Marc Rosset

Born: November 7, 1970 in Genève (Romandie)
Height: 2.01 m
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Rosset, much like David Wheaton, is considered a notable underachiever in the tennis landscape of the 90s (nonetheless Rosset’s career was much longer and incomparably better). His potential warranted an entry into the strict elite circle, possibly even partaking in several “Masters” events or clinching a major championship. Wheaton’s trajectory took a downturn after he captured a title in Munich ’91 (Grand Slam Cup) – an event that appeared to dampen his motivation for years to follow. On the other hand, Rosset experienced the zenith of his career a few months later, securing his most significant success at the Olympics.
From 1990 onward, Rosset was touted as one of the most promising young talents. However, his performances, especially at the majors, proved disappointing, leading many to doubt his capability in the “best of five” format. Yet, remarkably, the seemingly lackadaisical Swiss surprised everyone in Barcelona ’92, storming into the medal zone, notably defeating Jim Courier in the third round. It was a stunning 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 victory, raising eyebrows, particularly considering Courier’s recent wins at Rome and the French Open that year.
Asked about Courier’s apparent decline during the match, Rosset acknowledged: “Yeah, I think so. The first set was pretty close, then I won the second. When I broke him to go up 4:0 in the third, he didn’t try hard anymore. He was just trying to get the points over with.” Despite Courier’s mental struggle in the summer of ’92, Rosset’s confidence soared. He went on to win three more matches against formidable opponents, eventually claiming the most coveted Olympic medal.
It was an incredible, patriotic year for Rosset. He clinched his sole major doubles title (French Open) with fellow Swiss player Jakob Hlasek. Together, they propelled Switzerland to their maiden Davis Cup final, where Rosset clinched a dramatic five-set victory over Courier once more. Contrastingly, the conclusion of the 1991 season hadn’t been as fruitful. Rosset hadn’t reached a single ATP final that year, despite having secured two titles as a teenager. Towards the year-end, he suffered swift defeats indoors against average players, despite possessing one of the fastest serves.
Watching Rosset during the ’90s often gave the impression that he viewed tennis as mere entertainment. He interacted with the crowd, relishing applause for his football skills. His primary shots – the serve and forehand – ranked loosely within the top ten of the ’90s. Even when seemingly not putting in maximal effort, these shots helped secure numerous victories. However, his serve was occasionally problematic. Much like Goran Ivanišević, Rosset’s nonchalance often led him to take substantial risks with his second serve. A notable example was during Stuttgart-indoors ’93. Leading 5:4 (40/15) in the third set against Michael Stich, Rosset committed two consecutive double faults while striving for an ace, resulting in a 6-7, 6-3, 5-7 loss. Two years later, Rosset found redemption, upsetting Stich 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 in the Halle final. In a riveting encounter, he saved three match points in the tie-break during the second set. In the third set, he escaped from *4:5 (15/40), saving yet another match point in that game, and a seventh (last) one at *6:7 in the decisive tie-break. It was his lone grass-court event worth mentioning, he lost more matches on that surface than won which is surprising given his powerful serve and a decent volley technique.
Post-1992, Rosset’s peak tennis was witnessed on two occasions, both occurring in Paris (he’s a French native speaker) – firstly at Paris-Bercy ’94, reaching the final on carpet, and then at Roland Garros ’96, advancing to the semifinals. In both events, he defeated several top-ranked players. As his career approached its twilight, Rosset primarily played in Challenger events, an uncommon choice for veterans who had previously graced the biggest tennis arenas. A notable instance was the Challenger held in Prague ’03, where Rosset emerged victorious, securing two consecutive wins with identical scorelines (7-6, 6-7, 7-6).
Trivia: the Swiss tennis player amassed the most consecutive victories of his career as a veteran in 2000, claiming back-to-back titles indoors (Marseille – the first of Roger Federer‘s 157 finals – and London). However, his streak was followed by four successive losses.
Career record: 433–351 [ 350 events ]
Career titles: 15
Highest ranking: No. 9
Best GS results:
Australian Open (quarterfinal 1999)
Roland Garros (semifinal 1996)
World Team Cup champion 1996
Olympic Gold medal (Barcelona ’92)
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