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The Last Roland-Garros Final Without a Member of the BIG 3

Updated: 23 hours ago

Tennis players Gaston Gaudio and Guillermo Coria during the trophy ceremony after the 2004 French Open final

Domination of the BIG 3

Everyone knows that the BIG 3 (and occasionally Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka) have completely dominated the past 20 years in the world of tennis, especially when it comes to Grand Slams. During this period, Rafael Nadal has won 14 titles at Roland-Garros, Novak Djokovic 3, and Roger Federer 1.

The only year the title was not won by a member of the BIG 3 was in 2015 when Stan Wawrinka defeated Novak Djokovic in 4 sets. With Novak Djokovic's withdrawal, this will be the first edition since 2004 in which no member of the BIG 3 will participate in the final. This marks the end of an era.

The World of Tennis in 2004

In 2004, Facebook, then called The Facebook, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg, Shrek 2 dominated the box office, the multiplayer game World of Warcraft was launched online, and Jude Law was named the sexiest man alive.

In the tennis world, the ATP circuit's world ranking was dominated by a young 22-year-old Swiss, Roger Federer. He was defeated in the third round of Roland-Garros in three sets of 6-4 by the 28th seed and three-time champion, Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten.

Classement de l'ATP en 2004.
Top-10 de l'ATP au 31 mai 2004

At that time, Rafael Nadal was ranked 49th in the world, while Novak Djokovic was outside the top 100. Nadal had withdrawn from the tournament after suffering an ankle injury a few months earlier. Tennis fans didn't know it yet, but they were about to enter the most dominant era in tennis history.

The 2004 Roland-Garros Final

With Roger Federer eliminated in the third round, the world's second-ranked player, Andy Roddick, was also knocked out in the second round, showing that Roland-Garros belonged to clay-court specialists at the time.

Unsurprisingly, the final featured two such specialists, Argentinians Guillermo Coria, then ranked 3rd in the world, and Gaston Gaudio, who was ranked 44th. Gaudio had a very favorable draw, facing only one seeded player before the quarterfinals.

In the final, things didn't look good for Gaudio as Coria quickly took a 2-set lead, allowing his opponent only three games. However, Gaudio turned the tide starting in the third set. After breaking Coria twice when the latter was serving for the match and after saving two championship points, Gaston Gaudio was finally crowned champion in Paris. The final score: 0-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6.

Here are the extended highlights from the 2004 French Open final:

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