9 May 2019

Comeback Kings

Incredible comebacks have been a common feature in the sporting world recently, with both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur proving it's not over until it's over in their dramatic European victories this week and Tiger Woods completing a stunning return to the top at the Masters last month.  This got us thinking about the tennis equivalents and why you should never give up on court

The amazing events in the football this week have had everyone talking, including the players on the WTA and ATP tour: 

(Er what did Jamie mean?) So, how do these exciting comebacks compare to those we've seen in tennis? 

Five of the best turnarounds from match point down...

  1. At 0-6, 0-5, 30-40 down Tara Moore, the British no.9was staring defeat in the face in her first round match of the ITF World Tennis Tour event at Sunderland earlier this year. After hitting the net-cord and line with a winner to save match point she went on to produce a remarkable turnaround, eventually winning 0-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3. 
  2. Lisa Raymond is more widely known for her doubles success, but in the first round of the women's singles at the French Open in 2004 she found herself in a similar situation to Tara Moore. Ľubomíra Kurhajcová led their first round match 6-0 5-0 and had two match points, but was ultimately defeated by Raymond's terrific comeback 6–0, 5–7, 3–6. 
  3. 19 year old American Chanda Rubin trailed Jana Novotna, the Czech Grand Slam winner,  0-5, 0-40 in the final set of their third round match at the French Open in 1995, but what looked like a certain defeat soon turned into an unbelievable comeback victory as she saved 9 match points to eventually win 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 8-6.
  4. Nick Kyrgios recovered from two sets down and saved an incredible 9 match points on his way to overcoming 13th seed Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8 in the second round of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. 
  5. The unseeded Gaston Gaudio became the first man in the open era to save match points and win a Grand Slam final with his victory at the French Open in 2004.  He had already come back from two sets to love down against fellow Argentine and favourite Guillermo Coria in the final before he recovered from two breaks of serve and two match points down in the fifth set to eventually prevail  0-6 3-6 6-4 6-1 8-6. ​


Roger Federer's 2017 Australian Open triumph
Not many gave Federer a chance of ending his barren Grand Slam run when he arrived in Melbourne in 2017. At the age of 35 he was ranked outside of the top 10 for the first time in 14 years and had missed the second half of 2016 with a knee injury. However he defied all the odds, beating nemesis Rafa Nadal in an epic five set match in the final to clinch his first major title in five years. 

Kim Clijsters' remarkable Grand Slam return in 2009
Just two months after returning to tennis, following a two year break to get married and have a baby, Clijsters won the US Open. In doing so she also became the first wildcard women's champion in the tournament's history and the first mother to win a Grand Slam since 1980. 

Monica Seles inspirational story
Seles was stabbed on court by a crazed fan in 1993 and subsquently missed more than two years on tour due to her injuries and anxiety from the attack. In 1995, she won her first tournament on her return and reached the final of the US Open soon after. Her victory at the Australian Open the following year capped off one of the most inspirational comebacks to the sport. 

comebacks in the leagues

There are thousands of matches played each year in our leagues and therefore, like the pro game, we are no stranger to a thrilling comeback. Here are just a few examples of when our players have been down but not out: 

Docklands: Joe Haywood bt Kurt Williams  1-6, 7-5, 6-0

"Great comeback from me, surely one of the greatest of all time! Kurt led 1-6 3-5 15-40 on my serve, I saved 2 match points then I didnt lose another game. Kurt took the loss well, very nice guy, hope to play again soon!" Joe

Sheffield: Robert Hawksworth bt Sofiane Hireche  0-6, 6-2, 7-6 (12-10)

"There was only going to be one winner on the the night & that was you mate...I applaud you for the admirable mental strength you have shown to save 9 match points!! 2 points at 5-3 down...Another 3 at 5-4 & 40-0 down & the remaining 4 in the longest tie break I have ever played - 12-10!! Never experienced anything like it before! I would’ve undoubtebly have given up if I were in your shoes! A very hard-to-swallow defeat for me but hopefully a valuable lesson for me to take forward ;-) A  well deserved win by yourself tonight :-) Well done mate & good luck for the rest of your games," Sofiane

Wandsworth: Brian O'Neill bt Stuart Lawrence  3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)

"Stuart and I battled it out in a 2.5hr 3 set epic! We played some great stuff, with some fantastic ding dong rallies. Third set went largely with serve where at 5-6 we had an epic game where I managed to save 7 match points to force the tie-break decider. With the momentum behind me, I managed to get some very opportune net cords in the tie-break to clinch it. A fantastic game and look forward to the next battle!" Brian