The Championships quietly started earlier this week, and while Wimbledon 2014 was perhaps drowned out by the sustained — but thankfully vuvuzela-free — sounds of the World Cup, it has already started off with the grass stained upsets that have come to categorize the first among equals in Grand Slam Events. This time it was Sloane Stephens, the world No. 18 and burgeoning American favorite, who suffered a defeat at the hands of Maria Kirilenko, who was once in the top ten but now sits as the 109th ranked player in women’s singles. Losses happen all over the world, and every tennis match has someone who walks away unhappy with the result, but it seems to resonate more when it happens at Wimbledon.
Maybe it’s because of the dress code, maybe it’s because of its standing as the oldest tennis tournament in the world, but losing at The Championships has always carried kind of a brutal finality to a tennis season which doesn’t translate on paper, since it’s the third major of the Calender year (the U.S. Open follows, like a consolation prize, almost two months later) but is entirely real in practice. Careers don’t get ended at the U.S. Open. They do at Wimbledon. It might seem like a middling distinction, but it’s not.
On the other half of the coin, no win means more than victory, and even if Andy Murray’s success at last year’s tournament proves to be the high watermark of his career, it will still mean more than his U.S. Open win. So, in that regard, lets take a gander at the prohibitive favorites who ended up being upended by someone who was playing better than they were on the day the met. This list is sorted by descending round, so a loss in the finals is “lower” on the list than a loss in the second, and so on.