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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Federer's h2h with top rivals

Below is a selection of Federer's head to head records against several of his past and current rivals.
His opponent's strongest surface is underlined and weakest surface is in bold. Total matches on each surface is in brackets.

Against:
Nadal: 2-11 [13] on clay, 6-5 [11] other surfaces (grass, hard, carpet).
Djokovic: 11-8 [19] on hard, 2-1 [3] on clay.
Murray: 6-8 [14] on hard, 0-0 on clay.
Roddick: 19-2 [21] on grass, hard, and carpet, 1-0 on clay.
Hewitt: 13-6 [19] on hard/carpet, 3-2 [5] on grass. 1-0 on clay
Agassi: 8-3 [11] on hard.
Sampras: 1-0 on grass.
kuerten: 1-1 [2] clay, 0-1 hard.
coria: 2-0 on clay, 1-0 on other surfaces.
henman: 7-6 [13] on carpet, hard, and grass, 0-0 on clay.


Against most of his biggest rivals, Federer has played a strikingly high percentage of matches on his opponent's strongest playing surface. While this might at first glance seem like bad luck, I think it's more reflective of the fact that Federer has had similar success for a very long time on all the playing surfaces. It also suggests that it might be easier to have a positive head to head when your career is relatively short or when you dominate only one surface. If you dominate a particular surface, you can accumulate victories on that surface over good but slightly lesser players. And then on your weaker surfaces, where you fail to progress deep into tournaments with the same consistency, your losses are spread around to many other players, not just those same "good but lesser" players you were beating on your dominant surface. This phenomenon is especially evident in the H2Hs with Nadal, Murry, and Henman. Federer has been unable to balance out the losses to Nadal on clay, Murray on hard, and Henman on fast surfaces, with victories on grass or hard against Nadal, and clay against Murray and Henman. This is because there are few tournaments played on grass and because those players did not consistently progress deep into tournaments in which Federer was waiting.

It's doubtless that Nadal has become Federer's equal or better on grass, but if there were as many tournaments played on grass as on clay, it's likely Federer would have racked up a handful more victories over Nadal - especially between 2004 and 2008 - when Nadal was the 2nd best player in the world.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 06:21 AM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

I still have no idea how he lost to Kuerten. It was very strange.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 06:46 AM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

Yep. Nadal uses this to his advantage. Not with Murray, but definitely with Federer and Djokovic.

If Nadal had performed better on hard courts in 2005-2008 (that is make Grand Slam finals on this surface), his career head to head against Federer would probably be worse.

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 07:10 AM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

Thats one reason why H2Hs and even winning percentage aren't that important relatively speaking. Tournament wins (slams and masters) is ultimately what the game is about.

Assume that I don't know, a singularly great clay court player like Rafa only played on clay and took the rest of the calender year off. His winning percentage would be superior to what it is now, his major h2h against all rivals pretty much perfect and his career likely would go on longer (heck he might actually make up some of the slams that he wouldn't have won by winning the FO a few additional times). However I think you could say that he would be ultimately looked on as a lesser player than what he has instead achieved (by winning wimbledon, the AO and the USO).
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 07:19 AM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

It is what it is.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 02:19 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

where is Nalbandian?
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 02:22 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

Quote:
Originally Posted by StatRacket View Post
Yep. Nadal uses this to his advantage. Not with Murray, but definitely with Federer and Djokovic.

If Nadal had performed better on hard courts in 2005-2008 (that is make Grand Slam finals on this surface), his career head to head against Federer would probably be worse.
Knowing Federer he still would have shit his pants and lost to Nadal on those finals though.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 02:23 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

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Originally Posted by DipSet View Post
It is what it is.
Welcome, love the pink.

Yeah. Head to head scorelines have so many aspects to them. You really need to break it down by surface, year etc. Even after you do that, there's still form and other factors.

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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 02:54 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

Tim Henman has a very reasonable record vs Federer despite the fact that most of the matches Tim won were in the early years of Federer's career. It took a while for young Fed to figure out the best strategy to cope with Tim's superb volleying ability especially on grass and carpet

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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

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Originally Posted by Mario000 View Post
where is Nalbandian?
Nalbandian is an interesting case:

Federer vs. Nalbandian:
6-5 on hard
3-1 on clay
1-2 on carpet
0-0 on grass

But the real story is:
1-5 before 2004
9-3 after 2004

Both players are adept on every surface. The H2H progression suggests that Nalbandian developed faster and/or was the better player early on. Then between 2003 and 2004, Federer caught and surpassed him. The players themselves have talked about this progression.
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 07:36 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

Interesting.

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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 07:56 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

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Originally Posted by StatRacket View Post
Yep. Nadal uses this to his advantage. Not with Murray, but definitely with Federer and Djokovic.

If Nadal had performed better on hard courts in 2005-2008 (that is make Grand Slam finals on this surface), his career head to head against Federer would probably be worse.
that's wrong.......if fed was so great on non clay, why din't he put up something like 10-1 or 9-2 against rafa on hardcourts and grass?
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 07:58 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

Sampras was definitely a top rival of Federer
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 08:02 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

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Originally Posted by Start da Game View Post
that's wrong.......if fed was so great on non clay, why din't he put up something like 10-1 or 9-2 against rafa on hardcourts and grass?
It's quite easy. Because Rafa often didn't reached finals where he could meet Roger. There is only a chance for Roger and Rafa to play once a year on grass so there was not really a chance to improve the h2h that much

It has been discussed so many times already on MTF but for some people the h2h seems to be more important as the titles of a player. According to the logic of some people on this forum Roger would be a better player if he would have lost early in clay tournaments and therefore had a balanced or positive h2h against Rafa.
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 08:05 PM
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Re: Federer's h2h with top rivals

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It's quite easy. Because Rafa often didn't reached finals where he could meet Roger. There is only a chance for Roger and Rafa to play once a year on grass so there was not really a chance to improve the h2h that much

It has been discussed so many times already on MTF but for some people the h2h seems to be more important as the titles of a player. According to the logic of some people on this forum Roger would be a better player if he would have lost early in clay tournaments and therefore had a balanced or positive h2h against Rafa.
It's as obvious as can be, and that H2H is only considered important to those who've ran out of other arguments.

According to this logic, Jan Siemerink is absolutely in the running for GOAT!
He's got a positive H2H against Federer, after all.

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