Top 5 Players Never to Win a Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal knows a thing or two about winning Grand Slams and unfortunately for some on this list, he stood in the way of their dreams of major glory.

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The greatest players in the world have a cabinet full of them, but on the other side of the coin, there are a host of fine tennis stars who never managed to get their hands on one of the game’s biggest prizes.

Here we look at five super players who couldn’t quite get over the line, often when facing some of the greatest names the sport has ever seen.

Marcelo Rios

The Chilean deserves his place on the list mainly because he is the only player in game’s history to have been ranked as the best in the world and who never won one of the Australian, French or US Opens or triumphed at Wimbledon.

His defeat in the 1998 Australian Open to Petr Korda was his only appearance in a Grand Slam final and while he won three Masters titles on clay, he never got past the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros.

Rios went to the top of the rankings when he claimed successive hard-court victories at Indian Wells and Miami in 1998, but after a succession of injuries forced him to call time on his career six years later, there was a sense that he was unable to fulfil his true potential.

David Nalbandian

Another South American reached number three in the world and David Nalbandian was very much a nearly-man.

In Madrid in 2007, he became the only man to have beaten Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament but he was unable to grab glory when he was battling it out for the top prizes in the game.

A great all-rounder, he reached the semi-finals of every Grand Slam, failing to capitalise on a match point when he lost to Andy Roddick at that stage of the US Open in 2003.

He also played in the last four at the 2006 Australian Open and in Paris in 2004 and 2006, and his only final appearance was at Wimbledon in 2002 when he was defeated by Australian Lleyton Hewitt.

David Ferrer

The Spaniard would have surely claimed a Grand Slam had he not spent most of his career in the era of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic’s dominance.

He won three Davis Cups but great individual glory passed him by with a French Open final defeat to his close friend Nadal in 2013 the closest he came.

Ferrer reached the final of the ATP finals in 2007 and won the Paris Masters in 2012, but too often he found one of the greats to be an insurmountable obstacle.

Elena Dementieva

There was a siege of talented Russian players at the turn of the millennium and Elena Dementieva was perhaps one who didn’t gain the prizes that her talent deserved.

She retired in 2010 and in the three years before that she made five Grand Slam semi-finals and one quarter-final in 11 tournaments.

Dementieva did grab glory at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, but she found compatriots too strong for her in the two finals she reached in 2004, when she was beaten by Anastasia Myskina in Paris and Svetlana Kuznetsova at Flushing Meadows.

Mary Joe Fernandez

Big things were expected when Mary Joe Fernandez became the youngest winner of a main-draw match at the US Open in 1985, just eight days after her 14 birthday, but she perhaps didn’t bank on Steffi Graf dominating the game in her era.

The German won all 17 of their meetings, including the final in Australia in 1990 and in Paris in 1993. Fernandez would also taste Melbourne defeat against Monica Seles in 1993.

She did win gold medals in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics but she just couldn’t claim one of the biggest crowns in singles.

A vastly experienced journalist, Ian has worked the beat on a number of local newspapers and covers a number of different sports for the Racing Post
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