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Best American tennis players without a Grand Slam title
The term close but no cigar was probably invented with these players in mind. They had a good run up the mountain, but never reached the summit. As their climb lost its gallop they fell to their tennis death without fanfare and funeral, while their near championship results faded away.
I called upon the memory bank to find the best American male tennis players without a grand slam in the open era. To make the list they must have at least reached the top ten, which means you won't see guys like Mal Washington, Mardy Fish, David Wheaton, or Derrick Rostagno.
Brian makes the list on the strength of his number seven ranking, eight tournament titles and a grand slam quarterfinal appearance. He competed against the best of his time and was a very tough match for everyone.
The older brother of Gene had a nice career too. He won 11 tournaments, and was a twice a grand slam quarterfinalist and once a semifinalist respectively.
His game was at times ridiculed, but Eliot went for his shots and was a very tough player indoors. He reached number six in the rankings, won 10 tournaments and was a two-time grand slam quarterfinalist.
Why didn't he win Wimbledon? His game was perfect for the faster grass courts of his era, but yet Tim lost to a supposedly terrible grass court player in the quarterfinals by the name if Ivan Lendl - not once but twice, including their 1988 five set thriller. Tim Played Lendl 17 times on all surfaces resulting in zero wins.
The first Nick Bollettieri prodigy was Jimmy Arias. His forehand ushered in a new era in men's tennis. His game was one dimensional, but he used it all the way to number five in the rankings.
Aaron's the second Nick Bollettieri prodigy who ripped heavy western forehands to the tune of nine tournament wins and a number six ranking. He's perhaps remembered as the guy Jimmy Connors used for his highlight reel at the US open.
He had huge weapons but only one strategy of hitting hard and harder, - and when things got tough, pack up the bags and go home. A number four ranking and two-time grand slam quarterfinalist, puts James as the biggest disappointment on the list of best American tennis players without a grand slam title.
For choking away an insurmountable lead to Mal Washington at Wimbledon, Todd deserves to be without a grand slam title. He had one of the best return of serves and two-handed backhand in the history of tennis.
Gene had a long run at near the top of the game. He won 14 tournaments and was always a threat at the grand slams, where he reached the quarterfinals on four occasions. Gene used his patented quirky court movement to reach number four in the rankings.
If you thought Tim Mayotte had a Lendl curse, Brad got Czech slapped just as much. He went 0-16 against the mighty racket man. I was in the stadium for their lone grand slam match at the US Open. Early on it looked like Brad was primed to do some major damage, but after a tough first set, he quickly went down in flames. Don't feel sorry for Mr. Gilbert, he won 20 tournaments, five-time quarterfinalist and two-time semifinalist at the grand slams.
His game was ugly, but he won and did it often. His grand slam results include five quarterfinals and two semifinals. Throw in 21 tournament titles and a number five ranking and you have one of the best career results by an American tennis player without a grand slam title.
If Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias are joined at the forehand, Harold and Eddie are joined in game and career. Their results practically mirror each other. Harold snuck in a grand slam final to go with his number five ranking and 22 tournament wins.
By far the best and most impressive results for an American tennis player without a grand slam title. He reached all the way to number three in the rankings, along with 25 tournament wins.
His 1977 season is one of the best ever, reaching 15 finals and winning five. His lone grand slam finals appearance resulted in the ugliest one-sided destruction at a grand slam finals this side of John NcEnroe's beat down of Chris Lewis.
Winning is sometimes more than just skills, luck and timing are just as important. These players had great careers even without winning a grand slam title.
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