Federer one of the worst at challenges??

#1
I’m sure this has come up before, but wanted to get everyone’s take now. I consistently hear commentators list Roger as one of the worst at using the challenge system. So my questions are … (1) Do the stats support this? Does anyone have access to “challenge accuracy” data for the top players? And (2) If he is that poor, is it really because he cannot see the ball or are many of these poor challenges “throw-away” challenges? I know that players often use challenges for other reasons than to dispute a call.

Personally, I think Roger may want to know just how far out the ball was … I think he is usually pretty sure one way or another prior to challenging. I also know that Roger has never been a fan of the system and maybe that plays a big role as well.
 

Wander

Professional
#8
I always suspected this recurring "pointer" that the commentators still continue to refer to was probably all hogwash purely based on a handful of bad challenges he made early on after the system first came out.

Now to just wait for a commentator to refer to the actual facts the next time this topic comes up (predictably after Roger makes an unsuccessful challenge). Not holding my breath.
 
#12
I always suspected this recurring "pointer" that the commentators still continue to refer to was probably all hogwash purely based on a handful of bad challenges he made early on after the system first came out.

Now to just wait for a commentator to refer to the actual facts the next time this topic comes up (predictably after Roger makes an unsuccessful challenge). Not holding my breath.
It all stems from this

 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
#13
Surprised that Federer actually features on that list. He has always seemed to me an impatient and often half-hearted challenger (we all know he hates the electronic review system) who gets it wrong more often than not. I'm still not sure I believe those stats!

Had to laugh at the absence of Murray's name. God knows how much I love Andy but I have to concede he must be the worst challenger I have ever seen. He challenges in all sorts of inappropriate situations and almost always gets it wrong (I groan when he does it). I often wonder why he's so bad at it, almost unique for a top player like him? :unsure:
 
#16
Most players often willingly challenge right calls just for the extra few seconds rest + if the match point it is somehow close to the line, they challenge just for the sake of it. Overall players should have a much better feel for the ball than the mentioned %
 
#18
I thought Fed was worse than that, perhaps it's a psychological thing where whenever he gets it wrong you think "he's got the most slams how could he get it wrong?" or maybe when he gets it wrong. it's really really far out
 
#20
Look at how close Fed and Novak are in total challenges despite Fed being on tour for many years more. And Djok has a higher success rate too. Nice example of being ballsy and having it pay off.

I'm also so surprised by these stats honestly. I really thought Nadal was better than Fed at challenging.

My guess now is that Nad does it a little more out of hope (rather than expectation) than Fed does, who generally trusts the umpires, while Djoker trusts the umpires less and apparently for good reason.
 
#22
It's BS, it's because a couple of the commentators actually barely watch tennis apart from Wimbledon and they stumble upon the 2007 final thinking Fed is just naturally gifted at being terrible at challenges.
 
#23
I’m sure this has come up before, but wanted to get everyone’s take now. I consistently hear commentators list Roger as one of the worst at using the challenge system. So my questions are … (1) Do the stats support this? Does anyone have access to “challenge accuracy” data for the top players? And (2) If he is that poor, is it really because he cannot see the ball...

Personally, I think Roger may want to know just how far out the ball was … I think he is usually pretty sure one way or another prior to challenging. I also know that Roger has never been a fan of the system and maybe that plays a big role as well.
Most of the claims here in relation to Federer are overstated or wrong.

- Commentators rarely say he's one of the worst. A few keep repeating it but I doubt it's a common view.

- Since he challenges disproportionately more than his peers on his own serves he's more likely to be right with challenges. And the stats back this up.

- Federer is not against the challenge system at all - and obviously not given it helps hims more often than not (stats show this). What he's against the variability in how different umpires interpret the "timely manner" aspect of the challenge process, and which often seems to change depending on the importance of the situation.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#24
I wish there were also stats on balls that they shoudl have challenged but didn't.

But really Fed gets a bad rep for challenges based on like 1 match where he got pissed off at it and some jokes about it afterwards
 
#26
I wish there were also stats on balls that they shoudl have challenged but didn't.

But really Fed gets a bad rep for challenges based on like 1 match where he got pissed off at it and some jokes about it afterwards
Fed has a tendency to also challenge some balls that were obviously out, but because they were on crucial points he just does it for the peace of mind. So I think his actual legit challenge percentage really should be higher.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#27
Surprised that Federer actually features on that list. He has always seemed to me an impatient and often half-hearted challenger (we all know he hates the electronic review system) who gets it wrong more often than not. I'm still not sure I believe those stats!

Had to laugh at the absence of Murray's name. God knows how much I love Andy but I have to concede he must be the worst challenger I have ever seen. He challenges in all sorts of inappropriate situations and almost always gets it wrong (I groan when he does it). I often wonder why he's so bad at it, almost unique for a top player like him? :unsure:
Being a really good tennis player does not guarantee great eyesight. Confirmed. :)
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#28
Fed has a tendency to also challenge some balls that were obviously out, but because they were on crucial points he just does it for the peace of mind. So I think his actual legit challenge percentage really should be higher.
If any of the top players should have a rep for bad challenges it should be Murray. Half his challenges are just him being angry at losing the point
 
#29
Most of the claims here in relation to Federer are overstated or wrong.

- Commentators rarely say he's one of the worst. A few keep repeating it but I doubt it's a common view.

- Since he challenges disproportionately more than his peers on his own serves he's more likely to be right with challenges. And the stats back this up.

- Federer is not against the challenge system at all - and obviously not given it helps hims more often than not (stats show this). What he's against the variability in how different umpires interpret the "timely manner" aspect of the challenge process, and which often seems to change depending on the importance of the situation.
I have to respectfully disagree. Almost all of the commentators I have heard (on Tennis Channel in particular) have said they feel he is very poor at challenges, including Paul Annacone his former coach. And Federer has spoken negatively about the challenge system since day one, pointing out that it took responsibility off of lines judges and umpires. He felt they were less likely to overrule or correct themselves since there was the option to challenge. At one point he stated (if memory serves) that it was tough enough to play matches … he didn’t want to “call his own lines” as well.

I do agree that he is also against the variability you mentioned, and that stats support that most of these claims about him are incorrect.
 
#31
The stats say Federer isn't actually that bad. But I think the reputation is because sometimes when he's wrong he seems angry, like he's still not convinced the machine is right. Other players grew up with the hawkeye/challenge system in place and accept it.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
#34
Federer is in the top 1/3rd with most number of challenges ALL TIME and there is a discussion of him being "one of the worst" at challenging.

Only on TTW.

:cool:
 
#40
All I can say here is that I never see him get many challenges right. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention.
Probably just confirmation bias. He does have the record for the most number of challenges wrong (since he has also made the most challenges) and hence those wrong ones probably stick with you the most.

What is interesting to me is that all of the challenge percentages listed here are so high. Top challengers getting between 31-44% correct challenges. That means linesmen are only correctly calling about 56-69% of close calls and the actual correct call % is even lower than that due to wrong calls going unchallenged (due to brain fart in heat of the moment or being out of challenges).

Given that this is a list of the top 25 ever, the actual average player is going to be a lower %. I'd be interested to see what that is, but on hand from these numbers I'd approximate it would be around 25% and linesmen missing 1 out of every 4 close calls seems way too high to be acceptable error IMO. Lends credence to doing away with linesmen and having an automated system all together.
 
#42
Probably just confirmation bias. He does have the record for the most number of challenges wrong (since he has also made the most challenges) and hence those wrong ones probably stick with you the most.

What is interesting to me is that all of the challenge percentages listed here are so high. Top challengers getting between 31-44% correct challenges. That means linesmen are only correctly calling about 56-69% of close calls and the actual correct call % is even lower than that due to wrong calls going unchallenged (due to brain fart in heat of the moment or being out of challenges).

Given that this is a list of the top 25 ever, the actual average player is going to be a lower %. I'd be interested to see what that is, but on hand from these numbers I'd approximate it would be around 25% and linesmen missing 1 out of every 4 close calls seems way too high to be acceptable error IMO. Lends credence to doing away with linesmen and having an automated system all together.
In a follow-up tweet he mentioned that players got them right 17,9% of the time
 
#45
I thought Fed was worse than that, perhaps it's a psychological thing where whenever he gets it wrong you think "he's got the most slams how could he get it wrong?" or maybe when he gets it wrong. it's really really far out
Maybe, but it’s mostly what @Deon Sanders posted and the narrative grew and was taken for gospel by everyone. Fortunately, in the data age, we can see things for how they are.
 
Last edited:
#46
Actually Fed is very good at challenges for both his own serves and his opponent's serve. He knows by intuition whether the serve landed. And the stare that follows on critical points at the linesman when they get it wrong :)-

Remember AO18 vs Cilic - 'Good job, buddy !'

What he usually challenges knowing very well he is wrong are the BP he misses during rallies .

I
 
Top