Federer's poor record in 5 setters

mike danny

Bionic Poster
He may be the GOAT but his record in 5 setters is the main reason why he has not won more slams. I am happy with 17 but had he won more 5 setters he would be sitting at 20 slams now.

Let's analyze:

Whenever he was in form and so was his opponent 80% of cases he ended up losing those epic 5 setters.

1)2002 AO vs HAAS
2)2003 AO vs NALBANDIAN
3)2005 AO vs SAFIN
4)2008 W vs NADAL
5)2009 AO vs NADAL
6)2010 USO vs DJOKOVIC
7)2011 USO vs DJOKOVIC
8)2013 AO vs MURRAY
9)2009 USO vs DEL POTRO

The only epic 5 setters he did win were W 2007 vs NADAL, W 2009 vs RODDICK and RG 2009 vs DEL POTRO.

So out of 12 epic 5 setters he won only 3. Pathetic record for a GOAT.

What is interesting is that the majority of his defeats took place at the AO. He lost 5 epics there compared to 3 at the USO and just 1 at W.

3, 4, 5 and 9 were pretty winnable. you could even make a case for 1 and 2 and even 7. so he could have won at least 4 more majors. his total should have been between 21 and 24 slams.

It is amazing he still won 17 considering the fac that he lost 9 epic five setters.

What is the reason for this and what other all-time greats had such poor 5 set records?
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Alot of those were outside of his prime. He took peak Murray to 5 sets as a 31 year old after playing another 5 setter the match before (which you missed out). As for USO 2011 post prime Federer took peak Djokovic to 5 at the USO and had match points, no one else including Nadal pushed Djokovic that hard.
 

Warmaster

Hall of Fame
Only the Safin loss was in his best years though. It's better to lose in 5 than to lose in 3 or 4 anyway.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
I look at it in a different way. It was and still is increadibly tough to put Federer away easily.

Alright, Nadal has won the majority of his 5-setters. But look at the number of times he was completely demolished in Slams - 2007 AO, 2008 AO, 2011 AO, 2009 US, 2010 AO, 2013 Wimbledon just to mention a few. And these are all his prime years.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Only the Safin loss was in his best years though. It's better to lose in 5 than to lose in 3 or 4 anyway.
But in this one he had a match point. It seems that even in his prime he had a tendency of squandering match points.

I would not bet my life when federer plays a 5 setter. he may be the GOAT but nadal is the better 5 set player
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
I look at it in a different way. It was and still is increadibly tough to put Federer away easily.

Alright, Nadal has won the majority of his 5-setters. But look at the number of times he was completely demolished in Slams - 2007 AO, 2008 AO, 2011 AO, 2009 US, 2010 AO, 2013 Wimbledon just to mention a few. And these are all his prime years.
After all these tough losses i wonder how come he is still playing an not retired by now. I mean i don;t know any other GOAT candidate who has as many tough losses as him
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
After all these tough losses i wonder how come he is still playing an not retired by now. I mean i don;t know any other GOAT candidate who has as many tough losses as him
You're not changing history by bringing it up. And besides that you're missing the slams where he won 5 setters and went on to win the tournament. I'm just happy the man is still playing. Start acting like a fan if you really are one.

Here are the slams that he won while winning a 5 setter in the process.

04 USO
06 AO
07 Wimbledon
08 USO
09 RG (2)
09 Wimbledon
12 Wimbledon

Sorry if I'm coming off harsh, I'll just never understand fans that bring up the losses like they're going to change history. Be positive for a change. I've said it before, I don't deal with hypotheses very well.
 
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Rippy

Hall of Fame
I find looking at that statistic very illogical.

It rewards players for taking 5 sets to dispatch their opponent rather than getting the job done in straights, and penalises players for getting beaten in 5 sets as opposed to beaten in straight sets.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
It's not just in 5th sets that Fed has a poor record, it's in deciders in general (whether 3rd or 5th)- compared to other tennis greats.
 

10is

Professional
I find looking at that statistic very illogical.

It rewards players for taking 5 sets to dispatch their opponent rather than getting the job done in straights, and penalises players for getting beaten in 5 sets as opposed to beaten in straight sets.
Exactly! In his prime (2004-2007) he used to be quite possibly the greatest front-runner the game had ever seen.

Start acting like a fan if you really are one.
I very much doubt that he actually is one -- going by most of his posts he's more of a passive-agressive anti-fan.
 

sunny_cali

Semi-Pro
It's not just in 5th sets that Fed has a poor record, it's in deciders in general (whether 3rd or 5th)- compared to other tennis greats.
His 3rd set record is good enough. It's marginally worse than Sampras.
 
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Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
I very much doubt that he actually is one -- going by most of his posts he's more of a passive-agressive anti-fan.
Sounds like it. All these threads he's made betting his account (which is BS anyway) are proof of that.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
The real problem here is the expectation everybody has/had of Federer. Because his game is a beauty to watch and he is so obviously ridiculously talented, our expectations are higher than for a normal person. People knew he was good enough to win the matches he lost so we end up very disappointed because most of the time even when he's not playing well he pushes it to 3 or 5 sets. If someone loses a matches in 3 or 4 sets you say "too good."

But the matches Federer lost he usually had chances to win on his racquet. It's only this year that I've come to terms with matches not really being on his racquet anymore.

Contrast that with Nadal who so obviously tries his best on every point (not that Federer doesn't do that because he does). Nadal often loses in 3 or 4 sets and rarely in 5, usually it takes a zoning performance for an underdog to knock him out no matter how many sets it takes so we say "too good", but we don't blame Nadal for not being able to take it to 5 because the other guy played out of his mind.

In short, people blame Federer for losing because we know he has the talent to win and he usually creates chances, but when Nadal fights for every ball and still is not able to create a chance to win the matches he ends up losing, (only exception is probably AO 12) it's easier to accept the loss.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Federer has always been a bit careless and impatient with 5 setters. He once said it was important to try and get through matches as quickly as possible and not get bogged down in 'stupid 5 setters''. That indicates something of his mentality and attitude towards them. He tends to think that it is a black mark against him if he lets a match go that far. It goes some way to explain his impatience with 5th sets and his tendency to squander advantages and leads he has had in them.

Since the AO semi-final loss to Murray at the start of this year, he just doesn't seem to have the stamina anymore to let a match get as far as 5 sets anyway. It's all he can do to get through a 3 setter. Unless he drastically improves his fitness in time for the new season, I think it is doubtful he can get through a 5 set match ever again!
 

GoaLaSSo

Semi-Pro
I wouldn't say Federer was playing his best in all of those matches...

This is a possible explanation (probably not correct but w/e). When Federer plays extremely well, he puts the match away and doesn't need to drag it out to 5 sets. When really offensive players are playing confidently, the match will be on their racket.

When he is playing average or poor, he still takes people to 5 sets but can't always close it out. His game style, along with other offensive players, requires precision and timing. Defensive players do need confidence and timing as well, but I feel like it is easier to rely on their game plan when they aren't playing their best.
 
He may be the GOAT but his record in 5 setters is the main reason why he has not won more slams. I am happy with 17 but had he won more 5 setters he would be sitting at 20 slams now.

Let's analyze:

Whenever he was in form and so was his opponent 80% of cases he ended up losing those epic 5 setters.

1)2002 AO vs HAAS
2)2003 AO vs NALBANDIAN
3)2005 AO vs SAFIN
4)2008 W vs NADAL
5)2009 AO vs NADAL
6)2010 USO vs DJOKOVIC
7)2011 USO vs DJOKOVIC
8)2013 AO vs MURRAY
9)2009 USO vs DEL POTRO

The only epic 5 setters he did win were W 2007 vs NADAL, W 2009 vs RODDICK and RG 2009 vs DEL POTRO.

So out of 12 epic 5 setters he won only 3. Pathetic record for a GOAT.

What is interesting is that the majority of his defeats took place at the AO. He lost 5 epics there compared to 3 at the USO and just 1 at W.

3, 4, 5 and 9 were pretty winnable. you could even make a case for 1 and 2 and even 7. so he could have won at least 4 more majors. his total should have been between 21 and 24 slams.

It is amazing he still won 17 considering the fac that he lost 9 epic five setters.

What is the reason for this and what other all-time greats had such poor 5 set records?
He is not Goat :).
 

firepanda

Professional
There is a notable hole from 2003-2010. Basically, his only losses were to a lights-out Safin and Nadal, both of which are acceptable opponents to lose to in five sets, I believe. The fact that he's lost quite a few of the matches that went to five sets when he wasn't dominating is a bit more interesting.
 

90's Clay

Banned
No one ever said Federer was the most mentally tough. Hell look at all the break point chances he blow as well. Gotta be a record. .. I think his main problem is he spent too many years breezing through guys (who put up LITTLE resistance besides Nadal and a rarity Safin and Old Agassi). He was a front runner just about all of 2004-2007. So he rarely had to deal with the talent and resistance that great players provided because guys like Roddick, Blake, Hewitt (After 2005), Davydenko etc. WEREN'T great players. Really the only great player he dealt with besides Nadal during that time period was Agassi and he was too old to keep a high level up through most of the big matches.
 
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GoaLaSSo

Semi-Pro
No one ever said Federer was the most mentally tough. Hell look at all the break point chances he blow as well. Gotta be a record. .. I think his main problem is he spent too many years breezing through guys (who put up LITTLE resistance besides Nadal and a rarity Safin and Old Agassi). He was a front runner just about all of 2004-2007. So he rarely had to deal with the talent and resistance that great players provided because guys like Roddick, Blake, Hewitt (After 2005), Davydenko etc. WEREN'T great players. Really the only great player he dealt with besides Nadal during that time period was Agassi and he was too old to keep a high level up through most of the big matches.
Just because you keep saying this does not make it true. Federer is not as mentally tough in big moments as Nadal and Djoko, but he is one of the strongest front runners and has one of the best all around games in history. How can you tell if his competition was worse? Strictly by watching them would come down to a matter of opinion (I think some of those guys were amazing) and looking at them strictly based on achievements makes no sense because they couldn't rack up wins versus god mode Federer and Nadal.

Some of those guys you mentioned could have been great players, but they had Federer to beat on hard/grass and Nadal to beat on clay. Both Fed and Nadal were (arguably) better on their favorite surfaces around 2006.

We won't know for sure how young roddick, blake, hewitt, davydenko, safin, nalbandian, etc. would do now, but they for sure would do better than you expect them to.
 

Max G.

Legend
So, I don't think there's too much to make out of this statistic.

Look, if two players go to five sets, that means that ON THAT DAY, they're playing at a roughly similar level.

Now, for some players, the fifth set itself is a weakness - Karlovic, Blake, etc. Those players lose a lot more 5th-sets than they win - EVEN THOUGH for most of the match, they're even with their opponent, they wilt in the 5th. For some players, the 5th set is a strength - they win more 5th sets than they lose.

For Federer, it's netiher. He wins about 50% of his 5th sets (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=4895968&postcount=201) . On a day where him and his opponent are close enough that the match goes to five, he'll win some and lose some.

But so what? Look, not every part of his game has to be perfect! His strengths are his forehand, his movement, his defense, his serve. It happens to be that his 5th-set game isn't a strength - but nor is it a weakness!
 

Day Tripper

Semi-Pro
No one ever said Federer was the most mentally tough. Hell look at all the break point chances he blow as well. Gotta be a record. .. I think his main problem is he spent too many years breezing through guys (who put up LITTLE resistance besides Nadal and a rarity Safin and Old Agassi). He was a front runner just about all of 2004-2007. So he rarely had to deal with the talent and resistance that great players provided because guys like Roddick, Blake, Hewitt (After 2005), Davydenko etc. WEREN'T great players. Really the only great player he dealt with besides Nadal during that time period was Agassi and he was too old to keep a high level up through most of the big matches.
This is incorrect. Federer was a sporting freak akin to Jordan who raised the bar so much in the sport in such a short period of time that his peers were unable to catch up. The next generation Djokovic, Murray, Nadal etc had time to improve and learn from Federer. Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are only as good as they are today because of Federer. Had they been born 10 years earlier i highly doubt they would have achieved significantly more than what they have in their actual careers,

The weak era argument is ridiculous. A simple understanding of probabilities tells us that the likelihood of one player emerging who is significantly more capable than the rest of the field is far more likely than the entire field dropping significantly in level.
 

wy2sl0

Hall of Fame
Fed does not have the greatest fitness, and as 90's said I don't think he was ever pushed crazy hard in his prime in tight situations so he has never really learned to deal with nerves properly. Look at a guy like Nadal who had to beat Roger from the get-go to win slams. That takes insane nerves of steel.
 

RF20Lennon

Legend
Problem with Federer is he can't play from behind and he cracks under pressure against top players. If he's ahead he's just the best. He's the greatest front runner ever (at least he used to be) but he's just not mentally tough like a Nadal or a Sampras.
 

Russeljones

G.O.A.T.
He may be the GOAT but his record in 5 setters is the main reason why he has not won more slams. I am happy with 17 but had he won more 5 setters he would be sitting at 20 slams now.

Let's analyze:

Whenever he was in form and so was his opponent 80% of cases he ended up losing those epic 5 setters.

1)2002 AO vs HAAS
2)2003 AO vs NALBANDIAN
3)2005 AO vs SAFIN
4)2008 W vs NADAL
5)2009 AO vs NADAL
6)2010 USO vs DJOKOVIC
7)2011 USO vs DJOKOVIC
8)2013 AO vs MURRAY
9)2009 USO vs DEL POTRO

The only epic 5 setters he did win were W 2007 vs NADAL, W 2009 vs RODDICK and RG 2009 vs DEL POTRO.

So out of 12 epic 5 setters he won only 3. Pathetic record for a GOAT.

What is interesting is that the majority of his defeats took place at the AO. He lost 5 epics there compared to 3 at the USO and just 1 at W.

3, 4, 5 and 9 were pretty winnable. you could even make a case for 1 and 2 and even 7. so he could have won at least 4 more majors. his total should have been between 21 and 24 slams.

It is amazing he still won 17 considering the fac that he lost 9 epic five setters.

What is the reason for this and what other all-time greats had such poor 5 set records?
No mention of win vs Haas at RG '09. Very weak analysis.
 
Problem with Federer is he can't play from behind and he cracks under pressure against top players. If he's ahead he's just the best. He's the greatest front runner ever (at least he used to be) but he's just not mentally tough like a Nadal or a Sampras.
He is the Mile Tyson of tennis.

Mike Tyson was awesome in the first round,,,,,,would knock people out in the first round within seconds.......but if you could get by that first round somehow and go the distance , Tyson fell apart.

In other words I agree with you.
 

Thriller

Hall of Fame
Overall, it is a mixed bag in pressure situations.

Federer is 22 - 17 in a fifth set, which puts him at a shocking 128th on the all time list. That is very poor for a player of his ability, there is no way around that.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-5th-Set-Record-Career-List.aspx


In a deciding set, Federer is 167 - 91, which puts him a more respectable 27th on the all time list.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Deciding-Set-Career-List.aspx


However, Federer is the tie-break GOAT, 340 - 182 which tops the all-time list.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Tie-Breakers-Career-List.aspx


Federer has converted 3663 out of 8844 breakpoints which puts him 79th on the all time list. Unsurprisingly the Top 10 is dominated by those with great returns of serve who are also solid from the baseline.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Matchfacts/Matchfacts-List.aspx?c=8&s=0&y=0


When it comes to saving breakpoints, Federer has saved 3336 out of 4986 breakpoints which puts him at No. 6 on the all time list. Unsurprisingly the Top 10 is dominated by ace-serving machines led by Dr Ivo.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Matchfacts/Matchfacts-List.aspx?c=5&s=0&y=0


Interestingly, Rafa Nadal is the only player who features in both the Top 10s for breakpoint saving and breakpoint conversion, suggesting that apart from a cast-iron mentality, Nadal is perhaps the most complete player we have ever seen in both attack and defence modes.

Actually, Nadal is Top 10 in every category including tiebreaks, which is remarkable as for most of his career he has not been the type of player who could just ace his way out of trouble.
 
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Hood_Man

Legend
I suppose it should be mentioned that today's players don't have as many chances to play 5 setters as players did in the past.

Davis Cup and the Majors are still bo5, but you don't even have to go back a decade to a time when Masters finals, the TMC final, and even tournaments like Basel and Gstaad for instance had bo5 finals. Players today have fewer opportunities therefore to lose bo5 matches, but also fewer opportunities to win them.

Future dominant players who will only play bo5 in Davis Cup and the Majors (and the Olympic Gold singles final), who will only face seeded players from the 4th round onward at majors, who will not have to play the first round at every ATP tournament they play due to the 1st round bye introduced in 2007, for the entirety of their career, could very well leave the standing percentage records in their dust.

With regards to Federer, his percentage isn't as good as Nadal's, but the guy's won more 5 setters than Nadal has actually played, and 8 of them were from 0-2 down.

Important 5 set matches? Every 5 set match is important...
 

TheTruth

G.O.A.T.
Overall, it is a mixed bag in pressure situations.

Federer is 22 - 17 in a fifth set, which puts him at a shocking 128th on the all time list. That is very poor for a player of his ability, there is no way around that.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-5th-Set-Record-Career-List.aspx


In a deciding set, Federer is 167 - 91, which puts him a more respectable 27th on the all time list.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Deciding-Set-Career-List.aspx



However, Federer is the tie-break GOAT, 340 - 182 which tops the all-time list.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Tie-Breakers-Career-List.aspx


Federer has converted 3663 out of 8844 breakpoints which puts him 79th on the all time list. Unsurprisingly the Top 10 is dominated by those with great returns of serve who are also solid from the baseline.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Matchfacts/Matchfacts-List.aspx?c=8&s=0&y=0


When it comes to saving breakpoints, Federer has saved 3336 out of 4986 breakpoints which puts him at No. 6 on the all time list. Unsurprisingly the Top 10 is dominated by ace-serving machines led by Dr Ivo.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Matchfacts/Matchfacts-List.aspx?c=5&s=0&y=0


Interestingly, Rafa Nadal is the only player who features in both the Top 10s for breakpoint saving and breakpoint conversion, suggesting that apart from a cast-iron mentality, Nadal is perhaps the most complete player we have ever seen in both attack and defence modes.

Actually, Nadal is Top 10 in every category including tiebreaks, which is remarkable as for most of his career he has not been the type of player who could just ace his way out of trouble.
Great post. Very interesting stats.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
I look at it in a different way. It was and still is increadibly tough to put Federer away easily.

Alright, Nadal has won the majority of his 5-setters. But look at the number of times he was completely demolished in Slams - 2007 AO, 2008 AO, 2011 AO, 2009 US, 2010 AO, 2013 Wimbledon just to mention a few. And these are all his prime years.
This is a better way to look at it. It's how you lost.

Losing meekly in 3 or 4 is a far worse showing than losing in 5. But, then again, the same people who think losing like Nadal has when he lost those matches also deny that if Federer has been worse on clay and not faced Nadal so often his record would look better and he would be considered greater for actually being a worse player. :lol:
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
I look at it in a different way. It was and still is increadibly tough to put Federer away easily.

Alright, Nadal has won the majority of his 5-setters. But look at the number of times he was completely demolished in Slams - 2007 AO, 2008 AO, 2011 AO, 2009 US, 2010 AO, 2013 Wimbledon just to mention a few. And these are all his prime years.
pretty much this ....
 
What do you mean, even 2011 US Open? That was the most winnable of all. 40-15 on his own serve.

You're omitting a number of other 5 setters he's won in slams, including a number of times he came from behind to survive in the earlier rounds.
 
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