Roger Federer has more grasscourt match wins than Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic combined

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
Modified 12 Aug 2020

Roger Federer is the most successful player in grasscourt history. Among a plethora of records the Swiss maestro owns on the surface, his 19 titles and 187 match wins stand out the most. Both numbers are leading tallies in the all-time list on grass.

The record eight-time Wimbledon champion became the first player to win 10 titles at a grass-court tournament when he beat David Goffin in the 2019 Halle final. That was Roger Federer's record-extending 19th title on the surface; nobody else has more than 10.

At Wimbledon later that year, Roger Federer beat his good friend and arch-rival Rafael Nadal in a four-set semifinal. Then in a record 12th final at the grasscourt Major, Roger Federer arrived at consecutive championship points on serve late in the fifth set against Novak Djokovic - before blinking at the most inopportune moment.

Djokovic ended up triumphing in a historic first ever deciding set tiebreak in a Wimbledon final. That also made him the first player in 71 years to have won the title after saving championship points.

Roger Federer thus failed to become the oldest male Grand Slam singles winner in the Open Era. But despite his 27th loss on the surface, Federer's grasscourt resume remains one of the finest in the sport.

In fact, Federer's success rate of 87.38 (187-27) on grass is the best by any player who has played at least 50 matches on the surface.

Among 129 different players who have locked horns with Roger Federer on grass, 106 of them have failed to beat the 38-year-old on his favorite surface. As many as six Grand Slam winners - Pete Sampras (0-1), Marin Cilic (0-2), Andy Roddick (0-4), Stan Wawrinka (0-1), Juan Martin Del Potro (0-2) and Marat Safin (0-3) - have failed to beat Federer on grass even once.

Roger Federer's grasscourt resume far outshines even those of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer (centre) is one of the best players to have played on grass
Roger Federer (centre) is one of the best players to have played on grass

Roger Federer's win-loss % of 87.38 on grass is almost four and 10 percentage points better than that of Novak Djokovic (84.07%) and Rafael Nadal (78.02%) respectively. If that wasn't impressive enough, Federer's 187 match wins on the surface is better than the cumulative tally of 166 garnered by Djokovic (95) and Nadal (71).

101 of Federer's wins have come at Wimbledon alone. Last year the Swiss became the first men's singles player to notch up triple-digit match wins at a Grand Slam tournament.

The Swiss maestro has a combined 4-4 win-loss record on grass against his two biggest rivals. Of course, that tally could have read 5-3 in his favor if not for his painful defeat to Djokovic in last year's Wimbledon final.

Interestingly, all four of Federer's defeats on grass against his fellow Big 3 peers have come in title matches at his favorite Grand Slam - once against Nadal (2008) and thrice against Djokovic (2014-15 and 2019).

Federer's defeat against Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final, where he fought back from two sets down to get within two points of victory, ended a record streak of 65 consecutive grasscourt wins dating back to 2003.

Federer lost five of his first seven matches on grass, which includes his first two matches at Wimbledon (1999, 2000). But since then he has won 185 of 207 matches on the surface, underling his credentials as arguably the greatest grasscourter of all time.

Published 12 Aug 2020
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