What is the biggest slam finale loss of a heavy favourite in the Open Era?

Which is the most unexpected slam finale loss of a clear favourite?

  • Agassi losing to Gomez FO90

  • Edberg losing to Chang FO89

  • Safin losing to Johansson AO02

  • Federer losing to Delpo USO09

  • Coria losing to Gaudio FO04

  • Bruguera losing to Kuerten FO97

  • Ivanisevic losing to Agassi W92 (borderline, I admit, but GI was considered a shoe-in)

  • Becker losing to Stich W91

  • Ferrero losing to A.Costa FO02 (somewhat borderline, perhaps)


Results are only viewable after voting.

Enceladus

Hall of Fame
As for female tennis:
Navratilova vs. Martinez at Wimbledon 1994. Martina was and is recognized as the Queen of Grass, Wimbledon was her kingdom, while Conchita played her first GS final and grass was definitely not her primary surface. Until now I ask, how Martina could lose it :cautious:
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
Djokovic was definitely a heavy fav against Waw. It was a shocking loss.
After at least 2014 no loss from Djokovic against Wawrinka can be shocking anymore. Wawrinka has proven himself against Djokovic with 4 consecutive 5-setter at Slams (Australian Open 2013, US Open 2013, Australian Open 2014+15). And it was well-known that he is good on clay. So nothing really shocking about this result.
 

RF-18

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, keep writing that 2019 Nadal is better than 2008 Nadal. And others will keep laughing at you.
You wrote Nadals prime ended after AO 14 and he was never the same player since. Yes sure lol. He has won 6 slams since that period and been back to #1. Since AO 18, he hasn't lost in a slam before the SFs, a personal record. But sure he is not the player he was since 2013 yet he keeps winning slams every year and reaching the final four on every surface. Keep living in delusional land.
 
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You wrote Nadals prime ended after AO 14 and he was never the same player since. Yes sure lol. He has won 6 slams since that period and been back to #1. Since AO 18, he hasn't lost in a slam before the SFs, a personal record. But sure he is not the player he was since 2013 yet he keeps winning slams every year and reaching the final four on every surface. Keep living in delusional land.
Sometimes I wonder if you even watch the game itself, or just look at results and statistics. :-D :-D :-D :-D
 
Only somebody like @RF-18 can say that prime Nadal might loss to the likes of Fognini and Tsitsipas on clay. :-D :-D :-D :-D

Yeah, he will bring again this BS about Nadal being "a different beast" in RG. I wonder how he won 11 titles in MC, 11 in Barcelona and 9 in Rome if he doesn't care about them. :unsure:
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
Obviously with ups and downs. And yes, in 2005-2006 he was at his prime on clay, though he had some good tournaments on hardcourt and grass as well. In 2005 he won 11 titles.
So close to adding a 12th at Miami. Shame the injury problems started at the end of the season he could have caused problems at the WTF and Paris. At only 18-19 as well....
 

tacou

G.O.A.T.
Depends what you mean by "biggest," but I have to go with USO 09. Never fails to throw me that Roger won 5 USO in a row and now hasn't won one in over 11 years.
Delpo, on the other hand, is obviously an immense talent constantly beset by injuries, but in the grand scheme of things, he won't have left much of an impact on the game.

Every player has losses they really regret, and that one has to be WAY up on Roger's list.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
Nadal was severely injured in AO2014 final and could not play (like Djokovic against Berdich W or Thiem RG or Wawrinka USO). Nadal wining that would be the biggest upset ever.
Does not matter, going into the match Nadal was the heavy favorite. I was 100% sure he would destroy Stan. So in the end the result cane rather unexpected whether it be due to injury or not.
 

Sunny Ali

Hall of Fame
How about Seles beating Graf as a teenager in her first FO final? That was something I didn't expect :)

The mentally r*etarded German man deprived us of an opportunity to see the women's equivalent of Federer or Nadal :( In fact, Seles was winning slams faster than either Federer or Nadal at their peaks!
 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
As for female tennis:
Navratilova vs. Martinez at Wimbledon 1994. Martina was and is recognized as the Queen of Grass, Wimbledon was her kingdom, while Conchita played her first GS final and grass was definitely not her primary surface. Until now I ask, how Martina could lose it :cautious:
That was a wonderful finale...
 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
How about Seles beating Graf as a teenager in her first FO final? That was something I didn't expect :)

The mentally r*etarded German man deprived us of an opportunity to see the women's equivalent of Federer or Nadal :( In fact, Seles was winning slams faster than either Federer or Nadal at their peaks!
I wonder whether Agassi ever asks his wife: "Hey, how does it feel having all these bloated records because a fan of yours nearly killed your biggest rival who owned you?"

Nope, he doesn´t.
 

Sunny Ali

Hall of Fame
I wonder whether Agassi ever asks his wife: "Hey, how does it feel having all these bloated records because a fan of yours nearly killed your biggest rival who owned you?"

Nope, he doesn´t.
Exactly! Seles was beginning to stop Graf consistently at the big tournaments.

In the years after the incident though, some of the all-time greats like Navratilova made it abundantly clear that had the incident not happened, Graf wouldn't have anywhere near the 22 slams she has now.
 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
Exactly! Seles was beginning to stop Graf consistently at the big tournaments.

In the years after the incident though, some of the all-time greats like Navratilova made it abundantly clear that had the incident not happened, Graf wouldn't have anywhere near the 22 slams she has now.
Seles would have more than her.

If I were married to Graf (i.e. if I had Andre´s fetish for "gorgeous" women) I´d bug her about it often.
 

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
Hilarious...

Try reading the title of the thread, and the explanation.
The French Open 1984 final is one of the biggest majors final loss of a heavy favorite in tennis history. That you are unaware of the player considerations going into that match is your own issue, but it does not alter the fact that McEnroe--as BeatlesFan noted:

I remember the lead up and everything else. Mac was prohibitively and overwhelmingly favored in the 1984 FO final.
...and...

You also neglect to mention that Mac trounced Ivan in two clay matches leading up to the '84 FO final in the weeks leading up to RG: in the WCT Champion's Tournament and then the World Team Cup. Lendl didn't come close to winning a set in either match.
That made McEnroe the heavy favorite at the 1984 French Open in general and in the final, hence the shock of his losing. McEnroe and Lendl were in no way considered on equal standing to win the title.
 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
The French Open 1984 final is one of the biggest majors final loss of a heavy favorite in tennis history. That you are unaware of the player considerations going into that match is your own issue, but it does not alter the fact that McEnroe--as BeatlesFan noted:



...and...



That made McEnroe the heavy favorite at the 1984 French Open in general and in the final, hence the shock of his losing. McEnroe and Lendl were in no way considered on equal standing to win the title.
So a TTW user saying it is PROOF he was HEAVY favourite...?

It´s not April 1st yet.

Besides, you are confusing a blown 2-0 lead with the actual topic of this thread. This is not a thread about matches where someone blew a lead and a sure-fire win. We are discussing favourites BEFORE the first two sets, not who was HEAVY favourite after they already won the early sets...
 

DerekNoleFam1

Hall of Fame
Gomez Agassi. Agassi was the heavy favorite.
Agassi was not yet established as a top player then.
For me 1990 is most remembered as a lost chance for Ivan Lendl, who was concentrating on his ultimately failed plight to win Wimbledon.
And on 1984, Lendl was not favourite against Mac, but Mac was not as overwhelming as some think here.
As an original Lendl fan, this breakthrough was inevitable due to sheer weight of numbers, he had been a Top 4 player for 4 years by then.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
You wrote Nadals prime ended after AO 14 and he was never the same player since. Yes sure lol. He has won 6 slams since that period and been back to #1. Since AO 18, he hasn't lost in a slam before the SFs, a personal record. But sure he is not the player he was since 2013 yet he keeps winning slams every year and reaching the final four on every surface. Keep living in delusional land.
I mean if Federer gets to be old since 24, a mono victim since 27, and a gravy, frosting on top slam champ who is less than a shadow of this old, mono weakened self since 2012 when he tied the all-time Wimbledon record and broke the all-time #1 record while beating two members of the big 4 to win a slam for the first and only time in his career, then why can't Rafa have been out of his prime since 2013?
 

Mitcj

New User
This probably goes back too far for this board: but Wilander defeating Vilas at the French Open in 1982 was a very big upset (though Mats had beaten some formidable types on the way to the final, including Lendl and Clerc). Vilas was having an excellent year and was considered a clay court wizard.... and won the first set going away 6-1. But it was a very hot, humid day and 17-year old Mats gradually wore Vilas down. In retrospect of course it wasn't a shocker as Mats turned out to be a great player, in fact greater than Guillermo.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
I think Bruguera over Courier (at the time) was a much bigger upset than Kuerten over Bruguera (and I don't even know if the latter was an upset).

In 1993, Courier was the two time defending champion at the French Open and was also coming off of an Australian Open win (his second in a row). In 3 prior matches between the two, Courier was 3-0, winning all 7 sets, including a straight set win over Bruguera a few months earlier at the Australian Open and a 6-3, 6-2 win at the 1992 Italian Open. Meanwhile, before the 1993 French Open, Bruguera had never made it past the 4th round of a Major and was 2-3 in his last three French Opens. Bruguera was an accomplished clay player, but it was tough to see him winning against Courier, who was 4-1 in Major finals.

Of course, in hindsight, with Bruguera winning another French Open title and Courier not winning another Major, this doesn't seem like a big upset. But, at the time, it did feel that way.
 

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
Besides, you are confusing a blown 2-0 lead with the actual topic of this thread.
Read.

This is not about a blown lead. I was there in that era to know McEnroe was the heavy favorite going into the event. Lendl was not, and as another member already pointed out:

You also neglect to mention that Mac trounced Ivan in two clay matches leading up to the '84 FO final in the weeks leading up to RG: in the WCT Champion's Tournament and then the World Team Cup. Lendl didn't come close to winning a set in either match.
Undeniable history about McEnroe's status going into the 1984 French Open. That's why his loss is arguably one of the greatest upsets in tennis history.
 
Read.

This is not about a blown lead. I was there in that era to know McEnroe was the heavy favorite going into the event. Lendl was not, and as another member already pointed out:



Undeniable history about McEnroe's status going into the 1984 French Open. That's why his loss is arguably one of the greatest upsets in tennis history.
It was an upset, for sure - but Lendl was a 4-time slam finalist going into that match. Much more of a pedigree than Johansson had in the 2002 AO final, for instance.
 

Fiero425

Hall of Fame
Jimmy Connors losing the 1975 Wimbledon Final to Arthur Ashe.
Connors was #1 and had won 3 majors in '74! He made all 3 finals in '75 to defend, but lost them in upsets; Newcombe @ AO, Ashe @ Wbl., & Orantes @ the USO! Those were all huge upsets at the time; esp. the one with Ashe who was almost 10 years Connors' senior! Arthur had a game plan he stuck with and subdued the #1 player in 4 set, shocking the world & future historians! :sneaky:
 

BGod

Legend
Sampras losing 2000 US Open final to Safin is the one for me.

The biggest non-major final shocker of recent times is Hewitt winning his last two finals against Federer after struggling against him for almost a decade.
Yeah I know strictly from odds makers Sampras was a clear favourite after winning a 4th consecutive Wimbledon. Despite his somewhat streaky nature at USO. Safin winning in straights to boot was highly unlikely and long odds.

Federer against Del Potro had history because Delpo nearly veat him at the French earlier that year and destroyed Nadal but Delpo was at best a 2.5 underdog.

I feel like Nadal losing to Wawrinka should be here. I'm pretty sure the odds were pretty heavily in favour to Nadal for that match.
I remember this well. Stan was 4.6-1 underdog on a main site. So at best he was 4-1 which is heavy underdog status.

95 AO Sampras was a clear favourite over Agassi.

And Federer was clear underdog to Nadal in AO 17. Maybe not quite 3-1 but close.
 

Lew II

Legend
Only somebody like @RF-18 can say that prime Nadal might loss to the likes of Fognini and Tsitsipas on clay. :-D :-D :-D :-D

Yeah, he will bring again this BS about Nadal being "a different beast" in RG. I wonder how he won 11 titles in MC, 11 in Barcelona and 9 in Rome if he doesn't care about them. :unsure:
Nadal in 2017-19 has the highest win percentage of his career:

1) 2017-19 - 88%
2) 2012-14 - 87.3%
 

Bukmeikara

Legend
Wow at people putting Wawrinka. Even against Nadal, the odds were around 5 which is not that heavy. Stan was top 8 at the time, had defeated Djokovic for the first time since 2006 in the same tournament, had a close 7-6 7-6 against Nadal at the WTF. Only for heavy Nadal fans could be a shock but not for a normal tennis logic.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
Wow at people putting Wawrinka. Even against Nadal, the odds were around 5 which is not that heavy. Stan was top 8 at the time, had defeated Djokovic for the first time since 2006 in the same tournament, had a close 7-6 7-6 against Nadal at the WTF. Only for heavy Nadal fans could be a shock but not for a normal tennis logic.
But Stan was and to some extent still is Rafas pigeon. He had never won a set against him and it was his first slam final where second tier players mike him typically choke. It does not matter that he was No 8 or his results against other player.
 

Bukmeikara

Legend
But Stan was and to some extent still is Rafas pigeon. He had never won a set against him and it was his first slam final where second tier players mike him typically choke. It does not matter that he was No 8 or his results against other player.
He hadnt beat Djokovic for the same amount of time.. I get where are you coming from but in the end curent form and overal level should have more weight than H2H which likely was clay heavy. Wawrinka had really pushed the limits in the year before and he was knocking on the door.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
T
He hadnt beat Djokovic for the same amount of time.. I get where are you coming from but in the end curent form and overal level should have more weight than H2H which likely was clay heavy. Wawrinka had really pushed the limits in the year before and he was knocking on the door.
true, but he pushed Djokovic to five a couple of times. On top it is typically a different situation in a final. Many second tier players have won big matches against great players in prior rounds only to absolutely choke in the final (e.g. Soderling FO 2009,10).
 

Sysyphus

Talk Tennis Guru
Kuerten RG’97. A total unknown in his third career slam and without any ATP finals appearances defeated a two time champion and also defeating the two more recent RG champions along the way.

End of thread.
200% this.

I think people forget how much of an unknown Guga was at the time, due to all the success he had after.

That was an out-of-nowhere win against established clay beasts.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
200% this.

I think people forget how much of an unknown Guga was at the time, due to all the success he had after.

That was an out-of-nowhere win against established clay beasts.
While this is true, Bruguera wasn’t exactly known as an unstoppable force not even on clay, nor did he enjoy a big H2H lead over Kuerten (as they had never played before), so their match up was more like a surprise box. With Nadal against Stan it was already well established that Stan was a good matchup for him as he was 0-26 in sets. Also Nadal had tons of slam final experience other than Bruguera.
 

BVSlam

Professional
I have only watched tennis since around Wimbledon 2003 (after seeing all the news about my countryman Verkerk making the RG final and seeing bits of that against Ferrero), so I can't really say anything about the years before. But I voted Safin, Fed and Coria. Safin's final I didn't see, but it's strange someone with his game and overall talent lost so randomly to Thomas Johansson. Coria seemed to be destined to win RG in 2004 and messed it up terribly. He was even up 6-0 6-3, and then also had matchpoints late in the fifth. That choke might have been even worse than any of Fed's 40-15's. That loss was shocking. And then Fed-Delpo. This is the one that is least shocking in hindsight (even though we're not counting that). He was up a set and serving for the second (dominating that set before messing up), and he won two slams and two masters in the span of about three months, even beat Djoko in straights in the semi. But in hindsight, Delpo hit the cover off the ball that tournament, obliterated Rafa, and already nearly beat Fed (dominated him even for most of it) at RG. Fed's level in 2009 also looked better on paper with that great summer, but his level in 2009 didn't feel hugely better than 2008 outside of a few individual matches. It just kind of fell more his way. But still at the time a shocking loss.
 

Drob

Professional
Injury-related losses not included.

Three votes possible.

Which is the most absurd i.e. most surprising loss.
Probably Connors to Orantes, 1975 USO

Safin to Johannson seems like the biggest gap in tennis ability, then Coria to Gaudio. But Coria was a bit of a head case. Ferrero losing to Costa is harder to explain, but on the other hand Costa was a better player than Gaudio. (I guess that was three and a half votes).
 

Drob

Professional
Depends what you mean by "biggest," but I have to go with USO 09. Never fails to throw me that Roger won 5 USO in a row and now hasn't won one in over 11 years.
Delpo, on the other hand, is obviously an immense talent constantly beset by injuries, but in the grand scheme of things, he won't have left much of an impact on the game.

Every player has losses they really regret, and that one has to be WAY up on Roger's list.
Delpo's impact on the game has been exceptional, and it will be lasting.


 

Drob

Professional
This probably goes back too far for this board: but Wilander defeating Vilas at the French Open in 1982 was a very big upset (though Mats had beaten some formidable types on the way to the final, including Lendl and Clerc). Vilas was having an excellent year and was considered a clay court wizard.... and won the first set going away 6-1. But it was a very hot, humid day and 17-year old Mats gradually wore Vilas down. In retrospect of course it wasn't a shocker as Mats turned out to be a great player, in fact greater than Guillermo.
True at the moment, I agree. Not in hindsight, not by a long ways.
 
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