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Roger Federer has more indoor wins than Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal combined

  • Roger Federer has a staggering lead in indoor success over his two biggest rivals, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
  • Federer's quick and aggressive style help him do well indoors, while Nadal's topspin-heavy game suffers on the surface.
Sohinee Basu
SENIOR ANALYST
News
Modified 19 May 2020, 04:45 IST

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

In addition to being slightly ahead in the cut-throat competition with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for most Grand Slams, Roger Federer holds the top spot in another category. The Swiss maestro boasts of a whopping 298 wins on indoor courts, whereas the other two members of the Big 3, Djokovic and Nadal, jointly have 241.

In other words, Novak Djokovic (152) and Rafael Nadal (89) combined are still 57 short of Roger Federer's indoor wins. That's how much of a master of controlled conditions the Swiss is.

This rather large statistical gap in wins recorded on indoor court surfaces would come as a surprise to many. While Nadal is known to struggle in quick indoor conditions, Djokovic has had his own share of monumental successes on the surface - and so would've been expected to be close to Roger Federer.

But the 20-time Grand Slam champion leads the way by an astounding margin. He has a winning ratio of 81% on indoor courts, with an incredible 26 titles - including six at the year-ending ATP Finals. The Swiss is clearly the Indoor King of the current generation.

At last year's Nitto ATP Finals Djokovic became the second active player to cross the 150-mark in match wins on an indoor court; his current win-loss record is 152-42 for a 78.4% success rate. Nadal, meanwhile, hovers much below in this area with a meager 89 wins (against 38 losses), for a 70% winning ratio.

A closer look at Roger Federer's indoor mastery

Roger Federer with the 2011 World Tour Finals trophy
Roger Federer with the 2011 World Tour Finals trophy

In addition to having played longer than the two, Roger Federer is also an expert at harnessing his power and reflexes on indoor courts. Federer takes the ball early and on the rise to rob his opponents of time, which helps him greatly when there is no wind or moisture to disturb the path of his shots.

For someone who has a natural tendency for being aggressive from the get-go, a roofed arena with a low-bouncing court is the perfect combination for Roger Federer.

“Playing aggressive and playing forward and taking charge of the point is definitely what you should be doing indoors,” Roger Federer had once said in an interview. And he certainly practises what he preaches.

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Moreover, the Swiss also gives more importance to the second half of the season than his fellow GOAT contenders. The Basel tournament is his 'home' event, which he has won a whopping 10 times, and he has also done well at Madrid and Paris in the past.

For Roger Federer, the season starts in earnest only at Wimbledon. That means he's usually fresher than his peers for the fall swing leading up to the year-end championships.

By contrast, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are often spent by the time the tour reaches the indoor circuit.

Rafael Nadal's well-documented indoor struggles

Rafael Nadal has won only 2 titles on an indoor surface
Rafael Nadal has won only 2 titles on an indoor surface

12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal enjoys good bounce on the ball so that his topspin-heavy groundstrokes can exert maximum damage. He also handles the wind incredibly well, adjusting the height and width of his shots to account for the natural deviation.

Neither of those factors are present indoors, which is why it is no surprise that Nadal has only two titles in the controlled environs of indoor courts.

Novak Djokovic is catching up, but still has some way to go

The man who is second to Roger Federer in indoor success is Novak Djokovic, who has proven to be one of the best defenders the game has ever seen. The Serb plays flatter indoors than he does on other surfaces, and uses his solid baseline play to dictate terms from the middle of the court.

Novak Djokovic has 13 indoor titles to his name and 152 wins
Novak Djokovic has 13 indoor titles to his name and 152 wins

Djokovic owns 13 indoor titles including five at the ATP Finals, and has proven to be a worthy challenger to Federer's indoor reign. However, he still has a long way to go before he can catch up to the Swiss.

Published 19 May 2020, 04:37 IST
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