We thought that the 10 237 aces of Goran Ivanisevic were untouchable, carved in the stone in the ATP statistics. And then Ivo Karlovic arrived and did better in almost half as many games than his predecessor. In the wake of the Croat, also the tallest player by height (6 ft. 11) ever seen in the Top 100, focus on these tennis records that don't belong (or not yet) to the stars of the game.
Youngest winner of an ATP title: Aaron Krickstein, 16 years and 2 months old in Tel Aviv in 1983
Since successful young players aren't on the rise in today's tennis, difficult to imagine this happening in the near future. Anyway, the first "Bollettieri boy" won’t disappear soon from the top of most of the statistics related to precocity: youngest player to complete a season in the Top 100 (in 1983 precisely), younger player to knock at the door of the Top 20 the following year... The Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the French Rayane Roumane and the Spanish Nicolas Alvarez Varona are the 3 prodigies who won this season a professional match at the age of 14, and have a little more than a year ahead of them to come and tickle him.
Do we believe it? Not really.
Longest time between two ATP titles: Yahiya Doumbia
The Senegalese has let seven years and seven months pass between his only two ATP titles in Lyon in 1988 and Bordeaux in 1995. A record that could be beaten in coming years with the global elite getting older and older. To date, there have been several veterans meeting the criteria, two of them with serious arguments: Paul-Henri Mathieu, passed a set from winning this record in Kitzbuhel this summer, just eight years after his last title (Gstaad 2007) and Steve Darcis, always dangerous as long as the injuries leave him in peace. Virgin of all ATP title for over 6 years now, even though he is regularly featured the Top 30, Jeremy Chardy has also already come a long way... Do we believe it? Yes. Big time.
Lowest ranked player to defeat the current world n°1: Daniel Nestor
Yes, Daniel Nestor, mentioned in a record in singles. In 1992, the Canadian, then aged 19, was ranked 238th when he surprised the world No. 1 at the time, Stefan Edberg, in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas (4/6 6/3 1/6 6/3 6/4). Suffice to say that it will be hard to beat, as such difference in ranking limits the possibilities of confrontation between what today would correspond to a player of the ATP World Tour and another of Futures. Only the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas or a wild card could cause this kind of unbalanced confrontation. And from there to see a victory for Tom Thumb...
Do we believe it? Not really.
Number of participations in Grand Slam tournaments: Fabrice Santoro (70 between Roland-Garros 1989 and the Australian Open 2010)
That one will fall, it is written. And soon. For the FedExpress is running at full speed: Roger Federer's will have played 66 Grand Slam tournaments at the end of the 2015 season. In a year, if all goes well, he will have equalled the mark of "Fabulous Fab". And at the 2017 Australian Open, he will improve it. All this in roughly four years less than the French to get there. Because yes: since Roland Garros in 1999, Federer has only missed one major tournament.
Do we believe it? At 99,9%, yes. Except for an earthquake force 9 on the scale of tennis (injury or hasty end of career) this record will be owned by Roger Federer in fifteen months.
Player never ranked in the Top 10 to defeat the most Top 10 players: Fabrice Santoro
And yes, again! The one that Pete Sampras nicknamed "the magician" peaked at the 17th place in the world rankings... Which didn't prevent him from beating 40 times residents of the Top 10, including a beautiful bunch of future or former world No. 1: Becker, Agassi, Sampras, Hewitt, Safin, Rafter, Federer, Roddick, Djokovic... All between 1990 and 2007. Can it be beaten? One man, and only one can do it: Feliciano Lopez. At 34, the Spaniard, 12th in the ATP at his best won against 32 members of the Top 10 since the beginning of his career. Do we believe it? It's 50-50. Another 8 victories over Top 10 players while in his 35th year is quite a challenge. At the end of his career, Lopez should be in the same waters than the French. But a little ahead or a little behind?
Lowest ranking for a Grand Slam winner: John Marks
Geographical remoteness and poor positioning on the calendar, one can never stress strongly enough how important was the Australian Open in the 70s for local second fiddles. In December 1978, it was John Marks, good doubles player but average in singles, who received his Christmas present: 177th world, he reached the final by saving a match point against an aging Arthur Ashe in the semi-finals. This result yet never allowed him to reach the ATP Top 50, only peaking at the 63rd place in the world at his best.
Do we believe it? Do better - or worse, it depends? Impossible as the tour got more structured since Marks’ era. Not to mention a points system that sends every ATP Grand Slam finalist in the Top 20.
Winner of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas with the smallest prize record: Michael Lammer (2014)
7 matches won on the main tour in singles, best ranking as 150th in the world, 10 matches won in doubles (but a title in Gstaad in 2009) for a best ranking of 213th in the world: the prize record of the Swiss Michael Lammer makes of him the winner of Davis Cup BNP Paribas with the "lightest" CV - which doesn’t diminish his merits for bringing valuable points in the World Group play-offs at the end of 2013 and in the first round of the winning edition of 2014. The ever-increasing globalization of tennis has probably not finished to bring cases like his to multiply. Just like for the upcoming final during which we will see the Brits (Kyle Edmund Evans and Daniel) and the Belgians (Kimmer Coppejans) align their share of players more used to Challengers tournament than to the ATP World Tour.
Do we believe it? Possible, considering that a laureate country has up to 5 players official winners of the competition. How many countries today have a strong pool of five players in the Top 100?
Latest winner in a tournament: Vince Spadea
Not the oldest, but the latest. The man who waited the longest before opening his prize list on the main tour. In this case, Spadea waited 223 participations in tournaments from the ATP World Tour before finally winning one, in Scottsdale in 2004, while he was almost 30. A decade later, many players walked in his footsteps: with 258 participations in ATP tournaments and still no title, Julien Benneteau will take the honorary title of the most persistent player in case of success by the end of his career. The Taiwanese Yen-Hsun Lu, and his 196 ATP tournaments on the clock, could also have a say if he wins a title from the second part of 2016 season.
Do we believe it? Reasonably, yes. And if it is neither Benneteau nor Lu who succeed, Teimuraz Gabashvili (170) Alejandro Falla (167) Daniel Gimeno Traver and other (160) are also in the lap times.
Winner of a tournament in the ATP World Tour for his first participation
A record currently shared between four players: Yahiya Doumbia (Lyon 1988) Altur Jose Francisco (San Marino 1989), Nicolas Lapentti (Bogota 1995) and Santiago Ventura (Casablanca 2004). The current configuration of the main tour with the obvious lack of interest of heavyweights for ATP 250, will probably help to see this scenario happening again. Note however that apart from Lapentti, the other three mainly shone in a single tournament...
Do we believe it? Highly possible, yes.
Oldest winner of an ATP title
This one is not held by a little-known player, rather a somewhat forgotten champion: Pancho Gonzales, serious candidate to the title of "Greatest of all time" and 43 years and 9 months old when he won the tournament of Des Moines in 1972, just five months after winning against a young Jimmy Connors in final in the Los Angeles. One of the rare longevity records that Jimbo could win two decades later, stuck at "only" 37 years old when he lifted his last cup in Tel Aviv in 1989. To see Roger Federer win this record, the Swiss would need to triumph on the tour in 2025 .Do we believe it? About as much than the possibility of seeing the Swiss beating the total of 109 titles of Jimmy Connors recorded by the ATP.