Winning Percentages

Thought this would be fun to look at. These are guys who played only in the Open Era and who won at least two Grand slams. Sorry if I missed someone. (Different sources may have slightly different numbers) .
Like any stat it can be deceiving. Still, it is a stat that is not talked about enough.


The 80% Club:

Djokovic 83.5
Nadal 82.9
Borg 82.4
Federer 82.0
Connors 81.8
Mcenroe 81.7
Lendl 81.5

The 70% club:

Sampras 77.4
Becker 76.9
Vilas 76.2
Agassi 76.0
Edberg 74.8
Murray 74.1
Wilander 72.0
Hewitt 70.2

The 60% Club

Courier 68.1
Kafelnikov 66.6
Kuerten 64.7
Kriek 62.9
Bruguera 62.3
Wawinka 62.0
Safin 61.2

Overall, not too many surprises. Thought it was interesting that everyone who won over 80.0 were so close; which is an indication of how close these guys really are.
Anyway, thought it would be fun discussing.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
The interesting thing is that Federer won at more than a 83% rate in 8 of the ten years between 2010-2019. He was a formidable player in that decade also and not only in the one he dominated in the 2000s.
 

Pheasant

Legend
One thing that we see is that the members of the 80% club are all ATG players. And all had very memorable runs of true greatness as well.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Sorry if I missed someone.
Rafter, with 65.2% according to wikipedia
and Alcaraz but that's a work in progress

I'm guessing Smith, Nastase, Kodes played as amateurs?

Little surprised to see Vilas so high and wouldn't have guessed Safin was that low, head case though he was
The year he won US Open, he started the year something like 5-11, and among other things, was fined for lack of effort at Australian Open
 
Yes, they all played as amateurs. I'm sure somewhere you could find their win/loss records just as professionals, but I don't know where. Guessing they would be in the 65-75% range.
Rafter is a little lower than you might think, though I guess since he was a late bloomer it hurt his winning percentage.

One thing I like about winning % is that it is fair to the guys in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. after being on tour for a while, they had to deal with the next wave of quality young players. They did not get to have a super long "prime" which the top guys from the 2000s got because the generation after them was so bad.

As the numbers show, Djokovic, Nadal, Borg, Federer, Connors, Lendl and McEnroe were all so close. Sampras winning % might be the biggest surprise. These guys seem to be the best of the best. Otherwise, the three groups seem to be about where you would think.

A little surprising that so many guys won less than 2/3 of their matches.
 

urban

Legend
Winnig percentage is an important stat, no question, especially over some years or over career.. For the year stats, it depends a lot on the number of matches played, and focusses on losses more than wins (a 10-1 is better than a 29-3).. Fed and Nole had excellent percentages late in their career, when they played a relatively small schedule. For the year stats, I look also to the dfference between matches won and matches lost (like goal difference in football, which is now counting, not goal perecentage). It rewards more the player, who plays more in a given year, while percentage emphazises losses more than wins. I think, that a 50 plus year is an excellent year for every top player.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Not at all surprised by the 80% group. I too think this is the most relevant stat when you are comparing across generations. GS events are important, but it was a very different attitude about GS events in the 70's/80's as many of us older folks have pointed out. Younger folks don't quite grasp how good the "Big 4" of the late 70's/80's really was (Bjorn/Jimmy/Mac/Ivan). They pretty much dominated everyone else, usually losing only to each other at the bigger events.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Not at all surprised by the 80% group. I too think this is the most relevant stat when you are comparing across generations. GS events are important, but it was a very different attitude about GS events in the 70's/80's as many of us older folks have pointed out. Younger folks don't quite grasp how good the "Big 4" of the late 70's/80's really was (Bjorn/Jimmy/Mac/Ivan). They pretty much dominated everyone else, usually losing only to each other at the bigger events.
This stat is probably not important.

In the old pro era, the winning percentages were lower because the pro circuit excluded the lesser players. That also carried over into much of the early open era, where the top players tended to play most of their matches with a small group of elite players which reduced winning percentages. For example, on the 1959 world series, Gonzales had the highest winning percentage at 72%, Hoad, the overall winner, at 71%, Rosewall in third at 62%. Those are small percentages by today's standards for the top three players, but the field was only 12 elite players which affected the numbers.

Some eras had weaker fields or players would choose to play in weaker events, so this number I give little attention to. It requires too much additional explanation to make sense of.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rafter is a little lower than you might think, though I guess since he was a late bloomer it hurt his winning percentage.
From memory, he only won 7-8 titles. Would that be the lowest of anyone on this list?
Seems about right for him... late bloomer and injury dampening him pretty soon after (around '99), so short window for Rafter

As the numbers show, Djokovic, Nadal, Borg, Federer, Connors, Lendl and McEnroe were all so close. Sampras winning % might be the biggest surprise. These guys seem to be the best of the best.

the thing about Sampras was that because he has no rival for best of his era (unlike those other guys), the story and metrics for assessing greatness were re-written just for him

It would be like if Nadal had no competitors and the entire tennis world came to conclusion that clay was most important thing and everything else was secondary. Other than Canadian Open because (insert made up lunacy)

The story when Sampras was up and about was that tennis had reached a level of professionalism that made it impossible for players to dominate (in the win-loss record sense) the way old fuddy duddies like Connors, Borg, Mac and Lendl did. Nowadays, anyone can beat anyone, back than, you could pencil those guys into the semis with your eyes closed - those beer guzzling, hamburger eating, drug taking, party boys

The post-Sampras lull, with Hewitt, Guga, Safin etc. crowding around the top on nowhere near dominant records supported that. 90% winning rates per year were a thing of the past (to justify Sampras not doing it)
Only Slams matter (because that's Sampras' strong suit)

French Open? - Pete doesn't care about clay
Australian Open? - hard court is hard court and Pete's an American and prioritizes US Open, look there to see that he's the best

Year End Championship isn't a Slam - but because he did well there, that's important
Masters arent' important - because he didn't do too well there

I have 0 doubt that had Sampras won 20+ masters events but 2 Year End Championships, entire story of value of those events would have been turned upside down then and there

Then came Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. There goes the theory of absolute dominace joining the dinosaur and dodo

Pretty sure Connors and co. also prioritized Slams (and probably very big money exhibtions) above other tournaments - same as Sampras - but apparently, they're B focus was good enough to win a lot more of said smaller tournaments (McEnroe might have been crazy enough to go A game all the way)

Long tail end of mediocority to Connors' record too. And I'm assuming the 10+ matches Borg lost in a row in the '90s is included in his result (which is otherwise bolsterd by his going out before natural decline of results)
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
This stat is probably not important.

In the old pro era, the winning percentages were lower because the pro circuit excluded the lesser players. That also carried over into much of the early open era, where the top players tended to play most of their matches with a small group of elite players which reduced winning percentages. For example, on the 1959 world series, Gonzales had the highest winning percentage at 72%, Hoad, the overall winner, at 71%, Rosewall in third at 62%. Those are small percentages by today's standards for the top three players, but the field was only 12 elite players which affected the numbers.

Some eras had weaker fields or players would choose to play in weaker events, so this number I give little attention to. It requires too much additional explanation to make sense of.
Setting aside the pre-Open era, which is a different animal altogether, how can you not think it's relevant? Just because there were many smaller events--but all legit tournaments--not exos. So what. A win is a win at an open tournament of any size. There are still smallish events today (250's, challengers, etc.) And, the ATP doesn't even count anything that was an exo and there were just tons of those. Add those in and the #s for Lendl and Connors skyrocket (Laver too, for that matter). I think you have to set aside the old Pro Tours as they were all former amateurs now playing under contract....not like they were holding open events. Still, even those %s are interesting to look at among the small group of players. Win %s are not all that different from batting averages...they are stats that point to consistency of play.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
From memory, he only won 7-8 titles. Would that be the lowest of anyone on this list?
Seems about right for him... late bloomer and injury dampening him pretty soon after (around '99), so short window for Rafter



the thing about Sampras was that because he has no rival for best of his era (unlike those other guys), the story and metrics for assessing greatness were re-written just for him

It would be like if Nadal had no competitors and the entire tennis world came to conclusion that clay was most important thing and everything else was secondary. Other than Canadian Open because (insert made up lunacy)

The story when Sampras was up and about was that tennis had reached a level of professionalism that made it impossible for players to dominate (in the win-loss record sense) the way old fuddy duddies like Connors, Borg, Mac and Lendl did. Nowadays, anyone can beat anyone, back than, you could pencil those guys into the semis with your eyes closed - those beer guzzling, hamburger eating, drug taking, party boys

The post-Sampras lull, with Hewitt, Guga, Safin etc. crowding around the top on nowhere near dominant records supported that. 90% winning rates per year were a thing of the past (to justify Sampras not doing it)
Only Slams matter (because that's Sampras' strong suit)

French Open? - Pete doesn't care about clay
Australian Open? - hard court is hard court and Pete's an American and prioritizes US Open, look there to see that he's the best

Year End Championship isn't a Slam - but because he did well there, that's important
Masters arent' important - because he didn't do too well there

I have 0 doubt that had Sampras won 20+ masters events but 2 Year End Championships, entire story of value of those events would have been turned upside down then and there

Then came Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. There goes the theory of absolute dominace joining the dinosaur and dodo

Pretty sure Connors and co. also prioritized Slams (and probably very big money exhibtions) above other tournaments - same as Sampras - but apparently, they're B focus was good enough to win a lot more of said smaller tournaments (McEnroe might have been crazy enough to go A game all the way)

Long tail end of mediocority to Connors' record too. And I'm assuming the 10+ matches Borg lost in a row in the '90s is included in his result (which is otherwise bolsterd by his going out before natural decline of results)
ROFL...your commentary gave me a good chuckle. Yes, the measures of success do fluctuate, don't they? Sampras was not quite as dominant as he appeared to be, based on his %s. But it did seem like it was around then when counting GS wins became the main barometer. There are those of us (myself included) who might argue that Sampras's competition wasn't that strong (sorry Pat, Andre, Jim, Stefan and Boris) and if anything, his win % should be around 85% or more. He was that good, subjectively based on observation of peak performance, IMHO. While I think win % is a solid metric to look at, it begs the question of when to start counting (Pre vs. Open) and what to count (type and size of event). There were a lot of small events back in the 70's and 80's that simply don't exist anymore. Not to mention entire tours (WCT anyone?) and larger exos. So, yeah, Connors has a lot in there that are small fry wins no question. But he wasn't alone...that was the era. But, I still think you can make some fair comparisons across the Open era to judge the dominance and consistency of these guys. You can't just say it's only relevant to the Big 3, but doesn't work for the other guys for these various reasons. My gut reaction looking at the 80% club was "yeah, that seems about right"
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Setting aside the pre-Open era, which is a different animal altogether, how can you not think it's relevant? Just because there were many smaller events--but all legit tournaments--not exos. So what. A win is a win at an open tournament of any size. There are still smallish events today (250's, challengers, etc.) And, the ATP doesn't even count anything that was an exo and there were just tons of those. Add those in and the #s for Lendl and Connors skyrocket (Laver too, for that matter). I think you have to set aside the old Pro Tours as they were all former amateurs now playing under contract....not like they were holding open events. Still, even those %s are interesting to look at among the small group of players. Win %s are not all that different from batting averages...they are stats that point to consistency of play.
That is basically what I am saying, winning percentages are not a metric which can be used for comparison across eras, they mean something different in each era, and you have to provide an extended narrative for each era to explain what they mean.

In the end, as you say, they are only significant for a short period of time, often only one year. (If I am reading you right.)
 

Phenomenal

Hall of Fame
From memory, he only won 7-8 titles. Would that be the lowest of anyone on this list?
Seems about right for him... late bloomer and injury dampening him pretty soon after (around '99), so short window for Rafter



the thing about Sampras was that because he has no rival for best of his era (unlike those other guys), the story and metrics for assessing greatness were re-written just for him

It would be like if Nadal had no competitors and the entire tennis world came to conclusion that clay was most important thing and everything else was secondary. Other than Canadian Open because (insert made up lunacy)

The story when Sampras was up and about was that tennis had reached a level of professionalism that made it impossible for players to dominate (in the win-loss record sense) the way old fuddy duddies like Connors, Borg, Mac and Lendl did. Nowadays, anyone can beat anyone, back than, you could pencil those guys into the semis with your eyes closed - those beer guzzling, hamburger eating, drug taking, party boys

The post-Sampras lull, with Hewitt, Guga, Safin etc. crowding around the top on nowhere near dominant records supported that. 90% winning rates per year were a thing of the past (to justify Sampras not doing it)
Only Slams matter (because that's Sampras' strong suit)

French Open? - Pete doesn't care about clay
Australian Open? - hard court is hard court and Pete's an American and prioritizes US Open, look there to see that he's the best

Year End Championship isn't a Slam - but because he did well there, that's important
Masters arent' important - because he didn't do too well there

I have 0 doubt that had Sampras won 20+ masters events but 2 Year End Championships, entire story of value of those events would have been turned upside down then and there

Then came Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. There goes the theory of absolute dominace joining the dinosaur and dodo

Pretty sure Connors and co. also prioritized Slams (and probably very big money exhibtions) above other tournaments - same as Sampras - but apparently, they're B focus was good enough to win a lot more of said smaller tournaments (McEnroe might have been crazy enough to go A game all the way)

Long tail end of mediocority to Connors' record too. And I'm assuming the 10+ matches Borg lost in a row in the '90s is included in his result (which is otherwise bolsterd by his going out before natural decline of results)
Exactly. I find many stats and records of Sampras low, lacking. His overall titles, master titles, AO and W/L record is low apart from clay. His HC win % is 80.5.
Outside of gap in slams had it not been for his YEC success i would have considered Connors, others(Lendl) above him. But there is just not any player in 12-13 GS range in OE.

AO was complicated and not important in some years but i don't think outside of Borg any player would have reached 14 slam. Yeah this includes Borg's 12 loss in a row in 1990's.

It's even more incredible when you think Connors played until 40's. Lendl played longer aswell compared to Sampras and has many losses in his last years.
Connor's 105 of 109 official titles come before 1985. So he didn't win many titles despite playing much longer after that. Idk how much is true argument of him winning small events?
Sampras didn't played after 31-32. Still his % is quite low.

Federer looks to me as better version of Sampras on HC and clay. It's true that conditions in 90's was more polarized but still there is huge gap.
 

urban

Legend
Of course winninmg percentages is an important stat over a career or over some years. as i said before. But it is also correct, that the numbers have to be put into context. The old pro tour had a small group of elite players, and the percentages were lower than in open era, when top players faced many lower ranked players. Gonzalez for instance in his numerically best year 1956 had only around 70% winning record, but played over 150 matches against top competition. If Fed had played only Nadal, Djoker and Murray over a year, a 70% record would be phenomenal. As i wrote, absolute numbers also count, as does the percentage of tournament wins against tournaments entered.
 

KG1965

Legend
I follow Waspsting (who I salute).
I had done research on these percentages years ago and Sampras' figure stood out.
The reason is simple, while the other Top dogs had similar results in slam, elite and low profile category tournaments, Pete only had excellent results in slams.
So I went to look at all of Sampras' results to see if maybe he wasn't putting in the effort.
Instead he always lost in the semi-finals or before but with close scores (76 57 64 or 64 67 63 ...) a symptom of the great effort put in.
He was simply a top dog in 3/5 (slam) and wasn't in 2/3.
About twenty players were close to Sampras in 2/3.
 

urban

Legend
Sampras took advantage of the computer ranking system of this era. If i remember it well, only 14 best events counted for the computer (maybe outside the slams), and all other results fell into oblivion. I think, in Musters best year 1995, at least 2 or 3 of his tournament wins fell under the table and didn't count for the computer ranking. So Sampras could focus on a self selected number of events, and stay Nr. 1 for so long. In contrast. in the mid 70s, the computer ranking was based on avergage and percentage. So a player better skipped an event, than to play tired and lose early on. Jimbo for instance went out shortly before many, many events, he had booked, and didn't lose any points on the computer. The 1977 situation is a testament of this ranking system.
 
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nolefam_2024

Talk Tennis Guru
The interesting thing is that Federer won at more than a 83% rate in 8 of the ten years between 2010-2019. He was a formidable player in that decade also and not only in the one he dominated in the 2000s.
Its same case for all big 3.

I always assumed once a player hits peak then except cases where an injury troubles the player like it did to andy murray, the player remains at the top of his game.

So Federer was at the top of his game from 2004 to 2019. All these years except 2013 I think he did win 83/84% on average. If not 88/90
 

KG1965

Legend
From memory, he only won 7-8 titles. Would that be the lowest of anyone on this list?
Seems about right for him... late bloomer and injury dampening him pretty soon after (around '99), so short window for Rafter



the thing about Sampras was that because he has no rival for best of his era (unlike those other guys), the story and metrics for assessing greatness were re-written just for him

It would be like if Nadal had no competitors and the entire tennis world came to conclusion that clay was most important thing and everything else was secondary. Other than Canadian Open because (insert made up lunacy)

The story when Sampras was up and about was that tennis had reached a level of professionalism that made it impossible for players to dominate (in the win-loss record sense) the way old fuddy duddies like Connors, Borg, Mac and Lendl did. Nowadays, anyone can beat anyone, back than, you could pencil those guys into the semis with your eyes closed - those beer guzzling, hamburger eating, drug taking, party boys

The post-Sampras lull, with Hewitt, Guga, Safin etc. crowding around the top on nowhere near dominant records supported that. 90% winning rates per year were a thing of the past (to justify Sampras not doing it)
Only Slams matter (because that's Sampras' strong suit)

French Open? - Pete doesn't care about clay
Australian Open? - hard court is hard court and Pete's an American and prioritizes US Open, look there to see that he's the best

Year End Championship isn't a Slam - but because he did well there, that's important
Masters arent' important - because he didn't do too well there

I have 0 doubt that had Sampras won 20+ masters events but 2 Year End Championships, entire story of value of those events would have been turned upside down then and there

Then came Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. There goes the theory of absolute dominace joining the dinosaur and dodo

Pretty sure Connors and co. also prioritized Slams (and probably very big money exhibtions) above other tournaments - same as Sampras - but apparently, they're B focus was good enough to win a lot more of said smaller tournaments (McEnroe might have been crazy enough to go A game all the way)

Long tail end of mediocority to Connors' record too. And I'm assuming the 10+ matches Borg lost in a row in the '90s is included in his result (which is otherwise bolsterd by his going out before natural decline of results)
Hi Waspsting,
to complete the judgment on Connors (and also on the others) it would be necessary to deduct the terrible results at the end of his career.
If by hypothesis we remove the years from 1986 onwards Jimmy reaches 85%.

Then it is true that in the years of the Riordan circuit (1973-1976) the results were quite distorted.

But his career-high figure puts him at 85%.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Hi Waspsting,
to complete the judgment on Connors (and also on the others) it would be necessary to deduct the terrible results at the end of his career.
If by hypothesis we remove the years from 1986 onwards Jimmy reaches 85%.

Then it is true that in the years of the Riordan circuit (1973-1976) the results were quite distorted.

But his career-high figure puts him at 85%.
I presume that we are talking about lifetime percentages. If you just isolate the best years of certain players, that really tells us nothing as far as comparisons with other players.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I presume that we are talking about lifetime percentages. If you just isolate the best years of certain players, that really tells us nothing as far as comparisons with other players.
you could perhaps try to do it by age parameters? to make it a little more equitable? Even then, it's tricky.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Hi Waspsting,
to complete the judgment on Connors (and also on the others) it would be necessary to deduct the terrible results at the end of his career.
If by hypothesis we remove the years from 1986 onwards Jimmy reaches 85%.

Then it is true that in the years of the Riordan circuit (1973-1976) the results were quite distorted.

But his career-high figure puts him at 85%.
His results weren't so terrible after 1984, actually. He just wasn't winning tourneys the way he used to. He had that awful 4 year drought before winning a few more events to essentially wind up his time in the Top 20. Then the big wrist injury in '90 put him out of commission for a year. And we all know about 1991 (comeback player of the year). '92 was a weaker continuation of the Jimmy show, but allowed him to parlay his newfound fame into his new Seniors tour. Which kept him out there another 6 years or so entertaining the crowds and keeping in the eye of the public. By the time he left the stage, he was nearly 50. Just crazy! I'll be curious to see if there is a Fed/Nadal/Djoko/Murray road show at some point post retirement....I think they could muster the fan interest.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Outside of gap in slams had it not been for his YEC success i would have considered Connors, others(Lendl) above him. But there is just not any player in 12-13 GS range in OE.
The perspective your taking is sort of what I was pointing to

Fans who started following the game post Sampras were fed this prespective as simple reality - the sky is blue, the grass green and Slams are pre-eminent

Look at Slam count first, than everything else Because Sampas towers ahead of the Open Era crowd on that front

What if the perspective were to look at win-loss percentage or total career titles first - and then look at other things, like Slam count?

Story changes from
- Sampras is the best, though he trails a few guys in a few minor things
to (they're being 'minor' is re-framed history)
- Sampras isn't top league, but leads everyone on a few signifcant things (Slams were always 'signifcant'... but not virtual be-all it became after re-framed history)

Basically, pre-Sampras induced paradigm shift, there was no clearly delineated metric to assess greatness. Some loose conception of 'dominance'. Shy of winning the Grand Slam (the 4 majors in the same year), which is almost an impossible task, that'd probably best measured by win-loss records and number of titles won or something which doens't have Sampras at the top of the pile

I'll give you an example. Borg is greater than Connors right? Why?
11 > 8

What about Connors being ranked number 1 for 5 years to Borg's 2?
What about huge difference in weeks at number 1 (Connors has more than double Borg I think)

Those will get shallowly dismissed by some reasoning like "the rankings were a mess back then"

If that's true - (and I don't think it is, by the way) its even more true for Slam counting

I follow Waspsting (who I salute).
I had done research on these percentages years ago and Sampras' figure stood out.
The reason is simple, while the other Top dogs had similar results in slam, elite and low profile category tournaments, Pete only had excellent results in slams.
So I went to look at all of Sampras' results to see if maybe he wasn't putting in the effort.
Instead he always lost in the semi-finals or before but with close scores (76 57 64 or 64 67 63 ...) a symptom of the great effort put in.
He was simply a top dog in 3/5 (slam) and wasn't in 2/3.
About twenty players were close to Sampras in 2/3.

Hi KG, its good to see you

Another piece I'll share regarding Sampras' record that I noticed on going through the thread by @eldanger25 about maintaining 90% winning rates for a year or more

I looked for all ways to see if its possible to squeeze Sampras in and reasoned clay was holding him back. So started by looking at his best clay years, and if including those within span, we could find an entry for him

To my surprise, I found its indoors as much as clay that kept him from ever achieving this
 
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KG1965

Legend
Thought this would be fun to look at. These are guys who played only in the Open Era and who won at least two Grand slams. Sorry if I missed someone. (Different sources may have slightly different numbers) .
Like any stat it can be deceiving. Still, it is a stat that is not talked about enough.


The 80% Club:

Djokovic 83.5
Nadal 82.9
Borg 82.4
Federer 82.0
Connors 81.8
Mcenroe 81.7
Lendl 81.5

The 70% club:

Sampras 77.4
Becker 76.9
Vilas 76.2
Agassi 76.0
Edberg 74.8
Murray 74.1
Wilander 72.0
Hewitt 70.2

The 60% Club

Courier 68.1
Kafelnikov 66.6
Kuerten 64.7
Kriek 62.9
Bruguera 62.3
Wawinka 62.0
Safin 61.2

Overall, not too many surprises. Thought it was interesting that everyone who won over 80.0 were so close; which is an indication of how close these guys really are.
Anyway, thought it would be fun discussing.
I think it is interesting to note that the losses between Sampras and Djoker are almost identical (222-216) and Nole however won 300 matches more (1095-762).
 
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KG1965

Legend
Hi KG, its good to see you

Another piece I'll share regarding Sampras' record that I noticed on going through the thread by @eldanger25 about maintaining 90% winning rates for a year or more

I looked for all ways to see if its possible to squeeze Sampras in and reasoned clay was holding him back. So started by looking at his best clay years, and if including those within span, we could find an entry for him

To my surprise, I found its indoors as much as clay that kept him from ever achieving this
I tried to divide all the results of Sampras' career between clay and no-clay (carpet, hard, grass)
Clay 92-54 63% (92/146 total)
No clay 670-168 80% (670/838 total).

Without a doubt the bad results on clay lower the percentage.

I'll try to see how much the indoor performance affects year by year.... (185-59 76%).
Yes, the average percentage of indoor results is very poor compared to Pete's value.
 
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Gerulitas (69.8) and Muster 69.6) just missed it. Doubt there would be too many former players who were over 70%, but maybe we are overlooking someone.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Gerulitas (69.8) and Muster 69.6) just missed it. Doubt there would be too many former players who were over 70%, but maybe we are overlooking someone.
Orantes (71.2%) and Okker (70.4%) are two others in the over 70% club.

Edit: So is Stan Smith at 71.3%. Of course, all three of these guys played at least some in the pre-Open Era.
 
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Yeah, I was just counting players whose careers were entirely in the open era. Would be interesting to see the winning % of guys like Orantes, Okker, Newcombe, Smith Ashe etc, just as pros.
 

barone

Rookie
I tried to divide all the results of Sampras' career between clay and no-clay (carpet, hard, grass)
Clay 92-54 63% (92/146 total)
No clay 670-168 80% (670/838 total).

Without a doubt the bad results on clay lower the percentage.

I'll try to see how much the indoor performance affects year by year.... (185-59 76%).
Yes, the average percentage of indoor results is very poor compared to Pete's value.
But clay is tennis to☺️
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
There are certainly different ways to assess the success of these GOATs...but it should not be ONLY GS wins, particularly if you are comparing across generations.
 

BTURNER

Legend
There are certainly different ways to assess the success of these GOATs...but it should not be ONLY GS wins, particularly if you are comparing across generations.
That's just stupid. If what provides your great legacy as a celebrity number 1 tennis champion, is only the slams, you have no incentive to promote a broader healthy tour and all those events in between, and those are what feed the tour and its popularity. We already have a problem getting our most famous, best athletes out there, outside the major metropolitan areas, where our sport needs to grow, where ratings and local coverage needs to improve, where our public tennis courts need to be used before they get turned over into another dog park. The last thing we need to encourage is a more myopic view of the tour opportunities by our name players!

It used to be a big deal in the growing WTA and its budding tour , for the top players to spread out , to get more interest in some smaller events, give out some autographs, do some interviews to local media, maybe a clinic or two, to get more butts in those seats, and more young fans racing to buy a new racket, saving some allowance money to get some lessons. You don't get that with just 10 to 12 events that matter for you legacy..

We need to reward with greater street cred, what we want the sport to look like in another 40 years. By the way, that also means honoring and showcasing doubles more.
 

Phenomenal

Hall of Fame
The perspective your taking is sort of what I was pointing to

Fans who started following the game post Sampras were fed this prespective as simple reality - the sky is blue, the grass green and Slams are pre-eminent

Look at Slam count first, than everything else Because Sampas towers ahead of the Open Era crowd on that front

What if the perspective were to look at win-loss percentage or total career titles first - and then look at other things, like Slam count?

Story changes from
- Sampras is the best, though he trails a few guys in a few minor things
to (they're being 'minor' is re-framed history)
- Sampras isn't top league, but leads everyone on a few signifcant things (Slams were always 'signifcant'... but not virtual be-all it became after re-framed history)

Basically, pre-Sampras induced paradigm shift, there was no clearly delineated metric to assess greatness. Some loose conception of 'dominance'. Shy of winning the Grand Slam (the 4 majors in the same year), which is almost an impossible task, that'd probably best measured by win-loss records and number of titles won or something which doens't have Sampras at the top of the pile

I'll give you an example. Borg is greater than Connors right? Why?
11 > 8

What about Connors being ranked number 1 for 5 years to Borg's 2?
What about huge difference in weeks at number 1 (Connors has more than double Borg I think)

Those will get shallowly dismissed by some reasoning like "the rankings were a mess back then"

If that's true - (and I don't think it is, by the way) its even more true for Slam counting



Hi KG, its good to see you

Another piece I'll share regarding Sampras' record that I noticed on going through the thread by @eldanger25 about maintaining 90% winning rates for a year or more

I looked for all ways to see if its possible to squeeze Sampras in and reasoned clay was holding him back. So started by looking at his best clay years, and if including those within span, we could find an entry for him

To my surprise, I found its indoors as much as clay that kept him from ever achieving this
'pre-Sampras there was no clearly delineated metric to assess greatness' This is the biggest problem i think when comparing eras. Adjustments needs to be made to compare eras. Still i'm not sure if absolute possible to compare players from different eras but with adjustments i think they are comparable by achievements.
Tour was different and was not established like it is since 90's. I didn't watch any of early guys but definitely i believe there was media narrative to push Sampras's greatness.

I think Borg - Connors is much more comparable since they played against each other. It might depend which things you value most like in every comparison but for me its clear.
I value h2h in big tournaments, slams quite much especially when players are not far from their best. To me Lendl's superiority to Connors in h2h doesn't mean much since most came after Connor's prime years. Especially when Connors won the 82-83 USO finals. To lesser extent in Mcenroe Connors h2h difference came in 1984 where Mac won 6 in a row. But still more valuable than Lendl Connors h2h.

OTOH i can't say any of this for Borg. Borg just took it from Connors when he was the best player. Borg's Wimbledon superiority and also across all surfaces after 1976 against Connors stood out to me. Especially 78-79 Wimbledon wins are much more valuable than Mac's 84 win against Connors imo. Connors mostly before 1977 has his share of great wins against Borg too i must mention.

I don't think Weeks at no1 shows dominance always, it's not as flashy as it sounds. Highly depend on other players, in your era. To me titles are always more important or most. Bigger ones more important of course.
Borg in 77-78 has %92 win rate with 3 slams and still ranked 3 and 2. In these years he was dominant more dominant than most of if not any of Sampras's no1. years. Idk the ranking formula but he should have been no1 in 78.
In 77 Borg was banned from FO just like Connors in 1974 that affected his ranking.


In my Borg-Sampras thread i shared many stats there more detailed. Yes, Sampras doesn't have %90 win rate in any season.
 

Phenomenal

Hall of Fame
The issues Borg-Connor's faced during their time is no longer happening. Like their bans at FO, AO being not as important. How much USO would Sampras, Federer or anyone would have won had they played 3 year in a row on clay?
Comparing Borg, Connors to other players by slam count without caveats makes 0 sense to me. Since they played 3 slams mostly.

For Sampras i must say his last USO win is so significant to me. I can't count in how many things me or people would consider him much lower without it. Like USO, slams to HC greatness...
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
That's just stupid. If what provides your great legacy as a celebrity number 1 tennis champion, is only the slams, you have no incentive to promote a broader healthy tour and all those events in between, and those are what feed the tour and its popularity. We already have a problem getting our most famous, best athletes out there, outside the major metropolitan areas, where our sport needs to grow, where ratings and local coverage needs to improve, where our public tennis courts need to be used before they get turned over into another dog park. The last thing we need to encourage is a more myopic view of the tour opportunities by our name players!

It used to be a big deal in the growing WTA and its budding tour , for the top players to spread out , to get more interest in some smaller events, give out some autographs, do some interviews to local media, maybe a clinic or two, to get more butts in those seats, and more young fans racing to buy a new racket, saving some allowance money to get some lessons. You don't get that with just 10 to 12 events that matter for you legacy..

We need to reward with greater street cred, what we want the sport to look like in another 40 years. By the way, that also means honoring and showcasing doubles more.
Dubs is dying, sadly. Several courts by me became skateboard parks. Now Pickleball. Locally, I see zero effort to promote the sport, not even at the county level. I'm in a larger NYC metro suburb, not the sticks. We need more events--tour and exos, more coverage (and not just on the tennis channel) and a better ATP face to the public. Maybe that's the next gen, because it isn't Djoko, for sure. Similar deal on the ladies side....w/out Serena, interest in the US will likely diminish.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Dubs is dying, sadly. Several courts by me became skateboard parks. Now Pickleball. Locally, I see zero effort to promote the sport, not even at the county level. I'm in a larger NYC metro suburb, not the sticks. We need more events--tour and exos, more coverage (and not just on the tennis channel) and a better ATP face to the public. Maybe that's the next gen, because it isn't Djoko, for sure. Similar deal on the ladies side....w/out Serena, interest in the US will likely diminish.
A sport which forgets its past has no future.

Every successful sport reveres its history and elevates its stars into major public figures.

Tennis has neglected the stars who made the game great.
 
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It’s such a shame that tennis in the US is such a niche sport it now gets absolutely no coverage on networks, not to mention newspapers or even sports illustrated. Tennis stars used to be mainstream celebrities in America, making the covers of so many mainstream publications - Time, Newsweek, People. Can you imagine even NoVaxxx DjokeCovid making the cover of Time in 2024, let alone Iga Swiatek or Aryna Sabalenka, and in a cover article just about them, not some special issue about the 100 Most Important Buffoons Du Jour edition?
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
It’s such a shame that tennis in the US is such a niche sport it now gets absolutely no coverage on networks, not to mention newspapers or even sports illustrated. Tennis stars used to be mainstream celebrities in America, making the covers of so many mainstream publications - Time, Newsweek, People. Can you imagine even NoVaxxx DjokeCovid making the cover of Time in 2024, let alone Iga Swiatek or Aryna Sabalenka, and in a cover article just about them, not some special issue about the 100 Most Important Buffoons Du Jour edition?
Everyone liked to complain about our bad boys in Jimmy and John, but we didn't know how good we had it, in terms of the profile of the game in the US. Andre, I think, kept things going awhile longer, but now it is a desert.
 

KG1965

Legend
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

%W–LMatch record
89.2141–17 Sweden Björn Borg
88.2366–49 Serbia Novak Djokovic
88.0314–43 Spain Rafael Nadal
86.0369–60 Switzerland Roger Federer
84.2203–38 United States Pete Sampras
82.6233–49 United States Jimmy Connors
81.9222–49 Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl
81.5167–38 United States John McEnroe
 

silentkman

Hall of Fame
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

%W–LMatch record
89.2141–17 Sweden Björn Borg
88.2366–49 Serbia Novak Djokovic
88.0314–43 Spain Rafael Nadal
86.0369–60 Switzerland Roger Federer
84.2203–38 United States Pete Sampras
82.6233–49 United States Jimmy Connors
81.9222–49 Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl
81.5167–38 United States John McEnroe
The ATP website begs to differ regarding Novak.
 

nolefam_2024

Talk Tennis Guru
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

%W–LMatch record
89.2141–17 Sweden Björn Borg
88.2366–49 Serbia Novak Djokovic
88.0314–43 Spain Rafael Nadal
86.0369–60 Switzerland Roger Federer
84.2203–38 United States Pete Sampras
82.6233–49 United States Jimmy Connors
81.9222–49 Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl
81.5167–38 United States John McEnroe
If these numbers are true, Djokovic is the best ever. Borg retired too early but his peak is better than Djokovic.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

seems to support hypothsis of Mac being the outlier, gives it same effort regardless of tournament value

Sans Borg, also supporting another hypothsis, of Federer an co. having particularly better results at Slams than non-Slams, relative to old guard

All these compulsary masters events they've played means they inevitably run into high ranked opponents at non-Slams. The easy part is early round of Slams

Connors et. al. I'd have expected to have smaller gaps, with them playing less smaller tournaments without high ranked opponents in the draw more often

...apparently, (Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl) focus was good enough to win a lot more of said smaller tournaments (McEnroe might have been crazy enough to go A game all the way)
 

Phenomenal

Hall of Fame
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

%W–LMatch record
89.2141–17 Sweden Björn Borg
88.2366–49 Serbia Novak Djokovic
88.0314–43 Spain Rafael Nadal
86.0369–60 Switzerland Roger Federer
84.2203–38 United States Pete Sampras
82.6233–49 United States Jimmy Connors
81.9222–49 Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl
81.5167–38 United States John McEnroe
Borg's excluded W/L record after 1990 => 83.6 Makes no sense to add those to me.
Comparing Borg's overall % to slam %(to see difference), excluding 82 onwards since Borg didn't play any slams after 81. His overall % is 83.9.
 

Phenomenal

Hall of Fame
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

%W–LMatch record
89.2141–17 Sweden Björn Borg
88.2366–49 Serbia Novak Djokovic
88.0314–43 Spain Rafael Nadal
86.0369–60 Switzerland Roger Federer
84.2203–38 United States Pete Sampras
82.6233–49 United States Jimmy Connors
81.9222–49 Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl
81.5167–38 United States John McEnroe
Big 3 very impressive considering they also played against each other and Borg of course.
Borg played less than all. I think his numbers eventually would decline bit had he played longer but also likely he would have won more slams.

Connors is very impressive too considering he played into his 39-40.
 

Phenomenal

Hall of Fame
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

%W–LMatch record
89.2141–17 Sweden Björn Borg
88.2366–49 Serbia Novak Djokovic
88.0314–43 Spain Rafael Nadal
86.0369–60 Switzerland Roger Federer
84.2203–38 United States Pete Sampras
82.6233–49 United States Jimmy Connors
81.9222–49 Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl
81.5167–38 United States John McEnroe
This is one of the reasons why i consider only Borg who could be at Big 3 level in OE. He is not by achievements but mainly his dominance, versality and many of his crazy records is enough for me to consider his playing level, strength must be as good as Big3 but sure he doesn't have the longevity of the 3. Even his modern playing style, popularity many things can be said.
 

nolefam_2024

Talk Tennis Guru
Big 3 very impressive considering they also played against each other and Borg of course.
Borg played less than all. I think his numbers eventually would decline bit had he played longer but also likely he would have won more slams.

Connors is very impressive too considering he played into his 39-40.
Connors is freaking beast. Djokovic is his parallel. Both played for too long at too consistent a game. If Djokovic tries, he might rival Connors in some of the stats.
 

Phenomenal

Hall of Fame
Djokovic 83.5 - 88.5 slam ... +5.0
Nadal 82.9 - 88,0 slam ... +5,1
Borg 82.4 - 89,2 slam ... +6,8
Federer 82.0 - 86,0 slam ... +4,0
Connors 81.8 - 82,6 slam... +0,8
Mcenroe 81.7 - 81,5 slam ... -0,2
Lendl 81.5 - 81,9 slam ... +0,4
Sampras 77.4 - 84,2 slam ... +6,8

%W–LMatch record
89.2141–17 Sweden Björn Borg
88.2366–49 Serbia Novak Djokovic
88.0314–43 Spain Rafael Nadal
86.0369–60 Switzerland Roger Federer
84.2203–38 United States Pete Sampras
82.6233–49 United States Jimmy Connors
81.9222–49 Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl
81.5167–38 United States John McEnroe
Nadal was always ahead of Djokovic in this stat as far as i know. Only last year Djokovic move ahead. Could be in 2021 aswell i'm not sure about that.
Nadal is better at slams than bo3, overall season. For Djokovic i don't think there was difference between his level, record on tour to slams(was worse probably) but in last years he completely changed that.
 
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