FEDEX RELIABILITY ZONE
FedEx Reliability Zone: Top 10 Records A Measure Of Greatness
FedEx Reliability Zone: Records Versus Top 10
by James Buddell|
ATPWorldTour.com takes a look at Top 10 records (since 1973), using the FedEx ATP Reliability Index.
A true measure of greatness is how a player performs against Top 10 rivals.
Bjorn Borg, the 11-time major championship winner, who was 67-28 (.705) during his illustrious career, ranks No. 1 in the overall FedEx Reliability Zone list for the best winning percentage versus Top 10 opponents.
But, of current players, Roger Federer is No. 2 with a 153-75 (.671) lifetime record following last week's Internazionali BNL d'Italia. So far in 2012, Federer is 8-2 against Top 10 rivals (as of 24 May), while Rafael Nadal is third overall (97-51, .655) and is 9-2 this season. Boris Becker, who retired in 1999, is No. 4 with a 121-65 (.651) mark. Interestingly, Andy Murray is No. 9 overall with a 52-43 record (.548), with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at No. 10 on 69-58 lifetime (.543).
To put into perspective the impressive nature of Federer and Nadal's winning percentages, ATPWorldTour.com speaks to several former Top 10 players who know the value - and difficulty - of each precious win against a member of tennis' most exclusive club.
Richard Gasquet, who is 19-55 (.257) versus Top 10 players, told ATPWorldTour.com, at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, that the elite are, "physically, mentally stronger and their tennis skills are more consistent. That is why they win a higher number of matches. The rankings don't lie." The former World No. 7 went onto admit, "There is a difference when you play a Top 5 player, you aren't the favourite. But No. 6 to No. 10 is another matter. Either way, your preparation for the match is the same."
Federer's compatriot, Stanislas Wawrinka, who spent 19 weeks in the Top 10 - peaking at a career-high No. 9 on 9 June 2008, told ATPWorldTour.com at the Foro Italico, "It is always tough to maintain your level against a Top 10 player. Any drop in your level and they will exploit it quickly.
"Therefore, you always have to attempt to find new solutions to get a stranglehold in a set. If you do the same thing, then they will beat you. It is a great challenge to know where your own game is at. It is really tough and that is why they are Top 10." Wawrinka is 17-48 (.252) lifetime versus Top 10 opponents.
Speaking to ATPWorldTour.com, former World No. 8 Mikhail Youzhny believes, "On one hand, you have nothing to lose. You can play your best tennis. But it never is easy, as you really have to concentrate and be sure of your game plan and quickly adjust to the flow of the match."
So what about a player who is close to getting back into the Top 10? Gilles Simon, who is currently No. 12 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, recalled the time when he was No. 6 in 2009. "The first season you win a lot of matches and are able to beat the top guys," said the consistent Frenchman. "You're still improving.
"When I was No. 6, in 2009, I felt the guys ahead of me were really tough to beat. Because I was No. 6, I felt that I had to win as many matches as I could against lower-ranked players. It meant that before you walked onto court you were the favourite and your mentality changed. There is extra pressure being in the elite."
But Viktor Troicki, Youzhny and Wawrinka all believe there is a two-tier Top 10, with the Top 4 - Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray - ahead of Nos. 5-12, followed by a wealth of talent in the world's Top 30.
Troicki told ATPWorldTour.com, "The difference between the Top 10 and guys No. 11 down to No. 30, in my opinion, is just mental." Youzhny stated, "When you play against the top guys, sometimes it is tougher. But the guys ranked No. 30 and down play just as hard. They don't give much away. That is the beauty of the tour right now, there is so much depth of talent."
Wawrinka added, "I felt that when I was in the Top 10, players did want to beat me. But I do feel that I am playing better tennis now than when I was No. 8. All the players in the Top 20, 30 are stronger now. That is why it is so tough to maintain a Top 10 ranking.
"I think that it is a difference between the Top 4 and the rest. They have been there for many years, winning everything. Then there is No. 5 to No. 12, you can see a difference in levels of play."
"I don't have a great record against Top 10 players [3-39 lifetime, .071] - in the past two years it hasn't gone well," said the former World No. 12, who is now at No. 31 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. "There were times when I have been close to winning those matches. I feel pressure, sometimes I get excited when I am close to winning. My goal is to reach Top 10, I got to No. 12. At Roland Garros [in May 2011], I was serving for the match at 5-3, 30/0 against Andy Murray. It was a tough loss.
"I almost beat Gael Monfils at [the Rogers Cup in] Montreal last year, but when you don't use your chances that you get, then sometimes mentally it eats away at you. The difference between the Top 10 and guys No. 11 down to No. 30, in my opinion, is just mental. When you reach Top 10, you break a barrier, I'd imagine, and obviously there is a sense of relief."
Then the hard work starts. How high can you go? That can apply to all levels of tennis as you take the steps up the rankings ladder. "I take inspiration from Janko," said Troicki. "He got into the Top 20, now he is No. 8 and he deserves to be there."
Career Grand Slam Records
Career Left-Handers Records
Current Deciding Set Records
Fifth Set Career Records
52-Week Clay-Court Records
Current ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Records
Career Clay-Court Records
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Career Hard-Court Records
Career Tie-Break Records
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After Losing The First Set Career Records
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