Some people say there is no such thing as coincidence.
That may well be true but i would hate to calculate the odds against this happening…
On Saturday Jelena Ostapenko won the Women’s French Open tennis title. This is one of four world ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments which are the pinnacle of professional tennis matches. To win one is a big thing. It is an even bigger thing if you win one whilst being an unseeded player, that is, one who was not ranked in the top 32 players in the tournament (and in Grand Slams this is usually also the top 32 ranked players in the world). Ostapenko was unseeded.
This is pretty rare but the odds against it are not incalculable.
Not only was she unseeded she had never won a professional title in her career before, this was her first career win as a professional. This makes this event rather more unusual and rare – in fact it is the first time it has happened in the women’s tour in the modern era.
The only similar event happened 20 years ago when Argentinian Gustavo Kuerten did the same thing in the men’s professional tour. First win, French Open – the same tournament as Jelena just won.
The odds of that happening, particularly at the same Grand Slam are getting pretty unimaginable.
But there’s one further remarkable relationship that links these two events that almost denies belief and makes the odds against it happening multiply out of sight.
Gustavo Kuerten won his first ever event – the French Open Grand Slam men’s final on 8 July 1997…..
… the day Jelena Ostapenko was born! She turned 20 years of age 3 days ago.
Update June 13 2017: Just to add an even greater level of coincidence/impossible-to-calculate-the-odds feature to this incident anyone care to guess how old Mr Kuerten was when he won his first grand slam?
Yep! He was 20 – the same age as Jelena.