All the numbers on grass in the Open Era. Who won the most matches in a row? Which nation won most tournaments? How many qualifiers lifted a trophy? - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

All the numbers on grass in the Open Era. Who won the most matches in a row? Which nation won most tournaments? How many qualifiers lifted a trophy?

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Roger Federer - Wimbledon 2021 (via Twitter, @Wimbledon)

This is an analysis of 432 tournaments played from ‘68 until today. Federer is the best by percentage and number of victories, Delbonis the worst: 0-12.

by Nicola Gillio, translated by Carla Montaruli

Analysing the men’s results from the men’s side of tournaments on grass from the beginning of the Era Open (1968) until today, 432 is the number obtained that represents the tournaments played, including Halle and Queen’s played last week. For the first two years, the tournaments Open (not just on grass) were few, 17 in 1968 and 30 in 1969. This statistic will take into account all tournaments in those two years following the official ATP Tour position.

All these tournaments took place in only 10 nations around the world, England is leading with 184 tournaments followed by Australia with 80, then the United States with 70, and Germany with 38. Closing the top 5 the Netherlands close the top 5 with 10 tournaments and New Zealand with 10.

Roger Federer’s records on the grass

Roger Federer is the player who won the most matches on grass, has the highest percentage of matches won out of those played, and has the longest streak of wins. He won the most Wimbledon (8) titles and the most tournaments. Considering these numbers, there is no doubt that to date the Swiss was the best player on grass in the Open Era.

First things first, let’s break down the several statistics in more detail. At least 184 tennis players won one tournament on grass, of these 105 won one, 32 won two, 15 won three, and 32 players won at least 4 (as well as the Italian Matteo Berrettini).

This is the comprehensive list of the players who have at least four titles on grass:

1Federer, Roger (SUI)19
2Sampras, Pete (USA)10
3Connors, Jimmy (USA)9
4Laver, Rod (AUS)9
5Djokovic, Novak (SRB)8
6Hewitt, Lleyton (AUS)8
7Mcenroe, John (USA)8
8Metreveli, Alex (RUS)8
9Murray, Andy (GBR)8
10Rosewall, Ken (AUS)8
11Smith, Stan (USA)8
12Amritraj, Vijay (IND)7
13Ashe, Arthur (USA)7
14Becker, Boris (GER)7
15Borg, Bjorn (SWE)7
16Newcombe, John (AUS)7
17Roche, Tony (AUS)7
18Edmondson, Mark (AUS)6
19Edberg, Stefan (SWE)5
20Graebner, Clark (USA)5
21Kriek, Johan (RSA)5
22Roddick, Andy (USA)5
23Rusedski, Greg (GBR)5
24Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)4
25Isner, John (USA)4
26Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)4
27Mahut, Nicolas (FRA)4
28Nadal, Rafael (ESP)4
29Okker, Tom (NED)4
30Rafter, Patrick (AUS)4
31Ruffels, Ray (AUS)4
32Stich, Michael (GER)4

In this ranking, Federer towers over all the others with 19 tournaments (8 Wimbledon, 10 Halle, and 1 Stuttgart Open).  Sampras follows with 10 (7 Wimbledon, 2 Queen’s e 1 Manchester Open), then Connors with 9 (3 Queen’s, 2 Wimbledon, 1 Australian Open, 1 US Open, 1 Manchester Open, and 1 Birmingham Open) and Laver with 9 as well (2 Wimbledon, 1 Australian Open, 1 US Open, 1 Sydney Open, 1 Boston Open, 1 Queen’s, 1 Baltimore Open, and 1 South Orange Open).

Percentage of victories on grass.

If we look at the statistics of best percentage (at least 30 matches played), only 24 players manage to have a result of 75% or more and only 4 are still active players (Djokovic, Berrettini, Murray e Nadal):

Federer leads also the ranking for most wins (192), below are considered all players with “at least” 100 matches won on grass.

Let’s move on to rankings that consider how many placements from the quarterfinals onward have been achieved; the first place is always occupied by Roger Federer with 40, followed by Newcombe with 35 and Connors with 34.

The United States and Australia are the most prolific nations

If we analyse the same statistics considering the nations (68 are the ones to have had at least one tennis player place from the quarterfinals onward). The United States and Australia on grass have obtained results significantly higher than all other nations, partly thanks to their larger number of players involved.

It is worth noting that the sum of the placings of the first three nations (1737) is greater than the sum of the remaining 65 (1689).

Winning streaks and other curiosities

Also of interest are the longest Open Era winning streaks on grass:

  • 65, Federer from Halle 2003 to Wimbledon 2008 when he lost to Nadal in the famous final
  • 41, Borg from Wimbledon 1976 to Wimbledon 1981. It was J. McEnroe who ended his dominion, defeating him in the final
  • 28, Novak Djokovic from Wimbledon 2018 to date, still running

Other Interesting facts:

  • Until 1974, three of the four Grand Slams were played on grass (Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the US Open at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York)
  • In the Open Era, 6 of the 432 tournaments played were not concluded due to adverse weather conditions (Queen’s 1968, Adelaide 1970, Bristol and Eastbourne 1971, Nottingham 1976 and 1977)
  • The player who has lost the most matches on grass without winning any (0-12) is Argentine left-hander Federico Delbonis, followed by Russian Sergei Likhachev with 0-10; however, if we consider the players who have won only 1 match and have the most losses, tied with 1-13 are Australian Carl Limberger, German Bjorn Phau, and Ecuadorean Eduardo Zuleta.
  • A tournament has been won by a qualified player only on 6 occasions. In 1985 in Adelaide (E. Edwards RSA), 1991 Manchester (G. Ivanisevic CRO), in 1996 Halle (N. Kulti SWE), in 2009 S’Hertogenbosch (Benjamin Becker GER, not the famous Boris), and in 2013 and 2015 also in S’Hertogenbosch (Nicolas Mahut FRA). On the other hand, only once did it happen that a lucky loser won a tournament on grass, in 2009 in Newport the American tennis player Rajeev Ram, No. 181 in the world.

Grand Slam

Australian Open Considering Switching Women’s Final To Sunday In Future

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The Australian Open could become the first Grand Slam to break away from the tradition of women playing their singles final first. 

According to a report from the Australian Associated Press, tournament chief Craig Tiley is open to making such a move which wouldn’t require any approval from either the WTA or ATP. However, they would likely need to consult with players first and no changes are set to be made in 2025. 

The reasoning for making such a change is due to the women’s final usually being shorter than the men’s best with it being a best-of-three set match. Compared to the men who play the best-of-five. Their thinking is that due to the length of men’s matches increasing in recent years, staging it on a Saturday would enable more people to watch the entire match compred to a Sunday when many are consious about staying up late due to the working week starting on Monday. 

This year’s Australian Open saw Jannik Sinner bounce back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a epic encounter that lasted three hours and 46 minuites. Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka required an hour and 17 mnuites to beat China’s Qinwen Zheng and capture the title. 

Should such a switch take place, it is estimated that the Sunday finale would end at around 10:30pm local time instead of after midnight, which would make it more appealing to fans. Furthermore, it could throw the women’s final more into the spotlight. 

However, there will be obstacles that need to be addressed. The most significant for the Australian Open will be trying to ensure that their 48-hour recovery period between best-of-five-set men’s matches will still be followed. 

This year was the first time in history that the Melbourne major took place over 15 days with play starting on a Sunday. Organisers claimed that the move was done in order to prevent the number of late-night finishes. However, it has little effect on any matches that took place after the first round. 

It is throught that now the event is held over 15 days, it gives more room for organisers to schedule the men’s final for a Saturday. The proposal was discussed during this year’s Australian Open’s official debrief. 

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Grand Slam

It Wasn’t The Same Old Story On Sunday Down Under

Jannik Sinner won his first Grand Slam title on Sunday.

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(@janniksin - Twitter)

It’s been the same old story at the Australian Open for a long time in the men’s game.

One of the greats almost always would take the top prize Down Under. Either Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer or even Stan Wawrinka always prevailed since 2006 at Melbourne.

And then came Jannik Sinner in 2024.

None of the other superstars were still around for Sunday’s final.

A DIFFERENT AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Yes, this time it was a different Australian Open.

But actually Sinner may have written his own story when he upended Djokovic in the semifinals. Without that experience, the slender Italian may not have been able to handle the pressure that Daniil Medvedev sent his way in the final.

Sinner was ready for the finish line after shocking Djokovic in the semifinals. It just took time to get there.

Sinner played within himself most of the last three sets of the final. A first-time Grand Slam finalist, Sinner played as if he belonged there in those three sets.

But, oh, those first two sets when Medvedev dominated play with his backhand from the middle of the court. Backhands usually are reserved for the backhand side of the court, but not with the tall Russian on the court.

SINNER DIDN’T PLAY HIS GAME AT FIRST

In a similar manner as women’s champion Aryna Sabalenka, Sinner followed up a big semifinal win with his own Australian Open title. Only, Sinner had to fight for five sets to accomplish his dream Down Under with a 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Medvedev.

Sinner appeared to play far differently from his victory over Djokovic when he controlled the court with his aggressive play and power.

This time, Sinner started things conservatively with few aggressive winners, repeatedly leaving the corners wide open for Medvedev’s crafty, but hard hit strokes. Medvedev made Sinner  pay a price with a style of play that was just the opposite.

Medvedev played close to the baseline and aggressively hopped on balls with his backhand in whip-lash fashion. He hardly had to move as he conserved energy.

THE STRATEGY ALMOST WORKED TO PERFECTION

Medvedev’s strategy worked like a charm until Sinner served the ninth game of the third set as Medvedev once needed only six points for a possible Grand Slam title. Sinner managed to overcome a deuce score to win that game.

Medvedev fell behind 30-0 serving the 10th game of the set and then Sinner got his first set point. Sinner made it stand up and it was a new game after that.

Sinner didn’t appear to be ready for Medvedev’s game the first two sets, but the Italian then came alive. He became prepared for Medvedev, even after losing the first two sets.

Of course, Sabalenka got her boost from a surprising, but solid win over talented Coco Graff in the women’s semifinals. Sabalenka then was never really challenged by Qinwen Zheng in the final.

Sinner’s final was much different.  He was somewhat lucky to escape with  a win.

Medvedev almost wrapped up the title in the ninth game, but it didn’t happen. As a result, Sinner may have started his own success story in Grand Slam finals.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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Australian Open Daily Preview: Daniil Medvedev Plays Jannik Sinner for the Men’s Singles Championship

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Daniil Medvedev during Friday’s semifinals (twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

The men’s singles and women’s doubles championship matches are on Sunday in Melbourne.

Across the last 10 hard court Majors, Daniil Medvedev has now advanced to six championship matches, half of which have come in Melbourne.  In those finals, Medvedev is a meek 1-4.  However, this is the first time Medvedev is looking across the net at a man not named Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, the two winningest male singles players of all-time at Grand Slam events.

And Medvedev can thank Jannik Sinner for that, who for the third time in their last four meetings, defeated Djokovic in Friday’s semifinals to reach his first Major final.  Since adding Darren Cahill to his team 18 months ago, one of tennis’s best coaches of all-time, Sinner’s game has continually and significantly improved, most evident in his three victories over Djokovic since November.  On Sunday, the most dominant male player of this fortnight looks to break more new ground in his young career.

Earlier on Sunday, in the women’s doubles championship match, it’s Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko (11) vs. Su-Wei Hsieh and Elise Mertens (2).  This is a first Major final for Kichenok, and a first in doubles for Ostapenko.  Su-Wei has won seven Majors in doubles, including her first mixed title earlier this week, and is 7-1 at this stage of Majors.  Mertens has won three Majors in women’s doubles, including Wimbledon in 2021 alongside Su-Wei.


Jannik Sinner (4) vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Not Before 7:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Through six rounds, Sinner has dropped just one of 19 sets, which came against Djokovic in the semis.  But even that match was a rather comfortable win for the Italian, who lost only six games in the three sets he claimed.  Jannik has not just been the best ATP player this fortnight: he’s been the best ATP player since the last Major, with a record of 26-2.  The 22-year-old is 10-4 in ATP finals, with this of course being by far the biggest of his career to date.

Medvedev endured a much more complicated path to this final, completing 25 out of a possible 30 sets, which included three five-setters.  Two of those came in the last two rounds, against Hubert Hurkacz and Sascha Zverev.  Daniil has spent six more hours on court than Jannik, and has played for over 11 hours during the second week alone.  He is 20-16 in ATP Finals, with all 20 titles coming at different events.  But Medvedev can be rather streaky in finals: after losing five in a row, he won seven of eight, yet has now lost his last three.

And those last two losses came at the hands of Sinner, who beat him in both Beijing and Vienna.  Jannik also defeated Daniil in the semifinals of the ATP Finals in November, though all three of those recent matches were tight.  Prior to that, Medvedev had dominated their head-to-head 6-0, which includes two finals earlier in 2023.  All ten of their meetings have taken place on hard courts, and this is their first at a Major.

Based on their recent history, as well as their individual form this fortnight, I favor Sinner to win his first Major on Sunday.  While he’ll surely be nervous in the biggest match of his life, and could experience an emotional letdown coming off ending Novak’s undefeated record of 20-0 in Australian Open semis and finals, Jannik will be the much fresher player on this day.  Plus, he will feel confident after those three recent wins over Daniil, who has a lot of scar tissue to overcome in Major finals.  And after facing Medvedev so much within the past year, Sinner is well-versed on how to take advantage of Daniil’s deep return position.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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