Ranking Tennis' One-Slam Wonders of the Last Two Decades
Men's Tennis has seen its fair share of eras of domination and "windows of opportunity" in the last two decades.
Here I have attempted to do something unique, or at least that's what I believe. There have been quite a few players in the last two decades who have managed to win only one Grand Slam singles title each.
This is an attempt to rank each of those players as to who was the best tennis player among those one-slam wonders.
For the avid tennis fan who would point straight away to the absence of Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic from this list, I would say that I haven't included them because they are still in with a fair chance of making it two at the very least.
This is a tribute to the one-slam wonders who have already retired, or are close to retiring, and have no chance whatsoever of winning another Grand Slam Singles title.
So, you might ask, what has been taken into account while considering this list? I've tried to take in a number of factors. The highest weight has been assigned to extent of all-surface ability.
Some of the players in this list are mainly single-surface experts, so the players who have been relatively successful on all playing surfaces get more points.
Other considerations are: 1) number of times runners-up in Grand Slams, 2) number of ATP Masters Series titles, 3) lifting of the season-ending tennis championships, and 4) overall number of titles on the ATP Tour.
So read on, and relive the nostalgia of some of the most talented and entertaining characters to pass through the ATP Tour in the last two decades.
10. Gaston Gaudio (Score: 0.60)
Clearly the bottom of the pile as far as one-slam wonders go. Gaston Gaudio wrote his name in Grand Slam folklore by coming back from two sets down in the 2004 French Open final against Guillermo Coria to claim his maiden Slam.
Gaudio has done little else of note and hasn't even won a single ATP Masters Series title during his career.
His expertise is limited solely to clay courts, and even then he has managed a total of only seven ATP Tour Singles titles.
9. Albert Costa (Score: 0.82)
Yet another clay court specialist, Albert Costa made his name by winning the 2002 French Open final against Juan Carlos Ferrero.
What gives him the edge over Gaston Gaudio is his one ATP Masters Series title, which he won at Hamburg in 1998.
Costa won a total of 10 other ATP Tour Singles titles during his career and formed the Spanish clay court armada along with the likes of Alex Corretja in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
He is currently Spain's Davis Cup team captain.
8. Thomas Johansson (Score: 1.35)
Thomas Johansson is best remembered as Marat Safin's wasted opportunity to pick up a third Grand Slam title.
Johansson was one of the biggest underdogs in a Grand Slam final when he beat a listless and tired Safin in four sets in the 2002 Australian Open final.
Apart from this, Johansson has achieved little of note in his career, winning one ATP Masters Series singles title and seven other ATP Tour singles titles.
7. Petr Korda (Score: 1.602)
Petr Korda was the Australian Open Singles Champion in 1998, when he beat out Marcelo Rios in one of the most dominant displays in a Grand Slam singles final. The score was 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Korda also won the Grand Slam Cup in 1993. His signature celebration was the "scissor kick move" he would do after winning matches.
Korda's career ended in one of the worst possible ways when he tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone a few months after his maiden Grand Slam title. He was banned from the ATP Tour for one year and then never showed the will to try to make it on the tour once again.
Korda was a hard-court specialist, but was also runner-up on the clay of Roland Garros in 1992 against Jim Courier. He won a single ATP Masters Series title and also won seven other ATP Tour singles titles in his career.
6. Richard Krajicek (Score: 1.604)
The man who ended Pistol Pete's bid for a fourth straight Wimbledon title in 1996 shot to prominence by upsetting Sampras in the quarterfinals that year.
He went on to claim his maiden Grand Slam by beating a fairly mediocre MaliVai Washington in straight sets on Centre Court in the final.
Krajicek was fairly successful on other surfaces as well, reaching the Australian Open semifinal (1992) and French Open semifinal (1993) once each during his career.
He nearly got another shot at Pete Sampras but was beaten in the 1998 Wimbledon semifinal by Goran Ivanisevic in a marathon battle of power servers, which went to 15-13 in the final set.
He never truly realized his potential and retired in 2003 with two ATP Masters Series titles to his name and 14 other ATP Tour singles titles.
5. Carlos Moya (Score: 1.97)
Carlos Moya was one of the rare breed of Spanish players in the late 1990s and early 2000s who enjoyed some success on hard courts as well.
However, typically, he won his maiden Grand Slam singles title in 1998 by beating compatriot Alex Corretja in straight sets.
He also reached the Australian Open final in 1997, where he was beaten in straight sets by an in-form Pete Sampras.
Moya has been one of the more successful players on the ATP Tour, winning three ATP Masters Series singles titles and 16 other ATP Tour singles titles.
4. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Score: 2.25)
Juan Carlos Ferrero was the dominant Spanish clay-courter before Rafael Nadal arrived on the tour. Ferrero won his maiden Grand Slam singles title on the clay of Roland Garros in 2003, defeating an out-of-sorts Martin Verkerk in a straight-set demolition.
This was great retribution for Ferrero after having lost in the 2002 final to compatriot Albert Costa.
Ferrero also did well on the hard courts, reaching the US Open final in 2003, eliminating Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi along the way. He, however, lost to Andy Roddick in the final.
Ferrero has won four ATP Masters Series singles titles and has also won seven other ATP Tour singles titles.
3. Thomas Muster (Score: 2.41)
Thomas Muster was one of the most dominant clay courters of his time, running up a 111-5 two-year clay court record, but sadly only managed one Grand Slam title. Predictably, it was at Roland Garros in 1995, where he beat Michael Chang in straight sets.
He won an impressive eight ATP Masters Series singles titles, and in a dominant display of victories, he also had 35 other ATP Tour singles titles to his name in his career.
He was one of the most controversial players ever to hold the world No. 1 ranking given that his success came pretty much on clay courts.
2. Goran Ivanisevic (Score: 2.46)
When Goran Ivanisevic beat Pat Rafter in the Wimbledon final, he became the first player with a wild-card entry to the Championships to win the title. He had been a runner-up at Wimbledon three times prior to his victory in 2001, losing out twice to Pete Sampras and once to Andre Agassi.
His victory over Pat Rafter is probably one of the best Wimbledon finals played, not only because it went to 9-7 in the fifth set, but also because of the on-court atmosphere and electric crowd support.
Goran's lifelong dream was fulfilled in 2001, but during his career he enjoyed some success on hard courts, and some mild success on clay even.
He ended his career with two ATP Masters Series titles, a season-ending Grand Slam Cup triumph in 1995, and 18 other ATP Tour singles titles.
Goran was one of the most colorful characters on the ATP Tour due to his on-court tantrums, which included racquet-smashing and regular arguments with the chair umpire.
1. Michael Stich (Score: 2.55)
This may seem like a controversial choice as No. 1 in these rankings to some readers, but it seems that the numbers don't lie.
Stich surprised the tennis world by dismantling a supremely in-form Boris Becker in straight sets in the 1991 Wimbledon final.
He is probably the one player who came closest to being an all-surface Grand Slam winner amongst all the players in this list.
He was a runner-up at the US Open in 1994 to Andre Agassi, losing in straight sets. He was also a runner-up at the French Open in 1996, losing in three hard-fought sets to Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
Stich also won the season-ending Grand Slam Cup in 1992 and the Tennis Masters Cup in 1993, beating Americans Michael Chang and Pete Sampras, respectively, in those two tournament finals.
Stich ended his career with two ATP Masters Series singles titles and 13 other ATP Tour singles titles.