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All four times Novak Djokovic has finished year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings he has won at least 55 per cent of the points played.

How Djokovic, Federer, Sampras All Became No. 1

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows the small margin that separates World No. 1 from the rest of the tour

What happens if you take a 50-50 battle, and tip it just five percentage points in your favour?

You become the No. 1 player in the world.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of year-end No. 1 players since 1991, when statistics were first recorded in tennis, uncovers that reaching the pinnacle of our sport is predicated on winning with a lot smaller margin of victory than we realise.

The following breakdown shows how many times a player finished as year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and the percentage of points he won that season.

1991-2016: Year-End No. 1 Winning Percentage of Points Played

Points: Winning Percentage

Year-End No. 1 Total

55%

12

54%

7

53%

4

56%

3

TOTAL

26

The lowest average number of points won for a year-end No. 1 since 1991 is 53 per cent. Those players:

Year-End No. 1 Winning 53% Of Points

  • 1991 Stefan Edberg

  • 1996 Pete Sampras

  • 2000 Gustavo Kuerten

  • 2001 Lleyton Hewitt

The highest average of points won for a season is 56 per cent. Those players:

Year-End No. 1 - Winning 56% Points

  • 2015 Novak Djokovic

  • 2011 Novak Djokovic

  • 2006 Roger Federer

We can see definitive improvement at the top level of our sport. Since 2010, the lowest average number of points won has been 55 per cent, and no year-end No. 1 since 2001 has been below 54 per cent.

Infosys Nia Data reveals that current World No. 5 Rafael Nadal has won the highest percentage of points of the Top 10 so far in 2017. The Spaniard is winning 55 per cent (2711/4927) of his points and has gone 29-5 with two titles.

Federer currently leads the Emirates ATP Race To London (Nadal is second), with the Swiss winning 54.5 per cent (1921/3526) of his points so far in 2017.

Current Top 10 Points Won in 2017

Ranking

Player

Points Won/Total

Points Won Percentage

1

Andy Murray

(1738/3244)

53.6%

2

Novak Djokovic

(1500/2832)

53%

3

Stan Wawrinka

1857/3603)

51.5%

4

Roger Federer

(1921/3526)

54.5%

5

Rafael Nadal

(2711/4927)

55%

6

Milos Raonic

(1426/2705)

52.7%

7

Marin Cilic

(1611/3072)

52.4%

8

Kei Nishikori

(1793/3402)

52.7%

9

Dominic Thiem

(2485/4784)

51.9%

10

David Goffin

(2616/5008)

52.2%

-

-

AVERAGE

53%

To win 55 per cent of the points in a season also means that the best players in the world lose 45 per cent of all points they play.

In 2015, Novak Djokovic assembled the best winning record in recent times, winning 93 per cent (82-6) of his matches, collecting 11 titles and more than $21 million in prize money.

But the 93 percent win rate in matches was predicated on winning just 55.8 per cent (7507/13455) of points played. The Super Serbian competed in 15 finals in 2015, winning 11 and losing four. He won 73 per cent of the title matches, but won only 51.7 per cent of the points (1430/2765) in those 15 finals.

Success in tennis is built upon very small margins. Losing 45 per cent of all points you play is actually a world-class day at the office.

Year

Year-End No. 1

Percentage Points Won

2016

Andy Murray

55%

2015

Novak Djokovic

56%

2014

Novak Djokovic

55%

2013

Rafael Nadal

55%

2012

Novak Djokovic

55%

2011

Novak Djokovic

56%

2010

Rafael Nadal

55%

2009

Roger Federer

54%

2008

Rafael Nadal

55%

2007

Roger Federer

55%

2006

Roger Federer

56%

2005

Roger Federer

55%

2004

Roger Federer

55%

2003

Andy Roddick

54%

2002

Lleyton Hewitt

54%

2001

Lleyton Hewitt

53%

2000

Gustavo Kuerten

53%

1999

Andre Agassi

55%

1998

Pete Sampras

54%

1997

Pete Sampras

55%

1996

Pete Sampras

53%

1995

Pete Sampras

54%

1994

Pete Sampras

55%

1993

Pete Sampras

54%

1992

Jim Courier

54%

1991

Stefan Edberg

53%

-

AVERAGE

55%

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