That’s why Roger Federer is still the best tennis player in history

It has long since become a classic among the round table debates, the question of the best tennis player in history. At the moment it seems that we Swiss are running out of arguments for Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal set a record of 20 Grand Slam victories at the French Open. And at the beginning of March Novak Djokovic will equalize the mark of 310 weeks as world number 1 and then trump it. In addition, the Swiss has a negative balance in direct duels against the two biggest rivals of his time.

The German news magazine «Spiegel» now wanted to know more and has ranked all players in six categories. The best in each category receives 100 points, the other players are rated relative to this. Example: With the number of weeks as number 1, Federer collects 100 meters, and Nadal 67 (209 weeks / 310 weeks). Here are the six categories.

1 results at Grand Slams

For every defeat in a quarter-final you get 1 point, in a semi-final 2 points, in a final 3 and for every Grand Slam tournament victory 5. Here Federer (174 points) leads ahead of Djokovic (151) and Nadal (145).

2 Siegquote an Grand Slams

The number of matches won is divided by all the games played on the four majors. Björn Borg leads with a victory rate of 89.8 percent. The Swede ended his career at the age of 26 and eleven Grand Slam titles. It is followed by Nadal (87.7), Djokovic (87.1) and Federer (86).

3 weeks as world number 1

At 310 weeks, Roger is still ahead of Djokovic (309). Pete Sampras (286) and Ivan Lendl (270) follow in the following places.

4 weeks in a row as world number 1

Federer sat on the tennis throne assembly in a row. The next best are Jimmy Connors (160) and Lendl (157). Only then comes Djokovic (122), whose longest series was demolished in November 2016.

5 Performance under pressure

Here the «Spiegel» authors use the «Under Pressure Ranking» of the ATP. It is the sum of the proportion of break chances used, break balls blocked, tie breaks won and third or fifth sets won. All in all, Djokovic has a rating of 248.6. Behind it are Sampras (241.9), Nadal (240.8) and Federer (239.4).

6 strength on all surfaces

The average deviation of the victory rates on the three documents sand, turf and hard court is calculated compared to the overall victory rate. Or to put it simply: if you win regularly on all surfaces, you are ahead of the game. Juan Martin del Potro comes off best with a deviation of 1.1 percent. Djokovic is number 3 (1.7). While Federer (4.2) barely cracks the top 20, Nadal (6.4) is punished here for his sand dominance. A questionable category.


Now the individual categories are also weighted. Categories 1 and 3 are each included in the assessment at 25 percent, 2 and 4 at 15 and 5 and 6 at 10 percent.

Federer is ultimately named the best tennis player in history with a total score of 95. Djokovic is in second place with a score of 88. Nadal and Sampras share third place with 71.


The usual suspects are at the front, which gives the ranking a certain justification. Federer makes the difference to Djokovic mainly in the uninterrupted weeks as number 1. Otherwise, the Serb will soon be ahead of the Swiss in four of the six categories. However, the selection and weighting of the categories offer sufficient reasons for your own discussion. (red)

Click here for the complete «mirror» analysis. BLICK updated the data after the Australian Open.


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