5 World No.1 players who have never won the US Open

Amelie Mauresmo during a fourth round match against Serena Williams at the 2006 US Open at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Queens, NY on September 4, 2006. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Amelie Mauresmo couldn’t do better than a semi-final finish at the US Open
Neelabhra Roy

It’s only a matter of days before the final Grand Slam of the year commences. With quite a number of upsets being caused at Rio, this year’s US Open is bound to be exciting. Since its inception in 1881, many great players have won the coveted title. Even in the Open Era, several greats like Roger Federer, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova have laid their hands on the coveted trophy.

However, there have been a number of top ranked players who haven’t been able to win the US Open including a number of World No.1s. With less than a week to go before the US Open commences, let’s take a look at five World No.1 players from the Open Era who haven’t won the US Open.

#5. Amelie Mauresmo

One of the best French tennis players of the Open Era, Amelie Mauresmo was a highly regarded player during her playing days due to her strong backhand and her brilliant net play. Mauresmo first became World No. 1 in 2004 and then in 2006, thus being at the top for a total of 39 weeks.

Mauresmo has won two Grand Slam titles- an Australian Open and a Wimbledon, both of them coming in 2006. However, Mauresmo has never been able to win the US Open title. She has played at the US Open ten times with her best results being two semi-final appearances in 2002 2006 followed by four quarter-final appearances in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Both her semi-final appearances at the US Open have featured three-set matches with Mauresmo losing 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to Venus Williams in 2002 and losing 0-6, 4-6, 0-6 to eventual champion Maria Sharapova in 2006.

#4. Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka was beaten by Serena Williams on both occasions when she reached the final

Easily the best tennis player Belarus has ever produced, Victoria Azarenka has been one of the finest hardcourt players in recent times with both her Grand Slam titles coming at the Australian Open. Azarenka has been the World No.1 for a total 51 weeks and was considered tough competition for the likes of Serena Williams before a foot injury in 2014 triggered a downfall.Despite being an excellent hardcourt player, the offensive baseliner is yet to win a US Open title, having come agonizingly close to win the title on two consecutive occasions in 2012 and 2013. Azarenka lost to Serena Williams in three sets on both occasions. In the 2012 final, Williams easily took the first set 6-2 but Azarenka rallied back to take the second set 6-2. The third set was pretty intense and Azarenka was actually serving for the match at 5-4 but Williams fought back and took the third set 7-5. Williams won the 2013 final in almost similar fashion; only this time the third set was one-sided.

After losing the first set 5-7, Azarenka levelled the match by taking the second set 7-6 but she was no match for Williams in the third set, losing 1-6.

The pregnant player has now taken a break from tennis, and has said she is likely to return following a maternity break.

#3. Jennifer Capriati

Jennifer Capriati  loses to Elena Dementieva  in the sem- finals  of the women's singles September 10, 2004  at the 2004 US Open in New York. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Capriati was never able to reach the final of the US Open during her career

The holder of a number of youngest-ever records including the youngest player (male or female) to win an Olympic gold, Jennifer Capriati is regarded to be one of the best female tennis players of all time due to her offense-minded game and powerful groundstrokes.

Capriati has been the World No.1 for a total of 17 weeks during the early 2000s. Capriati was one of the best hardcourt players during her playing days with two of her three Grand Slam titles coming at the Australian Open. In spite of an impressive hardcourt record, Capriati wasn’t able to win the US Open in her career, having reached the semi-finals on four occasions in 1991, 2001, 2003 and 2004.

Her first appearance at the final was in 1991 when she was only 15. Facing eventual winner Monica Seles in the semis, Capriati dropped the first set 3-6 before taking the second set by the same scoreline. The final set was exciting and it went to a tie-break but Seles won it 7-3 to win the match.

She had to wait another decade before reaching the semis. However, in 2001, Capriati was considered a heavy favorite to win the title as she had won two of the previous three Grand Slams and prior to the semi-finals, hadn’t dropped a single set. However, she was beaten in straight sets by eventual winner Venus Williams. Capriati came close to reaching the final in both the 2003 and 2004 editions. In 2003, Capriati faced eventual champion Justine Henin in the semi-finals and was serving for the match twice but ultimately lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-7. In what was her final Grand Slam appearance in the 2004 US Open, Capriati lost another three-set encounter to eventual runner-up Elena Dementieva 0-6, 6-2, 6-7.

#2. Jim Courier

31 Aug 1999: Jim Courier of the USA returns the ball during the U.S. Open at the USTA National Tennis Courts in Flushing Meadows, New York. Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill  /Allsport
Courier’s only appearance at the US open final came in 1991 where he was solidly beaten by Stefan Edberg

Jim Courier was one of the finest tennis players of his generation and is a winner of four Grand Slam titles, having won the Australian Open in 1992 and 1993 and the French Open in 1991 and 1992. Courier has been at the top of the ATP rankings for a total of 58 weeks before the likes of Sampras and Agassi overtook him in 1993.

Despite being a very good hardcourt player, Courier wasn’t able to win a single US Open title with his best performances including a runner-up performance in 1991 and semi-final exits in 1992 and 1995. Courier’s best opportunity to win the US Open came in 1991 as he had not dropped a single set coming into the final against Stefan Edberg. However, the final turned out to be a completely one-sided affair with Edberg thrashing Courier 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.

Both of Courier’s semi-final exits feature four-set defeats to Pete Sampras. In 1992, Sampras beat him 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and in 1995, beat him by a scoreline of 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

#1. Bjorn Borg

The Swede is perhaps the greatest player from the Open Era not to win the US Open

The Swedish is regarded to be one of the greatest players in tennis history. Known for his unorthodox back hand and powerful groundstrokes, Borg’s career win percentage of 82.74% has only been bettered by Novak Djokovic so far. A winner of six French Open titles and five consecutive Wimbledon titles, Borg was at the top of the ATP rankings for a total of 109 weeks.

However, one of Borg’s biggest disappointments would be his inability to win a single US Open title despite reaching the final four times with Jimmy Connors winning on the first two occasions and John McEnroe being the victor on the other two occasions. His first appearance at the final came in 1976 when the tournament was being played on clay court. He beat former World No.1 Ilie Nastase in straight sets to setup a final clash with Jimmy Connors. However, Connors beat him in four sets by the scoreline of 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Two years later, Borg was again beaten in the final hurdle by Connors, this time in straight sets. He made it to the final another two years later and this time was up against defending champion John McEnroe whom he had beaten in the Wimbledon final. The match was one of the most exciting US Open matches ever as the match went to five sets with McEnroe prevailing 7-6, 6-1, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4.

He once again faced McEnroe in the final after losing to him in the Wimbledon final. Borg took the first set 6-4 but McEnroe bounced back to take the next three sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. This match was Borg’s final Grand Slam match.

Edited by Staff Editor


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