.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2007
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  3. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    yes. becker was a sampras prototype, a cruder version of sampras. sadly, he was prone to distractions right from early in his career. inexplicably, his loss to gilbert at the 1987 USO was when he was up 2-0 in sets, and a break in the 3rd set.

    i agree about stich. i saw his match against sampras in wim in 1992. sampras played well, but stich was nowhere near his form from the prev. year, when he beat edberg and becker back-to-back.

    another candidate is krajicek. with his smooth, dominant game, he should won a couple more slams. sadly, he was mentally weak against players whom he was favourite against, and he was also frequently marred by injuries.
     
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  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Marat Safin.
     
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  5. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    Michael Stich

    He won Wimbledon and looked good enough to win plenty more.

    Yannick Noah may have been the biggest underachiever in tennis history.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2007
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  6. armand

    armand Banned

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    Gustavo Kuerten coulda won some more Slams if he didn't play in an era of so many great players.
     
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  7. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I would have to say Safin definitely. He has the talent to be the GOAT but not the will or mental toughness. He could have achieved soooo much more than he has if he wasn't such a head case.

    All you have to do is watch that Aussie Open semifinal where he beat Federer to see what I mean. IMO that match is one of the greatest and most riveting displays of tennis I have ever seen in all the time I have been watching tennis matches.
     
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  8. VikingSamurai

    VikingSamurai Banned

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    Anyone that won the French.. They dont do much more after that.. Kinda why I dont have much respect for claycourt specialists..
     
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  9. VikingSamurai

    VikingSamurai Banned

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    Are you joking?.. Becker was on his day the most talented player ever. And in my opinion the only person when switched on, that could hand Pete Sampras a spanking..

    But yes, he did have a self destruct clause in his contract with life! The guy wasted great talent.. Even McEnroe marvels at him winning 2 Wimbledon's by 17...
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
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  10. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Not so sure I agree about Becker being an underachiever after 89. He won 5 tournaments in 1990, 2 in 1991 (incl the AO), 5 in 1992, 2 in 1993, 4 1994, 2 in 1995 and antother 5 in 1996 (incl. the AO. )

    That's 2 slams post 89 + 2 atp championships. He won more than half his tournaments post 89. How is that underachieving?

    He faced fierce competion in the likes of Edberg, Agassi, Lendl, Wilander etc. They held him back a little by occacionally being better than him, just as he held them back for the same reason. All of them achieved well.
     
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  11. keithchircop

    keithchircop Professional

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    Goran could have won at least two more slams during the Sampras/Agassi era.

    But he's cuckoo.
     
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  12. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    What about Edberg then?

    20 or so breakpoints in the 4th set in 89 FO against Chang. Surely he should have won that match.

    In the 1990 AO he had default against Lendl in the final while being ahead and outplaying his opponent even though he had an injury in a stomach muscle.

    Sum: Edberg should have had 8 slams. And a career slam.
     
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  13. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    I agree. When Sampras called Safin "the future of tennis" in 2000, I highly doubt this was the future he had in mind.
     
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  14. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    I disagree that when Becker was on he could give Pete a 'spanking'. If you look up the head to head on the ATP site you will see that Becker could never beat Pete outdoors on any surface. In 6 outdoor matches Becker went 0-6 against Sampras regardless of surface. Indoors was different with Becker holding a narrow 7-6 lead.
     
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  15. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Let's not go overboard. He won his first at 17 (almost 18 ) and his second at 18 (almost 19).
     
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  16. tintin

    tintin Professional

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    Safin hands down
     
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  17. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    In the majors he did underachieve those years:

    '91 US Open 3rd Round-lost to Paul Haarhuis
    '92 Australian Open 3rd Round-lost to McEnroe(who retired that year & Becker had won their last 6 meetings)
    '92 Wimbledon QF-lost to Agassi
    '92 US Open 4th Round-lost to Lendl(who Becker was 5-0 vs in majors at the time & Lendl was well past his prime)
    '93 Australian Open 1st Round-lost to Jarryd(I didn't know Jarryd was still on tour in '93!)
    '93 US Open 4R-lost to Larsson

    Regardless of his title counts those years, I'd say that is some serious underachieving for someone still so young & possessing such a great resume on fast surfaces.
    Fierce competition wasn't really a factor in these losses, they were to lower ranked players that he had no business losing to at that stage of his career. His head was never in the game on a consistent level, like Wilander, Edberg, & Lendl, those guys had far fewer bad losses in majors during their best years.

    Becker did get it together in '95 though.
     
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  18. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Becker was fantastic in 95-96, but sometimes you have to go through a poor stretch in order to muster up the motivation to play like that.

    An incredible indoor player - maybe the best. This is an aspect to his greatness that doesn't get rewarded very much on paper, as there is no indoor slam.
     
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  19. EZRA

    EZRA Rookie

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    Hands Down MARAT SAFIN - soooo much talent, no dedication ..
     
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  20. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Maybe Pete, but Agassi had his number. :)
     
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  21. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I really think its Mcenroe. He rarely played the AO, he should have won a FO and he basically self-destructed at 25 years old. Who would have thought after his incredible year in 1984 he would never win another major. His ex-wife was a real bad influence on him. He had children (not a bad thing by any means) and that re-focused his energy to them. If Mac stayed single till 30 and no family he could have won 12 majors.
     
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  22. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, but then you can also make arguments that Becker and Wilander should have had a few more slams. That was the great thing about that era, so many great players that just brought out the best in one another. Imagine if Becker didn't have a head case and what would have happened if Wilander continued to be a motivated player like he was in '88. Agassi should have also won a few more slams. He did waste the early part of his career.
     
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  23. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Safin gets my vote. But who would think Noah would have just one French? I sure thought He'd had tons of prospects and talent.
     
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  24. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    Sadly, one of my favorite players, Marcelo Rios...

    Unbelievable talent but horrible attitude and injuries led to his demise. If he actually applied himself, he couldve won at least a couple of French Opens plus maybe a few other majors.

    Safin is also a waste of talent as everyone has mentioned.

    Irakli Labadze is a guy with everything but has zero work ethic and is/was out there playing while 30 lbs overweight. If he trained his ass off the guy could be top 15.
     
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  25. paterson

    paterson New User

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    1. Stich
    2. Safin
    3. Rios
    4. Kafelnikov
     
    #25
  26. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Borg. He retired way too early.
     
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  27. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    If I calculate a line of best fit between my ratings and the number of slams a player won I am able to generate an estimate of what could have been expected had all years had an identical playing standard and all careers have been the same length.

    By subtracting the actual from the estimate we are able to see the underachievers. If we limit this just to the multiple major winners they are as follows.

    1. Jim Courier. Expected 6.5 Actual 4. Deficit 2.5.
    2. Ivan Lendl. Expeted 10.2 Actual 8. Deficit 2.2
    3. Rafael Nadal Expected 5.1 Actual 3 Deficit 2.1 (But this is due to the player still being active as he may well reach the 5 mark exxpected.)
    4. Mats Wilander Expected 8.2 Actual 7. Deficit 1.2.
    5. Lleyton Hewitt Expected 2.8 Actual 2. Deficit 0.8
    6. Guliermao Vilas Expected 4.8 Actual 4 Deficit 0.8
    7. John McEnroe Expected 7.6 Actual 7. Deficit 0.6

    All other multiple major winners were less than 0.5 deficit or over achieved.
     
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  28. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    This is non sense. i see a lot of talent in disciplinig frames and lots of dedication in keeping the manufacturers work force employed making new ones...:D
     
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  29. 2 Cent

    2 Cent Rookie

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    Goran Ivanisevic.
    Michael Stitch.
    Michael Chang.
    Thomas Muster.
    Mark Philipousis.
     
    #29
  30. VikingSamurai

    VikingSamurai Banned

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    Michael chang was a decent player, but not a champion..

    The Pooh on the other hand should have been a dominant force.. But like my boy Becker had his head on other things.. He was at a time the great Australian hope, until Rafter and Hewitt showed him up for being weak and lazy...
     
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  31. tbonegas

    tbonegas Rookie

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    THe biggest slam underachiver if the last 25 yrs is without any doubt Mr Tim Henman.All that talent and a handful of semi-final appearances.
     
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  32. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    The likes of Mark Philippoussis, Tim Henman are not "on topic".
    If I were to choose from the NON grand slam winners I would take Cedric Pioline any day of the week over somebody like Tim Henman !!!

    Back on topic...from the slam winners my list is:
    Stich by a mile,..., Korda, Kafelnikov (yes ... I take him before Safin because Safin is mentioned too many times by young guys who have watched tennis for the last 4,5 years only ... those two are basically the same ... huge talent with other things on their minds ... Safin & "gimme some b1tches", Kafelnikov & "I have a Ferrari ...why do I need to work my as$ off??").
    If anything Kafelnikov had a better all court game (i.e much better volleying skills).
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2007
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  33. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    If we are talking none major winners I would go for Miloslav Mečíř.
     
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  34. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    It's difficult when you bring into the discussion guys who never won 1 major title. While you can include some amazingly talented players, they never displayed the ability to win the biggest tournaments so it's hard to say they underachieved when they never proved that the could achieve. I could say Henri Leconte underachieved because of his enormous raw talent, HOWEVER, given his lack of mental strength, perhaps he overachieved. Likewise Miloslav Mecir. An overabundance of natural talent HOWEVER, he was very fragile mentally and had one of the most appalling second serves (the first wasn't that good either) of any player to reach the top 10. Given how shaky he was mentally and how weak his second serve, perhaps he overachieved. Ditto Tim Henman and Mark Philippoussis. The former had a terrible second serve and the latter had a million dollar arm controlled by a ten cent brain and a two cent ticker.

    If you focus only on those players who showed that they could actually achieve success at a major but should have won more than they did, I would opt for

    1) John McEnroe
    2) Andre Agassi and
    3) Ivan Lendl

    as the biggest underachievers in the last 25 years.

    McEnroe should have won more than he did but let himself get sidetracked and only discovered physical discipline when it was too late for him to use it on tour.
    Agassi wasted his early years on the circuit and should have won at least two other majors - the 1990 and 1991 French Opens.
    Lendl should have won at least 3 other majors - 88 US Open, 91 Australian Open , 85 French Open and, very possibly, one of the 82 or 83 US Opens.

    Just because those players achieved a lot doesn't mean they achieved as much as they should/could have.
     
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  35. snapple

    snapple Rookie

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    How bout Borg? As awesome as his Wimby and French records are, he never won either the Aussie or US Opens, having lost in the final of the latter 4 times. Then he hangs up his cleats at 25 once Mac displaced him as top dog.
     
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  36. SB

    SB Rookie

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    Safin, Safin, and Safin.
     
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  37. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    Good points...especially about Lendl.

     
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  38. robinho17

    robinho17 New User

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    1.Rios so much natural talent and did not win a single GS.Had great potential to be a dominant force at the French, should also won a few Aus Opens.

    2. Mark P. He had the perfect build for tennis, tall,strong,HUGE serve,good volleys,can move well for a tall guy, powerfull forehand and backhand.
    Had the talent to win a few Wimbledons,U.S opens,Aus Open.

    3. Safin...Overwhelming with his power and presence, strong on both sides..good serve, can finish a point at the net.I would place Marat higher..but atleast Safin won a few slams in his career where as the players above didn't. Thats the sad mentality about Marat..he thinks because he won a few slams..thats good enough...With his talent there could of been a great rivalry between Federer.
     
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  39. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    (philippoussis)

    yes i expected more from him...
    (unfortuntely he wasn't lucky with injuries)

    he was able to play "big" matches against great players or on big occasions: in slams, he defeated both sampras (RG 2000) and agassi (W 2003) in 5 sets... and i don't know if many players have given to their country the "point of victory" (in the final, for the cup) twice in their career. he did it in 1999 and 2003. well, of course it's also a question of opportunities to give such a point, but still...
    the way he played in the davis cup final at nice in 1999 was extremely impressive... and it was on clay !
     
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  40. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Good points about Mac and Agassi. However I disagree with your views on Lendl. I could make a reverse argument that he should have lost the '84 and '87 FO finals and he got lucky to have won the '90 AO against Edberg.
     
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  41. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Borg was an overachiever on grass. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it's true.

    Some names that spring to mind at this time are Miroslav Mecir, Mark Philippoussis and Henri Leconte. All three were awesome, incredibly talented, but seemed to lack a certain spark in key moments. All were grand slam finalists - all lost.

    Mecir was hampered by a poor serve - something he could never fix. Otherwise he had maybe the most beautiful game of anyone. Poo and Leconte had everything in my opinion except for the brains.
     
    #41
  42. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

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    Yannick noah's game was never that good. I remember reading an article in tennis magazine where Ralston was trying to help Noah and was surprised that he couldn't hit a done the line topspin backhand.

    Noah is lucky to win French. Sometimes I wonder if Wilander was paid off, or Wilander felt sorry for Noah.
     
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  43. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

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    Leconte was a clown and still is. Clowns don't win Grand Slams.

    Mecir was beautiful. I think he should be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame. His back just gave out. That's why his serve often times abandoned him.
     
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  44. Pathy01

    Pathy01 New User

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    I'll vote for Kafelnikov. He should have won a lot more with his game. Definitely could have been a multiple grand slam champ.
     
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  45. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    But he IS a multiple champ ... he won the French and the Aussie ;). Anyway, I certainly agree that he could have won more...
     
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  46. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

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    I dont agree at all that Kafelnikov should have won more. I think he greatly overachieved to win 2 slams. I find him nowhere near as talented or skilled as players like Safin or Hewitt who today have only 2 slams. There are many 1 or 2 time slam winners with more game then he has IMO. He has 0 Masters titles, which is an indication already he majorly overachieved to win 2
    slams. He multiple occasions got destroyed, really humiliated, by guys like Sampras, Agassi, or even on occasion a few others at their best.
     
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  47. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    i absolutely second this... ;)

    i stick with what i said about a safin-kafelnikov comparison :
     
    #47
  48. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    This is where you are proving that you have no idea what "skill" or "talent" is. Of course ... "IMO" ! Hewitt??!?! Puhhhhleaaase ! Kafelnikov's game was the whole package, he was an upgraded version of Agassi from the "game" point of view (i.e better serve and better volleys with equal baseline game). The thing that hampered him the most in his development and ultimately in his achievements was the fact that he got too much money ...too soon and couldn't handle it mentally (i.e he lost motivation).
    I distinctly remember him being quoted when he was pretty close to his prime ... saying something like "I drive a Ferrari ... why should I put so much effort into tennis" (or something along those lines). Of course he didn't retire that soon, but go on the court against the intensity of Sampras with that kind of attitude ... and you stand no chance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2007
    #48
  49. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    Goran I, Safin, Rios, Borg
    Possibly Becker
     
    #49
  50. lambielspins

    lambielspins Banned

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    Hewitt's talent to counterpunch and chase down every ball is better then any talent Kafelnikov had in his prime. For the record, 1-7 Kafelikov vs Hewitt, with prime Kafelnikov losing 4 of 5 matches to teenage Hewitt in 1999-2000. Hewitt is clearly the more able player yet only has 2 Slams because of Federer. Kafelnikov has 2 slams since she lucked out on Muster and all the leading clay courters being upset before the quarters at the 96 French Open, and then Pete's withdrawal combined with another hoarde of early round upsets at the 99 Australian. It was the case of "right place right time".

    Kafelnikov did not have a better serve or equal baseline game to Agassi. Take the blinders off. The only thing you are right on is better volleys, but many guys have better volleys then Agassi.
     
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