Thriding

Comparing 2004-2007 with the rest of the Nadal-Federer head-to-head

Looking at the Nadal-Djokovic head to head in two eras (up to 2010 and since 2011) showed some very large changes. Looking at the Nadal-Federer head-to-head in a similar manner (during and since his 2004-2007 peak) shows much less.

2004 to 2007 (15 matches: 9-6)

  • Hard 3-1
  • Grass 0-2
  • Indoor 0-2
  • Clay 6-1

Since 2008 (19 matches: 15-4)

  • Hard 6-1
  • Grass 1-0
  • Indoor 1-2
  • Clay 7-1

What are the differences?

  • On outdoor hard courts there’s just more of the same, except in greater quantity as Nadal reached more hard court finals
  • On clay its pretty much the same
  • Indoor its pretty much the same, with Nadal finally scoring a win over Federer recently. Nadal seemingly avoids indoor tournaments so all five meetings have come at the YEC
  • On grass all we have is the three consecutive Wimbledon finals. Since then both Federer and Nadal’s involvement with Wimbledon has been patchy: 2 more titles for Federer, but then just QF, QF, R64; 1 more title for Nadal, but then F, R64, R128, A

In general, nothing much has changed, but things stand out

  • Hamburg was a tourament where Federer’s weakness to Nadal was less exposed thanks to the low-bouncing court. Nadal’s victory there over Federer in 2008 we can now see was a watershed
  • Federer’s victory over Nadal at the Madrid 2009 clay court tournament is clearly the stand-out result post-2007. Nadal might not like the courts there very much, but he’s still won the tournament twice
  • Nadal’s victory over Federer at last year’s YEC tells us either something about Nadal’s 2013, or Federer’s 2013, or that Federer has now slipped to another stage down from his peak. Right now, its too soon to tell about that last bit for sure. 

 

 

Carving up the Nadal-Djokovic head-to-head

With Djokovic beating Nadal in the Miami Masters final yesterday, the head-to-head of the two players is now 22-18 in Nadal’s favour.

This stat – like most relating to Djokovic – breaks cleanly into two eras: before and after the Davis Cup final at the end of 2010

  • Up to 2010 head to head: 16-7
  • Since 2011 head to head: 6-11

It also varies by surface:

  • Clay: 13-3
  • Grass: 2-1
  • Indoor: 2-3
  • Outdoor hard: 5-11

Head-to-head, divided by both surface and era:

Up to 2010:

  • Clay: 9-0
  • Grass: 2-0
  • Indoor: 2-2
  • Outdoor hard: 3-5

Since 2011:

  • Clay: 4-3
  • Grass: 0-1
  • Indoor: 0-1
  • Outdoor hard: 2-6

Things to notice:

  • In the current era the balance on clay is almost equal – and that makes the fact that Nadal won both of their French Open matches in it note-worthy
  • In the current era Djokovic is highly dominant on outdoor hard courts – and that makes the fact that Nadal won the US Open 2013 final even more note-worthy
  • The momentum is thoroughly heading towards an equal head-to-head: roughly over the next couple of years we might expect Djokovic to win 8 of the next 12 meetings, to balance the head to head at 26-26 – but are we really expecting nothing to change in the next 24 months?!

 

Had I looked at the breakdown of their head-to-head more closely before yesterday’s match then I might have done more than shrug my shoulders and say, I dunno, when asked who was favourite: on an outdoor hard court in a three-set match Djokovic is the clear favourite

It seems fair to expect Nadal and Djokovic to meet a couple of times at the three clay Masters this spring, and that they’ll win one each, taking the clay head-to-head since the start of 2011 to 5-4

If they meet in the RG final in June, what then? Over five sets, has Djokovic forgotten how he won in 2011 and early 2012? Here are their GS meetings since the start of 2011:

  1. Wimbledon 2011: Djokovic
  2. US Open 2011: Djokovic
  3. Australian Open 2012: Djokovic
  4. French Open 2012: Nadal
  5. French Open 2013: Nadal
  6. US Open 2013: Nadal

So right now we have two different patterns on a collision:

  1. On clay the two are almost equal; on hard courts Djokovic is dominant
  2. In five-set matches Nadal wins

Personally I would need to see an utterly dominant display from Djokovic against Nadal in this spring’s ATP1000s before I would even consider picking him to beat Nadal over five sets at Roland Garros.

The ATP Top Ten shorn of their 2013 clay swing points

Here is the top ten as of 31 March 2014, with their 2013 clay swing (start of April to Roland Garros) points removed from their ranking total:

  1. Djokovic 9,900 (+1)
  2. Nadal 8,630 (-1)
  3. Wawrinka 4215 ( – )
  4. Del Potro 4080 (+3)
  5. Federer 3995 (-1)
  6. Berdych 3900 (-1)
  7. Murray 3785 (+1)
  8. Ferrer 2930 (-2)
  9. Raonic 2340 (+1)
  10. Isner 2320 (-1)
  • Federer needs only to outpoint Wawrinka by 220 over the clay swing to take no.3, not that that will have much consequence
  • Del Potro has very few clay points to defend, not that that’s of any use to him
  • If Ferrer outpoints Federer by 1000 in the run up Roland Garros he can be seeded no.4 there
  • Murray also has few clay points to defend, and an 800 point head start on Ferrer
  • Raonic and Isner have more points to defend than you might imagine: Isner won Houston, and Raonic reached the Barcelona 500 semifinal. Throughout the coming months they are fighting over who will be the no.8 seed at Roland Garros and Wimbledon

By end of clay the top ten might look like this

  • 1 and 2 Nadal and Djokovic, with the winner of RG the number one
  • 3 Federer (+1)
  • 4 Wawrinka (-1)
  • 5 Berdych
  • 6 Ferrer
  • 7 Murray (+1)
  • 8 Del Potro (-1)
  • 9 Raonic (+1)
  • 10 Isner (-1)

IF…. Nadal wins 2 of the 3 clay ATP1000s and Djokovic 1 of them, and beats Djokovic in the final of RG he would outpoint Djokovic 4600-3400… which would Djokovic just ahead of him in the rankings. However, he has the Barcelona ATP500 in his schedule and Djokovic doesn’t, so…..

 

The sums for how I came up with the top ten at the start of this:

Djokovic

  • Current points: 11,810
  • Defending 1,910 (720+1000+180+10=1910)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 9,900

Nadal

  • Current points: 13,730
  • Defending 5,100 (2000+1000+1000+600+500=5100)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 8,630

Wawrinka

  • Current points: 5,740
  • Defending 1,525 (360+600+180+45+90+250=1525)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 4215

Del Potro

  • Current points: 4,260
  • Defending 180 (90+90=180)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 4080

Federer

  • Current points: 5,225
  • Defending 1,230 (360+600+180+90=1230)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 3995

Berdych

  • Current points: 4,720
  • Defending 820 (10+360+360+90=820)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 3900

Murray

  • Current points: 3,975
  • Defending 190 (10+180=190)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 3785

Ferrer

  • Current points: 4,640
  • Defending 1,710 (1200+180+180+150=1710)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 2930

Raonic

  • Current points: 2,710
  • Defending 370 (90+45+45+10+180=370)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 2340

Isner

  • Current points: 2,715
  • Defending 395 (90+45+10+250=395)
  • Starts 2014 clay season with 2320

Quick list of Nick Kyrgios’ pro career pre-RG 2013

2012

AO Q1 lost
Australia F1 R32
Japan F3 R16
Japan F4 R16
Slovenia F1 R16
Australia F9 R16
Australia F10 SF
Australia F12 QF

ATP qualies: 0-1
Futures 9-7

2013

Brisbane Q1
AO Q1
West Lakes Challenger SF
Australia F1 QF
Australia F2 R32
Sydney Challenger WON
China F1 SF
China F2 F
China F3 WON

ATP qualies 0-2
Challenger 8-1
Futures 14-4

In total, before his R128 victory over Stepanek at RG yesterday (7-6, 7-6, 7-6) Kyrgios had played only 46 professional matches, with an overall record of 31-15

The first man to win a Grand Slam title in nine consecutive years?

There are four players who have won a GS title in eight consecutive years: Borg, Sampras, Federer and Nadal.

To put this acheivement into context, the next longest run is four years, which Lendl and Wilander both did in the mid-1980s.

This year, Nadal has three opportunities to break this four-way tie and claim the record for his himself by winning a GS in a ninth consecutive year. Having said that, knowing as we do the clear patterns of Nadal’s successes, if he were to follow failure at Roland Garros with success at Wimbledon or the US Open, we would be permitted to feel more than a bit surprised. Realistically, Roland Garros alone represents Nadal’s opportunity to break the record.

1. Borg

  1. 1974 French Open
  2. 1975 French Open
  3. 1976 Wimbledon
  4. 1977 Wimbledon
  5. 1978 French Open, Wimbledon (1)
  6. 1979 French Open, Wimbledon (2)
  7. 1980 French Open, Wimbledon (3)
  8. 1981 French Open

2. Sampras

  1. 1993 Wimbledon, US Open (1)
  2. 1994 Australian Open, Wimbledon (2)
  3. 1995 Wimbledon, US Open (3)
  4. 1996 US Open
  5. 1997 Australian Open, Wimbledon (4)
  6. 1998 Wimbledon
  7. 1999 Wimbledon
  8. 2000 Wimbledon

3. Federer

  1. 2003 Wimbledon
  2. 2004 Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open (1)
  3. 2005 Wimbledon, US Open (2)
  4. 2006 Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open (3)
  5. 2007 Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open (4)
  6. 2008 US Open
  7. 2009 French Open, Wimbledon (5)
  8. 2010 Australian Open

4. Nadal

  1. 2005 French Open
  2. 2006 French Open
  3. 2007 French Open
  4. 2008 French Open, Wimbledon (1)
  5. 2009 Australian Open
  6. 2010 French Open, Wimbledon, US Open (2)
  7. 2011 French Open
  8. 2012 French Open

Why the result of the AO 2013 final (probably) won’t mean anything

General form at the start of 2013

Murray’s run to this final has been more impressive than that to the last US Open final. Although he had a tough match against Federer, he was purposeful throughout; one can’t complain about someone needing five sets to get past someone with Federer’s pedigree. In terms of calmness and focus on court he is looking more like the player who won the gold medal at the Olympics than he did in New York.

Djokovic too is in a better place mentally now than last September. After the French Open final to a degree he went awol, losing semis at both Wimbledon and the Olympics. It was only in the latter stages of the USO that that Djokovic began to re-emerge as the player of 2011-to-early-2012. The autumn saw him consolidate this, and by the YEC he was back to being dominant.

At Djokovic rose to pre-eminence during the autumn, Murray to a slight degree unravelled, but it seems that during the off-season he has regained his focus.

Conditions for this match

As Djokovic’s record here shows, this court is definitely one of his favourites, and there shouldnt be anything in the conditions to bother him. This is Murray’s third final here he too clearly likes it here. He is finding the court to be a touch faster this year and at the moment his winners are going through harder.

Conclusion

I think this match will be closer than people are predicting. The odds are favouring Djokovic roughly 2:1. I feel its more likely to be 5:4 to Djokovic. Thus, unless Murray comprehensively outplays Djokovic, a Murray win should not surprise us – nor should it be taken to mean anything dramatic: Murray edging out Djokovic is within the margin for error. Equally, assuming Murray plays roughly to same level that he did against Federer, his losing to Djokovic won’t mean anything: Djokovic is the dominant player at the moment, and his beating Murray in the close match we expect wouldn’t indicate that Murray has reverted to the player who lost his first nine sets in slam finals.

The most surprising result this match could throw up would be a straight sets victory.

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Dimitrov at the start of 2013

As of the start of 2013, Grigor Dimitrov is ranked 48, which is his highest ever ranking. In August 2011 he was ranked 52, but in March 2012 he momentarily dropped out of the top 100.

Over half of his 866 ranking points come from five 2012 tournaments, each of which earnt him 90 points:

  • R16 at the Miami Masters (March)
  • SF at Queens 250 (June)
  • SF at Bastad 250 (July)
  • SF at Gstaad (July)
  • QF at Basel Indoor 500 (October)

He also won R64 matches at Paris and Shanghai in the latter part of the year. In the Grand Slams, he didn’t get beyond the R64, getting a W-L of 3-4.

A year ago he was losing in the Q2 at the Sydney 250; this week he is making good progress through the draw at Brisbane: he beat Brian Baker 6-3 7-6, then upset the 2nd seed, Raonic, 6-3 6-4 and by beating Melzer 6-3 6-2 reached the SF, where he’ll play Baghdatis.

With his ranking in the top 50 he will not only have the opportunity to defend his Miami points, put pick up more in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome before he reaches the time of year when he’ll be defending the bulk of his existing points. He only has 216 points to defend in the 2013 up to Roland Garros. He also had a poor summer in the US: he lost Q1 in both Cincinnati and Toronto and lost in the first round of the US Open to Benoit Paire.

One of my three wishes for 2013 was that a talented young player like Dimitrov would learn how to win consistently, and become a genuine threat. In the final post-US Open portion of 2012 he beat 4 players ranked above him: Andujar, Troicki, Benneteau and Melzer, and only once lost to a player ranked beneath him, Mathieu, in the Basel QFs. That, combined with the good start he’s making in Brisbane, suggests that, at the age of 21, Dimitrov is finally making the next step up.

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Kyle Edmund in 2012

Kyle Edmund is a seventeen-year-old British player, who has just finished his first year at the senior level, though he has continued to participate in the Junior competitions at the Grand Slam tournaments.

In 2011 he was given WCs to three British Futures tournaments, losing 1R each time, but winning two rounds in the qualifying draw for the Loughborough Challenger. After that he was a key member of the GBR Junior Davis Cup team who were 2011 champions.

Spain

He started the year with four Futures tournaments on Spanish clay:

  • F3 – won two qualifying rounds
  • F4 – received a WC and then beat Trujillo-Soler (487) to earn his first ranking point
  • F5 – won all four qualifying rounds, then lost to Checa-Calvo (660)
  • F6 – won two qualifying rounds but then had to withdraw injured

Great Britain

These tournaments were also on clay:

  • F6 – received a WC and lost to Toby Martin (866)
  • F7 – received a WC and lost to Inzerillo (474)
  • F8 – won two qualifying rounds and then in the main draw beat Manuel Sanchez (688) and had revenge on Inzerillo. In the following round he retired injured after losing the first set 6-1

Grass

  • WC to the Nottingham Challenger and lost to Josh Goodall (227) 6-2 6-3
  • WC into qualifying for Wimbledon, beat Gimeno-Traver (103) 6-2 6-7 6-4, then lost to Felder (227)

With the points from that his ranking was now 913 and has had DA into all but one Futures tournament since

Between Wimbledon and the US Open

  • Great Britain F12 – beat Lewis Burton (698) then lost to Josh Goodall again
  • GBR F13 – lost QF to Dan Cox (481)
  • Canada F6 – lost R16 to Donati (1342) 6-4 6-0 (!)

Autumn Clay

  • Won three qualifying rounds at Spain F32, beat Leonardi (640) then lost R16 to Giorgini (474)
  • USA F29 – beat Andrew Carter, Mathias Bourgue and Luke Bambridge in straight sets, and Mitchell Krueger and Chase Buchanan (467) in three sets to win the title
  • USA F30 – lost QF to Liam Broady
  • USA F31 – again reached final, again faced Chase Buchanan, lost 3-6 7-6 7-5. In the SFs he beat the top seed Florian Reynet (327) 6-1 6-3 

Record

  • At all the various senior levels he played at in 2012 Edmund was 33-15
  • In Futures main draws he was 8-9 before the trio of American tournaments, 11-2 there, making 19-11 in total

When these points filtered through to his ranking (Futures points arrive a week late) he was at no.568. He will turn 18 on January 8th. Theoretically he could play Juniors all next year.

At the Champions Tour Zurich Open he was invited to participate in an 8-player Junior event held concurrently with the Champions Tour competition. In the junior singles event he was champion, topping his RR group and beating Mitchell Krueger 6-3 4-6 10-6 in the final. In the doubles event, each team one senior plus one junior, he and Tim Henman were the champions, beating Leconte/Cagnina 8-6 in the final. En route they also beat Moya/Silva and Philippoussis/Napolitano.

Slow-mo footage on YouTube of him playing a point

Kyle Edmund ITF profile

The ITF’s record of the 2011 Junior Davis Cup finals is proving elusive. Edmund’s individual singles rubbers:

  • RR beat Di Feo (Canada) 6-3 5-7 6-1 
  • RR beat Marterer (Germany) 6-2 5-7 6-2
  • SF beat Favrot (France) 6-1 6-3
  • F beat Quinzi (Italy) 6-3 6-4

In 2012 Junior Grand Slam singles he did not progess beyond QF. Most notably he beat Gianluigi Quinzi in the Roland Garros R16 7-6 1-6 6-4. In all four tournaments he entered the doubles draw aswell: at the US Open he and Portugal’s Frederico Silva won the doubles title.

In doubles at pro level in 2012 he was 3-5 in Futures main draws.

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The reliance of Tsonga’s current ranking on his results in Autumn 2011

In the rankings, Tsonga is comfortably no.7:

  • 6. Berdych 4965
  • 7. Tsonga 4520
  • 8. Del Potro 3850
  • 9. Tipsarevic 3285
  • 10. Isner 2610

In the Year To Date rankings though, qualifying for the YEC in November, Tsonga’s position is more precarious:

  • 7. Berdych 3720
  • 8. Tsonga 2745
  • 9. Tipsarevic 2720
  • 10. Almagro 2415
  • 11. Isner 2250
  • 12=. Gasquet, Monaco 2110

Here are the points that are currently counting towards his ranking, divided into 4 roughly equal portions. We can see that Tsonga’s Autumn Quarter accounts for almost half of his points in his current ranking (he does have other points currently not counted by the Best-of-18 system).

Autumn 2011 – 7 tournaments, 2090 points (46%)

  • YEC (F) 800
  • Paris (F) 600
  • Metz (W) 250
  • Vienna (W) 250
  • Beijing (SF) 180
  • Shanghai (R32) 10

Early spring: up to Miami – 6 tournaments, 700 points (16%)

  • Doha (W) 250
  • Australian (R16) 180
  • Miami (QF) 180
  • Indian Wells (R16) 90

Late Spring: Clay – 5 tournaments, 810 points (18%)

  • Rolang Garros (QF) 360
  • Rome (QF) 180
  • Monte Carlo (QF) 180
  • Madrid (R16) 90

Summer: Grass & US Hard (plus DC) – 6 tournaments, 920 points (20%)

  • Wimbledon (SF) 720
  • US Open (64) 45
  • Canada (R32) 10
  • Davis Cup (-) 145

Non-countable tournaments

  • Olympics (QF) 135
  • Winston-Salem (SF) 90
  • Dubai 500 (QF) 90
  • Marseilles (SF) 90

Previous autumns

  • 2011: 2090
  • 2010: 270
  • 2009: 905
  • 2008: 1950

In 2010 Tsonga was coming back from injury. In 2008 he won the Paris Masters and qualifed for the YEC

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Federer’s Davis Cup contributions compared with his contemporaries

There has been some recent criticism of Federer’s appetite for the Davis Cup competition.

Here is his record in comparison with some other high-quality Davis Cup competitors of recent years.

The criticisms have also related specifically to his “Prime” years, to the comparisons include a versions of him starting in 2003, when he won his first slam. Similarly, there is a version of Nadal from 2005, when he first won the French Open.

  1. Hewitt: 14 years, 32 ties, 66 rubbers: 4.71 rubbers/year
  2. Federer: 14 years, 22 ties, 58 rubbers: 4.14 rubbers/year
  3. Roddick: 12 years, 25 ties, 45 rubbers: 3.75 rubbers/year
  4. Nalbandian: 11 years, 24 ties, 48 rubbers: 4.36 rubbers/year
  5. Berdych: 10 years, 21 ties, 48 rubbers: 4.80 rubbers/year
  6. Stepanek: 10 years, 15 ties, 36 rubbers: 3.60 rubbers/year
  7. (’03-’12 Fed: 10 years, 14 ties, 37 rubbers: 3.70 rubbers/year)
  8. Nadal: 9 years, 14 ties, 27 rubbers: 3 rubbers/year
  9. (’05-’12 Nad: 8 years, 10 ties, 20 rubbers: 2.5 rubbers/year)
  10. Ferrer: 7 years, 15 ties, 25 rubbers: 3.57 rubbers/year

RUBBERS per TIE

  1. Federer  2.76
  2. (’03-’12 Fed 2.64)
  3. Stepanek 2.4
  4. Berdych 2.29
  5. Hewitt 2.06
  6. Nalbandian 2.00
  7. (’05-’12 Nad 2.00)
  8. Nadal 1.93
  9. Roddick 1.80
  10. Ferrer 1.67

Switzerland do not have great depth, nor do their ties see many dead rubbers, so it is not surprising that Federer more often than not has had to play three rubbers in each tie. Spain have rarely needed to call upon Nadal in doubles, hence his average under 2 rubbers per tie.

RUBBERS

  1. Hewitt 66
  2. Federer  58
  3. Berdych 48
  4. Nalbandian 48
  5. Roddick 45
  6. (’03-’12 Fed 37)
  7. Stepanek 36
  8. Nadal 27
  9. Ferrer 25
  10. (’05-’12 Nad 20)

Hewitt has played far more ties than the others in our comparison, and naturally tops this list

RUBBERS per YEAR

  1. Berdych 4.80
  2. Hewitt 4.71
  3. Nalbandian 4.36
  4. Federer  4.14
  5. Roddick 3.75
  6. (’03-’12 Fed 3.70)
  7. Stepanek 3.60
  8. Ferrer 3.57
  9. Nadal 3.00
  10. (’05-’12 Nad 2.50)

Berdych and Hewitt have played for teams that are both highly reliant on them and successful as well. Spain have great depth and so despite going deep into the competition each year they have much less need of Nadal

TIES

  1. Hewitt 32
  2. Roddick 25
  3. Nalbandian 24
  4. Berdych 21
  5. Federer  21
  6. Ferrer 15
  7. Stepanek 15
  8. (’03-’12 Fed 14)
  9. Nadal 14
  10. (’05-’12 Nad 10)

Nadal is the youngest of these players so it is unsurprising he has played the fewest ties.

TIES per YEAR

  1. Hewitt 2.29
  2. Nalbandian 2.18
  3. Ferrer 2.14
  4. Berdych 2.10
  5. Roddick 2.08
  6. Federer  1.57
  7. Nadal 1.56
  8. Stepanek 1.50
  9. (’03-’12 Fed 1.40)
  10. (’05-’12 Nad 1.25)

Of these eight Federer has been playing for the least successful country, which will go some way to explain his place at the bottom of this chart. They have reached just 1 SF & 5 QFs in his 14 years. Nadal’s similarly low score expresses Spain’s lack of need for him in the early part of the competition.

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