The ATP Finals is the pinnacle of the ATP Tour and is considered to be the biggest tournament after the four Majors. Tennis titans like Djokovic and Federer have inscribed their names six times on this trophy, followed by Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with five victories each.
Yet, some big names in tennis have remained elusive in winning this title. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the great champions of this game who despite winning Grand Slam titles have never won the ATP Finals in their careers. We bring these names in chronological order.
Rod Laver, the Australian maestro renowned for his unprecedented eleven Grand Slam singles championships and two calendar Grand Slams, never won this prestigious event. Laver Cup has been named after him. He achieved calendar Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969 and was in his prime during the early 70’s.
Thanks for the chat everyone. I’m heading off to Rogers Arena for today’s matches at the Laver Cup. Good luck to Team Europe and Team World! 🚀 pic.twitter.com/SXCeL0gsBe
— Rod Laver (@rodlaver) September 24, 2023
Despite reaching the finals in 1970, Laver encountered a formidable adversary in American Stan Smith, succumbing to his opponent and leaving this title unclaimed. This rare instance, amidst his numerous triumphs, highlighted the competition at this event.
Ken Rosewall etched his name in tennis history with eight Grand Slam singles titles. His tennis career spanned one of the longest durations in the professional circuit from 1956 to 1977.
However, Ken Rosewall fell short at this arena, and never even reached the finals of this tournament in his career which spanned almost two decades. This showcases the unforgiving nature of elite-level tennis.
Jim Courier, a formidable force on the tennis court, boasts four Grand Slam titles, including two French Open and Australian Open victories in the golden period of his career from 1991 to 1993. He won both the French Open and Australian Open in 1992.
— USTA (@usta) February 10, 2019
Despite his Grand Slam successes, the ATP Finals remained an elusive quest for Courier. Making it to the finals twice, in 1991 and 1992, Courier faced formidable foes in Pete Sampras and Boris Becker, falling short on both occasions.
Stan Wawrinka, a Swiss maestro in his own right, clinched three Grand Slam titles amidst an era dominated by Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal. However, the ATP Finals remained an unconquered territory for Wawrinka.
Despite his prowess in the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open, success at the ATP Finals eluded him. This aspect of Wawrinka’s career underlines the highs and lows of his tennis journey.
Rafael Nadal, a tennis icon with a staggering 22 Grand Slam victories, stands as a paradox when it comes to the ATP Finals. Participating 16 times, he reached the final twice, only to be thwarted by Djokovic and Federer in 2013 and 2010 respectively.
🏆 Rafael Nadal wins #FrenchOpen for the record 14th Time.The 36-year-old claimed an all-time men’s record-extending 22nd Grand Slam
🎾 Players with the most Grand Slam Singles titles:
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) June 5, 2022
As Nadal’s career enters its twilight, the ATP Finals title continues to elude him. Given that 2024 will be his last season, it seems that his dream of winning the ATP Finals will remain unfulfilled. It paints a picture of a player who has conquered the highest peaks but faced a unique challenge in this particular tournament.
In this unique list, additional names include Dominic Thiem, Arthur Ashe, and Andy Roddick all Grand Slam winners and top-ranked players who, despite their illustrious careers, fell short of glory at the ATP Finals, a tournament often regarded as the unofficial fifth Grand Slam!