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Federer Is The Tie-break Titan

  • Posted: Sep 12, 2018

Federer Is The Tie-break Titan

The FedEx ATP Performance Zone shows Federer’s prowess at 6-6

Roger Federer has long been the most dominant tie-break competitor on the ATP World Tour. No other player in the history of tennis has won a higher rate of tie-breaks (65.1 per cent) or a greater number of tie-breaks (432), according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.

But it takes a little bit of digging to learn just how impressive that is. For instance, this year’s Wimbledon and US Open champion, Novak Djokovic, ranks second among active players by winning 63.3 per cent of tie-breaks in his career. To pass Federer, the Serbian would need to win his next 19 tie-breaks without losing one, and have Federer stand still on the leaderboard. Not so easy. 

Best Career Tie-break Win-Rates All-Time

 Player  Career Tie-break Win-Rate  Career Tie-break Record
 1. Roger Federer  65.1%  432-232
 2. Arthur Ashe  64.9%  159-86
 3. Novak Djokovic  63.3%  229-133
 4. Andres Gomez  63.2%  182-106
 5. Pete Sampras  62.8%  328-194

Federer’s dominance in tie-breaks also extends to championship matches, where the level of competition is the toughest.

“The tie-breaks are huge, especially in big-time moments like Grand Slam finals or finals in general,” Federer said at the US Open. “That’s where you really, really want to win the breakers.”

In finals at Grand Slams, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and the Nitto ATP Finals, Federer has won 40 of 65 tie-breaks, a 61.5 per cent win rate. Only 10 players other than Federer have been that successful in championship match tie-breaks at all tour-level events, forget while having a ‘Big Title’ on the line.

He has been especially effective in Grand Slam finals, triumphing in a jaw-dropping 70 per cent of his tie-breaks in those moments. Federer thought deeply in Flushing Meadows about what it takes to thrive at 6-6 in a set.

“If you have a good serve, that’s always helpful,” Federer said. “You want to play patiently aggressive, I would think. You don’t want to go for broke, don’t want to do crazy things. But it does sometimes pay off as well. You have to balance it right.”

The two active players directly behind Federer in number of tie-breaks won are arguably two of the biggest servers of all time in John Isner (387-244, 61.3%) and Ivo Karlovic (377-378, 49.9%).

Most Career Tie-break Wins All-Time

 Player  Tie-breaks Won
 1. Roger Federer  432-232
 2. John Isner  387-244
 3. Ivo Karlovic  377-378
 4. Pete Sampras  328-194
 5. Andy Roddick  303-185

Those are the only two players in history whose tie-break victory total comes within 100 of Federer’s. And while Federer has split eight tie-breaks in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Isner, the 37-year-old Swiss has won 15 of 18 against Karlovic. Part of his success at a set’s end has come from his mindset heading into the finale.

“I think it really depends on how the set has gone. Do you play better as the set goes forward? Or, sometimes, you also have the feeling that you go in a breaker and you’re just like, ‘It’s just not happening, I’m not feeling the serve, the return’s not happening, the play is going his way,’” Federer said. “I think when you go in with a negative mindset into a breaker, very often you also either start poorly and then you lose it anyway, or you actually start well, and you’re like, ‘I probably shouldn’t be in the lead’, and then you end up losing it. So I think a very positive mindset is good.”

Now, you might ask, didn’t Federer lose two tie-breaks en route to a fourth-round defeat against John Millman at the US Open? Yes, but that appears to be an exception, not a norm. In fact, Federer has lost two set tie-breaks in the same match just 23 times in his career. However, the Swiss has earned two or more tie-break victories in the same match 53 times.

So while it doesn’t always work out for the World No. 2 in every tie-break, it’s safe to assign ‘The Swiss Maestro’ an additional nickname: ‘The Tie-break Titan’.

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Del Potro Shows He's The Ultimate Game Closer In Tennis

  • Posted: Sep 12, 2018

Del Potro Shows He’s The Ultimate Game Closer In Tennis

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers investigates how well the Top 10 close the door when given the opportunity

Is tennis really a race to 40?

Consider the following metrics at the elite level of our sport. If a Top 10 player is the first to reach the point score of 40 when serving or receiving – no matter how many points the opponent has – they are on average favoured to win the game.

You May Also Like: How Isner & Top 20 Stars Perform When Games Go To Deuce

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the current Top 10 from the start of the 2015 season to this week identifies that being first to 40 is almost a lock to hold when serving, and makes the returner a statistical favourite when returning.

The only exception to that rule was John Isner and Kevin Anderson returning with the point score at 30/40. For all other Top 10 players, they were the favourite when returning if they got to 40 first whether serving or receiving.

Current Top 10: Percentage Chance of Winning The Game Being First to 40
(Leader in each point score in Bold)










Rafael Nadal








Roger Federer








Novak Djokovic








Juan Martin del Potro








Alexander Zverev








Marin Cilic








Grigor Dimitrov








Dominic Thiem








Kevin Anderson








John Isner














*Top 10 player is returning

What’s fascinating is that Juan Martin del Potro was the peak performer (tied with Marin Cilic) holding serve at 40/0, at 99.8 per cent, and was also the leader breaking serve from 0/40 when returning, at 87.6 per cent.

John Isner led the Top 10 holding from 40/15 (98.1 per cent) and 40/30 (93.7 per cent), while Rafael Nadal led the way breaking from 15/40 (81 per cent) and 30/40 (66.6 per cent).

Read More: How Quickly Federer, The Top 10 Race Through Their Service Games

The data also presents an interesting proposition to consider…

You play a practice set where you always start at 40/30 on your own service games, and your opponent must always start serving in a 0/40 hole in their service games. Statistically, which one is better for you?

It turns out that serving at 40/30 for the Top 10 is far superior, as they average holding 93.7 per cent of the time, while breaking 78.1 per cent of the time when returning at 0/40.

Getting to the point score of 40 gets you to within one point of winning the game. Now we have some percentages at the elite level of our sport to know exactly how close they really are to taking the next step and winning it.

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Coupe Banke Nationale: Naomi Broady loses in straight sets to second seed Petra Martic

  • Posted: Sep 12, 2018

British number four Naomi Broady lost in straight sets to second seed Petra Martic in the first round of the Coupe Banke Nationale in Quebec City.

Broady was beaten 6-1 6-1 in 55 minutes by the Croatian world number 38 at the indoor hardcourt event in Canada.

World number 161 Broady won the first game of the match, but then lost the next 11.

In April, Broady won her first WTA title with victory in the doubles at the Monterrey Open in Mexico.

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An Immediate Connection: Mike Bryan & Jack Sock

  • Posted: Sep 12, 2018

An Immediate Connection: Mike Bryan & Jack Sock

In five tournaments together, Mike Bryan and Jack Sock have picked up two Grand Slam titles

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan were close to becoming the world’s best team once again in May, but Bob Bryan’s hip was causing him too much pain to ignore. With 116 tour-level team titles – including 16 majors and 38 ATP World Tour Masters 1000s – in tandem with his brother, Mike Bryan, one half of the most successful team in history had no other option but to look for another doubles partner.

Sam Querrey came on board for Roland Garros, Mike’s eighth different doubles partner – also David Rikl, Michael Hill, Mark Knowles, Mahesh Bhupathi, Mardy Fish and Steve Johnson – other than a blood relative since 2002.

Could Mike add to the two ATP World Tour crowns in 2002 without his sibling – at Nottingham (w/Knowles) and Long Island (w/Bhupathi)? It wasn’t to be, as Mike and Querrey made a first-round exit in Paris (l. to the Skupski brothers). Mike also played with Frances Tiafoe (Atlanta) and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Washington, D.C.), but at the Fever-Tree Championships in London he found a connection with Jack Sock, who can rip apart any team’s defence with his laser-like power forehand.

Sock, 25, had already won three other titles in 2018 with as many partners – the Delray Beach Open in February (w/Jackson Withrow), the BNP Paribas Open in March (w/John Isner, beating the Bryans in the final) and the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon (w/Nick Kyrgios).

Now, five tournaments into their partnership, and with Bob Bryan still recovering from hip surgery that he underwent on 2 August, Mike Bryan and Sock have captured two Grand Slam championships – Wimbledon (d. Klaasen/Venus) and the US Open (d. Kubot/Melo). Together, they have a 14-2 match record.

You May Also Like: After 24 Years, Bob Bryan Gets Fresh Look At US Open

“I think Bob is maybe the frontrunner if he gets healthy,” said Mike Bryan in New York, joking about picking between his brother and Sock once Bob gets healthy. “I think he is looking forward to coming back. He’s seeing our good results, and he sees how much I love being out here still at 40. He’s itching to play next season. It’s good to go out on your own terms instead of an injury, and he’s super motivated. He was actually the first guy to call us on the court to talk to both of us. He’s been really supportive. He gets so nervous that he can’t watch the matches but he watches the scores tick.

“I think Bob’s got first dibs,” said Mike Bryan.

“I think he’s earned it,” Sock replied.

“I might be the guy going out with injury next year, and it could be Jack and Bob,” said Mike Bryan.

Mike returned to No. 1 on 16 July, almost 15 years after first reaching the summit of the team game (8 September 2003), and has now won more major doubles titles (18) than any other player. With Sock, the Americans are up to fourth place in the ATP Doubles Race To London.

One spot above them in the battle for Nitto ATP Finals qualification, is the team of Mike and his brother, Bob, courtesy of two titles – the Miami Open presented by Itaú (d. Khachanov/Rublev) and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Marach/Pavic) – from four straight ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals (also Indian Wells and Madrid, where Bob sustained his injury).

It’s safe to say Mike has options over who to play with at The O2 in London, from 11-18 November.

“Bob and I are looking good for London,” said Mike Bryan at Wimbledon. “Jack and I are looking good.”

Sock said, “Mike looks good for London. That’s what it is.”

Mike smiled, adding, “I’ll probably qualify with someone.”

Time will tell if Bob will return this year, with his steel hip replacement, to the scene of two (2009, 2014) of their four season finale crowns (also 2003-04).

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Davis Cup: Dan Evans to make Great Britain return in Glasgow

  • Posted: Sep 12, 2018
Great Britain v Uzbekistan – Davis Cup play-off
Venue: Emirates Arena, Glasgow Dates: 14-16 September Coverage: Live video on the Red Button and online; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

Dan Evans will play for Great Britain for the first time since serving a 12-month ban for cocaine use in Friday’s Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan.

The 28-year-old has mainly played on the second-tier Challenger Tour since making his comeback in April.

Cameron Norrie and Jay Clarke are also in the team, with doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray will miss the match to continue his gradual return from hip surgery.

British number one and world number 16 Kyle Edmund is also absent as he recovers from a recurrence of tonsillitis.

Evans’ last appearance in the Davis Cup was April 2017’s quarter-final defeat by France.

During Britain’s run to the trophy in 2015, he played in the semi-final win over Australia.

This season Evans has climbed back to 222nd in the world, winning a Challenger event in Vancouver in August en route. He lost in the second round of Wimbledon qualifying after he was not granted a wildcard into the main draw.

Evans was ranked at a career-high 41st in the world when he failed a drugs test at an ATP event in Barcelona in April 2017.

He was banned for a year after, claiming that remnants of the recreational drug contaminated legal medication in his washbag.

“It’s a shocking drug, and it’s not just in sport – it’s terrible in life. It’s a life-ruiner,” said Evans in April.

Davis Cup re-jig lowers stakes

Uzbekistan have called up world number 60 Denis Istomin for their first meeting with Great Britain, however Jurabek Karimov – their next highest ranked player – is only 434th in the world.

After defeat by Spain in the first round of the World Group in February, the meeting was set to be a relegation play-off with Britain five-year stay in the competition’s top tier at stake.

However, the Davis Cup will change to an 18-team event season finale in 2019, rendering the match effectively meaningless.

The shift to a format more like football’s World Cup is part of plans backed by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and voted in by a majority of International Tennis Federation members in August.

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Williams was out of line, but umpire blew it, says King

  • Posted: Sep 12, 2018

Billie Jean King says Serena Williams was “totally out of line” for her outburst in the US Open final, but also believes umpire Carlos Ramos “blew it”.

Williams, beaten in straight sets by Naomi Osaka, was docked a game for verbal abuse, having already had a point penalty for smashing her racquet and a code violation for coaching.

The American later said it was “sexist” to have been penalised a game.

“Serena was out of line, there’s no question,” said legend King.

American King, one of the founders of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), initially backed the 23-time Grand Slam champion, saying in the aftermath of Saturday’s final: “When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalised for it. When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions.

“Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

  • ‘There’s sexism in tennis but that doesn’t excuse Williams’

However, in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, King’s stance softened.

“No one was saying she was a good sport, if they are they’re crazy,” added King, who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles.

“The point is he (Ramos) aggravated the situation, instead of ‘I’m not attacking your character’ which is the most important thing he could have said.”

Williams’ claims of sexism were backed by the WTA, but the International Tennis Federation said umpire Ramos acted “at all times with professionalism and integrity”.

“I felt like he blew it,” said King. “First of all as an umpire you’re supposed to keep the flow of the match going and he did just the opposite.

“He needed to tell Serena – he can’t apologise he did the right thing there, he can’t apologise, he’s got to be the boss – but all he had to say to Serena is ‘I am not attacking your character’.

“Character is the essence of what was going on there, she was so upset about that, those kids (Serena and Venus) have been brought up to play by the rules.

“We know he’s a black and white guy. The character was the biggest issue here, this is a human being you’re talking to. If he had said ‘I’m not attacking your character’, everything would have been different.”

Umpire says he is ‘fine’

The umpire at the centre of the Williams controversy insists he is fine – and says it is not possible to umpire a tennis match “a la carte”.

Ramos spoke very briefly about the US Open women’s final to Tribuna Expresso in his native Portugal.

He is expected to be on duty as planned for this week’s Davis Cup semi-final in Zadar where Croatia are hosting the United States.

“It’s a delicate situation,” Ramos said. “But umpiring a la carte is something that does not exist. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

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