Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What are some of the highest rated ATP matches using Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings? Nadal leads the way.

I am now calculating my Estimated Dynamic NTRP ratings for ATP matches and have posted a few lists, ratings through the end of 2015 and then through the Australian Open.  And I also looked at some specific seasons for Djokovic and Federer.

The way the NTRP algorithm works is a rating is calculated for each match based on the score and the rating of the opponent, and then a new dynamic rating is calculated based on recent ratings.  Since a rating is calculated for each match, what is interesting is to look at which individual matches rate the highest.

I ran across a thread on Talk Tennis asking what various players greatest matches were at their peak.  Naturally, I thought it looking at the highest rated matches would be a good indicator of this.  Because the algorithm uses the score and strength of opponent, this should in theory be some valuable information.

So here goes using the Big-4 in their current ranking order.

Novak Djokovic has naturally had a lot of high rated matches, but here are some of his top ones:
  • 7.39 - 2011 Australian Open Final - 6-4,6-2,6-3 over Murray
  • 7.35 - 2013 Australian Open SF - 6-4,6-2,6-1 over Ferrer
  • 7.31 - 2011 US Open Final - 6-2,6-4,6-7,6-1 over Nadal
  • 7.27 - 2015 US Open SF - 6-0,6-1,6-2 over Cilic
  • 7.23 - 2008 Australian Open QF - 6-0,6-3,7-5 over Ferrer

Perhaps surprisingly, Novak's two wins at this year's Australian Open don't make the list, both rating 7.22, so certainly high rated, but not as high as some of his others.  And it is interesting that two of his best are against Ferrer.

Andy Murray does not have matches that have rated as high as those above, but still has several very good matches:
  • 7.27 - 2012 London Olympics Final - 6-2,6-1,6-4 over Federer
  • 7.17 - 2014 Australian Open SF - 6-4,6-7,6-3,6-7,6-2 over Federer
  • 7.17 - 2014 Wimbledon Final - 6-4,7-5,6-4 over Djokovic
  • 7.17 - 2012 US Open SF - 5-7,6-2,6-1,7-6 over Berdych

But he is a clear step below Novak.

Roger Federer's top is a bit higher than Novak from a top rated match perspective:
  • 7.42 - 2004 US Open Final - 6-0,7-6,6-0 over Hewitt
  • 7.34 - 2004 Wimbledon QF - 6-1,6-7,6-0,6-4 over Hewitt
  • 7.32 - 2006 Wimbledon Final - 6-0,7-6,6-7,6-3 over Nadal
  • 7.32 - 2009 Australian Open QF - 6-3,6-0,6-0 over Del Potro
  • 7.32 - 2007 Australian Open SF - 6-4,6-0,6-2 over Roddick

Federer is interestingly the only one to have his top-5 at three different venues.

Rafael Nadal has had some monster individual matches, when he is on, he is on, especially at Roland Garros:
  • 7.58 - 2008 French Open Final - 6-1,6-3,6-0 over Federer
  • 7.49 - 2012 French Open SF - 6-2,6-2,6-1 over Ferrer
  • 7.43 - 2012 French Open R16 - 6-2,6-0-6-0 over Monaco
  • 7.38 - 2013 French Open Final - 6-3,6-2,6-2 over Ferrer
  • 7.37 - 2008 French Open QF - 6-1,6-1,6-1 over Almagro
  • 7.36 - 2008 French Open R16 - 6-1,6-0,6-2 over Verdasco

Clearly Nadal is fantastic at the French Open and has the highest rated match I've calculated, but one trick pony?  He has several others high ratings that come after the above also at the French Open, and just one Davis Cup match in the mix to break things up.

Federer's best results appear to be grouped the closest, so he seems to have been able to play at his best more consistently, while Nadal's very best has been higher albeit at a single event.

Some other high rated matches from the past:
  • Jim Courier - 7.53 - 1992 French Open Final - 7-5,6-2,6-1 over Korda
  • Jim Courier - 7.52 - 1992 French Open SF - 6-3,6-2,6-2 over Agassi
  • Ivan Lendl - 7.50 - 1986 US Open Final - 6-4,6-2,6-0 over Mecir
  • Bjorn Borg - 7.49 - 1978 French Open SF - 6-0,6-1,6-0 over Barazzutti
  • Pete Sampras - 7.48 - 1997 Australian Open Final - 6-2,6-3,6-3 over Moya
  • Bjorn Borg - 7.47 - 1978 French Open Final - 6-1,6-1,6-3 vs Vilas

Courier had a nice set of back to back matches at the 1992 French Open, the highest back to back of any player, and Borg was very good at the 1978 French Open.

What do you think?  What player at his best has had the best result?

Attribution: Match data is courtesy Jeff Sackmann / Tennis Abstract.