Losing to a Tournament’s Eventual Champion: Part 2 (ATP)

By Jack Edward

For Part 1, click here. Cover photo is courtesy of Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP and pictures Stefanos Tsitsipas at Roland-Garros this year.

Last time, I unearthed the stats on the players that had lost the most times to a tournament’s eventual champion this year (there must be a catchier way of saying this? Shall we shorten “tournament’s eventual champion” to TEC?). 

Though this was originally intended to make it easier to play the martyr when reflecting on Andy Murray’s season, there turned out to be players more hard done by than the dogged Scot.

Here are the three players with the most losses this year to a TEC (much better!).

Joint-Second: Six Losses

First up, we have Stefanos Tsitsipas with six losses.

Stefanos Tsitsipas: 

  1. Rublev in Rotterdam (SF)
  2. Zverev in Acapulco (F)
  3. Hurkacz in Miami (QF)
  4. Nadal in Barcelona (F)
  5. Djokovic at the French Open (F)
  6. Zverev in Cincinnati (SF)

Similarly to Cam Norrie and Andrey Rublev in the first part of the article, many of Tsitsipas’s losses came in a final so we need not be overly sympathetic. Nonetheless, Tsitsipas fans can take heart in knowing it took the best in the world to beat their man for the much of the season.

There’s a profound tweet in there somewhere Stefanos…

Next up, we have everyone’s favourite/least favourite tennis-player-cum-rapper, Denis Shapovalov, who matches Tsitsipas at six TEC losses.

Denis Shapovalov:

  1. Hurkacz in Miami (3R)
  2. Nadal in Rome (3R)
  3. Ruud in Geneva (F)
  4. Cilic in Stuttgart (QF)
  5. Djokovic at Wimbledon (SF)
  6. Paul in Stockholm (F)

Shapovalov got a lot of flack for not living up to his potential this season but perhaps this info puts his efforts in a new light. Early-ish losses to Hurkacz in Miami, Nadal in Rome (had 2 match points) and Cilic in Stuttgart may have stung at the time but they were good losses by all accounts.

Chin up Shapo fan! His numbers have gotta change at some point (on his W/L record, not on his Moutet-collab)!

First: Eight Losses

Finally, the most aggrieved of any ATP player, the man with eight losses to a TEC in 2021… Taylor Fritz!

Taylor Fritz:

  1. Djokovic at the Australian Open (3R)
  2. Basilashvili in Qatar (SF)
  3. Sonego in Sardegna (SF)
  4. Norrie in Los Cabos (SF)
  5. Isner in Atlanta (SF)
  6. Cilic in St. Petersburg (F)
  7. Djokovic in Paris (QF)
  8. Paul in Stockholm (2R)

Whether it was a third-round loss to Novak in Oz, a semi-final loss to six-time Atlanta-champ, John Isner, or a second-round loss to the inexplicably indomitable Tommy Paul in Stockholm, Fritz kept getting battered by that week’s best player in 2021.

Couple this with the fact Fritz had to undergo meniscus surgery midway through the year and fans have every right to feel aggrieved at their man’s lack of luck this season.

For my money, he was one of 2021’s most underrated players. His agility post-surgery was fantastic – it took a pretty impressive performance to send him packing in the second half of the season.

Stay optimistic Fritz fans – 2022 could be very promising for the young American…

Losing to a TEC in 2021

So, there you have it.

Stefanos Tsitsipas kinda fulfilled his own destiny here as the best of the rest with plenty of deep runs at tournaments but only two titles for his efforts.

Fritz and Shapo fans though, have at it – those two just couldn’t catch a break in 2021, arguably more so than the man that stemmed this discussion, Mr. wild-card-waving Muzzah.

If you’re interested in finding out your own favourite player’s record this season, shoot a wee tweet my way and I’d be happy to respond (@jackedward1994)!

Speak soon,

Jack

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