Roger Federer's comeback appearance at the Qatar Open ended abruptly on Thursday, as Nikoloz Basilashvili came from a set down to beat the Swiss in their quarterfinal match. Federer held a match point at 4-5 in the decider on his opponent's serve, but failed to convert the opportunity before being broken in the very next game.
While Roger Federer's sluggish movement and possible fatigue played a role in the upset loss, the Swiss maestro's mental strength has also come under question. Federer has made it a habit of blinking when he is just a point away from victory, particularly so since his 2017 comeback.
A closer look at Roger Federer's statistics shows that more than 25% of his losses in the last four years have come after he has held one or more match points.
Since the start of 2017, Federer has lost a competitive match 27 times. And out of those 27, a whopping seven (for a ratio of 25.92%) have come from match point(s) up.
Some of those losses have been hugely damaging too. Roger Federer let slip two match points against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 2019, thus depriving himself of a record 21st Grand Slam. He also wasted a match point in his shock defeat to Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon a year before that.
Here is a list of all seven matches from 2017 to 2021 where Roger Federer has lost from match point(s) up:
2017 Dubai vs Evgeny Donskoy (3 match points)
2017 Stuttgart vs Tommy Haas (1 match point)
2018 Indian Wells vs Juan Martin Del Potro (3 match points)
2018 Wimbledon vs Kevin Anderson (1 match point)
2019 Madrid vs Dominic Thiem (2 match points)
2019 Wimbledon vs Novak Djokovic (2 match points)
2021 Doha v Nikoloz Basilashvili (1 match point)
Roger Federer has lost from match points(s) up a whopping 23 times in his career
Roger Federer has lost a match after wasting match point 23 times in his career. For context, that is more than the combined total of Rafael Nadal (eight), Andy Murray (five) and Novak Djokovic (three).
But there's a underlying circumstance to this stat that needs to be mentioned too. In a career that has spanned 23 years, Roger Federer has played 1,515 matches - which is the second-highest after Jimmy Connors' record tally. The Swiss has been a dominant force on the tour for most of this time, meaning that a disproportionate amount of his matches would have come against the best of the lot.
The Swiss' longevity has ensured that he has been in the hunt for glory at nearly every juncture of his career. So it goes without saying that a few roadblocks during that journey were perhaps inevitable.
Interestingly, Roger Federer has done very well at the other end of the extreme. He has won a mammoth 24 matches after being match point(s) down, which is far more often than his rivals Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have managed (14, 15 & 12 matches respectively).