TLTHE LATEST/06Jul14

/Analysis /Visualisation

Roger Federer In A Class Of His Own

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Roger Federer is in a class of his own – an outlier amongst the world’s best tennis players.

If pushed, my ‘greatest ever sportsman’ would be Roger Federer. Not just for his on-court achievement, but also for his attitude and conduct, both on and off it. In today’s Wimbledon final he has a chance to win his eighth Wimbledon title and add another record to his tally – by winning it more times than any other man in history.

When I found this great representation of tennis players’ career performance, on the Import.io blog, I was instantly struck by the data point in the top right hand-corner. As a long standing Federer fan, I optimistically shot over there to discover that it was indeed my man Rog.

 

Tennis player career win percentage vs games played - Roger Federer is in a class of his own

Regeneration of a figure created by import.io, a web data extraction tool. See http://tennis.import.io for more information.

The figure shows over 10000 professional tennis players, since around the turn of the century who have played over 50 games. Only 9 of these 10000, have a win percentage above 80%. Of those 9, Federer has played more than 250 matches (around 25%) more than the next closest.

Federer’s trophy cabinet pretty much speaks for itself but I thought this was a great visualisation to instantly strengthen his case. The man is effectively an outlier amongst the world’s greatest tennis players. An outlier amongst outliers.

It’s a great visualisation example. Obviously there are many other relevant factors in characterising career performance, but bottom line, this concise representation says a great deal, and that for me, is what it’s all about.

My version above is tailored to highlight Roger Federer’s ridiculous position in the pack, or more correctly – out of it. However, a number of other things jump out of the graphic straight away and I’d love to have time to dig into these in a bit more detail.

Import.io’s original version is interactive allowing you to pinpoint your other favourite players. It also has data set links and some great detail about how their demo app was created. So if you’re interested, head over to import.io for more information.

In terms of today’s Wimbledon final, grass career stats look good for Federer, with a much higher win ratio than Djokovic (87% vs 79%) and around twice as much experience (145 grass matches vs. 76 for Djokovic). Whoever wins, Federer will still be the greatest.