Federer was much more clutch against top players in big tourneys vs medium to small tourneys

Pheasant

Legend
Federer played much better at slams and the WTF than he did at other tourneys. I watched the 2004 Masters Cup. The prize money that Federer earned was about equal with what a slam paid out back then. The Masters Cup was a huge deal. It's actually still a big deal, considering that even now, it pays about double of what a Masters event plays.

From 2003-2007, here are Fed's records against the top 10 at slams/WTF vs other events:

Federer vs top 10
Year slams/WTF............ other matches
2003 6-0................ ....... 3-5
2004 12-0....... ...... ....... 6-0
2005 8-2 ................. .... 7-0
2006 12-1................ .... 7-3
2007 13-2...................... 4-2
Total 51-5, .911............. 27-10, .730

Fed's winning percentage vs the top 10 at these big events was much better than it was when playing the medium to smaller events. .730 ball is certainly good against the top 10. But .911 is several leagues better.
 

Jonesy

Legend
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Pheasant

Legend
Fed's 51-5 record vs the top 10 in those big tourneys is incredible. Here are those 5 losses:
2005 AO semi: Fed was up 5-2 in the 4th set tiebreaker to seal the match.
2005 Masters Cup final: Fed lost in a 5th set tiebreaker to Nalbandian. Federer had severely sprained his ankle about 6 weeks earlier. He missed a month of play. If I remember correctly, he wore a knee brace in this match.
2006 FO final: It's Nadal at the FO. Nadal was in the middle of an 81 match winning streak on clay.
2007 FO final: It's Nadal again, who was 87-1 in his previous 88 clay matches(lost to Fed) entering this match.
2007 Master's Cup round robin: Fed lost 3-6, 7-6, 7-5.

It's a major bummer that Fed lost those matches in 2005. Beating Safin in that semi likely means that he breaks Mac's 1984 season of 82-3(best winning percentage in a season). Fed would have needed to beat Hewitt in the final. Doing this has Fed at 83-3 for 2005. That's a lot of would could should. But I believe Fed would have pulled this off, had he won that 4th set tiebreaker against Safin with a 5-2 lead.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Fed's 51-5 record vs the top 10 in those big tourneys is incredible. Here are those 5 losses:
2005 AO semi: Fed was up 5-2 in the 4th set tiebreaker to seal the match.
2005 Masters Cup final: Fed lost in a 5th set tiebreaker to Nalbandian. Federer had severely sprained his ankle about 6 weeks earlier. He missed a month of play. If I remember correctly, he wore a knee brace in this match.
2006 FO final: It's Nadal at the FO. Nadal was in the middle of an 81 match winning streak on clay.
2007 FO final: It's Nadal again, who was 87-1 in his previous 88 clay matches(lost to Fed) entering this match.
2007 Master's Cup round robin: Fed lost 3-6, 7-6, 7-5.

It's a major bummer that Fed lost those matches in 2005. Beating Safin in that semi likely means that he breaks Mac's 1984 season of 82-3(best winning percentage in a season). Fed would have needed to beat Hewitt in the final. Doing this has Fed at 83-3 for 2005. That's a lot of would could should. But I believe Fed would have pulled this off, had he won that 4th set tiebreaker against Safin with a 5-2 lead.

The 2007 Masters Cup defeat was against Gonzalez. Not sure whether you forgot to write his name, or thought it was irrelevant because it was a round robin.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Good catch. Although I had the correct numbers for records vs top 10(Tennis Abstract did), I wrote down the wrong losses for 2005. I need to exclude Fed's loss to Nalbandian(outside top 10), but add his loss to Nadal at the FO(inside top 10).

So 3 of the 5 defeats were against Nadal at the FO.

The others being against Safin and Gonzalez. Of which the Gonzales one (not to take away from Fernando's win) was arguably meaningless because Federer went on to win the tourney anyway.

It could well be said therefore that Fed's only significant non-Nadal-on-clay defeat during these years was the one vs. Safin. (Which ties in with the fact that it was his only non-clay slam defeat between 2004 and 2007)

Edit: I'm being unfair on Nalbandian. Beating Fed in the 2005 Masters Cup final was of course a significant win.
 

Pheasant

Legend
So 3 of the 5 defeats were against Nadal at the FO.

The others being against Safin and Gonzalez. Of which the Gonzales one (not to take away from Fernando's win) was arguably meaningless because Federer went on to win the tourney anyway.

It could well be said therefore that Fed's only significant non-Nadal-on-clay defeat during these years was the one vs. Safin. (Which ties in with the fact that it was his only non-clay slam defeat between 2004 and 2007)

Edit: I'm being unfair on Nalbandian. Beating Fed in the 2005 Masters Cup final was of course a significant win.

Nice summary. I agree wholeheartedly. This was clutch Fed against great players in the big tourneys that really mattered. Fed's heartbreak losses over the last several years have made us forget how clutch Fed was at his best. From late-2003 to early-2007 Federer wasn't going to lose to Goffin at the WTF. He wasn't going to cough up a 2 set lead at Wimbledon to Kandy. Old Fed has had far more hiccups during the past several years than ever before. And some of us are allowing this to cloud our memories.

Since 2015, Federer is 23-15, .605 against the top-10 in these types of big tourneys, which is a far cry from 51-5. And remember, he skipped the FO from 2016-2018.

Some of the painful top-10 losses at those big tourneys include(Tsitsi, Thiem, Zverev, Nishikori, Goffin, Kandy, and Raonic). That's a big list. And of course, he also lost to Stan, Nadal, and Djoker. Those aren't bad losses. But the other ones are; ones that aren't happening during his peak.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
Nice summary. I agree wholeheartedly. This was clutch Fed against great players in the big tourneys that really mattered. Fed's heartbreak losses over the last several years have made us forget how clutch Fed was at his best. From late-2003 to early-2007 Federer wasn't going to lose to Goffin at the WTF. He wasn't going to cough up a 2 set lead at Wimbledon to Kandy. Old Fed has had far more hiccups during the past several years than ever before. And some of us are allowing this to cloud our memories.

For those with short memory and for people who never watched him at his best maybe, otherwise no, not really. I always look at the whole career, recency bias on the whole annoys me quite a bit. I fully remember how good and sharp Fed was in his best years, ditto for players even older him that I witnessed.

Fed's mental hiccups against 5-6 year younger ATG rivals dogging him (and on occasion the rest of the field) are understandable for me, I'm one of the few who believes they would have showed similar vulnerability against him if the situations were reversed.
 

DjokoGOAT

Semi-Pro
Nice summary. I agree wholeheartedly. This was clutch Fed against great players in the big tourneys that really mattered. Fed's heartbreak losses over the last several years have made us forget how clutch Fed was at his best. From late-2003 to early-2007 Federer wasn't going to lose to Goffin at the WTF. He wasn't going to cough up a 2 set lead at Wimbledon to Kandy. Old Fed has had far more hiccups during the past several years than ever before. And some of us are allowing this to cloud our memories.

Since 2015, Federer is 23-15, .605 against the top-10 in these types of big tourneys, which is a far cry from 51-5. And remember, he skipped the FO from 2016-2018.

Some of the painful top-10 losses at those big tourneys include(Tsitsi, Thiem, Zverev, Nishikori, Goffin, Kandy, and Raonic). That's a big list. And of course, he also lost to Stan, Nadal, and Djoker. Those aren't bad losses. But the other ones are; ones that aren't happening during his peak.
Tha t’s because instead of facing bagdhatis, Blake, ljubicic, Nalbandian, kiefer, grosjean etc as regular top 10 Opponents he faced top calibre second string like Nishikori, tsonga, Berdych, thiem, Cilic.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
Tha t’s because instead of facing bagdhatis, Blake, ljubicic, Nalbandian, kiefer, grosjean etc as regular top 10 Opponents he faced top calibre second string like Nishikori, tsonga, Berdych, thiem, Cilic.
Those are mostly Fed’s second and third tier opponents. Grosjean might even be fourth tier.
 

Odinn21

Rookie
Tha t’s because instead of facing bagdhatis, Blake, ljubicic, Nalbandian, kiefer, grosjean etc as regular top 10 Opponents he faced top calibre second string like Nishikori, tsonga, Berdych, thiem, Cilic.
Let's take a look at Federer's opponents in 56 matches under the microscope;
9 times; Roddick
7 times; Nadal
6 times; Hewitt
5 times; Agassi, Davydenko
4 times; Nalbandian
2 times; Ferrero, Safin, Gonzo, Gaudio, Ljubicic, Blake, Robredo
1 time; Moya, Henman, Ancic, Djokovic, Coria, Ferrer

The players you're whining about only have 8 of 56. But, you have to keep the agenda going, I understand where you're coming from. Why would anyone talk about Roddick, Nadal, Hewitt, Agassi, Ferrero, Safin when they have no use for such agenda.
 

ChrisRF

Legend
Fed took a more Sampras approach back in those times. Masters weren't as important back then as they would become later.
Not really in 2004-07 though. He actually did this in 2008-11 when he had almost no good results outside the Slams. Then when he got problems in Slams as well, he was more eager to win a few Masters again I guess.
 
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