Category Archives: Tennis

Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer and the Closest Wimbledon Finals of the Open Era (Men)

2014 Champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer Put On One Of The Closest Wimbledon Finals Ever Today

2014 Champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer Put On One Of The Closest Wimbledon Finals Ever Today

How much of a classic was today’s Novak Djokovic-Roger Federer Wimbledon finale?

It was easily one of the closest Finals of the Open Era (1968-present), and arguably THE closest, depending on what kind of metric you use. Let’s take a look.

First, there have been 15 (of 47) Wimbledon Finals that went five sets, listed below and broken down successively from those with two tiebreakers (6) to one tiebreaker (3) to straight-up five sets (6).

One way to look at this – the simplest – is to give the two-tiebreaker matches the nod as the closest. But it’s more than that. It so happens that the matches that went to two tiebreakers also more often had closer sets throughout. For example, each one of the 0ne-tiebreaker matches had at least one 6-1 set (a blowout). None of the two-tiebreaker matches did.

Another way to look at it is to use another metric, this one provided in the last column, called “Sets Won Diff.” This is the difference in total sets won between the champion and runner-up. Two-thirds of the two-tiebreaker matches had SWD of two or less, compared to one-third of the one-tiebreakers and one-third of the straight-up five setters.

So, then, which of the six two-tiebreaker matches was the closest of all?

Check out the 2009 Finals between Federer and Andy Roddick. Roddick actually won more sets in defeat (!) and that last set finished 16-14. Now that is close.

Or was it the 2008 Finals between Rafael Nadal and Federer where not one set was won by more than two games?

The same can be said for today’s Djokovic-Federer Finals.

Like I said. Arguable.

5 SETS, 2 TIEBREAKERS

YEAR WIMBLEDON CHAMPION RUNNER-UP FINALS SETS WON DIFF
1982 Jimmy Connors John McEnroe 3–6, 6–3, 6–7(2–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–4 2
1998 Pete Sampras Goran Ivaniševic’ 6–7(2–7), 7–6(11–9), 6–4, 3–6, 6–2 3
2007 Roger Federer Rafael Nadal 7–6(9–7), 4–6, 7–6(7–3), 2–6, 6–2 0
2008 Rafael Nadal Roger Federer 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7 4
2009 Roger Federer Andy Roddick 5–7, 7–6(8–6), 7–6(7–5), 3–6, 16–14 -1
2014 Novak Djokovic Roger Federer 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 7–6(7–4), 5–7, 6–4 2

5 SETS, 1 TIEBREAKER

YEAR WIMBLEDON CHAMPION RUNNER-UP FINALS SETS WON DIFF
1979 Björn Borg Roscoe Tanner 6–7(4–7), 6–1, 3–6, 6–3, 6–4 6
1980 Björn Borg John McEnroe 1–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–7(16–18), 8–6 1
1992 Andre Agassi Goran Ivaniševic’ 6–7(8–10), 6–4, 6–4, 1–6, 6–4 0

5 SETS

YEAR WIMBLEDON CHAMPION RUNNER-UP FINALS SETS WON DIFF
1970 John Newcombe Ken Rosewall 5–7, 6–3, 6–2, 3–6, 6–1 7
1971 John Newcombe Stan Smith 6–3, 5–7, 2–6, 6–4, 6–4 1
1972 Stan Smith Ilie Nastase 4–6, 6–3, 6–3, 4–6, 7–5 4
1977 Björn Borg Jimmy Connors 3–6, 6–2, 6–1, 5–7, 6–4 6
1990 Stefan Edberg Boris Becker 6–2, 6–2, 3–6, 3–6, 6–4 4
2001 Goran Ivaniševic’ Patrick Rafter 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, 9–7 1

Photo: independent.co.uk

Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Martina Navratilova and Back-to-Back Wimbledon Champions (Open Era)

Martina Navratilova Won Six Wimbledon Championships In A Row. Bjorn Borg And Roger Federer Won Five.

Martina Navratilova Won Six Wimbledon Championships In A Row. Bjorn Borg And Roger Federer Won Five.

Just yesterday, Sports List of the Day posted video of John McEnroe‘s July 4th,* 1981 win over Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon, stopping Borg’s streak of five championships in a row, the all-time record on the men’s side.

Roger Federer also won five in a row, about thirty years later.

Then there’s Pete Sampras, twice, with streaks of three and four that were broken up by an unlikely (his only Grand Slam title) Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands. Krajicek beat Sampras in the quarter-finals on the way to a deserved title.

If not for that slip, Sampras would have won an astonishing eight in a row, so dominant he was during the “Sampras Era” (a fair label).

But in reality, no one can match Martina Navratilova. She holds the women’s record at six, best of all – and you can  go ahead and call the late 1970’s and all of the 1980’s the “Navratilova Era.”

Steffi Graf followed with three streaks of her own.

And check out Venus and Serena Williams who both went back-to-back, back-to-back with each other – twice!

Alas, there won’t be a repeat winner in 2014. Petra Kvitova just won the women’s side, unseating France’s Marion Bartoli, and hometown favorite Andy Murray was bounced long ago.

BACK-TO-BACK WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONS (MEN)

WIMBLEDON CHAMPION YEARS IN A ROW YEARS DEFEATED IN FINALS
1. Björn Borg 5 1976 Ilie Nastase
(Sweden) 1977 Jimmy Connors
1978 Jimmy Connors
1979 Roscoe Tanner
1980 John McEnroe
1. Roger Federer 5 2003 Mark Philippoussis
(Switzerland) 2004 Andy Roddick
2005 Andy Roddick
2006 Rafael Nadal
2007 Rafael Nadal
3. Pete Sampras 4 1997 Cédric Pioline
(USA) 1998 Goran Ivaniševic’
1999 Andre Agassi
2000 Patrick Rafter
4. Pete Sampras 3 1993 Jim Courier
(USA) 1994 Goran Ivaniševic’
1995 Boris Becker
5. Rod Laver 2 1968 Tony Roche
(Australia) 1969 John Newcombe
5. John Newcombe 2 1970 Ken Rosewall
(Australia) 1971 Stan Smith
5. John McEnroe 2 1983 Chris Lewis
(USA) 1984 Jimmy Connors
5. Boris Becker 2 1985 Kevin Curren
(West Germany) 1986 Ivan Lendl

*

BACK-TO-BACK WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONS (WOMEN)

WIMBLEDON CHAMPION YEARS IN A ROW YEARS DEFEATED IN FINALS
1. Martina Navratilova 6 1982 Chris Evert-Lloyd
(USA) 1983 Andrea Jaeger
1984 Chris Evert-Lloyd
1985 Chris Evert-Lloyd
1986 Hana Mandlíková
1987 Steffi Graf
2. Steffi Graf 3 1991 Gabriela Sabatini
(Germany) 1992 Monica Seles
1993 Jana Novotná
3. Billie Jean King 2 1972 Evonne Goolagong
(USA) 1973 Chris Evert
3. Martina Navratilova 2 1978 Chris Evert
(USA) 1979 Chris Evert-Lloyd
3. Steffi Graf 2 1988 Martina Navratilova
(West Germany) 1989 Martina Navratilova
3. Steffi Graf 2 1995 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
(Germany) 1996 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
3. Venus Williams 2 2000 Lindsay Davenport
(USA) 2001 Justine Henin
3. Serena Williams 2 2002 Venus Williams
(USA) 2003 Venus Williams
3. Venus Williams 2 2007 Marion Bartoli
(USA) 2008 Serena Williams
3. Serena Williams 2 2009 Venus Williams
(USA) 2010 Vera Zvonareva

Photos: Getty via espn.com / murf.com / Clive Rose, PA Wire via digitalspy.com

* It was part of a vide0 look at the greatest sports moments that have occurred on the 4th of July.

Rafael Nadal and Back-to-Back French Open Winners (Men and Women)

Rafel Nadal Won His Unprecented Fifth French Open In A Row Yesterday

Rafel Nadal Won His Unprecedented Fifth French Open In A Row Yesterday

Rafael Nadal is not just arguably – he is – the greatest French Open player of all time. He cemented his legacy just yesterday with his ninth title and an astounding fifth in a row (not done since even before the Open era – that’s since 1891*).

And that’s not all. Nadal also won four back-to-back before this streak. Talk about a master of clay. How about THE Master of Clay.

Nadal’s two streaks were broken up in 2009 by another master (though surely not one of clay), Roger Federer.

Another Swede, the great Bjorn Borg, won four in a row himself.

Finishing off the men’s side are six basic back-to-backers. Borg appears again here.

What about the fairer group – the ladies?

Five have been repeat winners, with Monica Seles and Justine Henin at the top – each won three in a row.

Then, there’s old timer Margaret Court, who also played (and won twice) before the Roland Garros’ tournament became “Open”* in 1968.

American Chris Evert (Chris Evert-Lloyd at the time) pulled off three back-to-backers, while Germany’s Steffi Graf did it twice.

BACK-TO-BACK FRENCH OPEN WINNERS – MEN

FRENCH OPEN CHAMPION COUNTRY TITLES IN A ROW YEARS RUNNERS-UP COUNTRY
1. Rafael Nadal Spain 5 2010 Robin Söderling Sweden
2011 Roger Federer Switzerland
2012 Novak Djokovic Serbia
2013 David Ferrer Spain
2014 Novak Djokovic Serbia
2. Björn Borg Sweden 4 1978 Guillermo Vilas Argentina
1979 Víctor Pecci Paraguay
1980 Vitas Gerulaitis USA
1981 Ivan Lendl Czechoslovakia
2. Rafael Nadal Spain 4 2005 Mariano Puerta Argentina
2006 Roger Federer Switzerland
2007 Roger Federer Switzerland
2008 Roger Federer Switzerland
4. Jan Kodeš Czechoslovakia 2 1970 Željko Franulovic’ Yugoslavia
1971 Ilie Nastase Romania
4. Björn Borg Sweden 2 1974 Manuel Orantes Spain
1975 Guillermo Vilas Argentina
4. Ivan Lendl Czechoslovakia 2 1986 Mikael Pernfors Sweden
1987 Mats Wilander Sweden
4. Jim Courier USA 2 1991 Andre Agassi USA
1992 Petr Korda Czechoslovakia
4. Sergi Bruguera Spain 2 1993 Jim Courier USA
1994 Alberto Berasategui Spain
4. Gustavo Kuerten Brazil 2 2000 Magnus Norman Sweden
2001 Àlex Corretja Spain

BACK-TO-BACK FRENCH OPEN WINNERS – WOMEN

FRENCH OPEN CHAMPION COUNTRY TITLES IN A ROW YEARS RUNNERS-UP COUNTRY
1. Monica Seles Yugoslavia 3 1990 Steffi Graf West Germany
1991 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Spain
1992 Steffi Graf Germany
1. Justine Henin Belgium 3 2005 Mary Pierce France
2006 Svetlana Kuznetsova Russia
2007 Ana Ivanovic Serbia
3. Margaret Court Australia 2 1969 Ann Haydon Jones Great Britain
1970 Helga Niessen Masthoff West Germany
3. Chris Evert USA 2 1974 Olga Morozova Soviet Union
1975 Martina Navratilova Czechoslovakia
3. Chris Evert USA 2 1979 Wendy Turnbull Australia
1980 Virginia Ruzici Romania
3. Chris Evert USA 2 1985 Martina Navratilova USA
1986 Martina Navratilova USA
3. Steffi Graf West Germany 2 1987 Martina Navratilova USA
  1988 Natasha Zvereva Soviet Union
3. Steffi Graf Germany 2 1995 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Spain
  1996 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Spain

* This tennis tournament at Roland Garros in France has been played since 1891 (men) and 1897 (women). It was open only to amateurs through 1967. In 1968, professionals were invited to play. The stats above reflect the “Open” era between 1968 and the present.

Photo: washingtonpost.com

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