Thought to post this article by Peter Bodo:
Source: http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2008/03/fed-loses.htmlI filed a post for ESPN earlier today, on the extraordinary results kicked up by the ATP this weekend, when two of the three main tour events were won by Steve Darcis and Sergiy Stakhovsky. This is just too delicious not to speculate: what might a betting man have won if he had wagered on a Darcis/Stakhovsky "Daily Double?"
Actually, the results made me go back over some of the more unexpected results of the past few years, looking for other relative unknowns who had performed similar feats. What struck me is that if you scroll through the annual results, it's remarkable how few of the tournaments - in an era awash in events, with no off-season to speak of - are actually won by off-the-radar players. I was expecting names to trip me up far more often than they did - hail, even though Wayne Arthurs won just one tournament in his career (a surprise, to me), he just seemed to be around, seemed to be a presence, in a way that Stakhovsky is not.
Of course, Darcis last year was in the same boat Stakhovsky now occupies, when he won Amersfoort (only his second ATP event). But after his performance in Memphis, it's safe to say that Darcis has become a household name (at least in TennisWorld households), at least in the sense that Almagro, Massu or Robredo are such.
All that got me thinking of a truly rare category of player - the One Non-Slam Wonder, a character who certainly deserves a place in the TW pantheon, if not the International Tennis Hall of Fame. I went through the ATP list of retired players, and came up with 110 ONSWs (which may be off a bit either way, as I'm notorious for being a lousy counter) - but that's in the entire history of the Open era.
Many, many of those ONSWs took titles in places like Casablanca, Bermuda, Tulsa, Hilversum, Taipei and other relatively isolated outposts of the game, although all of them were official ATP tournaments. I am sure there is some margin for error in the ATP's stats; for example, somehow semi-iconic Dennis Ralston is listed as a ONSW, getting credit for just one tournament win, WCT Los Angeles, in 1970 (Actually, the ITF site concurs). And so is Manolo Santana, who won Wimbledon and the US Open, which makes me think that Grand Slams were left out of this record, on the grounds that the majors do their own book keeping.
If you look at Felix Mantilla's entry in the ATP media guide's list of tournament winners of teh Open era, you'll see his name followed by: ???????????????. I know Mantilla won 10-plus ATP titles; I guess somebody just forgot to fact-check poor Felix's record (but that too is available at the ITF site).
The ATP has 60-plus tournaments for 2008; it's hard to pin this down, but let's assume that that over the Open era, the average number of tournaments per year has been 40. That means there were 1600 tournament winners, among whom only 110 were ONSWs! Can you say, Elite?
So let's look at some of the players who won only one singles event in their ATP careers, and remember, players who are currently active - like Stakhovsky - are not in this discussion:
- Matt Anger was a USC standout and Tracy Austin's first real boyfriend; the only title he won was Johannesburg in 1985.
- Pablo Arraya was once ubiquitous on the tour - the title he took was Bordeaux in 1983.
- Jeremy Bates: Long before Andy Murray or Tim Henman sparked hope in the UK, Bates stepped up and won Seoul in 1994.
- Butch Buchholz is one of the seminal figures in the Open era (as a political activist and tournament promoter) gets credit only for winning Atlanta in 1969. Can it be true?
- Bob Carmichael: The legendary Aussie called "nailbags", who quit his job as a carpenter in his mid-20s to try his hand at pro tennis, won Auckland in 1971.
- Sergio Casal: As good as this dude (who's now a partner in the famous Casal-Sanchez Tennis Academy) was in doubs, he won only one singles title, Florence in 1985.
- Owen Davidson: Another fixture among the legends of tennis, and a regular mixed doubles partner of Billie Jean King's, struggled and only managed to win Surbiton in 1973.
- Eddie Edwards won Adelaide in 1985. Who the hail is Eddie Edwards?
- Juan Gisbert was an incredibly handsome and well-mannered Spaniard; Gisbert won his only tournament, Shreverport, in 1975.
- Tom Gullikson won Newport in 1985 and that was it.
- Paul Haarhuis won just one singles title: Jakarta, 1995.
- Carlos Kirmayr (who would later coach Gabriela Sabatini) and Thomaz Koch were both Brazilian ONSWs. Take that, Guga!
- John Lloyd remains very popular, he's a former husband of Chris Evert, but he never added to his lone singles title, won at Merion in 1974.
- Patrick McEnroe, our Davis Cup captain, won just one singles title: Sydney (outdoors)l in 1995.
- Ray Moore was another player turned move and shaker and tournament promoter (he and Charlie Pasarell founded the Indian Wells event), but he won only Berlin, in 1969.
- Nduka Odizor was a much-loved Nigeria player (nickname: the Duke) who never lost faith in his career even though he won only Taipei n 1983. He went on to become a man of the cloth.
- Claudio Pistolesi, once considered the best Italian prospect since Adriano Panatta, managed just one win: Bari in 1987.
- Haroon Rahim, straight out of Pakistan (by way of UCLA) won Little Rock in 1974. Dude played sweet serve and volley tennis and had an Afro worthy of Hendrix.
- Sargis Sargsian won a title, too! Newport in 1997.
- Howard Schoenfield was a junior of legendary ability, but he had some private struggles that kept him from winning anything beyond Tulsa in 1980.
- Vince Van Patten got a lot of pub when he was playing, but the fact is he won just one event: Tokyo in 1981.
- Werner Zirngibl, the scourge of spell-checkers everywhere, was triumphant at Brussels in 1978.
Anybody care to figure out how many more ONSW's are out there, still trying to get over the hump on the ATP tour by winning a second event?