From Federer’s 1000th win to Novak Djokovic’s 93,18% win ratio, without forgetting Nick Kyrgios’ 10 000 dollars fine, here are the 10 figures to remember from this 2015 season. Another record-breaking year…
24. The veterans are doing well, thanks for asking. Actually, they have never felt better ! From the 66 tournaments in the main circuit, 24 of them were won by a player aged 30 or more. It’s more or less twice as much as in the previous years, as there had only been thirteen in 2014, fourteen in 2013, and twelve in 2012. An amazing record, considering that in 1985, a year in which none of the Grand Slam winners were older than 20 (!), only one thirty-year old had won a trophy. It was Tom Gullikson at the Newport tournament.
93,18%. With 82 wins for only 6 lost matches, you don’t really need numbers to claim that Novak Djokovic has had one of the best records of the modern era. And if Stan Wawrinka hadn’t been touched by grace in the final at Roland-Garros, there would be no debate to wonder if the Serb is (or isn’t) the best tennis player of the last 50 years. While waiting to see if he is able to do even better in 2016, Djokovic has already swept aside his famous year 2011 (92,10%) but remains behind the Roger Federer of 2005 and 2006 (95,29% and 94,84%), and of course, the McEnroe of 1984 (96,47%).
10132. At that age, Goran Ivanisevic had already retired. But Ivo Karlovic has played approximately 200 matches less to reach that mark ! In the first round of the Beijing tournament, on October 7th, the Croatian served his 10 132nd ace, breaking Goran Ivanisevic’s record…However, it’s important to specify that the latter began his career three years before IBM started recording and listing all statistics.
45. Ivo Karlovic, world’s number one in the 35 year-old or more category, has not only made a mark for one record this year, but for two. Before taking on the illustrious Goran, he had already written off the record of 44 aces served in a match, previously settled by Mark Philippoussis in Kuala Lumpur in 1995, by serving 45 in June against Tomas Berdych in Halle (a match he won 7/5 6/7 6/3), which is a record in a best of three sets match on the main circuit.
14. If Felix Auger Aliassime, Canadian of Togolese origin, follows his way to the top, we’ll remember that he won his first match at a Challenger tournament before his fifteenth birthday (at 14 years and 11 months, in Granby, against Andrew Whittington, ranked in the top 500). A performance that has never been seen before. Born on August 8th, like a certain Roger Federer, Felix Auger Aliassime will however not beat the record of the youngest winner of an ATP match (which is still held by Franco Devin, in 1985, at 15 years and 1 month), nor the record of the youngest player taking part in a tournament of the main circuit (which is still Razvan Sabau, at the Bucarest tournament in 1991, aged 14). On the other hand, he can still do « better » than Aaron Krickstein, winner of the Tel Aviv tournament in 1983, at the age of 16 and 2 months. To break that record, the player ranked at the 769th spot will have to win a title before October 2016.
20. Dethroned at Roland Garros, swept away in the first week at Wimbledon and at the US Open, Rafael Nadal has lived his worst season since his debut. Between January and November, the Spaniard has been beaten 20 times, a spectacular figure for someone who generally ends the year with eight to fifteen matches lost. His defeat in the second round of Wimbledon against the german rasta Dustin Brown will remain as one of the biggest surprises of the year.
33. « I don’t want to talk about it. I don't want to talk about how disappointing it is for me. If you have any other questions, I'm open for that. » After her unbelievable defeat against the Italian veteran Roberta Vinci in the US Open semi-final, where Serena Williams was bound to manage the first Grand Slam since Steffi Graff in 1988, the American seemed self-protective as she virtually told the journalists attending her press conference to get lost. Her deception matched the great surprise surrounding the result, as her personal record stopped at 33…33 consecutive wins in Grand Slam tournaments, something which hasn’t been seen since Graff in more than a quarter-century.
1000. In his first tournament of the year in Brisbane, Roger Federer has reached the symbolic mark of a thousand matches won by beating Milos Raonic in the final, sixteen years after his first win (against Guillaume Raoux in Toulouse, in 1998). After finishing the year with 1059 wins, the Swiss should overtake Ivan Lendl and his 1071 matches won next season. But he still has to win 235 matches to beat Jimmy Connors and his 1254 victories. Impossible ?
10 000. In Montreal, Nick Kyrgios - the hot-headed, uncompromising and clumsy young Australian - kicked it off with Stan Wawrinka during their match after telling him in a very inelegant way that his fellow countryman, Thanasi Kokkinakis, had flirted with his girlfriend. Nastase, Connors or McEnroe have done worse, but provocation is maybe less in vogue than thirty years ago. Kirgyos finally ended up with the maximum fine (10 000 dollars), a severe warning from the ATP governance, and has also fallen out with a big part of the general public.
90. In January, before the Australian Open, Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt have experimented with the « Fast4 » format : there are no advantage scores, lets are played, tie-breakers apply at three games all and the first to four games wins the set. The Swiss won 4-3, 2-4, 3-4, 4-0, 4-2 in 90 minutes (the fastest 5-set match of the year by miles !). Anyhow, it seems like we’re trying to save time, in an era in which people seem to complain about the lack of time…So, what’s the next step ? Matches consisting in two winning tie-breaks ?