Sébastien Grosjean

Born: May 29, 1978 in Marseille (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
Height: 1.75 m
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
The best junior in singles & doubles of 1996; the first to achieve such a feat since 1987 (Jason Stoltenberg). Looking at Grosjean’s posture, it was quite obvious that he wouldn’t replicate his junior successes as a professional… A very characteristic player – always with the visor of his baseball caps worn backwards, and quite often the collar of his oversized polo shirt upwards.
Tennis-wise, Grosjean’s trademark was his forehand – with absolutely amazing acceleration. Despite his modest height, the serve wasn’t one of Grosjean’s weak strokes; actually, he was the first man below 180 cm to regularly deliver first serves over 200 kph, and the serve certainly helped him to get very good results on grass-courts (back-to-back Queens Club finals lost to Andy Roddick included).
He came to prominence at Key Biscayne ’99; en route to the final, he defeated, among others, Gustavo Kuerten and a fresh no. 1 in the world Carlos Moyá, withstanding three match points in the deciding tie-break (in the future the Spaniard would defeat Grosjean twice facing match points). He fell in love in Florida’s weather so much that in the aftermath of his great result he moved to live there, with his wife and daughter (Grosjean was the youngest father among players born in the 70s.)
Regarding his four major semifinals on three different surfaces (he was close to reach the fifth one), his only four titles are staggering. Only one point separated Grosjean from reaching a major final as he lost the Aussie Open semifinal to his best friend on the tour, Arnaud Clément. It was the first of Grosjean’s four defeats in Melbourne despite leading 2-0 in sets. A few months later he played another big semifinal, in front of the home crowd after a stunning victory over Andre Agassi, arguably Grosjean’s most memorable “best of five” performance.
The Frenchman managed to claim one significant title, and it happened in very specific circumstances. Every year, Paris-Bercy is a tournament in which there’s a group of players fighting for the last place(s) in the “Masters” (ATP World Tour Finals). The majority of them have only theoretical chances; in 2001, it was Grosjean’s case – he needed to win the trophy to qualify, which was highly unlikely when the event kicked off because he had won just one small ATP event before. The Frenchman took advantage of a very beneficial draw to advance to the semifinal, where he faced Tommy Haas, who seemed to be certain of his participation in the season-ending championship because all he needed was to avoid a situation where Grosjean was the champion. So basically, an in-form Haas had the destiny in his own hands… he lost, but Grosjean still needed one more victory. In the final, he defeated Yevgeny Kafelnikov in four sets, preventing the Russian from claiming at least one Masters 1K title. The end of the year was awesome; following Paris, Grosjean reached the Masters final, then was a member of the French team which won the Davis Cup (losing both final rubbers though). Nonetheless he contributed to the French success because in the first round against Belgium, he came back from a two-sets-to-love deficit against Olivier Rochus. Agassi said about the Frenchman when they both were still active: “A phenomenally talented player who is one of the best shot-makers in the game, one of the fastest in the game”. Remembering his career after the retirement, Grosjean stated: “I wish I could have won one of the Grand Slams. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage. I put a lot of effort into this each time, yet there are better players, people who play better than I do. So no, no regrets. Had people told me I would be in the top 5 at the beginning of my career I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Career record: 341–247 [ 240 events ]
Career titles: 4
Highest ranking: No. 4
Best GS results:
Australian Open (semifinal 2001; quarterfinal 2003-04, 06)
Roland Garros (semifinal 2001; quarterfinal ’02)
Wimbledon (semifinal 2003-04; quarterfinal ’05)
Davis Cup champion 2001
Masters runner-up 2001
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1 Response to Sébastien Grosjean

  1. Voo de Mar says:
    Activity: 1997 – 2010

    Five-setters: 15–15 (50%)
    Tie-breaks: 139–104 (57%)
    Deciding 3rd set TB: 9-15 (38%)

    MP matches: 8-11
    Defeats by retirement: 9
    Walkovers given: 1

    Longest victory: Aussie Open ’07 (2R)… Oliver Rochus 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4… 4 hours 2 minutes
    Longest defeat: Aussie Open ’06 (QF)… Nicolas Kiefer 3-6, 6-0, 4-6, 7-6, 6-8… 4 hours 48 minutes

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