The most sudden decline ever?

Bukmeikara

Legend
Late 09 - Australia

Nikolay Davydenko went on to beat Nadal three straight times, Federer two straight times, win Shanghai and WTF, win Doha beating back to back Nadal and Federer, reaching the QF at Australia being up a set and a break against Federer(probably being the second favorite to win the title) and after that suddenly collapsing to literaly a top 40 player - who never passed the 3rd round of Slam and only reach 3 Master QF for 5 more years(two of which because seeding and having a bye)

This guy went from russian terminator to Albert Montanes in a blink of an eye.

Any similar examples?
 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
Wilander after 1988.
Murray after 2016.
I don't think there are any disappearing acts as sudden and severe as those 2.
Yup, Wilander is probably the no 1 example.

Murray doesn't count, injury was the reason.

Or do we count Seles 1993 as well then?

Courier 1993 isn't as extreme but a good example. Won 4 slams in 2 years then completely fell then came back with a lame-ass comeback in 1995, but no slam finales.
 
Yup, Wilander is probably the no 1 example.

Murray doesn't count, injury was the reason.

Or do we count Seles 1993 as well then?
Agreed. Also, Murray was perfectly respectable in the first half of 2017 - he got to within a game of making the final of Roland Garros that year. It was injury that felled him, and his "decline" was nowhere near so precipitous as Wilander's.
 

Nadal_Django

Hall of Fame
Late 09 - Australia

Nikolay Davydenko went on to beat Nadal three straight times, Federer two straight times, win Shanghai and WTF, win Doha beating back to back Nadal and Federer, reaching the QF at Australia being up a set and a break against Federer(probably being the second favorite to win the title) and after that suddenly collapsing to literaly a top 40 player - who never passed the 3rd round of Slam and only reach 3 Master QF for 5 more years(two of which because seeding and having a bye)

This guy went from russian terminator to Albert Montanes in a blink of an eye.

Any similar examples?
That timely toilet break in the second set from Federer killed him mentally. He wasn't the same player, afterwards.
 

StANDAA

Legend
Late 09 - Australia

Nikolay Davydenko went on to beat Nadal three straight times, Federer two straight times, win Shanghai and WTF, win Doha beating back to back Nadal and Federer, reaching the QF at Australia being up a set and a break against Federer(probably being the second favorite to win the title) and after that suddenly collapsing to literaly a top 40 player - who never passed the 3rd round of Slam and only reach 3 Master QF for 5 more years(two of which because seeding and having a bye)

This guy went from russian terminator to Albert Montanes in a blink of an eye.

Any similar examples?
that QF against Federer ruined him
 

Ocean Drive

Hall of Fame
From the top end.

Kent Carlsson - look at his 1988 and then look look at 1989 when he retired age 21. He was only able to play on clay in 1987 and 1988 due to his knees. He was clearly destined for greatness.

Marat Safin - wins Madrid in October, Paris November 2004 and then wins Australian Open 2005 in January on his 25th birthday, defeating Federer and Hewitt (and young Djokovic). Injures his knee 2 months later and never wins another title. Reaches one more final in his entire career Moscow 2008.

Juan Carlos Ferrero - wins Roland Garros 2003, reaches US Open final 2003. Wins Monte Carlo, Madrid. World number 1 in October. Gets chicken pox in 2004 and ends the year outside the top 30 somewhere.

Gustavo Kuerten - When he started playing well on hard, in Cincinnati 2001, winning it, he injured his hip at the US Open. He was an absolute shadow of his former self straight after. He was never a slam contender again, despite being the world number 1 when he was injured (I think).

Good players

Sjeng Schalken - Finishes 2003 in the top 15, I don't think he played another tournament injury free in his entire career. He did well at Wimbledon 2004 and then fell off the face of the earth at around 27.

Robin Soderling - not a decline, but it was sudden. He had time and scope to be great, as opposed to Schalken whose only chance really was at Wimbledon you felt. Wins Bastad, breadsticking the likes of Ferrer and Berdych, barely losing games, didn't lose a set. Didn't play another match ever again. Aged 26.

Nicolas Escude - Last match aged 28. He won a title 6 months earlier in Doha. One of the most injury plagued players of the early 2000s. A forgotten man with an exciting style.
 
Goderling is the goat of sudden declines, went from world #5 with a fresh RG QF and Bastad title crushing Ferrer in the final straight to effective retirement, though he kept hoping for another couple years before officially retiring in 2015.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
From the top end.

Kent Carlsson - look at his 1988 and then look look at 1989 when he retired age 21. He was only able to play on clay in 1987 and 1988 due to his knees. He was clearly destined for greatness.

Marat Safin - wins Madrid in October, Paris November 2004 and then wins Australian Open 2005 in January on his 25th birthday, defeating Federer and Hewitt (and young Djokovic). Injures his knee 2 months later and never wins another title. Reaches one more final in his entire career Moscow 2008.

Juan Carlos Ferrero - wins Roland Garros 2003, reaches US Open final 2003. Wins Monte Carlo, Madrid. World number 1 in October. Gets chicken pox in 2004 and ends the year outside the top 30 somewhere.

Gustavo Kuerten - When he started playing well on hard, in Cincinnati 2001, winning it, he injured his hip at the US Open. He was an absolute shadow of his former self straight after. He was never a slam contender again, despite being the world number 1 when he was injured (I think).

Good players

Sjeng Schalken - Finishes 2003 in the top 15, I don't think he played another tournament injury free in his entire career. He did well at Wimbledon 2004 and then fell off the face of the earth at around 27.

Robin Soderling - not a decline, but it was sudden. He had time and scope to be great, as opposed to Schalken whose only chance really was at Wimbledon you felt. Wins Bastad, breadsticking the likes of Ferrer and Berdych, barely losing games, didn't lose a set. Didn't play another match ever again. Aged 26.

Nicolas Escude - Last match aged 28. He won a title 6 months earlier in Doha. One of the most injury plagued players of the early 2000s. A forgotten man with an exciting style.
Great post. Sad about JCF, could have had several years of good battles with Nadal. He should have won a few RGs at least. Great mention of Escude...I have not forgotten him. Loved his game. Probably the skinniest player of all time but could create tons of power.
 

Lew II

Legend
Rod Laver.
Wins the calendar slam in 69.
Two 4th round appearances in 70.
A 3rd round and QF in 71
2nd 3rd and 4th rounds after that, his last slam appearance in 77.

I can't think of a more spectacular collapse.
He still won a lot of great tournaments. He was top5 until 1975.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Late 09 - Australia

Nikolay Davydenko went on to beat Nadal three straight times, Federer two straight times, win Shanghai and WTF, win Doha beating back to back Nadal and Federer, reaching the QF at Australia being up a set and a break against Federer(probably being the second favorite to win the title) and after that suddenly collapsing to literaly a top 40 player - who never passed the 3rd round of Slam and only reach 3 Master QF for 5 more years(two of which because seeding and having a bye)

This guy went from russian terminator to Albert Montanes in a blink of an eye.

Any similar examples?
Kolay said he couldn't run fast anymore due to injury.

For some reason I remember Ferrer's downfall after switching racquets being dramatic.
 

40L0VE

Rookie
There should be 2 lists. One for those whose games declined while still in good health and still player and the other list for those who couldn't play due to injury.
 

Thriller

Semi-Pro
He still won a lot of great tournaments. He was top5 until 1975.
Laver entered every tournament with the intention of winning yet somehow he went from invincible Grand Slam champion to slam also-ran in 1 year.

Fed won no slams last year.
If the best he could do a year later is 4th round appearances we would all be shocked. How much more unfathomable is Laver's decline!!
 
Gotta say Safin comes to mind as my sharpest decline I’ve seen. The level he played at to beat Sampras in straight sets at the 2000 USO made you think he was going to be a future ATG. He lost in the finals of both the 2002 AO to Johansson and the 2004 finals to Federer, but then in 2005 he beat peak Federer in 5 sets in the AO semis and beat Hewitt in the final. Outside of slams he won Paris in 2000 and 2002 and won both Madrid and Paris in 2004.

After he won the 2005 AO it looked like he was back at the ATG level that took out Sampras in Straight sets. It was the only time I can recall peak Fed getting overpowered. ‘05 Fed would crush an inside out forehand and Safin would just hit the ball back even harder. After that match it looked like Federer v Safin was going to be a great rivalry for a long time. Then he got injured and missed the 2006 AO and never seemed to put the work in to get back to where he was. He fell out of the top 20 in the world until 2009, the same year he retired.

I can’t think of another player who had ATG talent, realized that potential for a sustained period of time, and then lost the drive and motivation to stay at that level.
 

GuyForget

Rookie
yeah but this is a guy who did the slam in 62, there was nothing more for him to do. Look how Djoks had a form slump after the Nole Slam
 

Thriller

Semi-Pro
yeah but this is a guy who did the slam in 62, there was nothing more for him to do. Look how Djoks had a form slump after the Nole Slam
Amateur slams. There were many players much better than Laver who were not allowed to play in 62 because they were pros.

"In the beginning of 1963, Laver was beaten consistently by both Rosewall and Hoad on an Australasian tour. Hoad won the first eight matches against Laver, and Rosewall won 11 out of 13."

I have always thought it unfair that Emerson is discarded because his 12 slams were amateur while Laver seems to get a free pass for his.
 
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Gotta say Safin comes to mind as my sharpest decline I’ve seen. The level he played at to beat Sampras in straight sets at the 2000 USO made you think he was going to be a future ATG. He lost in the finals of both the 2002 AO to Johansson and the 2004 finals to Federer, but then in 2005 he beat peak Federer in 5 sets in the AO semis and beat Hewitt in the final. Outside of slams he won Paris in 2000 and 2002 and won both Madrid and Paris in 2004.

After he won the 2005 AO it looked like he was back at the ATG level that took out Sampras in Straight sets. It was the only time I can recall peak Fed getting overpowered. ‘05 Fed would crush an inside out forehand and Safin would just hit the ball back even harder. After that match it looked like Federer v Safin was going to be a great rivalry for a long time. Then he got injured and missed the 2006 AO and never seemed to put the work in to get back to where he was. He fell out of the top 20 in the world until 2009, the same year he retired.

I can’t think of another player who had ATG talent, realized that potential for a sustained period of time, and then lost the drive and motivation to stay at that level.
Courier.
 

bjsnider

Hall of Fame
Wilander's situation was the same kind of burnout that ended Borg's career. In Wilander's case, he never took any risks, and played defense constantly, waiting for his opponent to error out. I think he once said he didn't even understand why he was winning matches. After 10 years of that, he was fried.
 

DSH

Legend
As awesome as her career is, it's such a tragedy man. Peak Venus was a Goddess. If Richard and Oracene didn't get it on in the hot tub again she'd be on an entirely different plane.



She'd have won every slam in 2002 as well, 2003 AO and Wimby, plus Wimby 09, AO 17, etc :(
Do you think some of her GS matches with her sister could have another result?
:unsure:
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
Do you think some of her GS matches with her sister could have another result?
:unsure:
1. yes.... the big sister thing, and Serena's "hunger" are a deadly combo.
2. Don't get me started on the 2008 US Open.


Venus had multiple set points in both sets. :mad: 5-3, 40-0 in the second. Smh
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Philippoussis seems to be a good entry for biggest non-injury related permanent decline. In 2003, at age 26, he makes the Wimbledon final, clinches Davis Cup with a win over Ferrero, and finishes the year #9. Then, in 2004, with no apparent injury and at the age of 27, he goes 11-19 and finishes the year #109.
 

Indio

Semi-Pro
Chang should be mentioned, even though he's not the top example. In 1996, he was world #2. In 1997, #3. In 98, #29. After 1997, he never again passed the 3rd round of a major (and he reached the 3rd only twice in 21 tries). I'm not aware of any injury issues that may have caused his transition from Top 5 type player to journeyman status so suddenly.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Chang should be mentioned, even though he's not the top example. In 1996, he was world #2. In 1997, #3. In 98, #29. After 1997, he never again passed the 3rd round of a major (and he reached the 3rd only twice in 21 tries). I'm not aware of any injury issues that may have caused his transition from Top 5 type player to journeyman status so suddenly.
Injured his knee and then his wrist in 1998 and was never the same again.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Does Borg count?

His last Slam results (going backwards): F, F, W, F, W, W, QF, W, W, F, W, W :oops:
Borg just abruptly walked out of tennis after the 1981 US Open so didn't give himself time for a period of decline.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
I think Jack Sock should at least get an honorable mention. He entered 2018 in the top 10. He went 9 - 22 in 2018 and did not win a singles APT point in 2019 or so far in 2020. So top 10 to 0 in 22 months. Top 25 to 0 in 12 months.
He moved to Charlotte, started banging a model and eating the epic food here, I can hardly blame him :p


 
He’s definitely up there, I don’t know much about his career and was shocked to see he’s the youngest man to reach all 4 slam finals (22yo)!

I didn’t start watching tennis until the mid 90’s, so I never got to see him live in his prime. Rewatching his matches and hearing other players talk about him in interviews and books gave me the impression that he was a fairly one dimensional player in that he was going to win with his big serve and forehand or not at all. Obviously that was good enough to beat 98% of players, but it looked like the top tier of guys in that era were able to beat him by getting into crosscourt backhand rallies, exploiting his movement, and not giving him short balls in the middle to dictate play with that nasty forehand. How would you describe him in his ‘91-‘93 run?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
He’s definitely up there, I don’t know much about his career and was shocked to see he’s the youngest man to reach all 4 slam finals (22yo)!

I didn’t start watching tennis until the mid 90’s, so I never got to see him live in his prime. Rewatching his matches and hearing other players talk about him in interviews and books gave me the impression that he was a fairly one dimensional player in that he was going to win with his big serve and forehand or not at all. Obviously that was good enough to beat 98% of players, but it looked like the top tier of guys in that era were able to beat him by getting into crosscourt backhand rallies, exploiting his movement, and not giving him short balls in the middle to dictate play with that nasty forehand. How would you describe him in his ‘91-‘93 run?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Big forehand (especially inside out) and a fitness nut. Rebound Ace served him well against the net rushing Edberg in 2 Australian Open finals, he was able to outlast Agassi for his first French title, and he probably played his best tennis ever at the 1992 French Open. I think he overtrained and burned out, both physically and mentally, in 1993.
 
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