Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Unusual career records

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.


Sunny nine said...

At the risk of offending some people, I have a problem with people who win a Major but don't have many other titles. It makes their run to the title of a Major, just that, somebody on a run or a roll. Obviously they have to gain that confidence every day to win the next match at a major, but that is a requirement of a regular title. I always wished Stosur had more titles. Sometimes it seems like she just played the match of her life against Serena not something that was common to her play. She has trouble closing out but to do it only 3 times doesn't seem like a great player to me, it seems, as I said before, that she played the match of her life at the USO. BTW, I like Stosur, I like her personality and perserverance so this really isn't an attack against her. I have rooted for her at more tournaments but she seems to fall short. For th women who have done it lately, it couldn't happened to nicer women but...

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the delay in posting this comment, but really wanted to thank you for the above thread.

Personally, would greatly appreciate reading an eventual series of pieces dedicated to every single one of the players named above within your discussion of unsual career records, in view of your interesting perspective and different experience/expertise re: women's professional tennis.

PS: Special thanks to "Doug" (if memory serves) who took the time to make uplifting comments re: Kvitova on some of your recent threads. Greatly appreciated.


Diane said...

Thanks, quid. I don't think I'm up to doing a series, though it would make a good one, I agree!