GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE
GRAND SLAM TENNIS STATISTICS


OTHER STATISTICS PAGES

No. 1 DO THE TOP MALE PLAYERS HAVE EASIER MATCHES IN THE FIRST WEEK OF GRAND SLAMS THAN THEY DID IN THE PAST?

No. 2 HOW WELL DO HOME PLAYERS PERFORM IN THEIR GRAND SLAM EVENTS?

No. 3 WHAT WAS THE CHALLENGE ROUND?

No. 4 WHO LOST IN GRAND SLAM FINALS?

No. 5 WHAT ARE THE MEN'S SINGLES GRAND SLAM RECORDS?

No. 6 WHAT IS A TRIPLE BAGEL?

No. 7 WHAT ARE QUALIFIERS, LUCKY LOSERS AND WILD CARDS?

No. 8 WHO LOST IN GRAND SLAM SEMI FINALS?

No. 10 WHAT IS SEEDING?

No. 11 WHO WERE THE MOST AND LEAST DOMINANT CHAMPIONS?

No. 12 WHO WERE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TENNIS FAMILIES?

No. 13 WHAT IS A DEFAULT?

No. 14 WHAT NATIONALITY ARE GRAND AND PRO SLAM CHAMPIONS?

No. 15 WHAT IS A RETIREMENT?

No. 16 WHO WERE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CHAMPIONS ON EACH SURFACE?


In the ninth article of the series, the results on this website, displayed as statistics, answer the question:

WHICH GREAT HAD THE BEST RECORD AGAINST OTHER GREATS? (MEN)

This is one of the most interesting questions so far. Often great champions are judged by their number of major titles alone. It is often forgotten who they actually beat to win those titles. There have been many times when a player has won a Grand Slam title without playing a top 4 seed. In order to determine who the other greats of each player's era were, it is necessary to devise a system of defining this. One such system is to count all the matches played in major tournaments between players with a minimum of three major titles during overlapping champions spans. A champions span lasts from the tournament when a player wins their first major title until the tournament when they win their last. Many head to heads are excluded because one or both players are not within their champions' span when the match was played. For instance, Frank Parker's 1968 U. S. Open loss to Arthur Ashe is not included, as Parker was 19 years away from the end of his champions span! Even if a player is only one tournament after the end of their champions span, their results are not included as they are deemed to be past their peak. There is one exception to this rule: Bjorn Borg. His head to heads against McEnroe and Connors at Wimbledon and the U. S. Open in 1981 are stated in brackets. This is because Borg retired only two tournaments after winning his last Grand Slam and was still the holder of the French when he played his last Grand Slam match. He had won four French titles in a row and was still the King of Clay. Pete Sampras won his last Grand Slam tournament before retiring, meaning his span lasted until the very end of his career in 2002. Ellsworth Vines also retired after winning his last tournament, so is unaffected.

The lists below include every player from the First World War until the present day with a minimum of three major titles. Before the First World War the Challenge Round system was in operation at many Grand Slams. Bill Tilden was the dominant player of the 1920s. However, he only won slightly more matches than he lost against greats of his own era. This is because Tilden completely dominated the first part of his champions' span, but was then clearly overtaken by two other great champions (Cochet and Lacoste). Tilden won the 1925 U. S. and his next Grand Slam title was the 1929 U. S. It was only after Lacoste retired and Cochet began to decline that Tilden began winning Grand Slam titles again. Tilden was very consistent. Tilden consistently beat everyone apart from Cochet and Lacoste, who both consistently beat him. The only time that Tilden started to beat Cochet was after he was past his peak. Rene Lacoste had one of the most impressive records of all champions. He won 11 matches against other greats of his era and only lost 3 matches (which is a lot of matches played in just four years). Then followed a period of nearly forty years in which tennis was split between amateur and pro slams. In the 1930s Ellsworth Vines was a dominant player with a good record against his peers. He won 7 matches and lost 4 against other greats of his era. Don Budge's record was faultless. He won five matches against greats of his era and didn't lose a single match. He won 10 major titles (14 if you include his pro champion titles). In the course of winning those 10 titles he only lost one match (a surprise loss to Johnny Faunce at the 1941 U. S. Pro). During his champions' span of five years he was awesome. After the war Budge was not the same player and never won another major title.

Although Pancho Gonzales had a great record of winning World Championship Series tours (for many years the winner of the series was the pro champion) his percentage at the British, French and U. S. Pro was less impressive. Ken Rosewall's winning percentage was also not that impressive. His champions' span lasted 19 years. He was at his peak at the same time that Rod Laver was at his peak and both played many matches against each other and were almost level, which harmed both of their winning percentages. Rosewall and Laver completely dominated the period 1962-1969 even more than Federer and Nadal have dominated the modern era. Laver won the Grand Slam in 1962, the same year Rosewall won all the pro titles. After Laver turned pro at the end of 1962 either Rosewall or Laver won every pro slam until open tennis arrived. Their dominance continued in the first two years of the open era, with only Arthur Ashe's sole victory at the 1968 U. S. Open breaking their eight year winning streak. During those years they played each other 13 times, with Rosewall leading 7-6. Also Rosewall had four losses to Tony Trabert. Trabert was a great player, but he won far fewer major titles than Rosewall. Rosewall's winning percentage suffered from the fact he had such a long champions' span, but this helped him accumulate so many wins.

For the players of the open era, it is easier to see what their true peak years were. Jimmy Connors had quite a poor record. It was his inability to beat the very best in the big events regularly enough that cost him many Grand Slam titles, yet he beat everyone apart from the very best very consistently. Borg and McEnroe lost as many matches as they won. Ivan Lendl's losing record against Boris Becker was a main contributing factor to his losing overall record (7 wins and 8 losses). Mats Wilander had a good record (7 wins and 4 losses). He had a winning record against Becker (1-0) and beat Becker twice more in matches where one player was outside their span. Wilander and Rafa Nadal are the only male players to win two Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces. Jim Courier had a good record of 4 wins and 2 losses. Although his peak only lasted two years, during those two years his record against the other greats of his era was very good. Andre Agassi's record was not that impressive (5 wins and 7 losses) mainly due to his losing record against his main rival Pete Sampras. Sampras had an impressive winning record of 8-4. Rafael Nadal's 8-2 record over Federer is impressive and his overall record is one of the best records of the open era (his final position will depend on his rivalry with Djokovic). Federer's record is poor. Although Federer holds the record for Grand Slam titles, the question should also be asked "who did he actually win the majority of them against?" The first list takes into account only the winning percentage of matches played, so no player is harmed from playing fewer matches (providing they have played the minimum of five matches). Some players have beaten other greats 20 times during their champions's span, hence the reason for the second list, which favours those who have won most matches. Novak Djokovic has played most matches.

The last list shows the average position on both lists. It shows major titles in brackets. It is interesting to see that some players with less titles are ranked higher in this list and some others with more titles are ranked lower. Two players with ten or more major titles Fred Perry and Roy Emerson are in the bottom ten. Perry won seven of his eight Grand Slam titles when Ellsworth Vines was in the pro ranks. Roy Emerson only won as many Grand Slam titles as he did because Rosewall and Laver were in the pro ranks. Roger Federer's poor record against Rafa Nadal is the reason he is so low.


WINNING PERCENTAGES OF HEAD TO HEADS OF ALL CHAMPIONS WITH 3 OR MORE MAJOR TITLES DURING OVERLAPPING CHAMPIONS' SPANS FROM 1919
Minimum qualification 5 matches played. If players have the same percentage then the player with most matches played is listed higher. Listed are Name, Winning percentage and Head to head. Borg's matches at Wimbledon and the U. S. of 1981 are shown in the brackets.


1. J. Donald Budge 100.0% (5-0)
2. J. Rene Lacoste 78.5% (11-3)
3. Rafael Nadal 66.6% (16-8)
4. Pete Sampras 66.6% (8-4)
5. Jim Courier 66.6% (4-2)
6. H. Ellsworth Vines 63.6% (7-4)
6. Mats Wilander 63.6% (7-4)
8. John Newcombe 62.5% (5-3)
9. Jack Kramer 60.0% (3-2)
10. Novak Djokovic 58.8% (20-14)
11. Tony Trabert 54.5% (6-5)
12. Rod Laver 53.8% (14-12)
13. Bill Tilden 52.3% (11-10)
14. Pancho Gonzales 50.0% (6-6)
15. Bjorn Borg 50.0% (5-5)(50.0% 7-7)
15. John McEnroe 50.0% (5-5)(58.3% 7-5)
17. Stan Wawrinka 50.0% (4-4)
18. Fred Perry 50.0% (3-3)
19. Henri Cochet 47.3% (9-10)
20. Ken Rosewall 46.6% (14-16)
21. Stefan Edberg 46.6% (7-8)
21. Ivan Lendl 46.6% (7-8)
23. Frank Sedgman 45.4% (5-6)
24. Boris Becker 42.8% (6-8)
25. Jack Crawford 42.8% (3-4)
25. Roy Emerson 42.8% (3-4)
27. Andre Agassi 41.6% (5-7)
28. Roger Federer 35.4% (11-20)
29. Arthur Ashe 33.3% (3-6)
30. Jimmy Connors 30.7% (4-9)(26.6% 4-11)
30. Andy Murray 30.7% (4-9)
32. Jean Borotra 25.0% (4-12)
33. Gerald Patterson 0.0% (0-5)

Records of players excluded from list because they don't have enough matches to qualify: James Anderson (3 titles)(100.0% 2-0), Jan Kodes (3 titles)(100.0% 2-0), Jaroslav Drobny (3 titles)(75.0% 3-1), Neale Fraser (3 titles)(75.0% 3-1), Lew Hoad (4 titles)(75.0% 3-1), Pancho Segura (3 titles)(75.0% 3-1), Hans Nusslein (4 titles)(50.0% 2-2), Manolo Santana (4 titles)(50.0% 2-2), Guillermo Vilas (4 titles)(50.0% 1-1), Bill Johnston (3 titles)(25.0% 1-3), Ashley Cooper (4 titles)(0.0% 0-1), Gustavo Kuerten (3 titles)(0.0% 0-1), Alex Olmedo (3 titles)(0.0% 0-1), Adrian Quist (3 titles)(0.0% 0-1), Frank Parker (4 titles)(0.0% 0-2) & Bobby Riggs (8 titles)(0.0% 0-3). Matches against all of these players count towards the records of those listed. Karel Kozeluh is not included as he only won one of his four pro majors when a former Grand Slam champion was in the field. Vinnie Richards is not included because none of his pro majors were won when a former Grand Slam champion was in the field.

WINNING MATCHES IN HEAD TO HEADS OF ALL CHAMPIONS WITH 3 OR MORE MAJOR TITLES DURING OVERLAPPING CHAMPIONS' SPANS FROM 1919
Minimum qualification 5 matches played. Listed are Name, Head to head wins and Winning percentage. If players have the same number of wins then the player with the highest winning percentage is listed higher. Borg's matches at Wimbledon and the U. S. of 1981 are shown in the brackets. Excluded players are the same as those listed above.


1. Novak Djokovic 20 (58.8%)
2. Rafael Nadal 16 (66.6%)
3. Rod Laver 14 (53.8%)
4. Ken Rosewall 14 (46.6%)
5. J. Rene Lacoste 11 (78.5%)
6. Bill Tilden 11 (52.3%)
7. Roger Federer 11 (35.4%)
8. Henri Cochet 9 (47.3%)
9. Pete Sampras 8 (66.6%)
10. H. Ellsworth Vines 7 (63.6%)
10. Mats Wilander 7 (63.6%)
12. Stefan Edberg 7 (46.6%)
12. Ivan Lendl 7 (46.6%)
14. Tony Trabert 6 (54.5%)
15. Pancho Gonzales 6 (50.0%)
16. Boris Becker 6 (42.8%)
17. J. Donald Budge 5 (100.0%)
18. John Newcombe 5 (62.5%)
19. Bjorn Borg 5 (50.0%)(7 at 50.0)
19. John McEnroe 5 (50.0%)(7 at 58.3%)
21. Frank Sedgman 5 (45.4%)
22. Andre Agassi 5 (41.6%)
23. Jim Courier 4 (66.6%)
24. Stan Wawrinka 4 (50.0%)
25. Jimmy Connors 4 (30.7%)(4 at 26.6%)
25. Andy Murray 4 (30.7%)
27. Jean Borotra 4 (25.0%)
28. Jack Kramer 3 (60.0%)
29. Fred Perry 3 (50.0%)
30. Jack Crawford 3 (42.8%)
31. Roy Emerson 3 (42.8%)
32. Arthur Ashe 3 (33.3%)
33. Gerald Patterson 0 (0.0%)



LIST SHOWING AVERAGE POSITION ON BOTH LISTS ABOVE. ONLY THE 31 PLAYERS ABOVE ARE SHOWN. NUMBER OF MAJOR TITLES SHOWN IN BRACKETS. Borg's matches at Wimbledon and the U. S. of 1981 are shown in the brackets.

1. Rafael Nadal 2.5 (16 titles)
2. J. Rene Lacoste 3.5 (7 titles
3. Novak Djokovic 5.5 (12 titles)
4. Pete Sampras 6.5 (14 titles)
5. Rod Laver 7.5 (22 titles)
6. H. Ellsworth Vines 8.0 (12 titles)
6. Mats Wilander 8.0 (7 titles)
8. J. Donald Budge 9.0 (14 titles)
9. Bill Tilden 9.5 (18 titles)
10. Ken Rosewall 12.0 (26 titles)
11. Tony Trabert 12.5 (7 titles)
12. Henri Cochet 13.5 (9 titles)
12. John Newcombe 13.5 (7 titles)
14. Jim Courier 14.0 (4 titles)
15. Pancho Gonzales 14.5 (22 titles)
16. Stefan Edberg 16.5 (6 titles)
16. Ivan Lendl 16.5 (8 titles)
18. Bjorn Borg 17.0 (13.5) (11 titles)
18. John McEnroe 17.0 (10.5) (7 titles)
20. Roger Federer 17.5 (19 titles)
21. Jack Kramer 18.5 (11 titles)
22. Boris Becker 20.0 (6 titles)
23. Stan Wawrinka 20.5 (3 titles
24. Frank Sedgman 22.0 (7 titles)
25. Fred Perry 23.5 (10 titles)
26. Andre Agassi 24.5 (8 titles)
27. Jack Crawford 27.5 (6 titles)
27. Jimmy Connors 27.5 (8 titles)
27. Andy Murray 27.5 (3 titles)
30. Roy Emerson 28.0 (12 titles)
31. Jean Borotra 29.5 (4 titles)
32. Arthur Ashe 30.5 (3 titles)
33. Gerald Patterson 33.0 (3 titles)

Although no head to heads from the 'pro champion' titles (ie World Championship Series) are included, the pro champion titles are included in the champions span and are deemed to end at the end of the year. This page treats World Hard Court as a Grand Slam. For classification of pro slams see Pro Slams Archive.

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