I've noticed many at MTF make strong assertions that player x has almost no chance to win a major after not winning one for 2 years
or more. Believe it or not, it happens more than people think, even in the presence of strong competition.
Here is a list of players who have gone about 3 years
(ex. Sampras, Federer 2+) or more between major wins in the Open Era, in chronological order. I've included approximate ages based on birth year:
1. Arthur Ashe (USA)
- 1970 AO (age 27) to 1975 WC (32) Ashe beat Borg in the QF in 4 and then Connors in 4 in the Final to win the Wimbledon Championship.
2. Jimmy Connors (USA)
- 1978 USO (26) to 1982 WC (32) - Connors went 8 years between Wimbledon wins.
He beat John McEnroe in a 5 set thriller at 1982 Wimbledon.
3. Mats Wilander (SWE)
- 1985 RG (21) to 1988 AO (24) Defeated Stefan Edberg, then Pat Cash each in 5 sets, becoming the only player to win the Australian Open on grass and hard court. He went on to win at Roland Garros and the US Open.
4. Boris Becker (GER)
- 1986 WC (19) to 1989 WC (22) Boris came from 2 sets to 1 down against Ivan Lendl in the semifinal and then smashed Stefan Edberg in the final to win his 3rd Wimbledon title.
5. Boris Becker (GER)
- 1991 AO (24) to 1996 A0 (29) After a 5 year major hiatus, Boris won his final major, winning his second Australian Open over Michael Chang in 4 sets.
6. Andre Agassi (USA)
- 1995 AO (25) to 1999 RG (29) Agassi came back from injury and other problems, having sunk to a world ranking of 141 in 1997. In 1998 he won 5 titles and rose from 110 to #6 in the world. At Roland Garros in 1999, he came from 2 sets down to beat Andrei Medvedev in 5 sets to become the 5th player in history to complete a Career Grand Slam. Agassi also had 2
2 year gaps from Wimbledon 1992 (22) to the US Open in 1994 (24), and from the Australian Open 2001 (31) to 2003 (33).
7. Gustavo Kuerten (BRA)
- 1997 RG (21) to 2000 RG (24) Guga won his 2nd of 3 RG titles. At year's end he was #1, the clay court wizard defeating both Andre Agassi
and Pete Sampras
back to back on the indoor hard court
at the year-end Master's Cup.
8. Pete Sampras (USA)
- 2000 WC (29) to 2002 USO (31) Sampras beat Andre Agassi in 4 sets to win his record 14th major in the final tournament of his career.
9. Marit Safin (RUS)
- 2000 USO (20) to 2005 AO (25) Safin defeated Roger Federer in a tight 5 set SF
10. Novak Djokovic (SRB)
- 2008 AO (21) to 2011 AO (24) Djokovic's Davis Cup win helped propel him to an Australian Open victory in 3 sets vs. Andy Murray, and a great 2011, additionally winning Wimbledon and the US Open.
11. Roger Federer (SUI)
- 2010 AO (28) to 2012 WC (30) Federer's Wimbledon victory over Andy Murray took him from #3 to #1 in the world and he surpassed the Sampras ATP rankings record for most total weeks at #1.
Some common factors among all of these players?
1. All were considered or ranked #1 players at some point in their careers.
2. All became multiple major winners, all except Safin having 3 or more major wins.
3. Most of them showed good form during the few months prior to winning again.
There may be more common factors; I'll leave it to you to find them.
Interestingly, the ages in winning after a gap varied from 22 to 33 - 7 occurrences at age 29 or older.
Never count out a champion just because they haven't won in awhile.