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The Biggest Blunder in Every Tennis Star's Career

Jeff CohnCorrespondent IIIJuly 21, 2013

The Biggest Blunder in Every Tennis Star's Career

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    While there are many notable tennis stars on the ATP tour, they all cannot shine at the same time.

    Even the world's best players are guilty of not closing out matches or narrowly losing by conceding the important points.

    A very common occurrence in all sports is athletes showing signs of nerves, which leads to choking or a lack of confidence.

    Though not all of the top players in tennis have had major blunders, there are still very memorable mistakes to point out for particular people.

    Here is the biggest blunder in every tennis star's career.

Roger Federer Cuts It Too Fine on Set Point

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    Just days after ending Novak Djokovic's impressive winning streak in the French Open semifinal, he faced longtime nemesis Rafael Nadal in yet another Slam final.

    He looked to be back in fine form for the first time since the 2010 Australian Open (sadly, because of this one blunder, his 2011 season was the only year in his career since 2002 lacking a major title).

    Federer was off to a quick start, commanding play with his forehand and hitting his backhand very well and consistently.

    With a set point on his racket, he sliced a backhand drop shot that just landed wide.

    Surely the match was not guaranteed to be in his favor, but winning that opening set would have potentially helped him to earn the biggest win of his entire career.

    He still stretched the affair to four sets, playing his best match ever against Rafa at the French, but came up short yet again.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Loses After Holding Match Point

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    Going into the 2012 French Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made it very clear to the French press and media that a French player was never going to win that event any time soon.

    Maybe he was right, but he himself had a phenomenal chance to make the semifinals there for the first time.

    Getting demolished in the first set in his quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic, Tsonga turned to an inspired mode and stormed back, winning the next two sets in very tight scores.

    Finally, he saw himself up match point, and while Nole played brilliant points to save them, Tsonga had a few looks at passing shots, and perhaps, felt some nerves in the potential final moments of the match.

    Losing a bizarre fourth-set tiebreak, subsequently. he was immediately down and out and blew a massive chance in the quarters. Luckily for him, he would return the following year and find his way to the semis at Roland Garros.

Stanislas Wawrinka Blows a 6-1, 5-2 Lead

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    This match at the 2013 Australian Open between Stanislas Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic was one of the all-time classics.

    With Djokovic winning 12-10 in the fifth set, the Swiss player surely had a very good chance to still take the match.

    But, the main turning point of the match (besides the magical fourth-set breaker from Stan the Man) came at 6-1, 5-3.

    The Swiss athlete had a chance to put the first two sets in the book in his favor. After all, he was already killing his opponent.

    The Serbian player, who happens to love the Australian Open, turned the match on its heels, winning five games in a row from 5-2 down and later taking a two-sets-to-one lead.

    Wawrinka has been playing better than ever as of late, but until he takes the next step and actually wins these types of encounters, he will remain as nothing but "the second-best Swiss tennis player".

Richard Gasquet Squanders a Two-Sets-to-Love Lead (Multiple Times)

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    Richard Gasquet can sometimes be incredibly tough—both physically and mentally. The problem is, he usually is not this way.

    Most of the baseline rallies he is involved in have no purpose other than to grind or wear the other person down. He is a brilliant shotmaker, but is falling short when holding the lead in so many matches that his mental state is highly questionable.

    He has held a two-set lead and still managed to lose the match in so many different occasions.

    These losses include one to Stanislas Wawrinka a few months ago, ones to Mikhail Youzhny and Fernando Gonzalez (which is the featured video here) at the Australian Open and a multitude to Andy Murray.

    His fitness is remarkable, so most of these losses are just due to the intimidation and mind-game factors alone. Maybe he will never be a great closer, but he is still one of the most skilled athletes on tour.

Rafael Nadal Loses to Steve Darcis in Straight Sets

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    For somebody to beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets in a major, you have to put on more than just a memorable performance.

    To do the same in the first round of a major (which has only been completed by Steve Darcis), there may be no proper language or words to describe it.

    Rafa was enjoying one of his greatest years of tennis ever up until visiting the All England Club.

    The reason this loss is so inexplicable, though, is that Darcis possesses the one shot that nearly guarantees Rafael Nadal the edge over his opponents—the backhand slice.

    Forget that the Belgian's backhand is one-handed—he slices it just about half the time.

    In any match the Spaniard plays, he eats up a backhand slice like lunch meat, but this match was a little bit different in that sense. Somehow, this upset was able to top the previous year's loss to Lukas Rosol, but both were just as inspiring and worthy.

Andy Murray Maintains a Poor Record in Major Finals

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    Up until hiring Ivan Lendl as a coach, it seemed Andy Murray would never win a Slam or end the always-talked-about British drought at Wimbledon.

    Lendl's career started out similarly to Murray's, with his first four major finals resulting in losses.

    However, both of these men have been able to turn that losing streak around in order to break out in the top tier of tennis.

    Murray was knocking on the door for about two solid years (his 2008 U.S. Open run was maybe a bit premature at the time), but finally captured a Slam—the U.S. Open last year.

    The Scot claimed he had not even played his best en route to the title, and interestingly enough, both of his major wins have involved beating just one Top Five player.

    Maybe he has not won one of the more difficult tests on his road to a big championship, but there is still much time and hope for the world No. 2.

Tomas Berdych Loses to Stephane Robert in the First Round

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    Stephane Robert had only won one match in the entire 2011 season leading up to Roland Garros.

    He drew the top player, Tomas Berdych, in the first round and lost the first two sets decisively and quickly.

    Nevertheless, he came back and fought off a match point in the final set to hand the Czech player what had to be the hands-down worst loss of his entire life.

    The turnaround happened so quickly that most coverage cameras were not even paying attention to that spectacle on the grounds.

    It was also a sad day for Berdych because he had been a semifinalist in the tournament the year before.

    Surely, this guy shares a few mental problems that are similar to those of Richard Gasquet, and maybe, they'll never get over that hurdle.

Nicolas Almagro Blows a Two-Set Lead in Consecutive Majors

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    With a chance to get his foot in the door and reach his very first major semifinal (and also record his first win over constant rival and compatriot, David Ferrer), Nicolas Almagro served for the match at 5-4 in the third set.

    He slipped up a little bit and a sluggish, scrappy Ferrer was able to extend the match a little bit longer.

    But Almagro remained firm and gave himself another chance to serve for a spot in the final four, and again, he crumbled due to the nerves.

    One would think that a loss like that would teach Nico a memorable lesson, but he might have missed the story's big idea.

    At the 2013 French Open, Tommy Robredo was on a back-to-back run of recoveries from two-set deficits.

    Surely, Almagro had a great chance to go far in the tournament, but after winning the opening two sets, he again struggled to close the door on the match.

    Robredo made history for completing three two-set comebacks in a row, and Almagro made headlines for making the same mistake yet again.

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