While not many people had heard of Lukas Rosol before yesterday, chances are not many will forget him after his incredible, giant-killing performance against Rafael Nadal in the second round at the Wimbledon yesterday. Nadal though, would seek some solace in the fact that while this is one of the worst losses of his career, he isn’t the first man to suffer a shock defeat on the grass courts of the All England Club. Here are 5 other shock results in the Men’s singles over the years at SW19:
1) Year: 2002
Round: Second Round
Result: George Bastl beat Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4
More than being a shock loss, this was probably one of the saddest losses of the great Pete Sampras’ career. The seven-time Wimbledon champion returned in 2002, hoping to add one more title to his name and thus prove that his fourth round loss the previous year to a teenager called Roger Federer was a mere aberration in his dominance on grass. Against all odds though, Sampras crashed out two rounds earlier this time, losing a five-set encounter to World No.145 and lucky loser George Bastl, providing a sad end to perhaps the greatest player to grace the grass courts of Wimbledon.
Bastl, who was an unknown before the tournament, slid into further obscurity, losing in the next round and continuing on his journeyman ways for the rest of his career. Sampras would go on to script a fairytale, winning his 14th Grand Slam title at the 2002 US Open which also happened to be his last ever tournament.
2) Year: 2003
Round: First Round
Result: Ivo Karlovic beat Lleyton Hewitt 1-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4
A result which prompted 1949 Wimbledon champion Ted Schroeder to remark “Hewitt may not be the worst-ever Wimbledon champion but he is certainly the dumbest”(Ouch). Lleyton Hewitt became the first defending champion in the Open era to be bundled out in the first round at Wimbledon when he fell to big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic on the opening day. Karlovic, who was ranked 202, lost the first set but battled back almost miraculously in the next three sets, sending down some blistering serves en-route to a four-set victory.
Karlovic would go on to reach the third round at Wimbledon that year and achieved his best ever Grand Slam result when he reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2009. The Croat has had moderate success on the tour, winning four titles, but will perhaps always be remembered for that famous win in 2003. Hewitt, on the other hand, recovered from the loss and had a couple of stellar years, though the emergence of Roger Federer and long-term injuries meant he would never win a Grand Slam again and looks unlikely to do so in the twilight of his career.
3) Year: 1987
Round: Second Round
Result: Peter Doohan beat Boris Becker 7-6,4-6,6-2,6-4
19-year-old Boris Becker was already a two-time Wimbledon champion, and was looking for his third consecutive title at the 1987 Championships. 26-year-old Aussie, Peter Doohan though had other ideas, producing the performance of his life as he won 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to send shock-waves around the Tennis world, and pave the way for fellow Aussie Pat Cash to capture his maiden Grand Slam title.
Doohan reached the fourth round at Wimbledon that year, and found more success as a doubles player, reaching the Australian Open Men’s doubles final (and losing) with Laurie Warder, and going on to win 5 doubles titles in his career. Becker was not scarred too badly by that loss and went on to reach five more Wimbledon finals in his career, though he would win only once more, beating Edberg in straight sets in the 1989 final.
4) Year: 2002
Round: Second Round
Result: Paradorn Srichaphan beat Andre Agassi 6-4, 7-6, 6-2
Andre Agassi entered the 2002 Wimbledon Championships as one of the favorites to lift the crown, having lost two nail-biting semifinals to Pat Rafter in the past two years as part of his dramatic career revival. However, on a day that saw his great rival Pete Sampras fall to the unheralded George Bastl, Agassi too succumbed to a virtually unknown player, as he lost to Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan in straight sets.
Srichaphan went on to become the first real Asian tennis superstar, breaking into the top 10 the next year and captured five singles titles in his career, earning him almost God-like status in his native Thailand. Many thought that this would finally be the end for Agassi, but the American proved them wrong, winning his 8th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open the next year, and fighting it out with the best before finally hanging up his boots in 2006 at the age of 36.
5) Year: 1985
Result : Kevin Curren beat John McEnroe 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
Perhaps not up there with the other upsets in terms of shock value, this particular result though was perhaps the most significant of the lot. John McEnroe had reached the past five finals at Wimbledon, and had amassed a 82-3 win-loss record the previous year, coming into Wimbledon as the defending champion. However, 8th seeded South African, Kevin Curren, was unfazed going into their quarterfinal encounter and pulled off a stunning straight sets victory against the World No.1.
Curren went on to beat another legend Jimmy Connors in the semifinals before falling to a 17-year-old Boris Becker in the final. He achieved more success in doubles through his career, winning five Grand Slam doubles titles and also served as captain of South Africa’s Davis Cup team post-retirement. Johnny Mac, on the other hand, was never the same player after this loss and failed to win another Grand Slam title in his career.