I've been feeling quite nostalgic today and the tournament that kept popping into my head was this one. I don't think there's ever been a slam, Roland Garros aside were so many top players mugged out early. In RG you had specialist dirtballers who loved the surface so upsets were common, but in this hardcourt slam there was an absolute plethora of them.
Hewitt was injured and fell to a clay courter in round one, Agassi pulled out on the eve of the tourney and second seed Kuerten and fifth seed Grosjean tumbled out in the first and second rounds respectively.
R1: Alberto Martin def Lleyton Hewitt(1) 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6
R1: Julien Boutter def Gustavo Kuerten(2) 3-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-3
R2: Francisco Clavet def Sebastien Grosjean(5) 6-4 3-6 6-0 5-7 6-4
R2: Ivan Ljubicic def Andy Roddick(13) 3-2 ret
The last 16 featured some interesting results. 16th seed Thomas Johansson had beaten Jacobo Diaz, Markus Hipfl and a decent seed in Younes El Aynaoui to get there where he faced unseeded Adrian Voinea. Haas-Federer was a thriller and Tommy pulled it out the bag.
Marcelo Rios def Nicolas Lapentti 7-5 6-1 6-4
Tommy Haas(7) def Roger Federer(11) 7-6 4-6 3-6 6-4 8-6
Wayne Ferreira def Albert Costa 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-7 9-7
Marat Safin(9) def Pete Sampras(8) 6-2 6-4 6-7 7-6
Jiri Novak(26) def Dominik Hrbaty 6-4 6-2 5-7 6-2
Stefan Koubek def Fernando Gonzalez(Q) 7-5 6-1 6-7 6-2
Jonas Bjorkman def Tim Henman(6) 6-2 7-6 6-4
Thomas Johansson(16) def Adrian Voinea 6-7 6-2 6-0 6-4
Four unseeded quarter finalists, however they would all lose.
Tommy Haas(7) def Marcelo Rios 7-6 6-4 6-7 7-6
Marat Safin(9) def Wayne Ferreira 5-2 ret
Jiri Novak(26) def Stefan Koubek 6-2 6-3 6-2
Thomas Johansson(16) def Jonas Bjorkman 6-0 2-6 6-3 6-4
In the semis Haas had Safin beaten all ends up but the rain lashed it down and the 50 minute delay allowed Safin to regroup and take control under the RLA roof. Johansson edged Novak in a five setter to make his first final as huge underdog. Two solid players with excellent backhands but you'd have thought top 10 would be their ceiling. Johansson even lost a set 6-0
Marat Safin(9) def Tommy Haas(7) 6-7 7-6 3-6 6-0 6-2
Thomas Johansson(16) def Jiri Novak(26) 7-6 0-6 4-6 6-3 6-4
Safin was clear favourite in the final but:
Thomas Johansson(16) def Marat Safin(9) 3-6 6-4 6-4 7-6
Johansson played very well throughout the tournament and his serve and backhand were superb in the final- he handled Safin's mood swings in a calm, Swedish way
One that got away for Marat for sure.
The point of this is to look back and compare with today, and wonder- could a grand slam draw open up sometime in the future and we end up with a Tipsarevic, or a Wawrinka or anyone taking advantage and picking up a shock slam or are those days long gone? Stan almost defeated Nole after all...