Nadal’s US Open Light

A couple of hours and another great final of a great grand slam starts. Oh, wait… Okay, we hope for a great final, but the Grand Slam itself…?

Last time we discussed why the 2017 US Open is the weakest Grand Slam for ages and now, partly because of that, history is likely to be written: Nadal might become the first player of the Big Four era (since 2003) who wins a Major title without playing a single Top 20 opponent.

Let’s drill down and take a look at the easiest GS wins.

Grand Slam winners and Top 20 opponents

No one in this period  won a Grand Slam without beating a single top 20 opponent. Nadal (twice), Agassi, Federer and Murray was able to win a Major with beating only one top 20 player.

Tournament Player No. Top 20 opponents
2003 Australian Open – Melbourne Andre Agassi 1
2013 Wimbledon – London Andy Murray 1
2005 French Open – Paris Rafael Nadal 1
2010 French Open – Paris Rafael Nadal 1
2006 Australian Open – Melbourne Roger Federer 1

What about averages? GS winners and how many Top 20 they had to beat: 

Player Average Number Of Top 20 Opponents
Andre Agassi 1.00
Juan Carlos Ferrero 2.00
Marat Safin 2.00
Roger Federer 2.84
Rafael Nadal 2.87
Andy Murray 3.00
Andy Roddick 3.00
Juan Martin Del Potro 3.00
Novak Djokovic 3.25
Stan Wawrinka 3.33
Gaston Gaudio 4.00
Marin Cilic 4.00

The table shows that Djokovic, on the average, had to beat 3.25 top 20 players for his GS wins, while Nadal and Federer are at 2.84 and 2.87 only. 

Also, Cilic, Gaudio and Wawrinka had to work pretty hard to get their victories…

 

Grand Slam winners and Top 10 opponents

Okay, a top 20 player is good enough, you might say, but what about a comparison of top 10 and top 5 players? 

Andre Agassi, in 2003 AO, didn’t have to play a single Top 10 player. Nice. 

Interestingly (or maybe not that surprising at all?), Roddick and Ferrero, who only have one GS title, did only have to play one Top 10 opponent to victory.

Here’s the table with 0 or 1 Top 10 opponents in the era.

Tournament Player Top 10 opponents
2003 Australian Open – Melbourne Andre Agassi 0
2013 Wimbledon – London Andy Murray 1
2003 U.S. Open – New York Andy Roddick 1
2003 French Open – Paris Juan Carlos Ferrero 1
2011 Wimbledon – London Novak Djokovic 1
2014 Wimbledon – London Novak Djokovic 1
2005 French Open – Paris Rafael Nadal 1
2008 Wimbledon – London Rafael Nadal 1
2010 French Open – Paris Rafael Nadal 1
2003 Wimbledon – London Roger Federer 1
2006 Australian Open – Melbourne Roger Federer 1
2009 Wimbledon – London Roger Federer 1

 

 

Grand Slam winners and Top 5 opponents

What about playing and beating the very best players, players in the top 5 of the ATP rankings? 

The players who didn’t have to face a Top 5 opponent to GS victory are:

  • Agassi (once)
  • Murray (once)
  • Ferrero (once)
  • Nadal (once)
  • Federer (5 times)
Tournament Player No. Top 5 opponents
2003 Australian Open – Melbourne Andre Agassi 0
2016 Wimbledon – London Andy Murray 0
2003 French Open – Paris Juan Carlos Ferrero 0
2010 French Open – Paris Rafael Nadal 0
2003 Wimbledon – London Roger Federer 0
2006 U.S. Open – New York Roger Federer 0
2007 Australian Open – Melbourne Roger Federer 0
2009 Wimbledon – London Roger Federer 0
2017 Wimbledon – London Roger Federer 0

The 2017 U. S. Open might be the second for Nadal today…