Thriding

Month: March, 2014

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.

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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