Nick Kyrgios has done everything he could, especially when he gave away his match against Mischa Zverev last year in Shanghai, but he’s still standing : as he has almost reached 150 ATP matches, he remains the only player of the top 20 to have never lost a set on the score of 6/0 on the main circuit…a funny « record » which made us want to look for the other players who almost were almost never ridiculed !
John Isner, one 6/0 conceded
In almost ten years spent on the main circuit, the American only suffered one small « humiliation ». A very small one, as he had a pretty strong excuse : it was on June 25th, 2010 at Wimbledon, the day after his epic match against Nicolas Mahut (11h05 spent on the court over three days to finish this first-round match). Naturally exhausted and looking like he was playing on Prozac, « i’ve slept well, but I didn’t have much energy left », John Isner’s ghost conceded his serve on six occasions in total against the La Haye-born Thiemo De Bakker, who won (6/0 6/3 6/1) in 1h14...
Richard Krajicek, 3
One of the numerous XXL-serves of this top. But « Baby Face », the only one to have defeated Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in the 1993-2000 era, has one distinctive feature : on the rare occasions where he lost a set on 6/0 (against Michael Chang in Los Angeles in 1993, Stefan Edberg in Monte-Carlo in 1996 and Richard Fromberg in s’Hertogenbosch in 1998), the Dutch then won the match. Which gives us a strange void in the final score against Fromberg (7/6 0/6 7/6) or a very tight win against Chang (0/6 7/6 7/6).
Kent Carlsson, 3
He won 35 sets on the score of 6/0 and lost only…three on that same score (against Claudio Pistolesi, Jimmy Arias and Ivan Lendl). A remarkable feet as the Swede played 94% of his 214 ATP matches on clay. Five years spent on the circuit (1984-1989) during which Kent made a name for himself thanks to his fighting spirit. It almost seems like the saying « he is ready to die on the court » was made after him.
Ivo Karlovic, 3
When the Croatian was serving, there was a 92% chance of seeing him win the game. A success rate which makes him the most efficient server of the ATP history, at least since the institution has started to collect data and statistics from all matches. Taking his serve three times in a set while winning all the games where you are serving ? Nobody has managed to produce such a performance between 2004 and 2012, the year when the Argentine Eduardo Schwank achieved the feat during the first round of Roland-Garros.
Wayne Arthurs, 4
Technically unstoppable and rumored to be unbreakable on quick surfaces, his left-handed sliced serve (especially on the left side of the court) seemed to push the returning player right into the stands. At Wimbledon in 1999, Wayne Arthurs even played 19 consecutive sets without losing his serve once. « He’s the best server I’ve ever played against », even said Andre Agassi, who put an end to his series in the fourth round. At that moment, the Australian serve and volley player had never lost a set on the score of 6/0. It then occurred against Marc-Kevin Goellner (Brighton 2000), Jérôme Golmard (Adelaide 2002), David Nalbandian (Cincinnati 2003) and Phillip Simmonds (Washington 2005).
Roger Federer, 4
Better than Björn Borg (20), John McEnroe (16), Rafael Nadal (14) or Pete Sampras (9). Of the last great masters of the game, Roger Federer is the only one who hasn’t lost (until now at least) 5 sets on the score of 6/0. During his first full season on the professional circuit, The Swiss was punished on three occasions : by Vince Spadea in Monte-Carlo, Pat Rafter in Paris, and Byron Black at the Queen’s. Since then, in more than 1000 matches, only Rafael Nadal in the final of Roland-Garros in 2008 (6/0 6/3 6/1) was able to win a set against him without conceding a single game.
Milos Raonic, 5
If you want to have a list of the best returners of the 2010-2017 era, you just need to look for the players who have won a set 6/0 against the big Canadian server : Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori…they’re all here ! The fifth man being Michael Llodra, who punished Raonic on clay in Monte-Carlo in 2011…before being punished himself twenty minutes later (6/3 0/6 6/0).
Novak Djokovic, 8
Since the start of the decade, only four men are able to write on their CV : « has already won a set 6/0 against Novak Djokovic ». Roger Federer (Cincinnati 2012), Kei Nishikori (Basel 2011), Mardy Fish (BNP Paribas Indian Wells Open 2010) and... Thomaz Bellucci, who was on fire against him during 30 minutes in Rome in 2016 before losing in three sets, 0/6 6/3 6/2. But after witnessing the Serb’s latest results, we still have one question : will he remain « in front » of Pete Sampras for long ?
Pete Sampras, 9
The older tennis fans will remember how much the man who won fourteen major tournaments was vulnerable on clay until his 18th birthday, that is not to say absolutely hopeless. A good example of that is the humiliation he suffered against the Swede Jonas Svensson in Munich in May 1990, 6/0 6/1. If he probably had a nightmare on that day, this 6/0 set lost was one of the last of his life. Until his retirement in 2002, only an unbearable heat (in Barcelona in 1992 against Andreï Cherkasov and in Roland-Garros in 1996 against Yevgeny Kafelnikov) or an unbelievable young rebellious underdog (Lleyton Hewitt at the Masters in 2000) managed to inflict such a punishment to the great Pete Sampras.
Lleyton Hewitt, 13 (but zero between 2004 and 2012)
Ok, with a total of 13 sets lost on the score of 6/0, he’s largely under other players like Roger Federer or Ivo Karlovic. But let’s take a closer look on the May 2003 - September 2012 period : during 9 years and 4 months, or more than 350 consecutive matches, the Adelaide-born warrior hasn’t lost a single set on the score of 6/0…Precisely until September 2nd, 2012 at the US Open, when one of his spiritual son, the Spaniard David Ferrer, put an end to his incredible series.