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FedEx Reliability Zone: Hard-Court Heroes

FedEx Reliability Zone: Current Hard-Court Records

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic went 15-2 during the summer US hard-court swing and leads the ATP World Tour for most match wins (35-3 mark, .897) on the surface in 2012.

As the dust settles on the US Open, looks at 2012 hard-court records using the FedEx ATP Reliability Index.

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For a second year running, Novak Djokovic leads the ATP World Tour for most match wins on hard courts after the final major of 2012 with a 35-4 mark (.897). At the same stage in 2011, he was a near perfect 40-1 (.975) overall.

But Roger Federer has the best winning percentage, .911 (31-3 mark), on hard courts this year, according to the FedEx ATP Reliability Index. Four of his six tour-level titles in 2012 have come on hard courts.

Newly crowned US Open champion Andy Murray insists, “Hard courts do take a lot out of the body, and this is for sure the most demanding surface. Novak has taken things, I think, especially on a hard-court, to a new level.”

Djokovic compiled the most wins on the North American summer hard-court swing with a 15-2 mark. The Serbian says he always “focuses on quality of practice rather than quantity” when switching surfaces. “Winning matches can bring you necessary confidence to feel good about yourself on and off the court. Then, with experience, you learn to live with pressure and figure out ways to perform at your best level in the biggest tournaments.” 

Both Djokovic and Federer will be battling to finish the 2012 season at No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, but in-form Murray will be looking to continue his recent run of fine form. The Scot has compiled a 21-2 record since the start of Wimbledon and a 6-1 tally against Top 10 opponents in that period. Djokovic has noticed “a mental change, plus a couple of adjustments in his game. Perhaps he is hitting his forehand more.”

Once Murray won the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, he played three tournaments during the North American summer swing, registering a 9-1 mark that culminated in winning his first major title. In 2012, Murray has amassed a 26-5 match record (.838) on hard courts. Twenty of his 24 tour-level titles have come on the surface.

Murray, LendlHis coach, Ivan Lendl, who reached eight straight US Open finals (1982-1989), has been instrumental in tightening up Murray’s game. During the US Open, Murray admitted, “I think I have improved since I started working with him. I think I'm playing better tennis and understanding how best to play the big points in the important matches.

“Going into Grand Slams, I started to understand certain things better and how to go about my business not just on the court but off it, as well. How to conserve energy, to go into the matches with the right mind set and attitude.”

Milos Raonic is another player who has made a mental breakthrough this season. With an .800 hard-court record – the fourth-best winning percentage for players with more than 20 hard-court match wins in 2012, according to the FedEx Reliability Index – the 21-year-old Canadian has compiled a 24-6 record on hard courts.

“I feel like I have the ability to be more dangerous than most players when I have the ball on my racquet, especially out of my hand on a serve,” said Raonic, who has won 93 per cent of his service games on hard courts this year. “I'm improving all the time. I'm working on my net game. I know for me to keep improving up the rankings, as a player, as a competitor, I'm going to have to keep improving there as well as my serve.”

Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Janko Tipsarevic,  who will all be battling to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London from 5-12 November, have also impressed this year on hard courts.

Berdych and del Potro share a 28-9 (.756) record on hard courts this season, while Winston-Salem Open titlist John Isner is 25-9 (.735). Two-time US Open quarter-finalist Janko Tipsarevic rounds out the Top 8 with a 22-9 (.709) mark.

Here's a detailed look at the Top 8 hard-court match wins leaders in 2012, comparing their North American summer hard-court swing and overall match records (as of 11 September):

2012 Season Hard-Court Match Wins (Percentage) Summer Hard-Court Match Wins Best US Summer Hard-Court Result Total Match Wins
Roger Federer 31-3 (.911) 8-1 Winner - Cincinnati 59-8 (.880)
Novak Djokovic 35-4 (.897) 15-2 Winner - Toronto 60-11 (.845)
Andy Murray 26-5 (.838) 9-1 Winner - US Open 47-11 (.810)
Milos Raonic 24-6 (.800) 7-3 QF - Cincinnati 36-15 (.705)
Tomas Berdych 28-9 (.756) 11-4 Finalist - Winston-Salem 46-17 (.730)
Juan Martin del Potro 28-9 (.756) 7-3 SF - Cincinnati 52-14 (.787)
John Isner 25-9 (.735) 12-3 Winner - Winston-Salem 43-16 (.728)
Janko Tipsarevic 22-9 (.709) 8-3 SF - Toronto 48-19 (.716)

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Who will finish 2012 with the most hard-court match wins?
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FedEx ATP Win/Loss Index

Performance On Hard

Current* Index Career Index
1. Roger Federer .906 .831
2. Novak Djokovic .891 .833
3. Kei Nishikori .796 .672
4. Andy Murray .790 .779
5. Tomas Berdych .729 .654

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