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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Five French Open winners who failed at Wimbledon

Ivan Lendl

Rafael Nadal did it last year and Bjorn Borg did it three times in a row, but winning the French Open then Wimbledon has been a step too far for many of the game’s greats. Here’s our top five who came close but for nothing.

1. Ivan Lendl.
Lendl was a giant men’s tennis who was ranked No. 1 in the world for 270 weeks, including 157 straight from September 9, 1985 through September 12, 1988. He won the French Open in 1984, 1986 and 1987 yet could never clear the final hurdle at Wimbledon. He lost two finals in straight sets and was a beaten semi-finalist on three further occasions.

2. Justine Henin
The Belgium was the queen of clay, picking up the trophy in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007. She reached two Wimbledon finals and the semi-finals on three further occasions but that Venus Rosewater Dish would evade her before she retired last year.

3. Monica Seles
Seles won three consecutive French Open titles between 1990 and 1992 but she never won the singles title at Wimbledon. In 1991 she withdrew from Wimbledon citing injuries from an unspecified accident. Had she won Wimbledon that year she would have completed a Grand Slam. Her best performance here otherwise was as beaten finalist in 1992.

4. Jim Courier
Courier won four Grand Slams, two of which were on clay in 1991 and 1992. His best performance at Wimbledon was in 1993 when he lost in the final to Pete Sampras.

5. Gustavo Kuerten
The Brazilian was what is euphemisticallycalled a ‘clay court specialist’, which read the other way means ‘not very good on grass at all’. He won the French Open in 1997, 2000 and 2001. His best run at a Wimbledon title was in 1999 when he lost to Andre Agassi in the quarters. He lost here in the first round twice.

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