your biggest lead blown or meltdown

mxmx

Hall of Fame
What's your biggest lead blown or meltdown in a tennis match?

I once lost a doubles match with 6 match points. I have also recently blown a 4-0 lead in a 2nd set only to lose the set 6-4 as well as the match.

Personally, quite frustrating to be losing matches I should be able to win. Have the shots and movement to do more. But shows you how important the mental side of the game is.

Many atp players would have struggled against the atg players of past eras who were mentally much, much stronger i.m.o.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
What's your biggest lead blown or meltdown in a tennis match?

I once lost a doubles match with 6 match points. I have also recently blown a 4-0 lead in a 2nd set only to lose the set 6-4 as well as the match.

Personally, quite frustrating to be losing matches I should be able to win. Have the shots and movement to do more. But shows you how important the mental side of the game is.

Many atp players would have struggled against the atg players of past eras who were mentally much, much stronger i.m.o.
Not so much a big lead blown, but for me, the inability to close. last year I went thru a spell for about 5-6 months where, when I was serving 5-x to close out the set or match, i would simply not finish the deal. didnt matter what the opponent score was, i was simply freaking out and getting broken on that last service game, when i should have been closing and sharing a beer with my opponent. that really grated on me a for a while, but over time it's settled down. my last few opportunities to close i've come thru, but it fricken traumatized me to the point that it's still a 'thing' i have to force myself to battle thru...
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
One match that I specifically remember, I blew 6 match points. I had 3 MP's to win the 2nd set (having won the 1st), and then another 3 in the match TB. Maybe others I don't remember.

On the other hand I also remember winning a match where my opponent had 8 MP's.

In all cases like this there is going to be some luck involved - a few really close balls that just catch /don't catch the line, net cord, etc.
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
in a few usta mens doubles matches, in the supertiebreaker, i started to play conservative, not to lose.
i just hit the ball back to keep it in play, so i wouldnt make an error.
we might have been up 7-2 or 3
i would get the ball back, and the opponents would just hit a winner.
i guess in supertiebreaks, its a matter of luck.
next time i will hit out, at least of if i lose, it wont be because i was too conservative
z
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I lost a singles match in USTA Districts that I had been winning 6-3, 5-2. We ended up playing about 3 hours (no time limits in Districts) and we had a big audience from all different teams by the 10 point tiebreaker. I won’t forget that one. The funny thing is that I happened to be playing against a local area team, so I still face that guy sometimes but our ”rematches” have only been in doubles thus far.
 
I had a mental melt down where the opponent would return the faulted serve back over the net, causing the ball to hit the fence and roll back where I would have to retrieve it before my 2nd serve, breaking the rhythm.

Normally it's not that big of a deal, but it grew on my nerves because I was struggling in the match.

My fuse blew and on the next time he returned a faulted serve back over I decided I would hit the ball as hard as I could into my back fence.

However, I mis hit the ball with the frame and the racket flew out of my hand instead - putting a hole in the windscreen.

I lost the match.
 
Eek.

We all have nightmares about it. Hell, it's in the back of our heads every time we play.

I just started back playing so I don't have too many stories about USTA team or tournaments. Lost 2 finals. Wasn't really a choke as my partner completely melted down in one. In the other we won the first set pretty easily 6-2. Lost the second 6-2. I think we were down in the tie breaker like 9-4 and came back and had a match point on my serve and I couldn't convert. Still bugs me.

Played in a singles tournament the weekend right before Covid really blew up in early March. Dude I played might post ITT. I think I won like 5-7 7-6 10-5 or something like that. He had a match point in the second set and I hit a beautiful kick ace out wide. He had me totally on the ropes though. Played a doubles match that morning and my body was locking up. Had to play very strategically there at the end.

I guess before that in February I played a guy in my first USTA team match and got massacred. I totally psyched myself out. Played way, way, way too tight. He dictated everything to me. I was physically exhausted like 4 games in. Beat myself before I even stepped foot on the court and I had played this dude before in a doubles final we won fairly easily.

First match this season Wednesday. No risk it, no biscuit is the play. If I lose it'll be on my terms.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
If you want to be a good player, you should erase all bad memories of tough losses, but remember all the great comebacks. So, my answer is ‘I don’t recall’.

Can I tell you instead about the 14 singles matches I‘ve won in the last decade after saving match points? The memories of those wins carries me through stressful moments late in sets and in tiebreakers.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
What's your biggest lead blown or meltdown in a tennis match?

I once lost a doubles match with 6 match points. I have also recently blown a 4-0 lead in a 2nd set only to lose the set 6-4 as well as the match.

Personally, quite frustrating to be losing matches I should be able to win. Have the shots and movement to do more. But shows you how important the mental side of the game is.

Many atp players would have struggled against the atg players of past eras who were mentally much, much stronger i.m.o.
Too many to even remember
 

Tennisplyr

Rookie
In a league match I was up 6-5 serving in third set, 40-0...ended up going to a 3rd set TB where I went down 0-6. Came back to win 9-7! Life is stranger than fiction.
 

beltsman

Legend
What's your biggest lead blown or meltdown in a tennis match?

I once lost a doubles match with 6 match points. I have also recently blown a 4-0 lead in a 2nd set only to lose the set 6-4 as well as the match.

Personally, quite frustrating to be losing matches I should be able to win. Have the shots and movement to do more. But shows you how important the mental side of the game is.

Many atp players would have struggled against the atg players of past eras who were mentally much, much stronger i.m.o.
I was on the winning end of a crazy blown lead once. I lost the first set in a TB. my opponent was then up 5-0 on me in second set and I came back to win it 5-7, saving many MP. My opponent went up 5-0 AGAIN in the 3rd and AGAIN I came back to win 5-7, saving more MPs. I forget how many I saved in total.

So my final winning scoreline was 6-7 7-5 7-5. My opponent was up 7-6 5-0 and 7-6 5-7 5-0 and lost it. Oof!
 

jmc3367

Rookie
My partner and I were up 9-2 in a match Tie breaker and lost it. It was kinda surreal. we started pressing at about 9-6 and couldn't do anything. Another time me and another partner were up 9-4 in a match tiebreaker and pulled it out 10-8. That first blown tiebreaker was all in my head.
 

leech

Semi-Pro
I've lost at least two matches where my partner and I bageled our opponents the first set.

I lost a Regionals match where my partner and I was up 5-0...we lost 5-7, 2-6!

I lost a MXD Nationals semifinals where my partner and I were up 4-1; lost 4-6 (due to rain, we played just one deciding set).

I lost another MXD Nationals match where my partner and I had at least six match points.

Blown leads will happen when you play a ton of matches, and when some of your opponents are mentally tough...got to give them credit.
 

Robbymack

New User
The single greatest clutching of defeat from the jaws of victory was my being up 6-0, 5-1 serving at 40-love only to have a clear ace match winner called out. Mine you this wasn’t the only questionable call my opponent made, but I was managing expectations and dealing with it knowing it was this guys rep pretty well up until then. I unfortunately lost my ****, the game, and the rest of the match fairly quickly after. Not my proudest moment, but definitely quite the learning/growing opportunity.
 

FlamingCheeto

Professional
We've all been there, but nothing hurts worse than being up 6-2 in a tiebreak and blowing it 8-6. Or even worse, the
dreaded
being up 5-2 and then losing the set 7-5.
 

Crazy Finn

Professional
I was playing the local pusher in singles. I might not have gotten enough sleep or something - hard week at work.

Anyway, I was all fired up and played very aggressive. Got up 5-1. Unfortunately, the last two games I started to get a little dizzy and started to feel like I was going to fall over. I was exhausted, worried I might pass out, so I dialed it back and ended up losing the first set - I can't remember if it was in a 7-6 TB or 7-5. Lost a couple of game in the next set, but we had such long rallies after I dialed it back that we basically ran out of time. I scored it that I retired, because neither of us wanted to continue or make it up.

Oh well...
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I was on the winning end of a crazy blown lead once. I lost the first set in a TB. my opponent was then up 5-0 on me in second set and I came back to win it 5-7, saving many MP. My opponent went up 5-0 AGAIN in the 3rd and AGAIN I came back to win 5-7, saving more MPs. I forget how many I saved in total.

So my final winning scoreline was 6-7 7-5 7-5. My opponent was up 7-6 5-0 and 7-6 5-7 5-0 and lost it. Oof!
Hehhe. He should have posted the story because HE blew it hehe.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I've lost at least two matches where my partner and I bageled our opponents the first set.

I lost a Regionals match where my partner and I was up 5-0...we lost 5-7, 2-6!

I lost a MXD Nationals semifinals where my partner and I were up 4-1; lost 4-6 (due to rain, we played just one deciding set).

I lost another MXD Nationals match where my partner and I had at least six match points.

Blown leads will happen when you play a ton of matches, and when some of your opponents are mentally tough...got to give them credit.
What do you think makes opponents like those become that tough mentally?
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
The single greatest clutching of defeat from the jaws of victory was my being up 6-0, 5-1 serving at 40-love only to have a clear ace match winner called out. Mine you this wasn’t the only questionable call my opponent made, but I was managing expectations and dealing with it knowing it was this guys rep pretty well up until then. I unfortunately lost my ****, the game, and the rest of the match fairly quickly after. Not my proudest moment, but definitely quite the learning/growing opportunity.
You win. I think that's the worst possible situation. I get angry reading it and I didn't even play your match!
 

leech

Semi-Pro
What do you think makes opponents like those become that tough mentally?
Experience playing big matches, past success coming back from deficits, ability to change strategies and continually adapt if the initial approach isn't working.
 

Joe Garfield

Semi-Pro
What's your biggest lead blown or meltdown in a tennis match?

I once lost a doubles match with 6 match points. I have also recently blown a 4-0 lead in a 2nd set only to lose the set 6-4 as well as the match.

Personally, quite frustrating to be losing matches I should be able to win. Have the shots and movement to do more. But shows you how important the mental side of the game is.

Many atp players would have struggled against the atg players of past eras who were mentally much, much stronger i.m.o.
Read "The Inner Game of Tennis." Everyone tells me I'm the best player in my league and I should win easy, but I've been losing every match - even if I start out ahead. I read the first half of this book the other night and easily won my first match the next morning. It's about getting your conscious mind out the way so the body and subconscious can work the miracles it's been doing since you were born. For example, you figured out how to walk without your conscious mind giving directions, criticizing, or yelling at yourself.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Read "The Inner Game of Tennis." Everyone tells me I'm the best player in my league and I should win easy, but I've been losing every match - even if I start out ahead. I read the first half of this book the other night and easily won my first match the next morning. It's about getting your conscious mind out the way so the body and subconscious can work the miracles it's been doing since you were born. For example, you figured out how to walk without your conscious mind giving directions, criticizing, or yelling at yourself.
Ever perhaps read "The Mental Advantage"?
Somehow that failed me bigtime before...
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
For example, you figured out how to walk without your conscious mind giving directions, criticizing, or yelling at yourself.
Not to be critical but no one knows how they figured out how to walk. Likely that is a genetically pre-programmed developmental pathway irrelevant to conscious or subconscious thought. More directly related to increasing myelination in frontal lobes.

Learning a non-programmed motor skill will require entirely different mechanism.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Just a few weeks ago .... lost first set 6-4 ... playing well, one break. We came out strong in 2nd and got to 5-0. Have no idea what happened. Lost 7 games in a row.

Talking with my partner and a few teammates afterwards ... no idea what exactly happened. Long points, not a lot of errors ... they just played that one ball better on everything.
 

junior74

G.O.A.T.
My worst one (true story): I lost a match in which I won 10 games in a row.
Wawrinka lost to Cicci after having won the first 8 games in a match. Happens on all levels :D
 

EddieBrock

Professional
My biggest recent one was in doubles where we lost the first set but were leading 4-0 in the 2nd and winning games pretty easily. Then the other team started changing positions and got a bit too careful and they came back and won 6-4.

I was just playing a match where I was up 4-0 and then 4-1 with a different partner and made sure to keep the intensity up until the match was over. You never know what could happen!
 
For example, you figured out how to walk without your conscious mind giving directions, criticizing, or yelling at yourself.
Sure but more accurate a comparison would be how you learned to walk now after losing the ability for some reason. There would be a ton of "your conscious mind giving directions, criticizing, or yelling at yourself." because the adult brain learns differently than a toddler.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I had a challenge match in high school where I was up 6-1 5-0 and blew a bunch of match points to lose the second set 7-6 in a set that took an hour and a half. Since it was getting dark, we had to continue the next day. I was still reeling from the previous meltdown and he raced to a 6-0 5-1 lead before I turned the tables and ran off 12 of 13 to win in 3 sets in the last rays of light that day. If you put both days scoreline together it was 6-1 6-7 0-6 7-5 6-1.

Since that was over 30 years ago, the worst I witnessed in recent times was at a 4.0 sectional match several years ago that came down to a match tb on the final court, and the team blew an 8-0 lead.
 
Since that was over 30 years ago, the worst I witnessed in recent times was at a 4.0 sectional match several years ago that came down to a match tb on the final court, and the team blew an 8-0 lead.
Did the winning team win 10 points straight? What was the final score?

I played a doubles match down 4-9 in the match TB and we won 7 points straight to win 11-9. It wasn't really a meltdown by the other team: we just stopped making errors and they made more. It was more just a patch of randomness that involved 7 points rather than 2 or 3. The opponent playing Ad did have match point on his racquet with a CC BH that would have been out of my reach but it hit the tape and didn't clear.
 

Liam Grennon

Professional
I lost a high school match in the state semi-finals after serving at 6-2 (we play 8 game pro sets). At one point we were up breaks or more on five courts, and on serve on the remaining court, but went down 4 -2 going into doubles. We snagged two doubles matches, but I lost that doubles match at 4-4.

I was the 4/5 seed in the state singles tourney and killed that kid in the second round. Somehow that made it harder to think about.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
I once led a match from the first point up until they finally drew level at 5-5 in the third set tiebreak

I then promptly lost the next two points and the match
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Did the winning team win 10 points straight? What was the final score?

I played a doubles match down 4-9 in the match TB and we won 7 points straight to win 11-9. It wasn't really a meltdown by the other team: we just stopped making errors and they made more. It was more just a patch of randomness that involved 7 points rather than 2 or 3. The opponent playing Ad did have match point on his racquet with a CC BH that would have been out of my reach but it hit the tape and didn't clear.
No, it ended either 11-9 or 12-10.
 

SeeItHitIt

Professional
Playing mixed with my wife (who was then a 4.0, now a 4.5). Won first set 6-0, could do no wrong serving, ground strokes and at the next. We then dropped a close one in the second set, 6-1. It was like we’d never played before. After that it’s a blur, but we lost. It marked the first time I quit the game ‘forever’.
 

JustTennis76

Professional
Blown leads always stink and stays in memory. The only loss I blew a big lead was several years ago when I was serving for the match 6-4, 5-2 30-0. Ended up losing the 2nd set tiebreak and eventually in the 3rd set tiebreak 10-7.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Just a few weeks ago .... lost first set 6-4 ... playing well, one break. We came out strong in 2nd and got to 5-0. Have no idea what happened. Lost 7 games in a row.

Talking with my partner and a few teammates afterwards ... no idea what exactly happened. Long points, not a lot of errors ... they just played that one ball better on everything.
Sounds like you might have run into a rating manager.
 

taylor15

Professional
Was playing doubles with my reg partner in a match this week. Not a huge first set win at 7-6(9). Second set we were off to the races, up 4-0. Lost the second set 4-6 and then 3-6 in the third. 8 straight games we lost. We discussed afterwards and I’m not sure if we psyched ourselves out at the thoughts of beating a higher ranked team, or what but it was a bit embarrassing to say the least. If like to say we fell apart, but we agreed that one of their guys just lit a fuse and started killing it.
 
Stand back, amateurs.

I lost a 7.5 combo match tiebreak 9-11. We had been leading 9-1.
But how much of that was simply random [ie they happened to play better than normal and not make any errors while you played worse than normal and made more errors]? As opposed to them "turning it on" and playing lights out? Maybe it was just role reversal from the first 10 points of the game?

For example, if you flip a coin enough you will see series of very non-random looking results [ie 10 heads in a row]. Not only is this not surprising, it's expected. If I saw a sequence that lacked any such clumping, I'd suspect it was manufactured and not random. So, paradoxically, if something is random, it will in various places appear non-random.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I had a challenge match in high school where I was up 6-1 5-0 and blew a bunch of match points to lose the second set 7-6 in a set that took an hour and a half. Since it was getting dark, we had to continue the next day. I was still reeling from the previous meltdown and he raced to a 6-0 5-1 lead before I turned the tables and ran off 12 of 13 to win in 3 sets in the last rays of light that day. If you put both days scoreline together it was 6-1 6-7 0-6 7-5 6-1.

Since that was over 30 years ago, the worst I witnessed in recent times was at a 4.0 sectional match several years ago that came down to a match tb on the final court, and the team blew an 8-0 lead.
You did well to eventually win that match of 30 years ago...
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
The following is a 100% true story:

I was 20 years old, playing in an open tournament, my first match ever on clay (the sandy gray stuff).

At the time, I was a serve-and-volleyer (both first and second serve). I liked to play a net-crashing style kind of like Patrick Rafter (this was in 1993, before I had heard of Rafter).

I played with the Wilson Profile 2.7 OS, strung up tight and crisp with Problend at 77 lbs.

My opponent was a crafty 45-year-old pusher/counterpuncher type.

The first set went according to plan. My attacking style overpowered him, and I won 6-2. The second set continued on similar pace, and I was leading 6-2, 5-2.

At the changeover at that point, my opponent says to me, ‘ok, 5 straight games!’ I laughed.

On the next game I go up 40-30 (match point). On my first serve attempt, my string pops. I go to my bag and grab my backup racquet. Oops double fault.

Next ball, I pop a volley badly long

I take a look at my racquet, which I had just had restrung by a local pro shop. It’s elongated 1/2” longer than it’s supposed to be. The stringbed feels way too soft and springy, like it’s 10 lbs looser than it should be.

Long story short. I couldn’t control the ball with my backup racquet. Yes, I lost 5 straight games, just like my opponent had ordained at the changeover, to drop the second set 5-7.

Then I went down in a frustrated heap 2-6 in the third.

Afterward, my gleeful smug opponent declared, ‘on hardcourt, you would have beaten me 6-2, 6-2!’
 
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Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
It was horrible. When we got to 9-1, we were cocky. Oh, it’s just one missed return. A DF, 9-3. A few errors later, and it’s 9-5. Ok, time to get serious. 9-6, Doh! 9-7, we’re both tight as a drum. 9-8, another DF. 9-9, oh, no! 9-11, how are we going to explain this?

It was 7.5 combo, and my 3.5 partner was expecting me to *do something.* The pressure was just too much.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
I was an eighth-grader playing varsity tennis because you could do so starting in seventh grade in MN. Anyway, I was young and playing in my first high school subsectional singles tournament, hoping to advance to sectionals, and I won the first set and was up 6-1 in the second set tiebreak and lost the set and the match. I kept it together as I left the court but then fled across the parking lot and started bawling behind by dad's truck. Lol. I brought the drama. I was so upset and embarrassed.

I never cried again after that and I really don't know why I did that day. From then on I would get angry when tennis was distressing me. But honestly, crying and angry outbursts are two sides of the exact same coin.
 

BGod

Legend
A combination but ultimately a 4-2 lead in the 3rd set on my serve. And I lost 4 straight games. Can't remember how bad my services games were exactly, I mean I feel like I was up 40-30 at 4-2 and blew that and then played soft at 4-4 maybe having a deuce. But it was a **** show. I lost the 1st set 4-6 after being down 1-5 then won the 2nd easily, 6-2. It was a higher level of tournament (Canada) but my opponent has obvious flaws in his trajectory that I just didn't exploit in that final set, or like when I came back from 1-5 and then for nothing.

That would be it for blown leads. Meltdowns would be different. I was playing a clay tournament which I rarely did and won the 1st round in straights. It was a 28 player tournament with top 4 seeds getting BYE and I was 7th or 8th seed. I got the #1 in the R16 because it was randomized and I went up 2-0 on the guy quick. Then I had this girl show up that I had a crush on at the time because she lived nearby and holy **** I embarrassed myself. It was a combination of her being there and me trying to show off and the fact I was doing really well against this #1 guy. I had faced him once before and honestly I'll tell you his whole edge was speed and stamina. His serve was for crap and his strokes were consistent but lacked power. I proceeded to lose 10 straight games. Down 0-4 in the 2nd I played a service game tough to avoid a bagel. I will always maintain if I had a better head on my shoulders and focused in I would have beat him and maybe won the damn thing.
 
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