Tuesday, 3 March 2015

'WHAT IF'.....

The recent statistics on win/loss ratios of the World's best tennis players is fascinating to say the least and it's a shame that there is not more information available from years gone by. In saying that however I am sure that somewhere in the archives it is possible to find out just what a player did when it counted most.
Roger Federer has in fact played a total of 126 tournament deciders and quite remarkably he has won 84 tournaments and lost 42. What if he had won another 50 per cent of those deciding matches ? If he had well he would be within a whisker of surpassing the great Jimmy Connors who stands alone on 109 tournament victories.
As stated in a recent chapter I felt that it was a gesture of selflessness when at the conclusion of his final tournament win Connors handed his winners cheque back to the tournament. After all if you won as much as 'Jimbo' an extra thirty grand wouldn't really make that much difference to your bank account would it ? The Israel Tennis federation needed the money more than Connors did, nice parting gesture.
Novak Djokovic who lost the final in Dubai to Federer has won 49 title matches and lost 23 so it puts it all into perspective when you look at just how hard it is to keep winning big titles. Despite how good a player is at tennis there is always another side of the draw going on that is totally out of their control.
I wonder how many shrewd coaches do a media ban on their players and let them know after their semi final just exactly who they are playing in the title match ? Would it make a difference to a player's mind set in the early rounds perhaps ? Would a player perform at a different level of intensity if they found out that Roger Federer had been beaten first round ( which is unlikely ) and the other half of the draw had been a total napalm of seeded players by lesser ranked ones ?
Would a tennis professional perform at different stages of intensity if they kept looking at who was left in the tournament as opposed to one who adopted the Brad Gilbert philosophy ? (Start at 21 sets in a Grand Slam and tick them off one by one). Would it be easier that way ?
I wonder what a bike rider does when presented with a 200km stage in the Tour De France and would they chase other riders ? Would they opt for simply counting the miles in their head from 200 and work their way to zero ?
I believe Borg has 65 titles but he did retire at age 26, McEnroe 77 titles and Lendl 94 however I am not certain of how many finals these guys played. From memory I am certain Mac won another 77 doubles titles also so what ever he lost in singles title matches he made up for in doubles wins.
I love statistics in tennis as I am fascinated in the finer points of the game. At times I go way off on another tangent when I read something that really pisses me off but I will always get back to the technical part of the sport, eventually anyhow.
Funny sport tennis, played by millions, perfected by a select few and 'coached' by countless numbers of 'gurus' who perhaps have never even heard of Bjorn Borg. Those of us lucky enough to have seen the great Swede play know just where the art of topspin was perhaps brought to a level of brilliance.
Thank goodness for You Tube and thank goodness for the statistic gurus who bring many parts of tennis to light and who put the game into perspective with their breakdown of matches.
It makes things a little easier to see why a player can win more points than his opponent yet lose the match. Funny game tennis........

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