Tennis is one of those sports where normally results of the matches justify the rankings of the players. You do not often see unrealistic upsets happening in any of the major events where a person ranked outside the top 20 beats a player who is ranked well inside the top 10. Purely in terms of talent, there has always been broad daylight between the top ranked individuals and the lesser ranked players. Therefore, we were used to see such shocking defeats only once in a blue moon. The case was not the same this year though. This has to be construed as the season of upsets. In fact, scores of such shockers were witnessed in a span of two weeks in SW19 itself, leave alone the whole year.
None of the higher ranked players was spared. Even multiple Grand Slam champions like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had to undergo the trauma of being humbled by opponents who were not even half as good as them. Everyone ranked inside the top 10 had to face this ignominy. More importantly, the big four players who were considered as next to invincible on the ATP circuit had their respective rendezvous with disaster and humiliation at least more than once, getting tamed by unseeded thwarters.
Without further ado, let us look into the major upsets which took place this season, and left us totally petrified
Roger Federer upsets
This was the worst year Federer experienced since 2002. To add to his woes, he crumbled to defeats even against players who were ranked above 100. As the saying goes – “Misfortunes never come single”, he was hit by first of those catastrophes at the most inconvenient of times when he was badly in need of a major title to save his decade old reputation of being the greatest player of his generation.
With a lone title under his belt he entered the grass courts of Wimbledon, where he had been a champion seven times before. After having squandered the opportunity of making it to the final at Roland Garros which offered a friendly draw for him, he found himself on a tight leash, learning that he had to lock horns with his nemesis and two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal. Luckily for him, the Spaniard suffered a stunning first round exit at the hands of little known Steve Darcis. Having seen the biggest barricade falling so early it should have spurred the Swiss to get himself hugely motivated.
So, when Federer was all set to meet the 116th ranked Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round of Wimbledon, no sane tennis follower would have predicted his demise, no matter how logical the law of averages sounded. But, disregarding everyone’s opinion, the serve and volleyer from Ukraine latched on to the hapless Federer and had his confidence shattered right from the first set. Though losing just marginally in the tie breaker of the first set, the unseeded Stakhovsky exhibited a spirited fight back and handed the Swiss his worst ever Grand Slam defeat of the decade. The Swiss lost the match 7-6 6-7 5-7 6-7, making it one of the biggest upsets that ever happened at Wimbledon.
Other upsets of Federer
Vs Tommy Robredo in the fourth round of the US Open: It was a self destructive act which saw Federer losing to the Spaniard in straight sets 6-7 3-6 4-6. It was his first debacle against Robredo to whom he had never lost in his previous 10 meetings.
Vs Fedrico Delbonis in the semifinal of Hamburg: Cleaned up in straight sets by the left handed Argentine whose ranking as of today is 199.
Vs Kei Nishikori in the round of 16 of Madrid Masters: Tamed in three sets by a Japanese who was not even a clay court specialist.
Vs Daniel Brands in the second round of Swiss Open: A very ordinary performance which found him losing pretty badly in straight sets to the 55th ranked player 6-3 6-4.