Friday, June 3, 2016

Judging players by their worst major

The only major title missing from Novak Djokovic's shelf is the French Open, and on Sunday the Serb has a fourth chance to win that trophy. Many analysts argue that Djokovic cannot be considered among the greatest tennis players ever until he wins the French Open. In other words, the full body of work of Djokovic's career is being disregarded simply because of his performance at his worst slam, which begs a question. What if every player was judged by their performance at their worst major?
Djokovic still hasn't won Roland Garros yet, but even if he loses on Sunday, he still has the fourth most wins on the Parisian clay by any player in tournament history. However, the best way to judge a players performance is to look at the sum of the ranking points earned by the player in all the years they played the tournament.

Based on the current ranking system, Djokovic has earned 8535 ranking points in 12 years playing the tournament. Here is how other all-time greats have done at their worst slams.

*Some players decided not to participate in the Australian Open. For those players, they'll be judged on their second worst major.

1. Roger Federer 10,160 (Roland Garros)
2. Novak Djokovic 8535(Roland Garros)
3. Rafael Nadal 6840 (Australian Open)
4. Andre Agassi 6640 (Wimbledon)
5. Ivan Lendl 6605 (Wimbledon)
6. Bjorn Borg* 6285 (US Open)
7. Jimmy Connors* 4565 (Roland Garros)
8. Andy Murray 4360 (Roland Garros)
9. Ilie Nastase* 3480 (US Open)
10. Jan Kodes* 3330 (Wimbledon)
11. Ken Rosewall 3200 (Roland Garros)
12. John McEnroe* 2985 (Roland Garros)
13. Stefan Edberg 2930 (Roland Garros)
14. Boris Becker 2890 (Roland Garros)
15. Rod Laver 2180 (Australian Open)
16. Pete Sampras 2145 (Roland Garros)
17. Jim Courier 2050 (Wimbledon)

Djokovic may still be missing one title to complete the Career Grand Slam, but the Serb is still better at that slam than every single player except Roger Federer at their worst slam. In fact, Djokovic's performance at Roland Garros has been better than what Rafael Nadal has done at any other major.

Overall, what the world No. 1 has done at Roland Garros is the 25th best performance of any player at a single major. Djokovic has the most balanced grand slam results apart from Federer in tennis history. The truth is that the Serb does not need a title in Paris to be considered one of the best players the sport has ever seen, because he has already accomplished that.

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