The 3 Masters, Roger, Rafa and Novak at the ATP Masters


The most recent ATP Masters 1000 was the Miami 2019 Masters where Roger Federer won his 28th Masters 1000 title and overall his 101st title with an efficient 6-1 6-4 win over the giant American Isner. Federer, of course, has won 20 Grand Slam titles as well. This was his 50th Masters final, the most for any player. Roger now has a 28-22 record in ATP Masters 1000 finals.

Next to Federer’s’ 50 is his greatest rival Rafa Nadal with 49. The feisty Spaniard who has won 17 Grand Slam titles has a much better conversion rate though with his Finals record being 33-16. His 33 is of course at the top of the list and no one has won as many Masters 1000 titles. Novak Djokovic, a 15 Grand Slam winner so far, is next to Nadal as regards Masters 1000 titles with as many as 32 wins out of 47 entries to the Finals. He is the only player to have won all the 9 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. Even Roger and Rafa do not have this enviable stand-alone record.

At Masters Finals, the record of the terrific trio, therefore, is Federer 28-22, Rafa 33-16 and Novak 32-15. The numbers for the trio stack up well. For Federer, Rafa and Novak, the numbers are 20-17-15 as regards Grand Slam titles, 30-25-24 as regards Grand Slam Finals, 28-33-32 as regards Masters titles and 50-49-47 as regards Masters Finals.

The purpose of this article is to have a closer look at the finals of the ATP Masters 1000 tournaments they have featured in by discussing certain parameters such as the performance in the various masters, their head-to-head results, performance on the type of courts, etc.

Let’s start with Rafa Nadal, since he has won the maximum Masters 1000 with 33 titles. Rafa has stand-alone records such as winning at least one Masters for maximum consecutive years (10), and maximum championships at a single Masters (Monte Carlo, 11).

Rafa’s wins: The 33 titles were at Monte Carlo (11), Italian Open (8), Madrid Open (5), Canadian Open (4), Indian Wells (3), German Open and Cincinnati. Thus Rafa has won 7 Masters and does not have wins at Miami and Shanghai. 25 titles are on clay while 8 are on hard courts. Rafa has multiple wins over 5 players with maximum wins against Federer whom he has defeated 7 times and Novak whom he has defeated 5 times. He also has two wins each against Guillermo Coria, David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori. He has single wins in finals against 15 players, namely Andre Agassi, Ivan Ljubicic, Fernando Gonzalez, Nicolas Keifer, Andy Murray, Fernando Verdasco, DelPo, Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Isner, Sascha Zverev, Monfils, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Rafa’s losses: The legend has just 16 losses at the finals and has lost to only 5 players. 8 of the losses were on hard courts while 7 were on clay. Maximum losses have been to Novak (7) and 5 losses have been to Federer. Rafa has also lost twice to Nikolay Davydenko and once each to Andy Murray and to David Nalbandian. Notably, Novak who is certainly Rafa’s greatest opponent has 4 wins on clay courts as well and three on hard courts. Federer has 3 wins on hard courts and 2 on clay courts.

Novak Djokovic who is next with 32 wins is the only player to win all the 9 Masters. His best performances are at Miami and Indian Wells where he has won 6 and 5 times respectively. He has won 4 titles each at the Canadian Open, Italian Open, Paris Open, and Shanghai. At Madrid and Monte Carlo, he has won twice each and last year he won his only title at Cincinnati to complete wins at each of the Masters. Novak has 24 wins on hard courts and 8 on clay. His maximum wins in finals are against Rafa (6) and Federer and Murray (5 each). Winning all 9 is certainly an amazing achievement since as John McEnroe points out, conditions in all 9 tournaments are different, and also one plays 6 matches in 7 days and one plays higher ranked players than even in the Slams.

Novak’s losses: If we see Novak’s losses at Masters finals we see that he has lost to just 5 players. He has solitary losses against Zverev and Coric. He has lost thrice to Federer and 5 times each to Rafa and Andy Murray.

Roger Federer’s best performances have been at Cincinnati, Indian Wells, Miami and at the German Open where he has won as many as 7, 5, 4 and 4 times. He has also won thrice at the Madrid Open, twice each at the Canadian Open and at Shanghai and once at the Paris Open. He has defeated Rafa in 5 finals and Novak in 4.

Roger’s losses: Federer faced defeat in his 1st Masters 1000 final ever which was against Andre Agassi at the Miami Open in 2002. He has lost in 22 finals out of which 7 losses are to Rafa and 4 to Novak. Other losses include defeats to veterans like Murray and Wawrinka and also to youngsters like Sascha and Thiem. Federer has not won the Monte Carlo Open and the Italian Open though has entered 7 finals in these two, with 5 losses to Rafa alone.

This then is the performance of the terrific trip at the Masters 1000, with a special focus on the finals. Not surprisingly, they are the most successful players at the Masters and the only three players to win more than 300 matches here. While Federer has an overall 374-105 record, Rafa has won 366 and lost 77, while Novak has a 335-75 record at the Masters.

Next week is Monte Carlo Masters, one of the awaited tournaments of the year. While Federer has opted out this year, both Rafa and Novak will be playing. I certainly would be hoping for a Rafa-Novak final. How about you?


About author

The blogger, Ritesh Misra, is an IRS Officer currently based in Mumbai. He tweets @riteshmisra. His hobbies are sports, films, and music.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Pragativadi and does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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