Worst Trilogy Beatdowns In Tennis History?

Worst Trilogy in Tennis?

  • Lendl can't beat Boris on Grass

    Votes: 3 10.0%
  • Murray can't go past 2 sets against Novak at AO Final

    Votes: 7 23.3%
  • Roger can't beat Rafa at Roland Garros

    Votes: 12 40.0%
  • Agassi loses to Sampras at USO over 13 years.

    Votes: 8 26.7%

  • Total voters
    30

BGod

Hall of Fame
#1
So we talk about the best, but what about the worst?

Boris beats Lendl at Wimbledon
Ivan Lendl failed to win a Wimbledon in 7 deep runs that had him make the semifinal and 2 finals. The most interesting is his inability to overcome the burgeoning youngster known as Boris Becker. It was Lendl that lost to 18 year old Becker as the wunderkind repeated as Champion in 1986. Becker was of course upset in 87 in the 2nd Round by Doohan and Lendl lost the final to Cash. The following year Ivan met Boris again in the semifinals and lost in 4 but it was their 3rd meeting that truly destroyed Lendl as in 1989 leading 2-1 after a 6-2 third set seeded #1, Lendl lost 4-6, 3-6 as Becker went on to obliterated Edberg. That same Edberg would beat Lendl in 1990 in Ivan's last deep run of his career on grass.

Andy Murray Australian Open
Of course it should be noted that in the 7 years of making a Quarter or better, Andy lost to Novak five times and Roger twice. Those are stacked odds but it is perhaps his 3 consecutive Finals losses to Novak that sting the most. In 2013 after winning his maiden Slam against Djokovic in New York, Andy exchanged tiebreaks to start the match but faded to lose in 4. Dealing with injury he lost to Roger in the quarters the following year but would be back to make Finals runs in 15 & 16. His 2015 final was a comeback of sorts and just like 2013 he exchanged tiebreaks in the first 2 sets. This time however he faded even worse losing the 4th set in a bagel. In 2016 he would make his 5th final in a season that saw him end YE #1 but this time he lost in straights albeit a tiebreak in the 3rd. At no point deep in any of these 3 matches did Murray look troublesome. His best showing of 2013 saw him lay down just a tad softer than his 2015 drubbing. What are we to make of this? He clearly needs Berdych in a final.

Roger at Roland Garros
We all know Nadal's domination over everyone on clay, including the GOAT, but their 3 consecutive meetings in the Final at Roland Garros has to be the stamp in Nadal's favor. 2006 started out well for Roger with a 6-1 opening set but Nadal equaled the feat in the follow up. The 3rd set saw one break of serve and the 4th ended in a 7-4 tiebreak for Nadal. The 2007 final was more routine with Nadal winning the opening set but it's the 2008 final that will forever live in infamy. An opening 6-1 for Nadal went into a respectable but disappointing 6-3 second set before a bagel in the 3rd. This of course came to affect Roger's mental fortitude as he went 1 for 13 on break chances against Nadal in that epic at Wimbledon and lost on grass as well. Outside of 2006, Roger didn't have a prayer but it's the 2008 demolition that will endure.

Agassi can't beat Sampras at USO
Of course there's the epic 2001 Quarterfinal tiebreak bonanza however it is the 3 Finals spanning 13 years that we look our gaze upon. First in 1990 with a clean slate, at least on Slams and on hard court (they had met on clay and carpet). Agassi was the prodigy ahead of Sampras having early success and at this point was a year older. Sampras came through and won in routine fashion 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. It would be 5 years before they again met in the Final, this time Agassi had a 4 set victory at the Australian Open earlier in the year but would lost the first 2 sets before taking the 3rd and Sampras winning the 3rd at 7-5. It would be another 6 years before they would meet in the epic quarterfinal that although Agassi wasn't broken the entire match still lost in 4. The following year Agassi dispatched of defending champion Hewitt to meet Sampras in another Final. The draw seemed to suggest Agassi had the edge and having beaten Hewitt who destroyed Sampras the previous year it looked like Andre might finally do it. Yet again however, Sampras beat Agassi with little question taking the first two sets before Agassi salvaged a 3rd set and Sampras finished things off with a break in the 4th. This was Sampras' last match after not having won a Slam in over 2 years. Agassi would go on to win the 2003 Aussie Open and make the 2005 USO Final losing in 4 sets to Roger Federer who he took to 5 sets in 2004. Agassi himself admitted he had a mental block against Sampras in later matches despite an overall 14-20 record he lost 6 of 9 Slam meetings, which included his easy victory on clay at the 92 French.
 
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#2
I disagree that Murray didn't look troublesome in any of those 3 AO finals with Djokovic you quoted. As you point out he traded tie-breaks at the start of 2013 and 2015 so he was clearly troublesome at that point at least. In 2016 he was distracted by the imminent birth of his first child (had a plane ticket to fly back to London at a moment's notice and said he had been prepared to miss the final) . Still managed to take the 3rd set to a tie-break though.
 
#3
Ivan Lendl failed to win a Wimbledon in 7 deep runs that had him make the semifinal and 2 finals. The most interesting is his ineptitude to overcome the burgeoning youngster known as Boris Becker.
Stopped reading right there. Not being able to beat Becker on grass is not "ineptitude." Maybe had you actually watched Lendl retool his entire game to tackle fast, slick, grass, you wouldn't make this ridiculous comment. Using this flawed logic, Roddick was "inept" because he failed to beat Federer at Wimbledon 4 times.

Lendl himself thinks his WImbledon record is better than making 8 straight finals at the USO. He discusses this from 24:00-25:00.

 
#4
Stopped reading right there. Not being able to beat Becker on grass is not "ineptitude." Maybe had you actually watched Lendl retool his entire game to tackle fast, slick, grass, you wouldn't make this ridiculous comment. Using this flawed logic, Roddick was "inept" because he failed to beat Federer at Wimbledon 4 times.

Lendl himself thinks his WImbledon record is better than making 8 straight finals at the USO. He discusses this from 24:00-25:00.

I like how knowledgeable Lendl is.
 
#5
Stopped reading right there. Not being able to beat Becker on grass is not "ineptitude." Maybe had you actually watched Lendl retool his entire game to tackle fast, slick, grass, you wouldn't make this ridiculous comment. Using this flawed logic, Roddick was "inept" because he failed to beat Federer at Wimbledon 4 times.

Lendl himself thinks his WImbledon record is better than making 8 straight finals at the USO. He discusses this from 24:00-25:00.

Agree that it wasn't ineptitude. Don't agree that Lendl's Wimbledon record was a greater feat than his USO record.
 
#6
Not being able to beat Becker on grass is not "ineptitude." Maybe had you actually watched Lendl retool his entire game to tackle fast, slick, grass, you wouldn't make this ridiculous comment. Using this flawed logic, Roddick was "inept" because he failed to beat Federer at Wimbledon 4 times.
[/MEDIA]
Fair enough, I've been writing a lot lately.

I disagree that objectively his Wimbledon record is better than USO. First off he's basically saying an extra deep run at the USO is below his 4th round exits at Wimbledon as his 8th best performance. His argument is facing better competition and yes Becker x3, McEnroe and Edberg okay but he also lost to Connors and Cash convincingly and his previous opponents to get to some of those matches were way below, I mean it's actually pretty low:

Leconte (9)
Mayotte (10) & Zivojinovic (unseeded, beat unseeded player to get to SF)
Smid (13)
Tanner (unseeded)
Goldie (unseeded)
Pearce (unseeded)

That he thinks beating the above means his Wimbledon runs were more impressive than 8 consecutive USO means he is ABSOLUTELY bothered by his grass track record and he isn't at peace with it because he wouldn't go out of his way to pump up his grass wins against the above players. Guy is clearly lying here. In comparison, his USO runs:

McEnroe (1)
Connors (4) & Noah (7)
Edberg (4) & Leconte (8)
Connors (6) & McEnroe (8)
Agassi (4)
Agassi (6) & Mayotte (9)
Gomez (5) & Cash (15)
Arias (9)

Common now, this isn't even debatable.
 
#7
I disagree that Murray didn't look troublesome in any of those 3 AO finals with Djokovic you quoted. As you point out he traded tie-breaks at the start of 2013 and 2015 so he was clearly troublesome at that point at least. In 2016 he was distracted by the imminent birth of his first child (had a plane ticket to fly back to London at a moment's notice and said he had been prepared to miss the final) . Still managed to take the 3rd set to a tie-break though.
I think he means just late on in the match, as in he started well but it never looked like he was taking it to 5.

Family planning is key, and that can't have helped that he was expecting a child in 2016. Though he is easily distracted, which final was it that he lost cos he got distracted by a feather? lol. Sorry I'm only joking

What I find bizarre with Murray is the swings in fortune with Djokovic. After their first match which was competitive it started to look like he would never be able to beat Djokovic. There were 2 masters defeats on HC and clay where between the 2 he lost 2 love sets back to back (last set of first match and first set on next match) one was 6-1 6-0 I believe and the other 6-0 6-4. Then he had a run of victories where it seemed he frustrated Djokovic into errors. Then Djokovic 2011 seemed to be too much before Murray got him again in Cincy and then the next year in NY and then again at Wimbledon 2013. And then Djokovic seems to again beat up on him time after time. Then of course in 2016 it swung back to Murray before Doha 2017 looked to swing back to Djokovic.

I've never quite seen a rivalry where at times one player seemed to utterly dominate the other but then it totally turn around for no obviously reason and then back again. It's not like one was peak and the other not and it's not like the changes were due to injury or massive changes to their game. It just seems mental
 

BGod

Hall of Fame
#8
I've never quite seen a rivalry where at times one player seemed to utterly dominate the other but then it totally turn around for no obviously reason and then back again. It's not like one was peak and the other not and it's not like the changes were due to injury or massive changes to their game. It just seems mental
It's definitely mental. Murray won a lot of matches as an upstart in his early years but he started to get bogged down mentally. You will remember he nearly choked away that USO but at Wimbledon he felt comfortable against anybody not named Federer, despite losing to other players he didn't have the mental anguish he had against Fed. I think after Wimbledon though the wheels just came off Murray and he did start dealing with back issues. The 8 consecutive losses beginning in 2014 and then one win followed by 4 more I think the only reason Murray has beaten Novak at Rome and then the WTF was Novak's drive. It really is fairly clear at this point Andy cannot beat Djokovic if Novak wants to win.
 
#11
As for OPs question: for me it is Agassi vs Sampras. While Roger is 0-5 against Rafa at RG and Agassi is only 0-4 against Pete at the US what is the dealbreaker here for me is that Andre actually was tha favourite against Pete in all four matches and nevertheless never ever even could push it to five (Federer other than 2005 maybe was never really favored against Nadal).
As it was pointed out, in the later meetings Pete had declined way faster than Andre and after Andre convincingly had beaten Hewitt I was sure that this time he would actually beat Sampras. Pete could really lift his game whenever he met Andre.
 
#13
It's definitely mental. Murray won a lot of matches as an upstart in his early years but he started to get bogged down mentally. You will remember he nearly choked away that USO but at Wimbledon he felt comfortable against anybody not named Federer, despite losing to other players he didn't have the mental anguish he had against Fed. I think after Wimbledon though the wheels just came off Murray and he did start dealing with back issues. The 8 consecutive losses beginning in 2014 and then one win followed by 4 more I think the only reason Murray has beaten Novak at Rome and then the WTF was Novak's drive. It really is fairly clear at this point Andy cannot beat Djokovic if Novak wants to win.
Novak didn't want to win Rome or the WTF and didn't want to win back his #1 ranking??? If you believe that you'll believe anything!
 
#18
@BGod

I think you must take surface into account. Nadal and Becker had big advantages in their matchups. Perhaps Djokovic and Sampras had slight ones but not so great. US Open courts were very fast by 2001 and 2002, but Agassi was in much better shape than Sampras by then. In 1990 and 1995, the courts were pretty fair to both, and Agassi had far more experience in 1990. So I voted for Sampras and Agassi. Murray at least took Djokovic to five at the AO 2012. Agassi never took Sampras to five at the US Open.
 
#19
@BGod

I think you must take surface into account. Nadal and Becker had big advantages in their matchups. Perhaps Djokovic and Sampras had slight ones but not so great. US Open courts were very fast by 2001 and 2002, but Agassi was in much better shape than Sampras by then. In 1990 and 1995, the courts were pretty fair to both, and Agassi had far more experience in 1990. So I voted for Sampras and Agassi. Murray at least took Djokovic to five at the AO 2012. Agassi never took Sampras to five at the US Open.
Nadal's advantage was more telling! He's only lost 2 matches over the years in RG! Becker only won 3 Wimbledons, losing finals to Edberg, Stich, and Sampras OTTH! The one upset to an Aussie in an early round in '87 by Doohan isn't brought up much! That was huge at the time, but he may have started having wrist problems requiring surgery later in his career! :cautious: :sneaky: ;)
 
#20
I do sometimes think how Agassi didn't win one of those multiple matches against Sampras at USO. He should have won that 95 final, he had all the momentum, was leading Sampras 3-1 H2H that year, had beaten him at AO final, Miami final and just a few weeks earlier in Canada. But Pete just knew how to get the job done.

2001 was also an interesting one, for me their highest quality match ever, despite being only four sets. Agassi had serious momentum that year, won AO, his first title in IW and won Miami, out performed Sampras at W that year by making the semis, while Sampras had not won anything all year and was coming in with zero momentum having lost his W title. Pete still beat him.
 
#21
I do sometimes think how Agassi didn't win one of those multiple matches against Sampras at USO. He should have won that 95 final, he had all the momentum, was leading Sampras 3-1 H2H that year, had beaten him at AO final, Miami final and just a few weeks earlier in Canada. But Pete just knew how to get the job done.

2001 was also an interesting one, for me their highest quality match ever, despite being only four sets. Agassi had serious momentum that year, won AO, his first title in IW and won Miami, out performed Sampras at W that year by making the semis, while Sampras had not won anything all year and was coming in with zero momentum having lost his W title. Pete still beat him.
Stupidly overplayed in the summer while PETE took it easier.
 
#23
Think if we had Agassi vs Sampras play 100 it would be 100-0 Sampras at US Open. Same way it would be 100-0 to Djokovic against Murray in Australia. Federer vs Nadal in France.

Worst here would have to be Murray vs Djokovic. Still pretty fresh in the memory. Hard to watch.
 
#24
As for OPs question: for me it is Agassi vs Sampras. While Roger is 0-5 against Rafa at RG and Agassi is only 0-4 against Pete at the US what is the dealbreaker here for me is that Andre actually was tha favourite against Pete in all four matches and nevertheless never ever even could push it to five (Federer other than 2005 maybe was never really favored against Nadal).
As it was pointed out, in the later meetings Pete had declined way faster than Andre and after Andre convincingly had beaten Hewitt I was sure that this time he would actually beat Sampras. Pete could really lift his game whenever he met Andre.
Agreed. In 1990 both were young but Agassi was the clear favorite. In 1995 Agassi had swept every tournament in the Summer Hard Court Swing. In 2001, Agassi had won a Slam and 2 other masters. In 2002, Agassi had won 3 masters. In 2001 and 2002 Sampras was really not his best but still won. At least Agassi won 2 USO's.
 
#25
Think if we had Agassi vs Sampras play 100 it would be 100-0 Sampras at US Open. Same way it would be 100-0 to Djokovic against Murray in Australia. Federer vs Nadal in France.

Worst here would have to be Murray vs Djokovic. Still pretty fresh in the memory. Hard to watch.
Just for jokes, here are the would be matches at USO that were 1 win away from happening between the 2:

1992 (Agassi lost to Courier in 4)
1996 (Agassi lost to Chang in 3)
1998 (Agassi lost to Kucera in 5)

Clearly loses in both 92 & 96 but 98 might have been interesting, albeit Sampras still wins. I DO however think 94 and 99 might have gone Agassi's way but then we're just giving him more chances. Out of 10 matches I do think he'd win 1.
 
#27
Just for jokes, here are the would be matches at USO that were 1 win away from happening between the 2:

1992 (Agassi lost to Courier in 4)
1996 (Agassi lost to Chang in 3)
1998 (Agassi lost to Kucera in 5)

Clearly loses in both 92 & 96 but 98 might have been interesting, albeit Sampras still wins. I DO however think 94 and 99 might have gone Agassi's way but then we're just giving him more chances. Out of 10 matches I do think he'd win 1.
For me there is no way Agassi wins in 99. Pete played some of his best tennis and had agassis number over the whole year. The best chances I would give to Andre are in 1994. Even though it was Pete’s best year statistic wise he played subpar at the US due to injury. However, in 95,2001 and 2002 Agassi also looked to be in better form before the match and we know how this turned out.
 
#28
The strange thing is that in both years 2001 and 2002 Sampras beat Agassi at the US Open because he could steal a decisive number of baseline rallyes. And Sampras normally was extremely bad and erroneous from the baseline during his last years on tour, while Agassi is one of the best ballstrikers in history.

But somehow Sampras was very often almost on par with Agassi from the baseline in their H2H matches. I was never able to totally explain it to my myself why this was the case. Maybe the fast and rather flat shots of Agassi suited him quite well. His biggest problem were high topspin shots (much more so than Federer, who only struggled with Nadal), and that’s also one of the main reasons his was never successful on clay.
 
#30
Pete could really lift his game whenever he met Andre.
And Pete's game matched up really well against Andre's.

Pete's serve (1st and 2nd) gave Andre more trouble than anyone else I can think of...

Whereas Andre was able to read other servers (not sure how, but he seemed to have a knack for this), he had trouble getting a read on most of Pete's serves...
 
#31
Just for jokes, here are the would be matches at USO that were 1 win away from happening between the 2:

1992 (Agassi lost to Courier in 4)
1996 (Agassi lost to Chang in 3)
1998 (Agassi lost to Kucera in 5)

Clearly loses in both 92 & 96 but 98 might have been interesting, albeit Sampras still wins. I DO however think 94 and 99 might have gone Agassi's way but then we're just giving him more chances. Out of 10 matches I do think he'd win 1.
99 would not have gone Agassi’s way if Sampras were fit. On the other hand, I am less sure than you about 92 and especially 96.
 
#32
For me there is no way Agassi wins in 99. Pete played some of his best tennis and had agassis number over the whole year. The best chances I would give to Andre are in 1994. Even though it was Pete’s best year statistic wise he played subpar at the US due to injury. However, in 95,2001 and 2002 Agassi also looked to be in better form before the match and we know how this turned out.
Agassi didn’t look on better form before the 95 final. He looked on better form before the tournament began but was clearly below sampras’s level throughout the whole event.
 
#33
I do sometimes think how Agassi didn't win one of those multiple matches against Sampras at USO. He should have won that 95 final, he had all the momentum, was leading Sampras 3-1 H2H that year, had beaten him at AO final, Miami final and just a few weeks earlier in Canada. But Pete just knew how to get the job done.

2001 was also an interesting one, for me their highest quality match ever, despite being only four sets. Agassi had serious momentum that year, won AO, his first title in IW and won Miami, out performed Sampras at W that year by making the semis, while Sampras had not won anything all year and was coming in with zero momentum having lost his W title. Pete still beat him.
Sampras picked up his level during the 95 Open while Agassi had indeed overplayed. 2001 and especially 2002 were more out of the blue. I didn’t see how Agassi could lose in 2002 without Sampras relying on tiebreaks.
 
#34
I think he means just late on in the match, as in he started well but it never looked like he was taking it to 5.

Family planning is key, and that can't have helped that he was expecting a child in 2016. Though he is easily distracted, which final was it that he lost cos he got distracted by a feather? lol. Sorry I'm only joking

What I find bizarre with Murray is the swings in fortune with Djokovic. After their first match which was competitive it started to look like he would never be able to beat Djokovic. There were 2 masters defeats on HC and clay where between the 2 he lost 2 love sets back to back (last set of first match and first set on next match) one was 6-1 6-0 I believe and the other 6-0 6-4. Then he had a run of victories where it seemed he frustrated Djokovic into errors. Then Djokovic 2011 seemed to be too much before Murray got him again in Cincy and then the next year in NY and then again at Wimbledon 2013. And then Djokovic seems to again beat up on him time after time. Then of course in 2016 it swung back to Murray before Doha 2017 looked to swing back to Djokovic.

I've never quite seen a rivalry where at times one player seemed to utterly dominate the other but then it totally turn around for no obviously reason and then back again. It's not like one was peak and the other not and it's not like the changes were due to injury or massive changes to their game. It just seems mental
Well, quite simply, if you want a true look into their rivalry, you have to start by throwing away all of their matches from 2014. Murray was a shadow of himself both in conditioning and form in that season following surgery. He was playing defense only tennis but because his serve and backhand were so far below his average he was nothing more than a poor mans David Ferrer.

I’d even argue that in parts of 2015 Murray was still finding his way back to his old form. It was really during this season, and playing as much doubles as he did with and without brother Jamie that he grew comfortable in coming to the net again. It was also in this season that Mauresmo and Bjorkman rebuilt the Murray serve, specifically his horrendous second serve. And with these improvement Murray’s confidence grew and he slowly returned to his old form and began challenging Novak again.

In those two seasons Murray was 1-10 against Novak. It’s really a shame that we didn’t see these two play in their peaks over the last few seasons albeit Doha 2017 was amazing match. For all the scorn their rivalry gets they played some really good matches against one another specifically in 2012.
 

BGod

Hall of Fame
#35
I don't take issue looking at 2014 Murray in perspective as a recovering player but 2015 is on him. Yes he had a light run to the AO final but such is life you don't just quit after the 3rd set the way he did. And he took Novak to 5 at the French. No, he was healthy by that point.
 
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