For Borg, Goolagong-Cawley the US Open ‘final’ proved a major hurdle
How many attempts does it take for a top player to win a major title?
One? Two? Maybe, three.
Andy Murray is probably the best example.
The straight sets defeat he suffered at Novak Djokovic’s hands in the Australian Open final this year marked the fifth instance of the Scot reaching the decisive match at Melbourne Park and coming up short.
Murray’s five final defeats in Melbourne is the most by a player, man or woman — in the Open Era (since 1968) — without winning the title.
The ongoing US Open has two such instances of players making repeated attempts at the title, only to come up short on each occasion.
Her career coincided with Margaret Court and Billie Jean King on the one hand, and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the other.
To her credit Evonne Goolagong-Cawley played 18 major singles finals, winning seven.
Goolagong-Cawley won the Australian Open on four occasions, the Wimbledon twice and the French Open once.
However, she failed to complete her collection.
Despite contesting in as many as four finals in her six trips to New York, in successive years at that, the Australian came up short each time.
Court beat her (7–6, 5–7, 6–2) in the 1973 final while King prevailed in three sets (3–6, 6–3, 7–5) in 1974.
And it was Evert who prevented Goolagong-Cawley from laying her hands at the coveted trophy in both 1975 (5–7, 6–4, 6–2) and 1976 (6–3, 6–0).
For someone who won five straight Wimbledon titles and emerged triumphant on six occasions at Roland Garros, Borg never won the US Open.
Not that he didn’t have a good time in New York. A 40–9 match record, a winning percentage of 82 and four final appearances, suggest otherwise. But Borg failed to make it count when it mattered.
The Swede made it to the decider in 1976, ’78, ’80 and ‘81.
On the first two occasions, he came up against a dogged Jimmy Connors, and in the final two, he ran into an inspired John McEnroe.
Borg’s best chance to win was probably in ’76, one of the three years when the tournament was played on the clay courts of Forest Hills.
But it was not to be, Connors winning 6–4, 3–6, 7–6 (11–9), 6–4.