The 'Lot Of Ifs' That Fuelled Winogradsky's Stunning Upset Of Edberg
Frenchman recorded biggest victory of his career in second round
With just two tour-level victories to his name and no wins against Top 100 opposition, French wild card Eric Winogradsky entered Roland Garros in 1987 under the radar.
But, after his win against World No. 77 Marcel Freeman in the first round, the 21-year-old made headlines around the world with a 7-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory against two-time reigning Australian Open champion and World No. 3 Stefan Edberg.
With four trophies to his name already that year and a comfortable victory in his opening match against Mike Leach, Edberg was attempting to avoid back-to-back second-round losses in Paris after a five-set loss to eventual runner-up Mikael Pernfors in 1986.
The 1985 quarter-finalist charged to a 4-1 advantage in the first set, but Winogradsky proved relentless with his attacking brand of serve-and-volley tennis to find his way back into the set and force a tie-break.
"I was up, 4-1, in the first and then I let him back in the match," said Edberg. "I just couldn't get his serve into play all day. I felt the whole time like I was in trouble because I just couldn't handle his serve."
After claiming the tie-break, Winogradsky reached 4-4 in the second set before rain interrupted play. Wet conditions were on the Frenchman’s wish list heading into the match.
"I went out thinking that I had a small chance to win if it rained, and if the balls got heavy, and if I played very well, and if he didn't play very well," Winogradsky said. "Notice there were a lot of ifs."
After taking the second set in another tie-break, Winogradsky broke serve late in the third set to claim a memorable victory in front of his home crowd. It would be the 21-year-old’s lone third-round appearance at a Grand Slam singles event and his only win against a Top 20 player.
"He never seemed to get tight," said Edberg. "He just kept hitting good shots. I never had an opening.”
Winogradsky, who fell to Karel Novacek in the next round, will also be remembered at Roland Garros for his runner-up finish alongside Mansour Behrami in the 1989 doubles event. The Frenchman also coached Jo-Wilfried Tsonga from 2004 to 2011.