Every once in a while, a player holds a record that causes us to ask "How did that happen?" These records are oddities, and only serve to increase the mystery that is professional tennis. Below are the three recent records that fascinate me the most.
Francesca Schiavone: The inimitable Italian was the runner-up in eight events before she finally won a tournament, at age 27. Schiavone, now age 32, has won just six WTA singles titles, but one of them was the 2010 French Open.
The Bondarenko sisters: Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko had never won a
doubles title together when--almost out of the blue--they won the
Australian Open in 2008. They would go on to win only two more titles.
Samantha Stosur: Stosur was the number 1 doubles player in the world, and though she played singles, her results in doubles were much better. Stosur then decided to focus on singles; she was 26 years old at the time. In 2011, she won the U.S. Open, beating Serena Williams in straight sets in the final. However, to date, the Australian star has won only two other WTA tournaments.
So-called "one Slam wonders" abound (not to imply that either Schiavone or Stosur will bear that nickname, though Schiavone, because of her age, could retire soon). Conchita Martinez, Gabriela Sabatini, Jana Novotna, and Anastasia Myskina come to mind. However, one-Slam wonders generally have won several titles in addition to their one major title. 1997 French Open winner Iva Majoli won a total of only eight singles titles in her career, which almost places her in the "oddity" category, but not quite.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley has a bit of an odd record in that she was
the U.S. Open runner-up for four consecutive years. The great Australian
player never did win in New York.
And finally, Maria Sharapova has been the runner-up in Miami four times, but has never won the tournament.