Wimbledon 2013: Shocking! This year's place on the Richter scale
Only eight of top 16 men and women made quarter-finals but that is a tremor not an SW19 earthquake
This year's tournament has seen some of the biggest shocks in All England Club history, with rank outsiders starting to believe they might have a shot at glory. The two biggest names in the men's game, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, went out to journeymen in Sergiy Stakhovsky and Steve Darcis respectively, while Serena Williams, who was one of the hottest ever favourites to win the women's title, lost to the world No 24, Sabine Lisicki. With Williams and Federer going out, this has been the first Wimbledon in the Open era where both the defending champions failed to make it to the quarter-finals. The women's 17th seed, Sloane Stephens, who went out to Marion Bartoli, has branded it "Wimblegeddon".
However, Wimbledon 2013 is by no means exceptional in terms of the number of top seeds who have fallen by the wayside. Three of the top eight women's seeds and five of the top eight men's seeds made it to the quarter-finals, which is a higher number than made it through to 30 of the other 177 Grand Slam tournaments that have been played in the Open era.
In terms of sheer numbers, the casualty rate of seeds at this year's Wimbledon has been lower than at many past tournaments. Statistically, the Grand Slam tournament with the greatest number of shock results was at Wimbledon in 1983, when a total of only four out of 16 top-eight seeds made it to the quarter-finals.
Martina Navratilova, the top seed, beat Andrea Jaeger, the No 3 seed, in the 1983 final, but Billie Jean King, the No 10 seed, was the next highest-placed seed to reach the last eight. Among the early casualties were Chris Evert and Pam Shriver, who lost to Kathy Jordan in the third round and Czechoslovakia's Iva Budarova in the second round respectively.
The men's competition was won by John McEnroe, the No 2 seed, who beat the unseeded New Zealander Chris Lewis in the final. Ivan Lendl, who lost to McEnroe in the semi- finals, was the only other top eight seed to make it to the last eight, which featured four unseeded players – Lewis, Mel Purcell, Roscoe Tanner and Sandy Mayer. Jimmy Connors, the top seed, was beaten by Kevin Curren in the fourth round.
McEnroe, now a pundit rather than a player, insists it is better for the game if there are not too many shocks in one tournament. He said: "Overall, it's better for the sport if the top players are in there at the end. For the tennis fans, this [high number of shocks] makes it maybe a little more exciting. For the average fan, they're going to be more interested in Federer, Nadal and [Maria] Sharapova."
There has never been a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era where all of the top eight men's and women's seeds have fallen by the wayside. However, there have been seven occasions when only one men's seed made it, most recently at the 2002 Australian Open, where the No 7 seed, Tommy Haas, was the only one to go through. The tournament was won by Sweden's Thomas Johansson, the No 16 seed, who beat Marat Safin in the final. Lleyton Hewitt and Gustavo Kuerten, the top two seeds, were beaten in the first round by Spain's Alberto Martin and France's Julien Boutter respectively.
The only time when just one women's seed made the last eight was at the US Open four years ago, in which Kim Clijsters, a wild card, beat Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Serena Williams, the No 2 seed, was the only top eight seed to make it to the last eight and was beaten by Clijsters in the semi-finals.
In the Open era there has not been a single Grand Slam tournament where all top eight men's seeds have reached the quarter-finals. The closest this came to happening was at the 1984 French Open, where Lendl beat McEnroe in the final. The top seven seeds made it and were joined by the No 9 seed, Sweden's Henrik Sundstrom.
Scattered seeds: Open era records
Open era Grand Slams with fewest top-eight seeds in quarter-finals:
4 seeds 1983 Wimbledon
5 seeds 1988 French Open, 1996 Wimbledon, 1997 US Open, 2005 French Open, 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 US Open
Open era Grand Slams where seven or fewer of the top eight men's and women's seeds have reached the quarter-finals:
Australian Open (4 occasions)
1978 (6 seeds in quarter-finals), 1997 (6), 1999 (6), 2000 (6)
French Open (10 occasions)
1973 (7), 1974 (7), 1988 (5), 1989 (7) 1997 (5), 1998 (7), 1999 (7), 2002 (7), 2005 (5), 2009 (7)
Wimbledon (9 occasions)
1983 (4), 1986 (7), 1994 (7), 1996 (5), 1997 (6), 2000 (7), 2002 (7), 2008 (5), 2011 (7)
US Open (7 occasions)
1980 (6), 1993 (6), 1994 (7), 1997 (5), 2002 (7), 2009 (5), 2011 (6)
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