Sport

THE UNBEATABLES

Streaks ahead — the champions who just keep on winning

Streaks ahead — the champions who just keep on winning
Nelly Korda of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning The Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods on 21 April 2024 in The Woodlands, Texas. (Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

Winning (and unbeaten) streaks in sports are rare and when they come around they add allure to the individual or team sustaining that impressive run.

In recent months, newly crowned German soccer champions Bayer Leverkusen dominated the headlines, going for a record 45 matches unbeaten. Within Europe’s top five leagues, Leverkusen remain the only club yet to taste defeat, in any competition, in the 2023/2024 season.

streak champions leverkusen

Jonas Hofmann of Bayer 04 Leverkusen during the Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund on 21 April 2024 in Dortmund, Germany. ANP. (Photo: ANP via Getty Images)

In South African soccer, Mamelodi Sundowns are closing in on 50 games unbeaten in the DStv Premiership. Masandawana last lost a league game back in September 2022.

navratilova streaks champions

Martina Navratilova of the United States pumps her fist during her Women’s Singles Final match against Steffi Graf at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship on 3 July 1988 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon in London, England. (Photo: Bob Martin / Getty Images)

Martina Navratilova dominated women’s tennis in the 1980s, with her pinnacle in 1984, when she won an astonishing 74 matches, including three of the four majors.

The winning streak that has golf fanatics talking is that of the US’s Nelly Korda, who recently won her fifth tournament in a row — the Chevron Championship at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Texas.

korda

Nelly Korda of the United States plays a shot on the sixth hole during the final round of The Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods on 21 April 2024 in The Woodlands, Texas. (Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

With the victory, the 25-year-old equalled a Ladies Professional Golf Association record which was jointly held by Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2004-2005).

In men’s professional golf, Tiger Woods won five consecutive tournaments in 2007/2008, six in 1999/2000, and seven in 2006/2007. John Nelson holds the overall record though, with 11 consecutive wins in 1945.

Swing in her step

Korda, who is the daughter of former Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda, had a tumultuous couple of years before attaining her present heights.

In addition to suffering from recurring back injuries, in 2022 Korda revealed that she had a blood clot in her right arm that kept her on the sidelines for some time.

Asked if she envisaged the success she is enjoying when she was battling ill health, Korda said, “Back then, no. Because obviously, then I was just more scared for my health. Competing was kind of on the backseat. I was not thinking about competing at all.

korda streak

Nelly Korda of the United States plays a shot from a bunker on the fourth hole during the final round of The Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods on 21 April 2024 in The Woodlands, Texas. (Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

“But all of the sad times and the health scares that I have gone through have made me who I am today. It has matured me a lot, and I would say it’s shaped me into the person I am today. I’m very grateful for the ups and downs.”

scheffler streak champions

Scottie Scheffler of the United States hits his shot from the 16th tee during the continuation of the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on 22 April 2024 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Photo: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images)

Another US golfer on a hot streak is Scottie Scheffler. The 27-year-old won the Masters a fortnight ago and added the RBC Heritage to his haul last week. The Heritage victory took Scheffler’s record this year to four victories in five starts — he finished tied for second at the Houston Open.

Following his latest win, the New Jersey-born golfer took time to pay homage to fellow world No 1 Korda, as well as Woods.

“One of the people here asked me whether this is ‘turning into a competition between you and Nelly’ and I was like, I don’t know, man. If it’s a competition she’s got me pretty beat right now,” Scheffler said.

tiger woods streak

Tiger Woods of the US celebrates after winning the 2019 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on 14 April 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Tannen Maury)

“It’s underrated how difficult it is to do the stuff that Tiger was doing and win like every single week. It takes a lot out of you emotionally and physically, especially major championships.”

Korda has pulled out of the next event in the LPGA roster to rest. She is set to return to action in mid-May at the Cognizant Founders Cup, where she will be seeking to continue her winning streak. DM

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