Less than 2 weeks ago, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer watched as the Australian Open draw was announced. Surely they were looking primarily at their initial opponents but they couldn’t help but notice their potential semi-final opponent. That highly anticipated semi-final matchup is now only hours away. This will be their 45 meeting with each player holding 22 wins. The winner will not only hold a 23-22 advantage head-to-head, but also be considered the favorite to win the championship match. Some are even calling this match the most important of the rivalry.
For our preview, we will call on the past and review the history of this great rivalry. First of all, here is the year-by-year record of this rivalry.
Federer dominated the first 5 years going 13-6. Then Djokovic dominated 2011 to 2013 going 9-3 against Federer. Since 2014, the rivalry is near equilibrium with Djokovic leading 7-6.
Looking a little deeper, I have analyzed the likelihood of each player holding or breaking serve. For this comparison, I will just use the percentage that a player hold serves. Here is the history of the Djokovic-Federer rivalry if I look at the matches this way.
No surprise of the difference between when each player wins as you need to hold serve more often than your opponent. Looking a little deeper, there is one interesting trend, specifically how tightly Federer’s win’s are coupled on the x-axis. If Federer’s service hold percentage is below 80%, than he wins just 5.6% of the time. If Federer holds more than 80% of his serves in a match, then he wins 83% of the time. Even more telling, is that in the last 4 years, Federer is averaging a 97% service hold percentage in his wins over Djokovic while only a 72% hold percentage in his losses.
So or one key statistic to look for, look to see how well Djokovic can break Federer’s serve. If he is getting a break or 2 per set, Djokovic is going to win. Otherwise, if Federer is serving hot, Djokovic could have a long evening. Should be fun, just liked we hoped when we saw the bracket less than 2 weeks ago.