The Best Players Never to Win the U.S. Open


Bjorn Borg didn’t like the US Open. He didn’t just like the rambunctious New Yorkers, the nighttime lights — all of the stuff his archrivals Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe reveled in.

Connors bested him on the West Aspect Tennis Membership in Forest Hills on clay within the semifinals in 1975, within the finals in 1976 and within the finals in 1978 on the Nationwide Tennis Heart in Flushing Meadows. In 1979, Borg was seeded first however misplaced underneath the lights to the massive server Roscoe Tanner within the quarterfinals.

By 1980, nevertheless, Borg had received three straight French Open and Wimbledon crowns. He was prepared. This time, he publicly declared, he would slay the dragon that was the U.S. Open.

He made it to the ultimate the place he misplaced the primary two units to McEnroe, then received the following two units. As darkness fell, McEnroe was on the ropes, however Borg wilted as soon as once more, shedding three of the ultimate 4 video games to fall, 6-Four.

Borg reached the finals once more in 1981 and once more misplaced to McEnroe. He by no means performed in one other Grand Slam occasion.

Fourteen males have received at the least 5 Open-era Grand Slam singles titles. All however Borg received the U.S. Open at the least as soon as. Listed below are different prime gamers within the Open’s almost-but-never membership.


1. Jim Courier, winner of the 1991 French Open, beat the U.S. Open’s defending champion Pete Sampras in straight units within the quarterfinals. Then he crushed the gang favourite, 39-year-old Jimmy Connors within the semifinals. However Courier ran out of steam towards Stefan Edberg within the finals — successful simply six video games. Courier received three extra Grand Slam singles titles, reached two extra finals over the following two years and was ranked No. 1 on the planet, however in Queens he’d by no means once more get previous the semifinals.

2. Michael Chang’s 34 titles and 662 match wins every rank third amongst gamers who by no means received the U.S. Open. Chang reached the finals in 1996 however was overmatched towards Sampras. However his best alternative could have are available 1992. In opposition to Edberg within the semifinals, Chang pressured a fifth set then seized a Three-Zero, 15-40 lead, however he misplaced, 6-Four. The marathon heartbreaker lasted a report 5 hours and 26 minutes.

Three. From the summer time of 1977 by means of the autumn of 1979, Vitas Gerulaitis reached at the least the semifinals in six of the eight Grand Slam occasions he performed, successful as soon as. In 1979 that run was endangered in Queens, when he dropped the primary two units towards Tanner and was damaged to start out the third. However Gerulaitis rallied to win that set and the next two, gorgeous Tanner. Within the finals, he fell quick towards McEnroe, who received his first of three straight U.S. Open crowns. Gerulaitis loved a closing flash of greatness in 1981, reaching the semifinals the place he misplaced to McEnroe but once more.

Four. Jan Kodes didn’t win practically as many matches or titles as Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Goran Ivanisevic or Thomas Muster, however he makes this record for 2 causes: he captured three Grand Slam singles titles versus two for Kafelnikov and one every for the opposite two, and he outperformed them in New York Metropolis — Muster by no means reached the semifinals and Ivanisevic did simply as soon as and Kafelnikov twice. In 1971, Kodes beat each the top-seed John Newcombe and the third-seed Arthur Ashe earlier than shedding to Stan Smith within the finals. Within the 1973 finals, he pushed Newcombe to 5 units, coming inside one set of being disqualified from this record.


1. Evonne Goolagong Cawley is almost Borg’s equal on the ladies’s facet: She captured 68 Open period titles (sixth most) and reached 18 Grand Slam finals (fifth most), successful seven of them. However in New York she at all times fell simply quick. Beginning in 1973, she reached 4 straight finals, shedding in three units every time to Margaret Courtroom, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert earlier than breaking the sample in 1976 by falling to Evert in straight units.

2. The 1991 semifinals showcased the way forward for ladies’s tennis as two teenagers, Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati, demonstrated untrammeled aggression and energy. Seles, on her strategy to a 3rd Grand Slam singles title that 12 months, prevailed within the third set tiebreaker. She turned a famous person whereas Capriati derailed personally and professionally, not reaching one other Slam semifinal till 2000. Within the new millennium, nevertheless, Capriati received three Grand Slam singles titles and reached 10 semifinals, together with three in New York. One of many tougher losses got here within the 2003 U.S. Open when Capriati was down Four-1 to Justine Henin-Hardenne within the first set, then rallied to win it. However regardless of leaping out to early leads within the subsequent two units, she ended up shedding the match in a tiebreaker.

Three. In 2006, Amélie Mauresmo regained the No. 1 rating, received the Australian Open and Wimbledon. However she injured her groin at Wimbledon and got here to Queens the highest seed however not a positive factor. In her second U.S. Open semifinals, Mauresmo confronted the 19-year-old Maria Sharapova, who had by no means overwhelmed her. If she received, she’d face Henin-Hardenne, whom she had overwhelmed to win her first two Slams. However when it mattered most Mauresmo was shaky and sloppy, shedding 6-Zero, Four-6, 6-Zero.

Four. Even in her greatest years, when Mary Pierce received the Australian and the French Opens, she by no means made it previous Flushing’s fourth spherical. However in 2005, on the tail finish of her profession, Pierce made her stand. Coming off a finals look at Roland Garros and a quarterfinals look at Wimbledon, the 30-year-old was seeded simply 12th in New York. She performed large killer, upsetting Henin-Hardenne, Mauresmo, and Elena Dementieva to achieve her first closing, the place she confronted Kim Clijsters. Just some months later Pierce would beat Clijsters on exhausting courts on the year-end WTA Championships, however on the Nationwide Tennis Heart she went quietly that day, 6-Three, 6-1.


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