Those of you who read my blog know by now that I love stats and records. A few months back I was casually wondering how many players has Roger Federer faced in his career. To my surprise, I didn’t find that information readily available. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough because I quickly decided to abandon my search and instead take it upon myself to figure this out the hard way. It’s been a long and tedious exercise which I loved! 🙂 And now the list is complete.
Please note that the list of opponents is based on the number of matches Roger has played on the main tour, i.e. his career total of 1,186 matches played. This means I didn’t include any challenger matches nor did I include any walkovers in this tally. This research is built on the total number of matches he has played from the time he turned pro in 1998 till Wimbledon 2014.
Before I go any deeper, here is the big stat that started this project for me. The answer to my question of how many opponents Roger Federer has faced throughout his career of 1,186 matches is….. 287.
In the year 2014, from Brisbane till Wimbledon, he has already faced 9 opponents he had never played before. They are Marinko Matosevic, Jeremy Chardy, James Duckworth, Blaz Kavcic, Lukas Rosol, Andrey Golubev, Diego Sebastian Schwartzman, Joao Sousa and Paolo Lorenzi.
We can break down this data of his opponents further to unveil interesting findings. I have outlined some of these below:
- Breaking the stats down by countries:
- Roger Federer has played against opponents from 54 different countries including Switzerland.
- Federer has played the most matches against players from Spain, having played 132 matches against Spanish opponents. Next is France with 128 matches followed by USA with 96, Argentina with 84 and Germany with 81. Matches against players from these 5 countries account for 43.9% of his total 1,186 matches.
- However, if we look at the number of opponents faced from each country rather than matches played, then the stats are a bit different. He has faced 27 different opponents from France, followed by 25 German opponents, 24 Spaniards, 24 Americans and 18 from Argentina.
- Out of the 54 countries, he has played only once against players from these 8 countries: Bulgaria (Grigor Dimitrov), El Salvador (Rafael Arevalo), Georgia (Irakli Labadze), Hungary (Attila Savolt), Kuwait (Mohammad Ghareeb), Poland (Jerzy Janowicz), Tunisia (Malek Jaziri), Zimbabwe (Byron Black)
- Breaking the stats down by rankings:
- The highest ranked player he has ever faced has of course been a #1 player. He has played 18 matches against the World #1 and won only 5 of those. The first time he played a #1 player was in 2002 against then #1 Lleyton Hewitt. The most recent was against Rafa Nadal in 2014.
- He has played 38 matches against players ranked #2. He won 21 of them. The first #2 opponent he faced was Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1999. The most recent was Novak Djokovic in 2014.
- Out of all the ranks, he has played against the #2 player the most, having played 38 matches as mentioned above. That makes sense when you take into account how long he himself was ranked as world #1 😀
- From 2006 to 2008 he played 15 matches against the world #2. In all 15 matches the opponent was Rafa Nadal. This illustrates how long Roger and Rafa ruled the tennis world as #1 and #2 respectively.
- He has played 115 matches against players ranked 1-4 which is 9.7% of his total 1,186 matches.
- He has played 268 matches against players ranked 1-10 which is 22.6% of the total.
- He has played 412 matches against players ranked 1-20 which is 34.74% of the total.
- He has played 541 matches against players ranked 1-30 which is 45.62% of the total.
- He has played over 50% of his matches against players ranked within 1-34.
- The lowest ranked player he ever faced was Devin Britton (USA) in 2009. Britton was ranked 1,370 at the time.
- Roger has played against opponents ranked in every rank from 1-100 with two exceptions; he has never played against an opponent ranked #80 or #91. However, I should mention that Federer has played 4 matches against 4 opponents who were ranked “N/A” at the time of those matches. Not sure if this was a glitch or whether the players actually had no ranking at that time.
- H2H information:
- 15 players have an equal H2H with Federer. Of these 15, 6 are active players and thus this parity will change when he faces them again. The 6 active players are Filippo Volandri, Ernests Gulbis, Kei Nishikori, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Daniel Brands and Jeremy Chardy.
- 21 players have a negative H2H against Federer. Of these, only 3 are active players. They are Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Federico Delbonis.
- However, it should be noted that Roger also has a negative 0-1 H2H against Lucas Arnold Ker. Lucas is primarily a doubles player and still listed as active on the ATP site which is why I mentioned him especially. But he hasn’t played doubles since 2013 and has played no singles matches since 2009. Roger played him only once back in 1998 and lost in straight sets.
- Incidentally, this match against Lucas Arnold Ker was Roger’s first ever match on the pro tour. It was in Gstaad and Roger was ranked 702 at the time.
- The first match Roger won on the pro tour was against Guillaume Raoux in Toulouse also in 1998. Roger was ranked 878 for that tournament and won the match in straight sets.
- One-time opponents:
- Out of the 287 players Roger has faced, he has played 105 of them only once.
- Of those 105 one-time opponents, he won his matches against 94 of them.
- Out of the 11 he lost to, only 1 player is currently active, Federico Delbonis.
- Two-time opponents:
- Roger has faced 105 opponents only once which means he has faced 287-105 = 182 players more than once. Of those 182 players, Roger faced 64 opponents just twice.
- Of these 64 two-time opponents, he won both his matches against 52 of them, i.e. his H2H is 2-0 with all of them.
- Of these 64 two-time opponents, he has an even 1-1 H2H with 11 of the players. 4 of these players are active and included in the list of the players who have equal H2H with Roger as explained in the “H2H information” section above.
- The only player he faced twice and lost both matches to was Franco Squillari who is no longer active. Roger faced him 2001 and 2003 and lost both times in straight sets.
- A note about walkovers which were NOT included in the stats above:
- The only opponents who ever received a walkover from Roger were James Blake in 2008 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2012.
- Federer has been given 10 walkovers in his career by 9 players. The first was by Thomas Enqvist in 2002 and the most recent was by Yen-Hsun Lu in 2014. Tommy Haas is the only player who has given 2 walkovers to Roger, in 2007 and 2008.
- Lastly, a bit of useless information, because why not 😉
- Of all the letters in the alphabet, he has played the most against players whose first names start with the letter ‘M’; he has played 36 opponents whose names start with ‘M’.
- Right after ‘M’ come the letters ‘J’ and ‘A’. Roger has faced 34 opponents whose names start with ‘J’ and 33 opponents whose names start with ‘A’.
- He has not played against any opponent whose first name starts with the letters ‘Q’ or ‘U’.
- He has played only one opponent whose first name starts with the letters ‘O’, ‘X’ or ‘Z’; Oliver Rochus and Xavier Malisse from Belgium and Zeljko Krajan from Croatia.
Hope you enjoyed my random, data-heavy post. I’m a geek when it comes to Roger’s stats so I’m sure I’ve gone overboard with these analyses. Nonetheless, I figured before we kick off the next tourney we could take a moment to appreciate Roger’s illustrious career in a slightly different manner. These are the towering stats his opponents are up against every time he steps on the court to face them.
For a career spanning 16 years it is frankly ridiculous how many matches he has played and how much he has won over players that have come from many different generations. Normally, a soon-to-be 33 year old father of 4 would have many more negative H2Hs and a ton more losses at this point in his career. But as we know, Roger Federer is no ordinary player and certainly no ordinary human being 🙂 Hope the Maestro continues his illustrious journey in the tournaments to come! Wishing him the best of luck in Toronto!
***Initial data and stats were taken from the ATP site. So hopefully they have accurate information! ***
***Apologies for not being able to link the sources of the photos. I have had them in my collection for so long I can’t remember where I got each of them. 😦 Most of them must be from Getty Images though not all.***
***If you find any errors in the data above, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know. I did go over them many times but I’m only human so please don’t be mean about it!***