Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - The Perfect Player
Home       About Peter Bodo       Contact        RSS       Follow on Twitter Categories       Archive
The Perfect Player 03/14/2007 - 10:24 PM

I want to start things off here with a few thoughts on a player many of you like, Richard Gasquet, aka Baby Federer. He was on my short list of players to take a good, long look at here at the Pacific Life Open, and I have to confess: the more I see the less I like. I’m going to write some critical things about him now, so I want to add the disclaimer that I have no feelings about this kid, personally, except as a tennis player. A certain kind of human machine, if you will, that exists apart from the substance of his character. Hail, he seems like a nice enough kid, but he’s a disaster as a tennis player (remember, we’re talking about high-level tennis here). In a way, he’s my ideal anti-tennis player.Djoker

Gasquet is an extremely gifted player, but Baby Federer? Not in this lifetime, or any other. Not in any way, shape, or form. I’m amazed that so many of our Federer KADs think so highly of him, for he is everything The Mighty Fed is not: unmodulated, full of meretricious flourishes, lacking in heft, both in his game and, more importantly, as a competitor.

We saw that last night, when he performed the usual magic tricks with his racquet precisely until the first set, and ultimately, the match, hung in the balance. At that point, he retreated into Fish and Feli land, that strange territory where the inexplicable errors flow like the winners once did, and the derring-do morphs into no-can-do.

In another context, this is interesting stuff, and it’s always fun to have a Gasquet around: He plays like a daredevil, bewitching the crowd until his prop – the high-wire, the trapeze, the jump-ramp, take your pick – breaks under the stress. But today I’m here to talk about the theoretical Perfect Player, and I see him in the physical container of Novak Djokovic.

Now don’t get your shorts all in a bunch. TMF is the high water mark for tennis players, and likely to become the acknowledge GOAT, sooner rather than later. I won’t insult him, given the record he’s amassed, with comparisons to a raw kid who has yet to reach a major semifinal. There are things about the Djoker, though,that I think are incomparable (like his trunk rotation, but I’m getting ahead of myself), but again – the Perfect Player isn’t necessarily destined to be the greatest player, or the most successful.

I went out to take a close look at the Djoker today, in his match against Julian Benneteau, a Frenchman who’s been playing very well here by following a simple and often deadly formula – make few errors and force your opponent to win the match by making the shots that he knows he must in order to win. Then hope he'll go all Gasquet on you, instead of demonstrate that he's got the Wilanders.

I arrived at Stadium Court 2 six games (at 3-all) in, while most of the fans were watching Andy Murray bang on Nikolay Davydenko in the big house. I took a seat right  behind the north baseline, just three rows up from the wall behind the court, among a handful of big-bellied senior citizens, tanning their chicken-wing arms and backs on the green benches like a fleet of fat iguanas lounging on palm fronds. I turned off the cell phone and sat back to watch.

The first thing I jotted into my notebook, as Djokovic whacked a backhand that earned him a break of serve for 5-3, was “great trunk rotation, often punctuated by a guttural exhalation.” Trunk rotation is a big thing for me, has been every since I first aw the best practitioner, Miloslav Big Cat Mecir – a guy who did not appear to run (he was always just there, waiting for the ball) and who did not appear to swing a racquet hard enough to break an electric-eye beam.

But the ball came off Mecir’s strings with the pop of a champagne cork and unexpected pace. Djoker is just as clean, yet he takes a bigger cut at the ball and is less disposed to counterpunching than was Mecir. So he ends up hitting a heavier, more dangerous ball. But trunk rotation only rises to maximum efficiency with great timing, and that’s the Djoker’s other deep, subtle talent. The combination of timing and rotation yield maximum oomph without maximum swing speed. This is a pretty good definition of stroking efficiency.

 

Serving for the set, Djoker fell behind love-40, at which point he let out a visceral roar and, enraged, flung his cap to the court. This gesture appeared to end the curse, for he won the next two points with fierce, inside-out, forehand winners, each of them having every mark of a go-for-broke shot, but without the desperation. This is one cool kid. He got back to deuce with yet another big, IO forehand, but this time the ball also skipped of off the let cord.

“S***!,” Benneteau cried. Then, perhaps recalling that he’s French, he amended it to, “Merde!”

A group of shirtless college kids, with their baseball caps worn facing the wrong direction, as per current campus-correctness, wandered in and sat down to watch. Benneteau was playing well enough to force Djokovic’s hand, and each time the latter made an error – or hit a winner – he punctuated it with a war cry or a clenched fist. He’s an emotional guy, but somehow it never corrupts his stroke work, or finds expression as a poor decision, a hasty decision or a puzzling decision – which is the problem faced by guys like Gasquet.

Often, guys who play with a great deal of emotion are perfectionists; that was John McEnroe’s lifelong mantra, as well as the convenient, all-purpose excuse for his tantrums. Andy Murray and Djokovic, among others, are like that too, and their biggest enemy is the self-same perfectionism that has brought them this far. Their challenge is to keep that perfectionism from becoming a destructive force. Djokovic seems to have a handle on this, because his game doesn’t fluctuate a great deal. Those outbursts - they're just just lip service to the perfectionism he is keeping at bay.

And here’s something else. I noticed watching Gasquet that his feet are very busy, sometimes working like flippers as he hits the ball. I thought it telling that Djoker’s feet are active as well, yet it’s always a critical, split-second later than in a guy like Gasquet. That is, Djoker buys an extra, useful moment of stillness while his swing is still in progress, and that enables him to whack the kitten with a shade more power and accuracy.

Djoker broke Benneteau easily in the first game of set 2, and then crushed some gigunda serves to hold. The Djokovic serve is a thing of beauty, streamlined as a Brancusi sculpture, lethal as the strike of a cobra. It is a serve very much like that of Pete Sampras, although it probably is a shade slower. Djoker lines up with his feet nearly parallel to the baseline, his front, left foot so far ahead of his right that his calf appears to be bowed. As he begins his no-frills, leisurely toss, he shifts his weight slightly to his back foot – just enough to free up that distended left leg to respond to his deep knee bend, then act as a piston to pump his body up and forward. The motion is seamless, gathering force and speed that maxes out as he makes contact.

The racquet appears to swallow the ball before it spits it back out with explosive force, egg-shaped if Djokovic is going for the big kicker, distended like a yellow cartoon bullet if it’s a hard, flat one. Ka-boom! When Djoker blasted another one that helped him go up 2-0, it left Benneteau shaking his head, a man in sorry communion with his pending doom.

It was at this point that I jotted down that most famous line in the literature of rock music, Jon Landau’s pronouncement: I have seen rock and roll (tennis) future and it is Bruce Springsteen (Novak Djokovic).Djokerfed

The games began to flow quickly; Benneteau was losing blood fast and nothing he did would stem the tide. A lot of this was because of Djokovic’s ability to compete – to press the attack without relenting, or allowing his focus to dim. Perfect execution is a high wire act; let a sliver of doubt or distraction enter your consciousness and you fall off the string, although in tennis it may take a while to hit the ground. It’s an especially cruel sport that way.

On this day, though, the Djoker was not about to fall.  My next note is an aside written as Djokovic starts serving the fourth game: The PA announcer comes on and booms out: “. . . and then, Czech teen-age sensation Nicole Vaidisova, giving autographs over at the Tennis Warehouse tent!”

I swear, by the time I finished my note, Djoker was up 4-0. When Benneteau held for 1-4, I had the feeling that Djokovic was taking a breather. He then ran out the next two games and the match, 6-3, 6-1.

Did Benneteau play into Djokovic’s hands? It depends on how you look at it. The way I saw it, he held up the match, showed it to Djoker, and, in effect, said: If you can take it, it’s yours. And he took it.

I wandered away thinking I had just observed the Perfect Player, so I figured, what the hail, I may as well tell the guy. So the ATP hooked me up with Djokovic. Mainly, I was interested in learning in a little more detail how a guy with very little access to top tennis training, and the resources it requires, ended up owning a game that’s cleaner than a child’s plate on spaghetti night.

I sat down with Djoker in an empty office off the player’s lounge. In case you’re interested, he has an impressive, almost old school (1950s) look, enhanced by the erect carriage of a soldier. He has no hairstyle – just short, dark hair of even length all around. It's a Spartan look. What you may not see on television is that he has very finely made features that are as perfectly balanced as his game, although his eyes are a little close together. He’s friendly and direct. I told him that I wasn’t there to kiss his butt but I thought he was as close to the Perfect Player as I had ever seen, and asked if that was a matter of nature or nurture.

First, he laughed at my disclaimer. Then he said, “I can say in one hand that it is destiny. In Serbia, we never had a Top 15 player after Bobo (Slobodan Zivoinovic reached No. 19), so it was hard for me to develop and succeed. But it was a half-and-half thing between my talent and my first coach’s work, so I was very luck to have this coach.”

That mentor was a woman, Jelena Gencic, who had also worked with Monica Seles and at one point traveled with Goran Ivanisevic (I met her briefly).Djokovic says that Gencic gave him the “basic things” and watched over him like a hawk between the ages of 6 and 11, after which the family brain trust decided to allow him to go off to the former Yugoslav star Nikki Pilic’s tennis academy in Europe (as per Gencic’s advice), where he rubbed elbows with the likes of Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic. “It was difficult for my family to leave a child of 12 in another country, but after the first few days the uncle who took me to Munich, and I was left for myself. But it was a thing I needed to do.”

Djokovic originally played a one-handed backhand, but he described himself as a “skinny” kid who didn’t make enough power, and thus always found himself on the defensive. So he adopted the two-hander. Everything else, more or less, just continued to develop naturally. Pilic, who had helped Ivanisevic with his serve (“You know how he’s serving,” Djokovic asked, laughing), also fine-tuned the Djokovic delivery.

The only other thing that changed as Djokovic began to make his move in the pros was his forehand. He had good run in Paris in 2005, but after he retired during his match with Guillermo Coria (after winning the first set), Gencic pulled him aside. “She said, ‘You’re playing great, but when you have a chance to finish the point with my forehand you use too much spin. Make it flatter.'" He paused. “She’s great, I’m telling you. . .”

And of his mental toughness, Djokovic said: “I matured a lot. . .I am trying to hold my emotions as much as I can, but that’s just me. I like to scream on the court. I like to fight. I like to compete.”

And what did he think about this “Perfect Player” theory?

He laughed again. “I can’t say I’m the perfect tennis player. Nobody can be perfect and I think I have a lot to improve on (serve, making best use of his opportunities, attacking the net were the ones he cited).”

So perhaps he isn’t perfect, but he’s a spectacularly gifted player who’s not going to be undone by his perfectionism, either. And that’s as perfect as anyone has a right to ask.


151
Comments
Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.
<<      1 2

Posted by K 03/15/2007 at 01:18 PM

HOw good is Gilbert at backing winners? LOL Agassi, Roddick and now Murray. If i was a betting man i'd back whatever he was backing!!!

Posted by K 03/15/2007 at 01:26 PM

I wonder whats Mats Wilander makes of how his name has been carved into, well, numerous metaphors. I mean, "steally Wilander's" LOL. That is just hilarious

Posted by Rosangel 03/15/2007 at 01:31 PM

K: I believe that Miguel Seabra (hope it was you, Miguel? I'm sure you posted about it in TW, during the AO?) informed Mats Wilander of how his name is used here in TW, and he did think it was hilarious.

Posted by Andrew 03/15/2007 at 01:34 PM

zola: guilty as charged.

I also loved Rosangel's breakdown of the grass/hard/clay points. Very nice work, and likely quite time consuming.

Posted by Slice-n-dice 03/15/2007 at 01:52 PM

I'm enjoying Tommy Haas' resurgence. He was a talented junior, number 2 in the world to Mariano Zabaleta, I believe (don't hear about him these days), and his acclimation to the pro game was slow and steady, until injury and life got in the way. He has the complete game, minus the return of serve and great wheels. But when he's serving bombs, and whacking his backhand with confidence, he's very very dangerous. When his serve is cookin', he reminds me of Ivan Lendl. When it's not, he's no contender at all.

Posted by Peter Lee 03/15/2007 at 01:56 PM

Pete,
I think you should have a sit down time with Gasquet too and see what he says.

Posted by Danielle 03/15/2007 at 02:09 PM

I became a bit of a Djoko convert myself over the weekend watching him play in person, which surprised me. Really came to appreciate his shotmaking and competitive fire. Plus, it was hard not to warm up to him a bit more when I saw him sitting on the sidelines cheering on his friend Janko Tipsarvic against Ferrer. Great post, Pete! Couldn't agree more with your observations after a weekend of watching both play.

Andrew, I feel your pain! I too made the financial leap to come out to Indian Wells this year certain I'd be seeing lots of my man Federer (granted, I live a lot closer in LA so the trek was probably easier and cheaper than yours will be) only to be absolutely crushed watching him lose on Sunday. Luckily I got to see him win in double shortly after but it was bittersweet. I will say though that I had such a fantastic time watching all these players up close and in person, running between match courts to practice courts that it was worth every penny and I'll be saving 'em up to do it again next year. I know you'll still enjoy the trip.

Didn't get a chance to try and make any of the TW meet-ups...Pete, steggy, anyone - will there be other opportunities to meet up this weekend during the finals?

Posted by Rosangel 03/15/2007 at 02:18 PM

David Law: I will definitely download that podcast for my iPod when I get home! Thanks for all your information about this.

Slice-n-dice: How would you view the Murray versus Haas matchup? They are both in-form players. Whoever wins, I'm praying for a great match between them.

I would really love to see Murray play Djokovic again, too, in the semis. The only time the two of them played before was last year in Madrid. The last few tournaments of 2006 did not go well for Murray, and he went down in three sets, after winning the first. That was one match where Djokovic hung in and kept his head, while Murray got completely negative. I think he was mentally exhausted, and also had been ill. A rematch now would be intriguing.

Posted by Tennis Court Oath 03/15/2007 at 02:21 PM

Tennis Turing test - how would Federer do?

His backhand and forehand look the same every time. But Federer is neither human nor machine, he is a god. Of course, gods have flaws, gods can be vanquished...

Posted by Slice-n-dice 03/15/2007 at 02:33 PM

Rosangel, that's a great question (Murray versus Haas). Tommy's got to be feloing good about his game and his chances. And remember, he's the veteran in this duel, having played against Sampras, Agassi and Federer on numerous occasions. But I think that unless Haas is serving out of his mind (which he can do on occasion), Murray's return and deft use of the entire court will prevail. As Dunlop Maxply has said, though (I'm paraphrasing), sometimes tennis comes down to a couple of inches this way or that and a little bit of luck. At that level, anyway. At the level I play, rarely does luck factor into the equation. The higher the rung you go, the more the littlest things matter.

At the very top, there's so little to distinguish the players from a technical proficiency and athletic standpoint (though on this blog we view things with such fine instruments that all distinctions are magnified -- objects in mirror appear closer than they actually are!), that mental toughness and Wilanders play a much larger role than in USTA League- and NTRP-level matches.

Posted by Andrew 03/15/2007 at 02:39 PM

Vanquished, yes. But how? With a sprig of ivy? A lyre? A scarab?

And more to the point: is he stronger when he returns, in a new avatar?

Posted by Tennis Court Oath 03/15/2007 at 02:45 PM

By consumption of a magic substance that gives one the strength of a god :)

It is natural to ally oneself with the strongest god. But somehow, I doubt there will ever be as many Djokovic KADs as there are Federer KADs.

Posted by Rosangel 03/15/2007 at 03:05 PM

Slice-n-dice: Thankyou. Having watched Haas serve his way beautifully through Memphis (incredible stats) and Murray return Karlovic's serve in San Jose, it's a tempting prospect to watch them play.

Posted by Rosangel 03/15/2007 at 03:09 PM

According to Murray, he and Haas have practised together this year, so both have some idea what to expect in the match.

Regarding Djokovic: intriguing that his earliest tennis mentor was a woman. Another thing he and Murray have in common.

Posted by Bill 03/15/2007 at 03:14 PM

Let's all recite the Djokovic rallying cry:

"I lose! I quit! I am the best!"

Posted by Todd and in Charge 03/15/2007 at 03:17 PM

Suresh's timeline is probably right -- two to three years. Certainly there are plenty of examples of top junior players flaming out in the majors. But the guy's 20 in the world, took 4 titles, beat some big names and seems to be tracking ok, so I don't know if we should Ginepri him just yet (though I defer to and respect Pete's keen observational skills on such matters).

But then, I'm still holding out for a Nalbandian Grand Slam, so call me a dreamer....

Posted by Slice-n-dice 03/15/2007 at 03:22 PM

Wow, Todd, talk about putting all your eggs in the wrong basket. A sympathy card is in the mail..... :-D

Posted by Suresh 03/15/2007 at 03:39 PM

Nalbandian is a great player - he may not have an attractive game, but when on song he has a very effective ground game, and has the ability to change the direction of his shots.

He surprisingly lacks the drive to attain the number one ranking! He has said in the past that he wanted to enjoy tennis more and not get caught up with the number one ranking for which too much effort and discipline is required. Moreover the physical aspect of his game and hence his movement on court are not exactly his strongpoints.

At the same time, it is interesting to note that he is one of the few players who has troubled Federer mainly because of his penetrative ground strokes - his down the line shot is pretty effective in opening up the court. Hewitt on the other hand for example prefers to employ the safer cross court stroke more often than not.

Consider thisinteresting observation - Federer comes second best against Nalbandian when ONLY the percentage of points won on second serve is considered. Federer leads Nalbandian 8-6 in their head to heads, but Nalbandian leads Federer 11-5 when points won only on second serve is considered.

Posted by zola 03/15/2007 at 03:47 PM

I guess one measure of interest to Djoko, is how quickly the conversation shifted to other players.

Todd
you are not a dreamer. If Nalbandian gets a bye to a grand slam final and plays someone ranked 20 or below, there is always a chance.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 03/15/2007 at 03:51 PM

Slice-n-dice, good one, you may be right, considering that I once declared 1999 to be "The Year of the Melzer."

I may be off a year or two.

Posted by Simon 03/15/2007 at 03:54 PM

I prefer Murray of the 2. Djokovic just seems like a carbon copy of so many other players. Reminds me a bit of Haas. I prefer Murray because there aren't many players like him. There is something new on offer in his matches. By new i mean in contrast to 80, 90% of matches in mens tennis.

Posted by Juan Jose 03/15/2007 at 04:19 PM


G O V E R T I D J O K O O O O O O O O O O ! ! ! !

O


V

E

R

T

I

D

J

O

K

O

!

!

!

ONTO THE GRAND SLAM!!!!

Posted by Steve 03/15/2007 at 04:30 PM

Ergh ok Juan, you realise the cold war ended some time ago. Codes aren't neccessary! Lol

Posted by jrstriker12 03/15/2007 at 04:30 PM

Looks like Rafa vs. Chela just started. Anyone doing Play-by-play or a summary?

Posted by John 03/15/2007 at 04:32 PM

Govertidjoko, thats a type of volvo isn't it? LOL

Posted by abybaby 03/15/2007 at 04:36 PM

I was able to watch all 3 over the weekend at IW and prefer to watch Murray and Gasquet over Djok. They have so much more variety. But Pete is spot-on about Djokovic's solid technique. One amazing quality of Federer is how textbook his strokes are and thats why they usually do not break down easily (unless he is playing Nadal on clay). Gasquet is always thinking about next flashy shot to make and ends up shanking the ball by miles. Things like shoulder turn, trunk rotation, backswing, follow through make a boring conversation topic. But they are the first things to go down the drain under pressure.

Posted by Sherlock 03/15/2007 at 04:41 PM

I KNEW this would draw JJ out of retirement! Woo hoo!

Posted by zola 03/15/2007 at 04:41 PM

Nadal just broke Chela's serve. 2-1.

Posted by Sherlock 03/15/2007 at 04:53 PM

Ah, Pete. Nice Johann Kriek reference. I loved watching that guy play.

Posted by zola 03/15/2007 at 05:06 PM

Chela broke back. 3-3.

Posted by ptenisnet 03/15/2007 at 05:25 PM

hi JJ.
welcome back.

Posted by cl 03/15/2007 at 06:09 PM

Off Topic There was a Google Trend on Fed and Woods a few weeks ago and it said Next Week: Gasquet v. Monfils. When will this article be posted?

Posted by Lisa 03/15/2007 at 06:23 PM

Okay, I'm late to the party today (been out of town for a meeting) but I'm definitely going to subscribe to David's BBC podcast. I already subscribe to the podcast with Kevin McClure.

Posted by steggy 03/15/2007 at 06:28 PM

Please move any discussion of current matches or other off topic matters to the Weddnesday Racket. Thanks.

Posted by Pete 03/15/2007 at 06:41 PM

Peter Lee - I kind of know what you mean (or what you're trying to say), but simply watching and judging a guy on his game and results is not a bad way to go. I mean, why would you want to ask a rock star why he made a poor record, or ask an actress why she was awful in some movie? In this kind of discussion, the why's don't count,and the rationalizations and justifications of a player don't either, although they may be interesting.

Posted by Pete 03/15/2007 at 06:45 PM

Danielle - yes, we'll be here for weekend but it's always catch as catch can . . . if you go back a few days you'll find the posts from early this week that more or less suggest how wee can try to get together. . .

Posted by Sam 03/15/2007 at 07:07 PM

"Nice Johann Kriek reference. I loved watching that guy play."

Same here, Sherlock.

Back to Gasquet - I hope he ends up having a great career, but even if he doesn't, I'm glad I've gotten to see his lovely game. From the fan perspective, sports are just another form of entertainment, and watching beautiful tennis is entertaining to me. If I want to watch grinders or players with unattractive games, I can find plenty of them on the local courts ...

Posted by Sam 03/15/2007 at 07:17 PM

Suresh - Interesting points about Nalbandian, but with only 5 singles titles (0 Slams, 1 YEC, 0 Masters Series) - I wouldn't call him a great player. He is a very good one though.

Regarding him versus Federer, he has only beaten Federer once in their last 8 matches, after winning the first 5.

Posted by evan 03/15/2007 at 07:52 PM

i have to laugh pete that you censored s*** but not merde, which means exactly the same thing

Posted by Pete 03/15/2007 at 08:47 PM

Ah, Evan, you are an international man indeed. . . but if you read up in this thread (actually, it's the Nadal presser one) you'll see great weeping and gnashing of teeth over the language skills of Amuricans, so it can't be dirty if you don't know what it means! ;-)

Posted by Luka 03/15/2007 at 09:18 PM

Love Djokovic's game and hard work. He is certainly a fighter. Coming from a country like Serbia, where there are in total 4 clay courts in the whole country this is a HUGE success for a 19 year old Novak. All the best of luck to him!!!

Posted by SanjaVIC 03/16/2007 at 01:10 AM

Seeing Rafa's shoes today - I'd like to remind everyone that Djoko stuck Vamos Novak on his sneakers during the French Open. Love the Wilanders.

Posted by Ray Stonada 03/16/2007 at 03:38 AM

HAH! JUAN JOSÉ, I've missed you, amigo!

All this talk of the perfect player has me thinking something: it strikes me that Tommy Robredo, who I've seen live a couple of times, has a greatly underappreciated game - hits most every shot with facility, and is better off the clay than one might think. Perhaps he doesn't have the heft of Djoko, but his strokes are all very finely produced. Anyway, just a thought that Disco deserves more attention.

Posted by Suresh 03/16/2007 at 10:59 AM

Sam - Yes, I did not mean to say that Nalbandian is a great player, I was trying to draw attention to the fact that he 'could' be someone who did not realize his potential. He himself admitted that getting to and moreover maintaing the number one position in tennis is too much.

Agreed, Federer has reverded the table on Nalbandian - again the point I was making here is that serve plays a big role in tennis , and what is sometimes overlooked is the other aspect of his game. Usually when a player wins , he has better percentages on both points won on first serve as well as points won on second serve.

To give a few examples - in the 2004 Aus Open Federer beat Nalbandian in 4 sets. Federer won 82% points on first serve and nalbandian 68%. On second serve Federer's percentage drops to 43 and Nalbandian wins 60%.

2005 Tennis Masters Cup, Federer wins in 3 sets - Federer's winning percent is 72% and 43%, Nalbandian's 63% and 65%.
2005 Rome - Federer in three, Federer's percent - 69 and 44, Nalbandian's 62 and 47
2006 Roland Garros - 1 set apiece, and Federer leading 5-2 in the third, Federe's numbers are 78% and 48%, Nalbandian's 57% and 68%.
2006 Masters Cup , when Federer won and took the last two sets 6-1 , 6-1..Federer had numbers of 84% and 42%, Nalbandian had numbers of 41% and 43%.

Yes, in the end winning matters, and the serve's importance in modern tennis cannot be over emphasized - if a player has a big serve he is going to use it, but at the same time the stats make for some interesting interpretation.

When Nalbandian wins he always has better percentages on second serve points won, but that is not always the case when Federer wins against Nalbandian.

My point is if Federer gets a decent percentage of first serves in, then Nalbandian's return off ther first serve can be exploited, if Federer's serving percentage drops or Nalbandian manages to get a decent return on the first serve , then Federer will have a match on his hands.

It is not against many players that Federer has this kind of a stat - maybe against Nadal, but not even against Agassi or Hewitt , both of whom are great returners and very solid off the ground.

Posted by Glarange 03/16/2007 at 11:07 AM

Typical post-mortem punditry.
Djoko wins, Gasquet loses, so Djoko is the ideal player and Gasquet is a flake.
Until the next week...
Let's follow these two throughout the year and comeback to sweeping generalizations like these. INteresting experiment if the pundits tracked their punditry more often!
One thing is to analyze, another is to make sweeping judgements based on one tournament. You could apply some of the things Pete said about Gasquet to Murray too.
As Teddy Roosevelt said (and Pete often quotes), there's nothing like being in the tennis shoes of the man in the arena...

Posted by Pete 03/16/2007 at 11:38 AM

Great idea, Glarange, remind me to revisit this comment/issue in December!

Posted by Sam 03/16/2007 at 12:11 PM

Suresh – Agreed, Nalbandian is a big-time underachiever in my book. Thanks for the stats – they are interesting and I’ll have to give them a closer look. If you have similar stats for Nadal, Agassi, and Hewitt against Federer, I'd be interested in those as well.

Posted by Suresh 03/16/2007 at 01:20 PM

Sam - I did a detailed comparison of the stats on first and second serve points won when Sampras played Agassi and when Federer played Agassi.

Will post them here soon.

Posted by Suresh 03/16/2007 at 01:48 PM

ok, for those of you who are interested - patience might be an essential commodity.

The stats listed below focus on how Sampras fared on his first and second serve against Agassi. Ditto for Federer, and the inference one can draw from the stats.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Stats on Sampras vs Agassi-
-------------------------------
Sampras - Agassi stats of all matches ( not available for their first 4 matches).

1. Sampras leads 20-14.
2. On second serve points won , Agassi leads 22-8 . Stats not available for their
first 4 matches.
3. In slam matches , Sampras leads 6-3 ( won at Wim and U.S., but lost at Aus Open and
French Open).
4. In slam matches on second serve points won Agassi leads 6-2, stats for
U.S. Open '90 match not available, but Sampras probably would have been ahead in the stats
department.
Sampras led the stats on second serve points won in '93 Wim and '01 U.S. Open.


Percentage of points won on first serve by Sampras -
1. Number of times percentage of points won on first serve >= 90% = 2 , won 100% points once !
in 1996 singles c'ships on carpet in Germany.
2. Number of times percentage of points won on first serve >= 80% and = 70% and = 60% and = 50% = 12.
2. Number of times percentage of points won on second serve = 10 and = 20 and = 30 and = 40 and = 50 = 1


========================================================================================

Stats on Federer vs Agassi-
-----------------------------

1. Federer leads 8-3.
2. On second serve points won , Federer leads 7-4 .
3. In slam matches , Federer leads 3-1 ( won at Wim , U.S. and Aus Open)
4. In slam matches on second serve points won Federer leads 3-2.


Percentage of points won on first serve by Federer -
1. Number of times percentage of points won on first serve >= 90% = 0.
2. Number of times percentage of points won on first serve >= 80% and = 70% and = 60% and = 50% = 7.
2. Number of times percentage of points won on second serve = 10 and = 20 and = 30 and = 40 and = 50 = 0

=====================================================================

Sampras vs Agassi matches


1. 1989 Rome (clay) - Agassi , 6-2 6-1.


2. 1990 Philadelphia (carpet) - Sampras , 5-7 7-5 RET.


3. 1990 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-3 6-2


4. 1990 Singles c'ship Germany (carpet) - Agassi , 6-4 6-2


5. 1991 Singles c'ship Germany (carpet) - Sampras , 6-3 1-6 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 16 5
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve Percentage 64% (50/78) 58% (48/82)
1st Serve Points Won 78% (39/50) 64% (31/48)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (14/28) 61% (21/34) Agassi
Difference % 18 3
Break Points Saved 66% (4/6) 66% (4/6)


6. 1992 Atlanta (clay) - Agassi , 7-5 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 6 5
Double faults 2
1st Serve Percentage 68% (45/66) 63% (38/60)
1st Serve Points Won 82% (37/45) 84% (32/38)
2nd Serve Points Won 33% (7/21) 68% (15/22) Agassi
Difference % 49 16
Break Points Saved 60% (3/5) % (/4)

7. 1992 French Open (clay) - Agassi , 7-6(6) 6-2 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 6 3
Double faults 7 1
1st Serve Percentage 56% (61/108) 70% (63/90)
1st Serve Points Won 62% (38/61) 74% (47/63)
2nd Serve Points Won 40% (19/47) 55% (15/27) Agassi
Difference % 22 19
Break Points Saved 40% (4/10) 0% (0/1)


8. 1993 Wimbledon (grass) - Sampras , 6-2 6-2 3-6 3-6 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 23 7
Double faults 6 7
1st Serve Percentage 66% (102/154) 56% (92/164)
1st Serve Points Won 85% (87/102) 75% (69/92)
2nd Serve Points Won 38% (20/52) 36% (26/72) Sampras
Difference % 47 39
Break Points Saved 63% (7/11) 53% (7/13)


9. 1994 Key Bisayne (hard) - Sampras, 5-7 6-3 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 14 9
Double faults 7 3
1st Serve Percentage 52% (49/94) 63% (69/109)
1st Serve Points Won 83% (41/49) 55% (38/69)
2nd Serve Points Won 40% (18/45) 60% (24/40) Agassi
Difference % 43 -5
Break Points Saved 40% (2/5) 70% (12/17)


10. 1994 Osaka (hard) - Sampras , 6-3 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 0
Double faults 3 2
1st Serve Percentage 65% (32/49) 65% (38/58)
1st Serve Points Won 75% (24/32) 55% (21/38)
2nd Serve Points Won 70% (12/17) 45% (9/20) Sampras
Difference % 5 10
Break Points Saved % (/) 33% (2/6)


11. 1994 Paris indoor (carpet) - Agassi , 7-6(6) 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 17 4
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve Percentage 65% (65/100) 60% (52/86)
1st Serve Points Won 72% (47/65) 75% (39/52)
2nd Serve Points Won 37% (13/35) 47% (16/34)
Difference % 35 28
Break Points Saved 75% (9/12) 0% (0/2)

12. 1994 Singles c'ship Germany (carpet) - Sampras , 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 20 7
Double faults 2 4
1st Serve Percentage 56% (50/89) 61% (65/105)
1st Serve Points Won 82% (41/50) 69% (45/65)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (24/39) 62% (25/40) Agassi
Difference % 21 7
Break Points Saved 50% (2/4) 76% (10/13)


13. 1995 Aus Open (hard) - Agassi , 4-6 6-1 7-6(6) 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 28 10
Double faults 6 4
1st Serve Percentage 60% (104/173) 71% (95/132)
1st Serve Points Won 78% (82/104) 73% (70/95)
2nd Serve Points Won 43% (30/69) 54% (20/37) Agassi
Difference % 35 19
Break Points Saved 76% (16/21) 50% (2/4)


14. 1995 Indian Wells (hard) - Sampras , 7-5 6-3 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 19 9
Double faults 3 2
1st Serve Percentage 60% (60/100) 72% (82/113)
1st Serve Points Won 85% (51/60) 59% (49/82)
2nd Serve Points Won 47% (19/40) 61% (19/31) Agassi
Difference % 38 -2
Break Points Saved 75% (3/4) 71% (10/14)


15. 1995 Key Biscayne (hard) - Agassi , 3-6 6-2 7-6(3)

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 4
Double faults 4 1
1st Serve Percentage 48% (49/101) 70% (63/90)
1st Serve Points Won 69% (34/49) 71% (45/63)
2nd Serve Points Won 57% (30/52) 70% (19/27) Agassi
Difference % 12 1
Break Points Saved 75% (6/8) 75% (3/4)


16. 1995 Montreal (hard) - Agassi , 3-6 6-2 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 12 6
Double faults 3 0
1st Serve Percentage 47% (40/84) 76% (64/84)
1st Serve Points Won 75% (30/40) 65% (42/64)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (22/44) 65% (13/20) Agassi
Difference % 25 0
Break Points Saved 75% (9/12) 85% (6/7)

17. 1995 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-3 4-6 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 24 8
Double Faults 6 4
1st Serve Percentage 58% (89/151) 57% (72/125)
1st Serve Points Won 89% (80/89) 72% (52/72)
2nd Serve Points Won 48% (30/62) 60% (32/53) Agassi
Difference % 41 12
Break Points Saved 66% (4/6) 42% (3/7)


18. 1996 San Jose (hard) - Sampras , 6-2 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 5 3
Double Faults 1
1st Serve Percentage 47% (26/55) 53% (30/56)
1st Serve Points Won 88% (23/26) 56% (17/30)
2nd Serve Points Won 55% (16/29) 53% (14/26) Sampras
Difference % 33 3
Break Points Saved % (/4) 62% (5/8)


19. 1996 Stuttgart indoor (carpet) - Sampras , 6-4 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 2
Double Faults 1 1
1st Serve Percentage 62% (37/59) 46% (21/45)
1st Serve Points Won 72% (27/37) 42% (9/21)
2nd Serve Points Won 31% (7/22) 29% (7/24) Sampras
Difference % 41 13
Break Points Saved 50% (3/6) 40% (4/10)


20. 1996 Singles c'ships (carpet) - Sampras ,6-2 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 2
Double Faults 2
1st Serve Percentage 50% (19/38) 57% (27/47)
1st Serve Points Won 100% (19/19) 51% (14/27)
2nd Serve Points Won 68% (13/19) 35% (7/20) Sampras
Difference % 32 16
Break Points Saved % (/) 60% (6/10)


21. 1998 San Jose (hard) - Agassi , 6-2 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 17 2
Double Faults 6 1
1st Serve Percentage 60% (40/66) 60% (32/53)
1st Serve Points Won 72% (29/40) 78% (25/32)
2nd Serve Points Won 38% (10/26) 66% (14/21) Agassi
Difference % 34 12
Break Points Saved 62% (5/8) % (/2)

22. 1998 Monte Carlo (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 6 1
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve Percentage 52% (33/63) 67% (43/64)
1st Serve Points Won 81% (27/33) 58% (25/43)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (15/30) 52% (11/21) Agassi
Difference % 31 6
Break Points Saved 50% (2/4) 0% (0/4)

23. 1998 Montreal (hard) - Agassi , 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 22 4
Double Faults 12 3
1st Serve Percentage 58% (59/101) 74% (72/97)
1st Serve Points Won 69% (41/59) 70% (51/72)
2nd Serve Points Won 38% (16/42) 52% (13/25) Agassi
Difference % 31 18
Break Points Saved 64% (9/14) 87% (7/8)


24. 1999 Wimbledom (grass) - Sampras , 6-3 6-4 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 16 5
Double Faults 5 6
1st Serve Percentage 66% (76/114) 44% (49/109)
1st Serve Points Won 89% (68/76) 75% (37/49)
2nd Serve Points Won 39% (15/38) 45% (27/60) Agassi
Difference % 50 30
Break Points Saved 100% (4/4) 66% (6/9)


25. 1999 Los Angeles (hard) - Sampras , 7-6(3) 7-6(1)

Sampras Agassi
Aces 11 10
Double Faults 3 1
1st Serve Percentage 61% (55/90) 78% (55/70)
1st Serve Points Won 81% (45/55) 72% (40/55)
2nd Serve Points Won 54% (19/35) 80% (12/15) Agassi
Difference % 27 -8
Break Points Saved 83% (5/6) 50% (1/2)


26. 1999 Cincinnati (hard) - Sampras , 7-6(7) 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 8 8
Double Faults 6 2
1st Serve Percentage 54% (32/59) 52% (37/71)
1st Serve Points Won 90% (29/32) 67% (25/37)
2nd Serve Points Won 62% (17/27) 61% (21/34) Sampras
Difference % 28 6
Break Points Saved 0% (0/1) 33% (1/3)


27. 1999 Singles c'ships Germany rr (hard) - Agassi , 6-2 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 5 1
Double Faults 5 2
1st Serve Percentage 64% (34/53) 61% (27/44)
1st Serve Points Won 67% (23/34) 85% (23/27)
2nd Serve Points Won 31% (6/19) 64% (11/17) Agassi
Difference % 36 21
Break Points Saved 55% (5/9) 100% (3/3)


28. 1999 Singles c'ships Germany final (hard) - Sampras , 6-1 7-5 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 15 4
Double Faults 10 7
1st Serve Percentage 58% (50/85) 47% (43/91)
1st Serve Points Won 88% (44/50) 65% (28/43)
2nd Serve Points Won 42% (15/35) 50% (24/48) Agassi
Difference % 46 15
Break Points Saved 75% (3/4) 44% (4/9)


29. 2000 Aus Open (hard ) - Agassi , 6-4 3-6 6-7(0) 7-6(5) 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 37 13
Double Faults 5 3
1st Serve Percentage 63% (99/156) 68% (101/148)
1st Serve Points Won 80% (80/99) 74% (75/101)
2nd Serve Points Won 49% (28/57) 68% (32/47) Agassi
Difference % 31 6
Break Points Saved 76% (10/13) 88% (8/9)

30. 2001 Indian Wells (hard) - Agassi , 7-6 7-5(5) 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 14 4
Double Faults 11 1
1st Serve Percentage 51% (48/94) 78% (83/106)
1st Serve Points Won 81% (39/48) 69% (58/83)
2nd Serve Points Won 41% (19/46) 69% (16/23) Agassi
Difference % 40 0
Break Points Saved 70% (7/10) 100% (4/4)


31. 2001 Los Angeles (hard) - Agassi , 6-4 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 3
Double Faults 7 0
1st Serve Percentage 53% (34/63) 80% (57/71)
1st Serve Points Won 67% (23/34) 63% (36/57)
2nd Serve Points Won 34% (10/29) 57% (8/14) Agassi
Difference % 33 6
Break Points Saved 42% (3/7) 85% (6/7)


32. 2001 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-7(7) 7-6(2) 7-6(2) 7-6(5)

Sampras Agassi
Aces 25 18
Double Faults 12 4
1st Serve Percentage 62% (105/168) 65% (111/170)
1st Serve Points Won 79% (83/105) 74% (83/111)
2nd Serve Points Won 58% (37/63) 52% (31/59) Sampras
Difference % 21 22
Break Points Saved 100% (3/3) 100% (6/6)


33. 2002 Houston (clay) - Sampras , 6-1 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 11 4
Double Faults 3 3
1st Serve Percentage 53% (36/67) 52% (28/53)
1st Serve Points Won 86% (31/36) 67% (19/28)
2nd Serve Points Won 48% (15/31) 44% (11/25) Sampras
Difference % 38 23
Break Points Saved 100% (2/2) 50% (3/6)


34. 2002 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 33 7
Double Faults 13 4
1st Serve Percentage 57% (87/152) 65% (82/125)
1st Serve Points Won 80% (70/87) 67% (55/82)
2nd Serve Points Won 52% (34/65) 53% (23/43) Agassi
Difference % 28 14
Break Points Saved 83% (10/12) 50% (4/8)

=======================================================

Federer vs Agassi matches


1. 1998 Basel (hard) - Agassi, 6-3 6-2

Federer Agassi
Aces 4 4
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve Percentage 58% (31/53) 48% (24/50)
1st Serve Points Won 64% (20/31) 79% (19/24)
2nd Serve Points Won 31% (7/22) 65% (17/26) Agassi
Difference % 33 14
Break Points Saved 50% (4/8) 50% (1/2)


2. 2001 U.S. Open (hard) - Agassi, 6-1 6-2 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 1 6
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve Percentage 47% (28/59) 66% (53/80)
1st Serve Points Won 60% (17/28) 71% (38/53)
2nd Serve Points Won 48% (15/31) 70% (19/27) Agassi
Difference % 12 1
Break Points Saved 16% (1/6) 100% (9/9)


3. 2002 Miami (hard) - Agassi , 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 10 8
Double Faults 3 1
1st Serve Percentage 62% (69/111) 62% (72/116)
1st Serve Points Won 65% (45/69) 68% (49/72)
2nd Serve Points Won 59% (25/42) 54% (24/44) Federer
Difference % 6 14
Break Points Saved 53% (7/13) 57% (4/7)

4. 2003 Tennis Masters Cup (hard) RR - Federer, 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(7)

Federer Agassi
Aces 20 4
Double Faults 6 4
1st Serve Percentage 53% (66/124) 59% (70/117)
1st Serve Points Won 74% (49/66) 64% (45/70)
2nd Serve Points Won 41% (24/58) 51% (24/47) Agassi
Difference % 33 13
Break Points Saved 66% (6/9) 50% (5/10)

5. 2003 Tennis Masters Cup (hard) final - Federer , 6-3 6-0 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 11 1
Double Faults 5 4
1st Serve Percentage 51% (36/70) 63% (47/74)
1st Serve Points Won 83% (30/36) 57% (27/47)
2nd Serve Points Won 67% (23/34) 48% (13/27) Federer
Difference % 16 9
Break Points Saved 71% (5/7)

6. 2004 Indian Wells (hard) - Federer , 4-6 6-3 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 12 2
Double Faults 5 4
1st Serve Percentage 58% (50/85) 63% (59/93)
1st Serve Points Won 82% (41/50) 76% (45/59)
2nd Serve Points Won 62% (22/35) 47% (16/34) Federer
Difference % 20 29
Break Points Saved 83% (5/6) 66% (4/6)


7. 2004 U.S. Open (hard) - Federer , 6-3 2-6 7-5 3-6 6-3

Aces 16 4
Double Faults 9 4
1st Serve Percentage 63% (101/158) 68% (97/142)
1st Serve Points Won 74% (75/101) 71% (69/97)
2nd Serve Points Won 47% (27/57) 60% (27/45) Agassi
Difference % 27 11
Break Points Saved 66% (6/9) 70% (7/10)

8. 2005 Aus Open (hard) - Federer , 6-3 6-4 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 22 1
Double Faults 4 2
1st Serve Percentage 65% (65/99) 55% (44/79)
1st Serve Points Won 76% (50/65) 75% (33/44)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (21/34) 51% (18/35) Federer
Difference % 15 24
Break Points Saved 100% (4/4) 50% (3/6)

9. 2005 Dubai (hard) - Federer , 6-3 6-1


Aces 8 2
Double Faults 3 1
1st Serve Percentage 64% (33/51) 58% (24/41)
1st Serve Points Won 75% (25/33) 45% (11/24)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (11/18) 52% (9/17) Federer
Difference % 14 13
Break Points Saved 100% (3/3) 33% (2/6)


10. 2005 Miami (hard) - Federer , 6-3 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 8 1
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve Percentage 62% (41/66) 50% (30/60)
1st Serve Points Won 73% (30/41) 73% (22/30)
2nd Serve Points Won 68% (17/25) 50% (15/30) Federer
Difference % 5 13
Break Points Saved 100% (5/5) 75% (6/8)


11. 2005 U.S. Open (hard) - Federer , 6-3 2-6 7-6(1) 6-1


Aces 19 6
Double Faults 0 4
1st Serve Percentage 75% (81/107) 59% (78/131)
1st Serve Points Won 74% (60/81) 57% (45/78)
2nd Serve Points Won 57% (15/26) 54% (29/53) Federer
Difference % 14 3
Break Points Saved 50% (3/6) 77% (14/18)

==================================================================================

What does the stats indicate ?
--------------------------------

Well, the stats listed below only support why people consider Federer to be a better allround player than Sampras.

The stats listed below clearly shows how the Sampras serve saved him against Agassi.

a) Agassi no doubt said that he would lose to Pete even if he played his best, but he said that Federer is tougher to beat . Agassi indicated that there is a place to go to with Pete , also if ( is a big if ) Pete's serve can be neutralized, Agassi had a better chance .

b) Agassi's quote after the U.S. Open clearly indicated that he would lose to both Pete and Federer even when he played his best, but Federer with his better all court gane makes it tougher.

NOTE as an aside that Agassi himself was not at his best when he made a comeback in the late 90's which saw him lose a string of matches to Pete.

In any case, the stats also show as to why most people consider Federer as the better player when compared to Pete. There are 7 points listed below -

1. Head to head in all matches -

a) Sampras leads 20-14.
b) Federer leads 8-3.


2. Head to head in all matches on second serve points -

a) On second serve points won , Agassi leads 22-8 .
NOTE - Stats not available for their first 4 matches.
b) On second serve points won , Federer leads 7-4 .

NOTE : Sampras' second serve was better than Federer's second serve, yet look at the disparity in stats , shows the superiority of the Federer all round game coompared to that of Sampras.

3. Head to head in slam matches -
a) In slam matches , Sampras leads 6-3 ( won at Wim and U.S., but lost at Aus Open and French Open).
b) In slam matches , Federer leads 3-1 ( won at Wim , U.S. and Aus Open)

NOTE : Sampras could not beat Agassi on the slower surfaces in the majors. Federer's defeat came before 2003 after which Federer improved to a great extent.

4. Head to head in slam matches on second serve points -
a) In slam matches on second serve points won Agassi leads 6-2, stats for
U.S. Open '90 match not available, but Sampras probably would have been ahead in the stats department.
Sampras led the stats on second serve points won in '93 Wim and '01 U.S. Open.
b) In slam matches on second serve points won Federer leads 3-2.


5. Break down of percentage of points won on first serve by Sampras and Federer -

a)
Sampras - Number of times percentage of points won on first serve >= 90% = 2 , won 100% points once !
in 1996 singles c'ships on carpet in Germany.
Federer - the number is zero . Shows the importance of the Pete first serve.

b)
Sampras - Number of times percentage of points won on first serve >= 80% and = 70% and = 60% and = 50% = 12 ( 12 out of 30 recorded matches) .
Federer - Number of times percentage of points won on second serve >= 50% = 7 ( 7 out of 11 matches) .

b)
Sampras - Number of times percentage of points won on second serve = 10 and = 20 and = 30 and = 40 and = 50 = 1
Federer - Same number = 0.

NOTE - there was 1 match where the difference in percentage between first and second serve points for Sampras was greater than or equal to 50% whereas Federer again never had this stat.

==============================================

Listed below are the stats of all matches between Sampras and Agassi and also between Federer and Agassi.

NOTE - Stats for the first four matches between Sampras and Agassi are not available.

Sampras- Agassi matches listed below -

1. 1989 Rome (clay) - Agassi , 6-2 6-1.


2. 1990 Philadelphia (carpet) - Sampras , 5-7 7-5 RET.


3. 1990 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-3 6-2


4. 1990 Singles c'ship Germany (carpet) - Agassi , 6-4 6-2


5. 1991 Singles c'ship Germany (carpet) - Sampras , 6-3 1-6 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 16 5
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve Percentage 64% (50/78) 58% (48/82)
1st Serve Points Won 78% (39/50) 64% (31/48)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (14/28) 61% (21/34) Agassi
Difference % 18 3
Break Points Saved 66% (4/6) 66% (4/6)


6. 1992 Atlanta (clay) - Agassi , 7-5 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 6 5
Double faults 2
1st Serve Percentage 68% (45/66) 63% (38/60)
1st Serve Points Won 82% (37/45) 84% (32/38)
2nd Serve Points Won 33% (7/21) 68% (15/22) Agassi
Difference % 49 16
Break Points Saved 60% (3/5) % (/4)

7. 1992 French Open (clay) - Agassi , 7-6(6) 6-2 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 6 3
Double faults 7 1
1st Serve Percentage 56% (61/108) 70% (63/90)
1st Serve Points Won 62% (38/61) 74% (47/63)
2nd Serve Points Won 40% (19/47) 55% (15/27) Agassi
Difference % 22 19
Break Points Saved 40% (4/10) 0% (0/1)


8. 1993 Wimbledon (grass) - Sampras , 6-2 6-2 3-6 3-6 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 23 7
Double faults 6 7
1st Serve Percentage 66% (102/154) 56% (92/164)
1st Serve Points Won 85% (87/102) 75% (69/92)
2nd Serve Points Won 38% (20/52) 36% (26/72) Sampras
Difference % 47 39
Break Points Saved 63% (7/11) 53% (7/13)


9. 1994 Key Bisayne (hard) - Sampras, 5-7 6-3 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 14 9
Double faults 7 3
1st Serve Percentage 52% (49/94) 63% (69/109)
1st Serve Points Won 83% (41/49) 55% (38/69)
2nd Serve Points Won 40% (18/45) 60% (24/40) Agassi
Difference % 43 -5
Break Points Saved 40% (2/5) 70% (12/17)


10. 1994 Osaka (hard) - Sampras , 6-3 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 0
Double faults 3 2
1st Serve Percentage 65% (32/49) 65% (38/58)
1st Serve Points Won 75% (24/32) 55% (21/38)
2nd Serve Points Won 70% (12/17) 45% (9/20) Sampras
Difference % 5 10
Break Points Saved % (/) 33% (2/6)


11. 1994 Paris indoor (carpet) - Agassi , 7-6(6) 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 17 4
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve Percentage 65% (65/100) 60% (52/86)
1st Serve Points Won 72% (47/65) 75% (39/52)
2nd Serve Points Won 37% (13/35) 47% (16/34)
Difference % 35 28
Break Points Saved 75% (9/12) 0% (0/2)

12. 1994 Singles c'ship Germany (carpet) - Sampras , 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 20 7
Double faults 2 4
1st Serve Percentage 56% (50/89) 61% (65/105)
1st Serve Points Won 82% (41/50) 69% (45/65)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (24/39) 62% (25/40) Agassi
Difference % 21 7
Break Points Saved 50% (2/4) 76% (10/13)


13. 1995 Aus Open (hard) - Agassi , 4-6 6-1 7-6(6) 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 28 10
Double faults 6 4
1st Serve Percentage 60% (104/173) 71% (95/132)
1st Serve Points Won 78% (82/104) 73% (70/95)
2nd Serve Points Won 43% (30/69) 54% (20/37) Agassi
Difference % 35 19
Break Points Saved 76% (16/21) 50% (2/4)


14. 1995 Indian Wells (hard) - Sampras , 7-5 6-3 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 19 9
Double faults 3 2
1st Serve Percentage 60% (60/100) 72% (82/113)
1st Serve Points Won 85% (51/60) 59% (49/82)
2nd Serve Points Won 47% (19/40) 61% (19/31) Agassi
Difference % 38 -2
Break Points Saved 75% (3/4) 71% (10/14)


15. 1995 Key Biscayne (hard) - Agassi , 3-6 6-2 7-6(3)

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 4
Double faults 4 1
1st Serve Percentage 48% (49/101) 70% (63/90)
1st Serve Points Won 69% (34/49) 71% (45/63)
2nd Serve Points Won 57% (30/52) 70% (19/27) Agassi
Difference % 12 1
Break Points Saved 75% (6/8) 75% (3/4)


16. 1995 Montreal (hard) - Agassi , 3-6 6-2 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 12 6
Double faults 3 0
1st Serve Percentage 47% (40/84) 76% (64/84)
1st Serve Points Won 75% (30/40) 65% (42/64)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (22/44) 65% (13/20) Agassi
Difference % 25 0
Break Points Saved 75% (9/12) 85% (6/7)

17. 1995 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-3 4-6 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 24 8
Double Faults 6 4
1st Serve Percentage 58% (89/151) 57% (72/125)
1st Serve Points Won 89% (80/89) 72% (52/72)
2nd Serve Points Won 48% (30/62) 60% (32/53) Agassi
Difference % 41 12
Break Points Saved 66% (4/6) 42% (3/7)


18. 1996 San Jose (hard) - Sampras , 6-2 6-3

Sampras Agassi
Aces 5 3
Double Faults 1
1st Serve Percentage 47% (26/55) 53% (30/56)
1st Serve Points Won 88% (23/26) 56% (17/30)
2nd Serve Points Won 55% (16/29) 53% (14/26) Sampras
Difference % 33 3
Break Points Saved % (/4) 62% (5/8)


19. 1996 Stuttgart indoor (carpet) - Sampras , 6-4 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 2
Double Faults 1 1
1st Serve Percentage 62% (37/59) 46% (21/45)
1st Serve Points Won 72% (27/37) 42% (9/21)
2nd Serve Points Won 31% (7/22) 29% (7/24) Sampras
Difference % 41 13
Break Points Saved 50% (3/6) 40% (4/10)


20. 1996 Singles c'ships (carpet) - Sampras ,6-2 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 2
Double Faults 2
1st Serve Percentage 50% (19/38) 57% (27/47)
1st Serve Points Won 100% (19/19) 51% (14/27)
2nd Serve Points Won 68% (13/19) 35% (7/20) Sampras
Difference % 32 16
Break Points Saved % (/) 60% (6/10)


21. 1998 San Jose (hard) - Agassi , 6-2 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 17 2
Double Faults 6 1
1st Serve Percentage 60% (40/66) 60% (32/53)
1st Serve Points Won 72% (29/40) 78% (25/32)
2nd Serve Points Won 38% (10/26) 66% (14/21) Agassi
Difference % 34 12
Break Points Saved 62% (5/8) % (/2)

22. 1998 Monte Carlo (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 6 1
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve Percentage 52% (33/63) 67% (43/64)
1st Serve Points Won 81% (27/33) 58% (25/43)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (15/30) 52% (11/21) Agassi
Difference % 31 6
Break Points Saved 50% (2/4) 0% (0/4)

23. 1998 Montreal (hard) - Agassi , 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 22 4
Double Faults 12 3
1st Serve Percentage 58% (59/101) 74% (72/97)
1st Serve Points Won 69% (41/59) 70% (51/72)
2nd Serve Points Won 38% (16/42) 52% (13/25) Agassi
Difference % 31 18
Break Points Saved 64% (9/14) 87% (7/8)


24. 1999 Wimbledom (grass) - Sampras , 6-3 6-4 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 16 5
Double Faults 5 6
1st Serve Percentage 66% (76/114) 44% (49/109)
1st Serve Points Won 89% (68/76) 75% (37/49)
2nd Serve Points Won 39% (15/38) 45% (27/60) Agassi
Difference % 50 30
Break Points Saved 100% (4/4) 66% (6/9)


25. 1999 Los Angeles (hard) - Sampras , 7-6(3) 7-6(1)

Sampras Agassi
Aces 11 10
Double Faults 3 1
1st Serve Percentage 61% (55/90) 78% (55/70)
1st Serve Points Won 81% (45/55) 72% (40/55)
2nd Serve Points Won 54% (19/35) 80% (12/15) Agassi
Difference % 27 -8
Break Points Saved 83% (5/6) 50% (1/2)


26. 1999 Cincinnati (hard) - Sampras , 7-6(7) 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 8 8
Double Faults 6 2
1st Serve Percentage 54% (32/59) 52% (37/71)
1st Serve Points Won 90% (29/32) 67% (25/37)
2nd Serve Points Won 62% (17/27) 61% (21/34) Sampras
Difference % 28 6
Break Points Saved 0% (0/1) 33% (1/3)


27. 1999 Singles c'ships Germany rr (hard) - Agassi , 6-2 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 5 1
Double Faults 5 2
1st Serve Percentage 64% (34/53) 61% (27/44)
1st Serve Points Won 67% (23/34) 85% (23/27)
2nd Serve Points Won 31% (6/19) 64% (11/17) Agassi
Difference % 36 21
Break Points Saved 55% (5/9) 100% (3/3)


28. 1999 Singles c'ships Germany final (hard) - Sampras , 6-1 7-5 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 15 4
Double Faults 10 7
1st Serve Percentage 58% (50/85) 47% (43/91)
1st Serve Points Won 88% (44/50) 65% (28/43)
2nd Serve Points Won 42% (15/35) 50% (24/48) Agassi
Difference % 46 15
Break Points Saved 75% (3/4) 44% (4/9)


29. 2000 Aus Open (hard ) - Agassi , 6-4 3-6 6-7(0) 7-6(5) 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 37 13
Double Faults 5 3
1st Serve Percentage 63% (99/156) 68% (101/148)
1st Serve Points Won 80% (80/99) 74% (75/101)
2nd Serve Points Won 49% (28/57) 68% (32/47) Agassi
Difference % 31 6
Break Points Saved 76% (10/13) 88% (8/9)

30. 2001 Indian Wells (hard) - Agassi , 7-6 7-5(5) 6-1

Sampras Agassi
Aces 14 4
Double Faults 11 1
1st Serve Percentage 51% (48/94) 78% (83/106)
1st Serve Points Won 81% (39/48) 69% (58/83)
2nd Serve Points Won 41% (19/46) 69% (16/23) Agassi
Difference % 40 0
Break Points Saved 70% (7/10) 100% (4/4)


31. 2001 Los Angeles (hard) - Agassi , 6-4 6-2

Sampras Agassi
Aces 9 3
Double Faults 7 0
1st Serve Percentage 53% (34/63) 80% (57/71)
1st Serve Points Won 67% (23/34) 63% (36/57)
2nd Serve Points Won 34% (10/29) 57% (8/14) Agassi
Difference % 33 6
Break Points Saved 42% (3/7) 85% (6/7)


32. 2001 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-7(7) 7-6(2) 7-6(2) 7-6(5)

Sampras Agassi
Aces 25 18
Double Faults 12 4
1st Serve Percentage 62% (105/168) 65% (111/170)
1st Serve Points Won 79% (83/105) 74% (83/111)
2nd Serve Points Won 58% (37/63) 52% (31/59) Sampras
Difference % 21 22
Break Points Saved 100% (3/3) 100% (6/6)


33. 2002 Houston (clay) - Sampras , 6-1 7-5

Sampras Agassi
Aces 11 4
Double Faults 3 3
1st Serve Percentage 53% (36/67) 52% (28/53)
1st Serve Points Won 86% (31/36) 67% (19/28)
2nd Serve Points Won 48% (15/31) 44% (11/25) Sampras
Difference % 38 23
Break Points Saved 100% (2/2) 50% (3/6)


34. 2002 U.S. Open (hard) - Sampras , 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4

Sampras Agassi
Aces 33 7
Double Faults 13 4
1st Serve Percentage 57% (87/152) 65% (82/125)
1st Serve Points Won 80% (70/87) 67% (55/82)
2nd Serve Points Won 52% (34/65) 53% (23/43) Agassi
Difference % 28 14
Break Points Saved 83% (10/12) 50% (4/8)

=======================================================

Federer - Agassi matches listed below


1. 1998 Basel (hard) - Agassi, 6-3 6-2

Federer Agassi
Aces 4 4
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve Percentage 58% (31/53) 48% (24/50)
1st Serve Points Won 64% (20/31) 79% (19/24)
2nd Serve Points Won 31% (7/22) 65% (17/26) Agassi
Difference % 33 14
Break Points Saved 50% (4/8) 50% (1/2)


2. 2001 U.S. Open (hard) - Agassi, 6-1 6-2 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 1 6
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve Percentage 47% (28/59) 66% (53/80)
1st Serve Points Won 60% (17/28) 71% (38/53)
2nd Serve Points Won 48% (15/31) 70% (19/27) Agassi
Difference % 12 1
Break Points Saved 16% (1/6) 100% (9/9)


3. 2002 Miami (hard) - Agassi , 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 10 8
Double Faults 3 1
1st Serve Percentage 62% (69/111) 62% (72/116)
1st Serve Points Won 65% (45/69) 68% (49/72)
2nd Serve Points Won 59% (25/42) 54% (24/44) Federer
Difference % 6 14
Break Points Saved 53% (7/13) 57% (4/7)

4. 2003 Tennis Masters Cup (hard) RR - Federer, 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(7)

Federer Agassi
Aces 20 4
Double Faults 6 4
1st Serve Percentage 53% (66/124) 59% (70/117)
1st Serve Points Won 74% (49/66) 64% (45/70)
2nd Serve Points Won 41% (24/58) 51% (24/47) Agassi
Difference % 33 13
Break Points Saved 66% (6/9) 50% (5/10)

5. 2003 Tennis Masters Cup (hard) final - Federer , 6-3 6-0 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 11 1
Double Faults 5 4
1st Serve Percentage 51% (36/70) 63% (47/74)
1st Serve Points Won 83% (30/36) 57% (27/47)
2nd Serve Points Won 67% (23/34) 48% (13/27) Federer
Difference % 16 9
Break Points Saved 71% (5/7)

6. 2004 Indian Wells (hard) - Federer , 4-6 6-3 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 12 2
Double Faults 5 4
1st Serve Percentage 58% (50/85) 63% (59/93)
1st Serve Points Won 82% (41/50) 76% (45/59)
2nd Serve Points Won 62% (22/35) 47% (16/34) Federer
Difference % 20 29
Break Points Saved 83% (5/6) 66% (4/6)


7. 2004 U.S. Open (hard) - Federer , 6-3 2-6 7-5 3-6 6-3

Aces 16 4
Double Faults 9 4
1st Serve Percentage 63% (101/158) 68% (97/142)
1st Serve Points Won 74% (75/101) 71% (69/97)
2nd Serve Points Won 47% (27/57) 60% (27/45) Agassi
Difference % 27 11
Break Points Saved 66% (6/9) 70% (7/10)

8. 2005 Aus Open (hard) - Federer , 6-3 6-4 6-4

Federer Agassi
Aces 22 1
Double Faults 4 2
1st Serve Percentage 65% (65/99) 55% (44/79)
1st Serve Points Won 76% (50/65) 75% (33/44)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (21/34) 51% (18/35) Federer
Difference % 15 24
Break Points Saved 100% (4/4) 50% (3/6)

9. 2005 Dubai (hard) - Federer , 6-3 6-1


Aces 8 2
Double Faults 3 1
1st Serve Percentage 64% (33/51) 58% (24/41)
1st Serve Points Won 75% (25/33) 45% (11/24)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (11/18) 52% (9/17) Federer
Difference % 14 13
Break Points Saved 100% (3/3) 33% (2/6)

Posted by Suresh 03/16/2007 at 01:56 PM

Ok, my apologies !!! The list of matches got pasted twice !

Posted by Sam 03/16/2007 at 01:58 PM

"I did a detailed comparison of the stats on first and second serve points won when Sampras played Agassi and when Federer played Agassi."

Suresh - I recall the Sampras-Agassi comparison, but for some reason not the Federer-Agassi one. Thanks for posting these.

<<      1 2

We are no longer accepting comments for this entry.

<<  A Hard Case Wednesday Racket (OT)  >>




Wild Women of the U.S. Open
Wild Men of the U.S. Open
Roddick's Imperfect World
"It's Kind of a Dance"
Nadal's Kneeds
The Racquet Scientist: Canadian Tennis
The Long and Short of It
This blog has 3693 entries and 1646147 comments.
More
More Video
Daily Spin