We’re wrapping up our “best of” matches list here at TENNIS.com, although to me it’s just as much fun to look back at the “worst of” the year as well. Just call me Grinch.
But really. Truly horrific matches are as much a part of the pro game as certifiably great ones, and in their own way can be just as fascinating. The interesting thing is that dog matches are just about as rare as epic, unforgettable ones. I’m not talking about first round mis-matches here, of course. I’m referring to much-anticipated meetings between well-matched players at major events.
Could it be that the same Stanislas Wawrinka who had a career year in 2013 and pushed defending Novak Djokovic to five brutal sets at the Australian Open got just six games off Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the French Open?
Okay, we know this is the King of Clay we’re talking about here, but still.
Most matches are played in the gray area where, even when the result is a straight-sets loss, each player is a little black, a little white. But it isn’t always like that. And while there are scads of stinkers in any year, the number shrinks strikingly when you look for them in the late stages (quarterfinals on) at Grand Slam events.
So here are my nominations for the five most disappointing matches of this Grand Slam year, in ascending order, culminating with the No. 1 hot mess of 2013:
5. U.S. Open quarterfinals, Wawrinka d. Murray, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2