Tennis’s top ranked singles players have enjoyed a dazzling year so far. Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic triumphed at the Australian Open championship and while Williams is undefeated this year, Djokovic has won 94 per cent of his matches.
In fact, if the season finished now, each player’s win rate this year would rank among the all-time top 10 for their sex.
This would be the second outstanding season for both players. In 2011, Djokovic won 94 per cent of his matches. He was unbeaten through April and went on to triumph at three of the year’s four majors, falling short only at the French Open.
Williams would push her previous best down to tenth on the women’s best-ever list. As the chart shows, so dominant were women’s champions in the 1980s and 1990s that to even match their feats is remarkable in itself. To do so at 33-years old would be even more impressive — Martina Navratilova turned 30 late in the 1986 season, but no other woman has had a top 10 season in their thirties.
Even among the greats, peerless form through April is no guarantee of an all-conquering year. At the end of April 1990, Steffi Graf had the same record as Williams does now, and she then failed to win any of the three remaining majors.
What will give both Djokovic and Williams hope of collecting further major titles this year is the gulf behind each of them. Their nearest rivals this year are Roger Federer and Simona Halep, whose win rates are nine and eight percentage points worse respectively.
Source data: Tennis Abstract
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