US and Australian Open double has eluded the greats
ANDY Murray will create history if he can beat Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final tomorrow. No male player in the Open era has followed up winning their first grand slam title by also winning the next available major crown, something Murray now has in his sights after beating Djokovic in the US Open final last September.
Here are some of the greats of men’s tennis who have tried, and failed, to achieve the feat . . .
The Swede won 11 grand slam titles, including five in a row at Wimbledon between 1976 and 1980. However, after winning his first slam – the 1974 French Open title – he suffered a third-round exit to Ismail El Shafei in straight sets at Wimbledon in the same year.
The tireless American claimed eight major singles titles, including his first three in a magical 1974. The Australian Open was his first, but he did not enter the subsequent French Open, having suffered second and first-round exits at Roland Garros in the previous two years.
McEnroe secured the first of his seven grand slam titles at the 1979 US Open, but he was not involved in the 1980 Australian Open and could only reach the third round of that year’s French Open as well.
Sampras won an amazing 14 grand slam titles in a 14-year professional career, starting off with US Open success in 1990. However, he was not involved in the 1991 Australian Open and suffered a second-round exit to Thierry Champion in straight sets at the French Open.
Federer is a 17-time grand slam champion and opened his account with victory in the 2003 Wimbledon tournament, but he was dumped out by Argentina’s David Nalbandian in the last 16 of that year’s US Open.
The Spaniard has won seven of his 11 major titles on the clay of Roland Garros, with his first coming in Paris in 2005. His attempt to follow it up with Wimbledon success faltered at the hands of world number 69 Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in a four-set, second-round defeat.
The only man who can now prevent Murray making history broke his own grand slam duck at the 2008 Australian Open, the first of five he has secured so far. Nadal prevented it being back-to-back slam triumphs by eliminating the Serbian in the French Open semi-finals.
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