Learning From the Losses
A recent story on Fed’s first round match in Basel referred to it as escaping a rare consecutive loss. That got me curious, when did such a thing happen to Fed. Some findings:
* He has never had 2 consecutive losses as #1
* The last consecutive loss streak was May 2003 (2 straight Ls). He responded by winning the next two tourneys (including his first Slam).
* As a Top 10, it has happened 3 different times, including once at the time of coach Peter Carter’s death
* Before that 12 more times
* Only 5 times in all has the loss streak gone beyond 2.
* The longest streak was 9 Ls back in 1999 (mostly to higher ranked players, you could call it his “initiation”)
Of course, the last first round loss was to Canas at IW this year (ended a 41 match win streak).
What do we learn from this? The man is just too proud to lose in the first round, making that match a very safe bet.
Fed has a reputation of being a tiger in Finals: He won a record first 7 Slam Finals and had a streak of 24 consecutive Finals won, and from 2004-06, was 33-1 in Finals not involving Nadal (1-4 vs Nadal including 3 come-from-behind wins for Nadal).
This year has been different. He is 2-2 vs Nadal (and both come-from-behind wins for Fed). So he has really done well there.
Against the rest though, he is 4-2 in Finals so far, which on the surface is alarming (67% compared to 97% previous three years). However both Djokovic and Nalbandian were on rare red-hot (1-2-3) streaks so for now we should treat these as an anomaly but be on the lookout for any other “signs” of changing landscape.
In all, if you ever want to eliminate him from a tournament, and you are not Nalbandian or Nadal, the “easiest” place might be the second or third round!