There is no perfect path, and this axiom applies especially to the greatest of the greats of any field, and specifically the best 4 tennis players of our current age, for the purpose of this article. This imperfection comes in its main and most destructive form as the most ignominious loss occurred in their careers so far, by an almost completely unexpected victor. Read on to find out what these losses were!
Djokovic v Querrey (Wimbledon 2016)
Djokovic came into the 2016 Wimbledon championships with a hurricane behind his back. He had won the last four grand slam titles which made him the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all grand slam championships at once. Such an incredible grand slam run is sure to run out of steam and end, but no one expected such end to be a crash, by Sam Querrey of all players. To be fair, there was apparently a problem with his wife that Djokovic was dealing with in his head while playing the match. This could be explained by the numerous slips uncharacteristic of him, particularly that easy half-volley miss in his right service-box at breakpoint. But Djokovic was playing relatively well throughout the match to be able to put Querrey off. Why did he lose then, it remains largely a mystery to us..
Federer v Stakhovsky (Wimbledon 2013)
In hindsight, it could be argued that Federer's lose to Stakhovsky was not all too surprising given the supposed problems he had then with his back, with his fourth round loss in the US Open two months later being a testament to that. What they do not emphasize, perhaps due to some kind of psychological self-defense reaction, is the magnitude of the shock caused by the loss. Federer had never lost earlier than the quarterfinals in a grand slam since 2004, not to mention that the loss occurred at Wimbledon. Despite playing not too terribly throughout the match, Federer's slips at the most critical moments gave away the match to then ranked 116 in the world. Stakhovsky's lack of the promise typically shown by the pulling off of such an upset, was displayed clearly in his four-set loss to Melzer in the very next round.
Nadal v Darcis (Wimbledon 2013)
In what must be the most infamous week of Wimbledon history, Nadal crashed out of the 2013 Wimbledon championships, a day or so before Federer himself was forced out. It would be the only grand slam in which Nadal lost in the first round. Darcis was ranked 116 in the world then, but to be fair he played rather incredibly during the match, hitting through each ball with a focus and tenacity that kept Nadal on the ropes through the match. This match is the one with the most sensible result on this list as a result, if one does not factor in the usual 'fundamentals'.
Murray v Zverev (Australian Open 2017)
This was another weird one. It must be noted that Murray was not suffering from a hip injury then as many people believed. The hip injury only came during the time shortly before Wimbledon. This explains his stable form and excellent court coverage throughout his match with Zverev - classic traits of Murray which brought him to where he is right now. However such trait failed him during this particular encounter, for reasons largely mysterious. It is true that there was a level of passivity in Murray throughout the match that although would be considered normal during most other matches, would be dangerously gratuitous when facing a proficient serve-and-volley player like Zverev. But to lose in four sets this time round to a serve-and-volley player, when he had successfully warded off many other more dangerous one under similar circumstances - think Lopez or Isner - will forever remain a mystery to us.
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