TENNIS – A statistical analysis of Nadal’s and Djokovic’s performance in Majors shows that they win with a higher percentage than in any other tournament. The difficult start of 2015 for both could be very misleading. Stefano Bolotta, translated by Yelena Apebe
What do we have to think about Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the eve of the Australian Open 2015? They were defeated by Michael Berrer and Ivo Karlovic in Doha (also their performances in Dubai were not so good) and this could represent a “warning” for them. Probably they were not at the best of their form.
In Rafa Nadal’s case it could well be a “warning” as he has been seeking for his best form since the end of last year, hampered by physical issues.
Speaking about Novak Djokovic that only a couple of weeks ago, seemed invincible, the story is different.
Both of them are great champions of this sport and, as true champions, they are able to increase their level when they need to, like they do in Grand Slam tournaments, where they are proud of their great results.
Rafa won 14 Titles ( + 6 finals), Nole hold 7 Titles ( + 7 finals). It is a fact that they win more matches during major events than any other Master 1000, ATP500 and ATP250 tournaments.
ATP statistics analysis – Novak Djokovic played 747 matches, 606 wins and 141 defeats. The win percentage is 0,811 and if we only consider the matches of Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Us Open, this percentage goes up to 0,845. In the Master 1000 events, it goes down to 0,803, whereas in ATP500/250 it is 0,792.
The numbers tell the same story for Nadal. In his long and brilliant career, the champion of Manacor won 706 matches and was defeated 141 times (the same number of Novak Djokovic). His win percentage is 0, 834. In the Master 1000 events, the number is more or less the same 0,836, but in Slam events the percentage is awesome: 0,882. In minor events it goes down to 0,795.
What does it mean? The answer is very simple. These champions pull all their eggs in the basket called “Majors” where they up their level of tennis. In a best of 5 sets match they become unbeatable for most players (say Karlovic or Berrer) that may have a chance of surprising them in a best of 3 sets match. Some time ago Rino Tommasi described the difference between playing tennis at “best of 5” or “best of 3” saying that they are completely “two different sports”.
This is why we don’t have to judge in a negative way their performances on the eve of AO 2015. Everything is different in Slam events, and the last year confirms this: the Fab Four supremacy, partially interrupted last year, could be another important consideration. In big events nothing happens by chance.
To complete this analysis we can’t forget Roger Federer, the Swiss legend. He started the new season in the best way possible, he picked up his 1000th career match win in Brisbane, lifting the trophy. His numbers are unbelievable: 0,815 in his entire career (1000 wins-227 defeats), but in Slam events this percentage goes up to 0,862, where he shouted out “C’mon” 279 times.
Andy Murray, instead, is still stuck at 0,716, if we consider all the competitions, but it goes up to 0,802 in major events.
We could also analyze some numbers of the champions of the past. Pete Sampras won 14 Major titles and he had a win percentage between 0,774 and 0,842 in Slam events. Andre Agassi has a lower win percentage, between 0,760 and 0,809.
Other champions were more stable. Ivan Lendl, the winner of 8 Slam, hold his record of 1071 matches won (better than him only Jimmy Connors). He lost 239 matches, the percentage is 0,818 and in Slam events it is more or less the same, 0,819.
We don’t want to be boring, but we have to say that in Melbourne every player will have to deal with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. It’s not just a feeling, it’s also a statistical fact.
Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon
For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.
Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.
The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.
The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.
It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.
The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.
The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.
The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.
For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.
Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.
‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open
Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.
World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.
The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.
Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.
“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.
A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.
O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.
“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”
Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.
“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”
French Player Tests Positive For COVID-19 Hours After Australian Open Defeat
The world No.40 was preparing to leave the country.
Ugo Humbert is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 following his first round loss at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
Humbert, who was the 29th seed in the men’s draw, is understood to have produced a positive result during a routine procedure players have to conduct before they leave the country. It is unclear as to if he is currently suffering from any symptoms.
Humbert crashed out of the tournament to compatriot Richard Gasquet, who won their match 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6 (3), 6-3, in three hours and 18 minutes. Gasquet also tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Australia earlier this month but was given the all clear to play at Melbourne Park following a negative test. There was a 15-day period between the 35-year-old announcing on Twitter he had the virus and his first match against Humbert.
“I was tested positive on my exit test yesterday and I’ll stay one more week in isolation in Australia,” Humbert wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks for your support and see you soon.”
The 23-year-old has started his season by winning one out of four matches played. Prior to the Australian Open, he scored one of the biggest wins of his career by defeating Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup in the group stages. However, following that victory he suffered losses to Alex de Minaur and Matteo Berrettini.
Tennis Australia is yet to comment on Humbert’s positive test.
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