More Clutch? Federer vs. Wawrinka

All things being equal, who do you prefer in a Bo5 match for the title if not against eachother?

  • Stanimal

    Votes: 12 48.0%
  • Fed Express

    Votes: 12 48.0%
  • Draw. Both have moments, both have faults under pressure.

    Votes: 1 4.0%

  • Total voters
    25

BGod

Legend
Okay, I swear this is my last thread for at least a few weeks. I just can't get over how Wawrinka seems to take big matches and comes out ahead despite being the underdog I believe almost every time.

Overall his record in Slam SFs is 4-5 but he was only a slight favourite in 3 of them. Of the 5 he lost, he went the distance 3 times. In all 4 Finals he was clear underdog and severely injured in his last (2017 French).

His overall ATP stats of note
16-13 in Finals (started 1-6, won 11 in a row)
53.6% tiebreak record
56.8% deciding set record
84.4% win record after taking 1st set

Overall 63% ATP win record, 72% in Slams

27-22 Five Set Record (55%)



Federer ATP stats compared
102-53 in Finals (24 win streak, 28-23 since June of 2012)
65.2% tiebreak record
64.9% deciding set record
93.3% win record after taking 1st set

Overall 82% ATP win record, 86% in Slams

30-23 Five Set Record (56%)



With Federer the far more accomplished and frankly better player, it shouldn't surprise his superior numbers in the general categories, which is why I highlighted the ones to look for in identifying pressure situations. Most of Federer's victories have come as an outright favourite if not heavy favourite. And there's something to be said about taking care of business. However his penchant for losing close matches especially in higher levels cannot be ignored. I have already argued that Roger can both be the greatest player in terms of career and also the greatest choker. They are not mutually exclusive for a player's career if they are a certain talent level and play long enough.

The big knock on Wawrinka would be sample size. Federer won his first 7 Slam Finals, so Wawrinka's 3-1 record isn't so amazing when considered in context. However Federer was the favourite in all 7 of those Finals. So it's a fine balance between a player winning when they should and a player winning as the underdog. Also notice that as high as Federer's overall win percentage is, there's only a 5% rise from ATP to Slam only matches whereas for Wawrinka it's 14%. And now let's analyze the legend matches:

Federer Slam Quarterfinal or Better 5 Set Matches
2004 USO, Favoured & Won
2005 Australian, Favoured & Lost
2007 Wimbledon, Favoured & Won
2008 Wimbledon, Favoured & Lost
2009 Australian, Underdog & Lost
2009 Wimbledon, Favoured & Won

2009 USO, Favoured & Lost
2010 USO, Favoured & Lost (MPs)
2011 Wimbledon, Favoured & Lost

2011 USO, Underdog & Lost (MPs)
2013 Australian, Favoured & Won

2013 Australian, Favoured & Lost
2014 Wimbledon, Underdog & Lost
2014 USO, Favoured & Won
2016 Wimbledon, Favoured & Won

2016 Wimbledon, Favoured & Lost
2017 Australian, Favoured & Won
2017 Australian, Underdog & Won
2018 Australian, Favoured & Won
2018 Wimbledon, Favoured & Lost
2019 Wimbledon, Underdog & Lost (MP)
2019 USO, Favoured & Lost


Wawrinka Slam Quarterfinal or Better
2010 USO, Underdog & Lost
2013 USO, Underdog & Lost

2014 Australian, Underdog & Won
2014 USO, Favoured & Lost
2015 Australian, Underdog & Lost
2015 Wimbledon, Favoured & Lost
2017 Australian, Underdog & Lost
2017 French, Underdog & Won


Again, the sample size for Wawrinka is low and this is only 5 set matches in Slams. However if we extend to underdog Slam matches won, Wawrinka beats out Federer in their entirety, minding of course that Wawrinka has been the underdog more than Federer on the whole but Federer statistically is more likely to lose in later stages at even odds or as underdog than Wawrinka. Meaning you can well expect Federer to lose if all things are even against his opponent. And his total 5 matches lost at Slam level QF-F when holding MP is more than any of Nadal, Djokovic, Murray or Wawrinka but together.


One caveat is that as his mentor, Federer always has the edge over Wawrinka mentally and I think if we're comparing Wawrinka going up against Federer, well that's not quite accurate in terms of the field.
 

Fedforever

Hall of Fame
And his total 5 matches lost at Slam level QF-F when holding MP is more than any of Nadal, Djokovic, Murray or Wawrinka but together.
The comparison with Murray and Stan is not really fair, they will have played so many fewer matches than Fed at this level that statistically of course they would have done this a lot fewer times.

It would be interesting to know whether the shots that get him to MP/BP are very different to the ones he plays on the point itself. If he plays two risky shots to get the MP and then the third risky shot is out that could be a result of statistics as much as choking.
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
One caveat is that as his mentor, Federer always has the edge over Wawrinka mentally and I think if we're comparing Wawrinka going up against Federer, well that's not quite accurate in terms of the field.
Another caveat is that Fed has the edge in every single other factor on the tennis court (you mention only "mentally"). Fed is superior is every facet of the game, including one-handed BH. Stan's slice is horrific, and Fed has the GOAT slice. And yes, slicing is part of a superior BH.
 

Sport

Legend
Generally speaking, Wawrinka's one handed backhand is more offensive than Federer's one. Wawrinka typically executes powerful flat shots, while Federer employs defensive slices a lot.
 

Robert Baratheon

Professional
The comparison with Murray and Stan is not really fair, they will have played so many fewer matches than Fed at this level that statistically of course they would have done this a lot fewer times.

It would be interesting to know whether the shots that get him to MP/BP are very different to the ones he plays on the point itself. If he plays two risky shots to get the MP and then the third risky shot is out that could be a result of statistics as much as choking.
Usually he goes passive on important points. That was the original BreakPointerer. He would go very passive on them letting the opponent (inspire to save BP or MP) get on top of the rally.
But ever since he became Edbergerer he does what you describe. He would try to pull the switch too early generally with sh1t approach shots and then get passed at the net because he is clueless after that bad approach.
 

BGod

Legend
Another caveat is that Fed has the edge in every single other factor on the tennis court (you mention only "mentally"). Fed is superior is every facet of the game, including one-handed BH. Stan's slice is horrific, and Fed has the GOAT slice. And yes, slicing is part of a superior BH.
Yes Federer is more talented. No I wouldn't take his backhand over Stan's.
 

Alexh22

Rookie
Great analysis but the fact Fed winning so many more majors than stanimal shows that he has a better ability to handle key moments throughout his career.
 

BGod

Legend
Great analysis but the fact Fed winning so many more majors than stanimal shows that he has a better ability to handle key moments throughout his career.
It really depends what you consider clutch. I don't think winning Finals is automatically clutch if you're the favourite. Sure an inexperienced player might have mental blocks but ulyimately if you have a noticeable gap you should win.

That's why their 5 set record is near identical despite Fed being favoured in a hell of a lot more matches. Recall Roger was the great front-runner. He still is, he's only lost 2 matches up 2-0.
 

Eren

Professional
Generally speaking, Wawrinka's one handed backhand is more offensive than Federer's one. Wawrinka typically executes powerful flat shots, while Federer employs defensive slices a lot.
Even Wawrinka's FH seems heavier than Fred's FH these days. I hope Stanislas turns into Stanimal again for Wimbledon and wins that one against no one other than Djokovic. That would be epic, having won ALL 4 majors.
 

Martin J

Rookie
Generally speaking, Wawrinka's one handed backhand is more offensive than Federer's one. Wawrinka typically executes powerful flat shots, while Federer employs defensive slices a lot.
Wawrinka actually hits pretty heavy off both wings, can't see anything flat when it comes to his shots.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
I think that I get what the OP is getting at. Federer with Stan’s clutch factor would have 25 slam titles now.
 

EsteL

New User
The whole argument is tilted by the outcome of 5-6 matches which could very well have been impacted by one factor and that is Novak Djokovic's ability to rise against Federer / confound Federer and similarly Wawrinka's ability to do the same against Djokovic. In my experience, inter-personal dynamics play a big role in a rivalry along with its past and when we talk of such statistics in the highest echelons of the game, these dynamics become more impactful.

That being said, some other explanations could be:

1. Federer until recently had a knack for progressing despite playing subpar. Players like Wawrinka don't. So, when Wawrinka reaches a final, you know and he knows that he is playing pretty well. When Federer reaches a final, it was almost routine.

2. When you talk of last 6-10 years,and call somebody an underdog in the finals rounds of major tournaments, its mostly against Nadal, Djokovic and to some extent Federer. And one thing you must have to even have the chance to beat Nadal and Djokovic is the psychological readiness to face an onslaught on your backhand. Unfortunately, Federer never had this, not due to mediocrity of his backhand but due to the superiority of his forehand. Wawrinka & Thiem have this.
 
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