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Shark Bites

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Nadal, Borg© AFP/Getty ImagesIn their first six appearances at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal won five titles compared to Bjorn Borg's four.

ATP stats and information guru Greg Sharko looks at the numbers behind the stories of the ATP World Tour.

BEST STARTS HEADING INTO ROLAND GARROS – Second seed Novak Djokovic has the best start in the Open Era heading into Roland Garros.

Player W-L Year Roland Garros Result
Novak Djokovic 37-0 2011 ?
John McEnroe 36-0 1984 Runner-up
Roger Federer 41-2 2005 Semi-finals
Ivan Lendl 35-2 1985 Champion
Pete Sampras 41-3 1994 Quarter-finals


NADAL AND EUROPEAN CLAY –
Before his defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Rome final, five-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal had never lost more than one European clay-court match per season in the lead-up to Paris.

Year Record Titles Losses Roland Garros Result
2005 20-1 Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome Igor Andreev (Valencia) Champion
2006 17-0 Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome None Champion
2007 19-1 Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome Roger Federer (Hamburg) Champion
2008 15-1 Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Hamburg Juan Carlos Ferrero (Rome) Champion
2009 17-1 Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome Roger Federer (Madrid) R16 (l. to Soderling)
2010 15-0 Monte-Carlo, Rome, Madrid None Champion
2011 17-2 Monte-Carlo, Barcelona Novak Djokovic (Madrid, Rome) ?


KINGS OF ROLAND GARROS – Here's a breakdown of the first six appearances by two of the game’s greatest clay court players, Bjorn Borg and Rafael Nadal:

Borg Nadal
First Six Appearances: 35-2 (4 titles) 38-1 (5 titles)
Sets Won: 101-23* 113-10
Five-Set Wins: 4 0
Straight-Set Wins: 22 31
Top 10 Victories 5 8
*Best-of-three sets in 1st and 2nd RD from 1973-1975


DEBUTING AT NO. 1 AFTER WINNING A MAJOR – In Paris, World No. 2 Novak Djokovic will be hoping to become just the fourth player in history (since 1973) to make his debut as World No. 1 the Monday after winning a Grand Slam title.

Player Grand Slam Title No. 1 Debut Date
Mats Wilander 1988 US Open 12.09.1988
Boris Becker 1991 Australian Open 28.01.1991
Roger Federer 2004 Australian Open 02.02.2004


NEAR FRENCH SUCCESSES – It’s been 28 years since a Frenchman last tasted victory at Roland Garros, when Yannick Noah lifted the trophy in 1983. Here’s a look at the best finishes by a French player since Noah’s triumph. 

Player Result Year
Henri Leconte Runner-up (l. to Wilander) 1988
Henri Leconte Semi-finalist (l. to Pernfors) 1986
Henri Leconte Semi-finalist (l. to Korda) 1992
Cedric Pioline Semi-finalist (l. to Corretja) 1998
Sebastien Grosjean Semi-finalist (l. to Corretja) 2001
Gael Monfils Semi-finalist (l. to Federer) 2008


BRACKET BUSTERS – The chart below shows the five lowest ranked players to reach the final at Roland Garros. Those in bold took home the title.

Player Rank Entering Roland Garros Year
Andrei Medvedev No. 100 1999
Gustavo Kuerten No. 66 1997
Martin Verkerk No. 46 2003
Gaston Gaudio No. 44 2004
Mariano Puerta No. 37 2005

-Assisted by Matt Fitzgerald

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