Biggest Underdogs In Tennis History: Top Major Champion Underdog Stories

Biggest Underdogs In Tennis History: Top Major Champion Underdog Stories
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

When it comes to men’s tennis in the 21st century, three names dominate the conversation: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. Those three legends have combined to win 66 of the 95 singles Grand Slam titles since 2000.

But we’re not here to talk about those three, for the most part. This Friday marks National Underdog Day, where we honor the long shots for turning their dreams into reality and allowing bettors to cash in on a big payout. Even with Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal holding serve at center court for most of this century, lower-ranked players have still had more than a few opportunities to become major champions.

Utilizing SportsOddsHistory.com, FloridaBet.com used our Florida sports betting mindset and looked at the biggest underdogs to ever win a major tournament in tennis by utilizing the odds of the eventual champion at the beginning of the major. The pool of entrants for this research is from 2000 until 2023. 

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Top 10 Underdogs In Tennis Major Championship History

If you were lucky enough to have the hindsight and Florida betting apps were legal, the following underdogs would have significantly boosted your bankroll. Here are the Top Underdogs in tennis major championship history since 2000.

Rank Championship Tournament Pre-Tournament Odds
1 Marin Cilic 2014 US Open +7500
2 Gaston Gaudio 2005 French Open +5000
T-3 Thomas Johansson 2002 Australian Open +4000
T-3 Stanislas Wawrinka 2014 Australian Open +4000
5 Stanislas Wawrinka 2016 US Open +3300
6 Albert Costa2002 French Open +3000
T-7 Goran Ivanisevic 2001 Wimbledon +2500
T-7 Stanislas Wawrinka 2015 French Open +2500
T-7 Roger Federer 2017 Australian Open +2500
10 Pete Sampras 2002 US Open +1500

A Perennial Underdog?

You might think it would be hard for someone to be on this list multiple times, but Swiss pro Stanislas Wawrinka holds the distinction of being a three-time underdog champion of a Grand Slam tournament. Not only did he win a major in three straight years, but he won a different title in each of those years.

The No. 8 seed in the 2014 Australian Open, he upset second-seeded Djokovic in five sets in the quarterfinals and beat top-seeded Nadal in four sets in the final. A year later, in Paris and again as the No. 8 seed, he knocked off second-seeded Federer in the quarters and then took down top-seeded Djokovic in the final to win the French Open.

In 2016, he entered the US Open as the No. 3 seed in the draw, but despite that high seed, he was still a 33-1 underdog when the tournament began and had odds of 21-1 in the quarters. Once again, he defeated Djokovic in the final to claim his third major.

Swan Song Underdogs

Sometimes, the underdog can be an all-time great looking to turn back the hands of time. That was the case with Pete Sampras, whose 2002 US Open title was his first there in six years. It also marked the end of his career, as he retired from pro tennis after winning his 14th major.

In 2017, Federer returned to the Australian Open after missing six months due to a knee injury. At age 35, he was the 17th seed in the men’s draw. However, he would beat four top 10 seeds in his seven matches to claim his first major down under in seven years. Federer would later capture his eighth Wimbledon crown that year and successfully defend his Australian Open title for his 20th - and final - major of his storied career.

The Aussie Open is the next major on the tennis tour, with play starting in Melbourne on Jan. 14. Despite being 36, Djokovic remains the favorite to add to his record Grand Slam trophy case. Hard Rock Bet, the only legal Florida sports betting app, has the defending champion as the favorite to win his 11th Australian Open with odds of +110. Carlos Alcaraz, a 20-year-old Spaniard with two major wins already, is the second choice at +300.

Stay with FloridaBet.com as we continue to stay on top of all the latest sports betting developments. Plus, we will eventually have the best Florida sportsbook promos as soon as they are legal and available.

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Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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