British commentator Barry Cowan gets a lot of stick but occasionally he comes out with a gem and those of you love stats might be interested in what he shared with the nation during Andy Murray’s win over Tomas Berdych in Dubai on Thursday.
As the Scot was on his way to breaking a losing streak against the Czech, Cowan drew attention to Murray’s fine record against top-10 players throughout his career, so much so that he stands eighth in the all-time list, since the rankings began. It is some achievement from the 24-year-old, who started knocking off top-10 players almost as soon as he came onto the tour. His win over Berdych made it 50 wins out of 90 matches against top-10 opposition.
Now if Murray stays at or around the top of the game for the next few years, as you would expect him to, then he should improve that statistic and start making his way further up the list. But where he ends up when he finally hangs up his rackets will depend on just how successful he is later on, when his powers, inevitably, begin to dwindle.
This statistic is one of those that can be a bit misleading. No one would dispute that Bjorn Borg, who tops the list, was one of the all-time greats but because he quit when he was young, he only played 95 matches against top tenners (winning 67).
Conversely, another of the all-time greats, Jimmy Connors, is down at No 13 in the list, with a win-loss record of 84-83. Connors, as Peter Fleming pointed out during commentary, played until he was 110 (he actually played ATP matches until he was 43, believe it or not). A quick check reveals that in his last nine years on tour, he played 24 matches against top-10 players and won just five, so it’s fair to say his longevity distorts his figures, even if he did beat Michael Stich, then ranked No 3, when he was 40.
But having said all that, it makes the fact that Roger Federer, at the age of 30, is still No 2 on the all-time list, at 146-74. Rafael Nadal is the only other active player in the all-time top 10, at No 5, while world No 1 Novak Djokovic is No 11.
Oh, and Murray is the only man in the top 20 all-time not to have won a grand slam title. Yet. You can check out the full list here http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Versus-Top-10-Career-List.aspx
Just a word to say how good it is to see Michaella Krajicek, the sister of former Wimbledon champion Richard, doing well again. At the age of 19, Krajicek was considered a real prospect, reaching a career-high ranking of No 30 but since then she has been through more than her share of injuries and off-court problems. Four years on, she is finally getting herself back on track and her ranking is already up to 72 and promises to go much higher.