Losing to a Tournament’s Eventual Champion: Part One (ATP)

By Jack Edward

Last month, having beat Jannik Sinner in his best match of the season, Andy Murray lost to Tommy Paul in Stockholm.

As an avid Andy fan, I was obviously frustrated he’d lost to the world #50-something after the performance he’d put in the night before. However, that frustration turned to acceptance as Paul went on to win the tournament – if Andy HAD to lose, surely losing to that week’s best player was tolerable?

But then that acceptance gave way to more frustration. How often had Andy lost this year to the eventual champion of a tournament? Why was he always handed the toughest draws? How could Andy possibly make a comeback if he kept getting thrown into a first or second round worthy of a final?!

Any tennis super-fan worth their salt loves a good clutch into the ether for every and any excuse to backup their favourite player – but did I have a point?

I’ve excavated the stats – here are the players that lost the most times to a tournament’s eventual champion this year.

Joint-Third: Five Losses

On five occasions in 2021, Andy Murray lost to the eventual champion of the tournament he was playing, the third-most times of anyone on tour.

Of course, on discovering this stat, I was instantly enraged at the injustice – until I found out there were eight other players in the same boat as him.

There’s Andy…

Andy Murray:

  1. Rublev in Rotterdam (2R)
  2. Berrettini at Queen’s Club (2R)
  3. Hurkacz in Metz (QF)
  4. Ruud in San Diego (2R)
  5. Paul in Stockholm (QF)

Two other Brits…

Dan Evans

  1. Karatsev in Dubai (2R)
  2. Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo (SF)
  3. Zverev in Madrid (2R)
  4. Berrettini at Queen’s Club (QF)
  5. Medvedev at the US Open (4R)

Cam Norrie:

  1. Nadal in Barcelona (QF)
  2. Ramos Vinolas in Estoril (F)
  3. Tsitsipas in Lyon (F)
  4. Berrettini at Queen’s Club (F)
  5. Ruud in San Diego (F)

A couple of high-ranked players…

Andrey Rublev:

  1. Karatsev in Dubai (SF)
  2. Hurkacz in Miami (SF)
  3. Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo (F)
  4. Humbert in Halle (F)
  5. Zverev in Cincinatti (F)

Felix Auger-Aliassime

  1. Evans at the Murray River Open (F)
  2. Cilic in Stuttgart (F)
  3. Humbert in Halle (SF)
  4. Medvedev at the US Open (SF)
  5. Zverev in Vienna (QF)

A few folk around the #30-#50 mark…

Alexander Bublik

  1. Popyrin in Singapore (F)
  2. De Minaur in Antalya (F)
  3. Anderson in Newport (SF)
  4. Medvedev in Toronto (1R)
  5. Kwon in Nur-Sultan (SF)

Lorenzo Sonego

  1. Karatsev in Dubai (3R)
  2. Goffin in Montpellier (QF)
  3. Korda in Parma (2R)
  4. De Minaur in Eastbourne (F)
  5. Ruud in San Diego (QF)

Filip Krajinović:

  1. Berrettini in Belgrade (QF)
  2. Carreno Busta in Hamburg (F)
  3. Alcaraz in Umag (QF)
  4. Sinner in Sofia (SF)
  5. Zverev in Vienna (1R)

And then, outta nowhere…

Egor Gerasimov

  1. Goffin in Montpellier (SF) 
  2. Medvedev in Provence (2R)
  3. Karatsev in Dubai (1R)
  4. Sinner in Sofia (2R)
  5. Karatsev in Moscow (2R)

Solidarity in Suffering

Disregarding the fact that Andy has played far fewer tournaments than the others and he was meeting these players early doors (Cam met all bar one of his opponents in finals), there’s a comforting solidarity in knowing that other fans are suffering as well – especially Gerasimov fans!

And then there’s even more comfort in knowing some fans had to watch their hero fall to the eventual winner of a tournament more than five times.

Two players endured six losses to a tournament’s eventual champion and one unfortunate player reached a tally of eight (!) – any guesses who these players could be?

Watch this space for the second part of this article…


Click here for Part 2.


4 thoughts on “Losing to a Tournament’s Eventual Champion: Part One (ATP)

  1. Based on almost absolutely nothing, I’m going to wildly guess that the two players with 6 losses are Tiafoe and Opelka, and the player with 8 losses is Zverev.


    1. Hi aplanwoman, thanks for reading! Those guesses look like they should be right! Unfortunately, they’re all wrong 😦 -Jack


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