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Comparative analysis of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic at the 17-Slam mark

F ederer (left), Nadal, and Djokovic hoisting aloft their respective 17th Grand Slam titles
F ederer (left), Nadal, and Djokovic hoisting aloft their respective 17th Grand Slam titles
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2020, 00:11 IST
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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are three of the biggest names in men's tennis. Affectionately called the Big-3 for their stellar achievements in the sport, the trio has combined to capture more than a quarter (27%) of the 208 Grand Slam singles titles played in the Open Era.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Federer (20 titles, 31 finals, 362 match wins), Nadal (19 titles, 27 finals, 274 match wins) and Djokovic (17 titles, 26 finals, 287 match wins) have the most titles, finals, and match wins in Grand Slam tournaments since tennis opened its doors to professionals in the summer of 1968.

The trio is part of a group of just five different players in the Open Era to have triumphed at each of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments. Each of them is a respective standalone title leader at three of the four Majors: Nadal - 12 at Roland Garros, Federer - 8 at Wimbledon, and Djokovic - 8 at the Australian Open. Federer shares the US Open title leaderboard (5) with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras.

Djokovic's win over Dominic Thiem in the 2020 Australian Open final extended the Big 3's Grand Slam win-streak to 13, since Stan Wawrinka won the 2016 US Open. This is their best run on the Grand Slam scene since the trio swept 18 consecutive Grand Slam titles between 2005 Roland Garros (Nadal) and 2009 Wimbledon (Federer).

On that note, let us compare the Big-3's performances, under various parameters, at their respective 17th Grand Slam title mark:

#1 Fastest to 17 titles in terms of Grand Slam appearances

Nadal exults after winning his 17th Grand Slam title at 2018 Roland Garros
Nadal exults after winning his 17th Grand Slam title at 2018 Roland Garros

Of the trio, Federer was the first to arrive at the 17 Grand Slam title mark, ending a 2.5 year Grand Slam drought at 2012 Wimbledon by beating Andy Murray from a set down. It was the then 30-year-old Swiss's 53rd Grand Slam appearance.

Nadal was the next to arrive at the milestone, winning his 11th Roland Garros title in 2017, for his 17th Grand Slam title and first in three years. It was the Spaniard's 52nd appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.

The youngest of the Big-3 troika, Djokovic, reached the 17-Grand Slam title mark at the 2020 Australian Open. However, the Serb was the slowest of the trio to arrive at the landmark, taking 60 appearances.

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WINNER: Nadal

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#2 Fastest to 17 Grand Slam titles in terms of matches

Roger Federer wins his 17th Grand Slam title at 2012 Wimbledon
Roger Federer wins his 17th Grand Slam title at 2012 Wimbledon

Federer's win at 2012 Wimbledon was his 244th in all Grand Slam tournaments. Along the way, the all-time Grand Slam title leader lost 36 matches (87.14%).

Nadal, following his 17th Grand Slam win at 2018 Roland Garros, had a Grand Slam win-loss record of 227 wins and 31 losses for a win-loss % of 87.98%.

Djokovic needed 287 wins and 43 losses to arrive at his 17th Grand Slam title at the 2020 Australian Open, for a success rate of 86.96%. That means Nadal takes the honours in this category too.

WINNER: Nadal

#3 Top-10 record

Nadal at 2018 Roland Garros
Nadal at 2018 Roland Garros

During the course of winning 17 Grand Slam titles (2012 Wimbledon), Federer compiled a 47-21 (69.1%) win-loss record against top 10 opposition in Grand Slam play. However, 13 of these 21 defeats came at the hands of either Nadal (8) or Djokovic (8).

Nadal had a 39-12 (76.4%) win-loss record against top 10 players at the time of winning his 17th Grand Slam at 2018 Roland Garros. The Spaniard, during this period, lost twice against Federer and 4 times against Djokovic.

Djokovic comes up third-best in this category, garnering a 52-27 (65.8 %) record against top 10 players during the course of winning 17 Grand Slam titles. The Serb has endured 6 defeats against Federer and 9 against Nadal during this period.

WINNER: Nadal

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Published 19 Feb 2020, 00:11 IST
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