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FedEx Reliability Zone: Outstanding Outdoors

FedEx Reliability Zone: Current Outdoor Records

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer compiled a 60-8 outdoor record (.882) that included five titles, according to the FedEx ATP Reliability Index.

Former World No. 1 Mats Wilander provides exclusive analysis on the best outdoor performers of 2012, according to the FedEx ATP Reliability Index.

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When the results of outdoor matches often depend on the weather as well as a player's mental strength it may come as no surprise to learn that the Top 5 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer – were the leading players with the best winning percentage in outdoor matches in 2012. Together, they lifted a combined 22 outdoor trophies.

For the ninth time in 10 years, Roger Federer finished in the Top 2, largely on the back of a 60-8 outdoor record (.882) that included five titles. He compiled a 71-12 overall season record.

With the 2013 ATP World Tour season on the horizon, Wilander sees no reason why Federer shouldn’t add to his Grand Slam championship haul. “He can have a great year in 2013,” said Wilander, the 1983-84, ’86 Australian Open champion. “By winning 17 majors he knows he can win another one until the day he stops playing.”

Federer compiled a 12-6 record against Top 10 rivals in outdoor matches this year. Wilander adds, “I don’t think it is necessary for him to win five or six tournaments per year to get the confidence to win. I think winning Wimbledon [in July] proved to himself and to everybody that he can still win. He is the most amazing player at dusting himself off after a loss against the best players, when he hasn’t played well. He then bounces back, kind of saying, ‘here I am again’.”

NadalRafael Nadal, who will make his ATP World Tour comeback in January, is No. 2 overall for the best winning percentage in outdoor matches in 2012. The Spaniard put together a 42-6 outdoor mark (.875), including four clay-court titles. “Rafa has always played his best when he is confident,” said Wilander. “You build confidence by winning matches, so he will be keen to start the year well. I think that by the time the European clay swing begins, he could be playing at top form. To win Monte-Carlo eight times in a row is amazing.”

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic won more outdoor matches than any other player in 2012. The Serbian has a 70-11 outdoor record (.864) and was an ATP World Tour-best 50-5 on hard-courts. Wilander marvels at his consistency. “Last year was obviously one of the greatest years a male player has ever had apart from Rod Laver. This season has been more impressive than what he did in 2011.

“To come out and win the Australian Open, then not win, not win, not win and keep at it, including overcoming some personal issues, was incredible. He is a better player this year than he was in 2011. He knows it and I think when he plays well no one can beat him. After last year, I thought he was at the middle of his career. This is the start. I really can’t see anyone better than him. He can beat himself at times, but in terms of who has the brightest future it is hard not to say Novak Djokovic.”

DjokovicDjokovic reached the semi-finals or better in 15 of his 17 tournaments in 2012 and went 24-10 against Top 10 players. “He knows he has a massive amount of natural talent,” said Wilander. “Therefore he allows himself to close his eyes and lets statistics and percentages take over. He knows if it doesn’t work, then he can fight his way through to victory. I think he is smart enough to believe he will win most of the time.”

This year, David Ferrer had the best winning percentage in indoor matches (16-2, .895). The Spaniard also compiled a 60-13 record (.822) in outdoor matches, including five titles, according to the FedEx ATP Reliability Index. Wilander puts his overall improvement down to his serve, but adds, "Ferrer is also playing smarter and constructive.

“He is probably the most constructive player out there right now. He gets the most out of his game and I think if there was a ranking for someone who is reaching his potential, then Ferrer would be World No. 1. He plays to his natural strength, which is smart foot movement to seize control. If that doesn’t work, he keeps at it but reins himself back and doesn’t go for as much. He is a pain for other players to play. And that is one of his key strengths. He is as ferocious and competitive as you can find.”

MurrayAndy Murray is placed No. 5 with the best winning percentage in outdoor matches this year. His London 2012 Olympics and US Open title runs helped him build a 53-13 mark (. 803). Wilander is certain further glory will follow in 2013.

“I see that the goal for Murray is to improve his forehand, have more kick on his second serve and hit less slice backhands and take it earlier," said Wilander. Then, the most important goal, I think, is to allow the natural talent that Murray has to take over from his brain, because he is too smart. He tries to complicate things. If he does that then he can probably win three majors out of the four. I don’t think he will ever win Roland Garros, but if he wins three majors, then World No. 1 will be next to his name.”

Juan Martin del Potro (45-13, .776), Nicolas Almagro (47-19, .712), Janko Tipsarevic (46-19, .708), Tomas Berdych (43-18, .705) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (42-18, .700) round out the Top 10 for the best winning percentage in outdoor matches this year, according to the FedEx ATP Reliability Index.

The 2013 ATP World Tour season begins on 30 December at the Brisbane International and at the Aircel Chennai Open and Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha on 31 December.

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After Losing The First Set Career Records
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Who was the best player in outdoor matches during the 2012 ATP World Tour season?
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FedEx ATP Win/Loss Index

Performance Outdoor

Current* Index Career Index
1. Novak Djokovic .899 .829
2. Roger Federer .862 .819
3. Andy Murray .815 .766
4. Kei Nishikori .768 .642
5. Milos Raonic .754 .658

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