Top 5 most dominant winning records in an ATP season
Join Tennishead for a look at the strongest seasons seen on the ATP tour from some of the greatest names to have ever picked up a racket.
5. Novak Djokovic – 2015 – 82-6 (93.2%)
The 20-time Slam champion had previously recorded a 70-6 win-loss record (92.1%) across the 2011 season, in which he won the first 41 matches of the year, winning seven consecutive titles.
While 2015 did not achieve the heights of successive wins in 2011, Djokovic was able to accumulate 12 more wins for the same number of losses.
The Serbian star entered 2015 ranked world number one, having reclaimed the position from Rafael Nadal in July 2014. He kicked off his tour campaign in Doha at the Qatar Open, defeating compatriot Dusan Lajovic and Sergiy Stakhovsky to reach the quarter-finals.
However, the top seed then fell to world number 27 Ivo Karlovic in three sets there. The Croat can still boast a 2-1 win-loss record over Djokovic, one of very few active players to have a winning record over the Serb.
Entering the Australian Open soon after, the then four-time champion may have been underestimated following his loss in Qatar. Djokovic blitzed through the field to the semi-final stage. He won all five matches in straight sets, only being pushed to a tiebreak twice.
In the semi-finals, Djokovic faced world number four Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss had previously ousted the Serb in the quarter-finals of the 2014 tournament on his way to lifting the title. That defeat had prevented Djokovic from winning in Melbourne three years in a row.
The two traded sets until Djokovic ran away with it 6-0 in the fifth to reach his fifth Australian Open final. There he faced Andy Murray, the same man Djokovic overcame to clinch his 2011 and 2013 titles Down Under.
The Serb triumphed in four sets, again claiming the last 6-0 for his fifth Australian Open crown. From there, Djokovic was in dominant form throughout the rest of the season.
He lost in the final of the Dubai Open immediately after Melbourne to Roger Federer. Despite that, the world number one then claimed the ‘Sunshine Double’ of Indian Wells and the Miami Open. He then added the Monte Carlo and Rome Masters for good measure, winning four consecutive Masters 1000 titles over two surfaces.
At Roland Garros, Djokovic cruised through to the quarter-finals where he faced the ‘King of Clay’ himself, Nadal. But the Serb was too much for the Spaniard, cruising to a straight sets victory, Nadal’s second ever defeat at the Slam.
After overcoming Murray in the semis, Wawrinka lay in wait in the final. What seemed destiny for Djokovic was denied as Wawrinka claimed the clay Slam, his second in as many years. Djokovic was yet to complete the Career Grand Slam.
The Serb then won his third Wimbledon, defeating Federer in the final for a second year running. He only lost in the final at each of the Canadian Masters and Cincinnati Masters soon after to Murray and Federer respectively, before sealing his second US Open, defeating Federer in the final there.
Beijing, the Shanghai Masters and Paris Masters followed back-to-back-to-back from there, 15 successive wins and three more titles. Finally, a round robin loss to Federer was the only blemish on a fifth ATP Finals title, his fourth consecutively, a tour record.
Djokovic ended the year with an 82-6 win-loss record, losing three times to Federer and once each to Wawrinka, Murray and Karlovic. The Croat was the only player that Djokovic lost to ranked outside the ATP top 10.
The Serb claimed 11 titles, six at Masters 1000 level and three Slams, plus an ATP 250 and ATP 500 in Belgrade and Beijing. Of the eight Masters tournaments he played, he reached the final at all eight.
4. Bjorn Borg – 1979 – 84-6 (93.3%)
36 years before Djokovic’s stellar 2015, Borg was at the very height pf his powers. The Swede had six of his eventual 11 Slam titles already under his belt. He entered 1979 ranked second in the world behind American Jimmy Connors.
The 22-year-old kicked off his ATP season with back to back tournament wins in Richmond, Virginia and at the Pepsi Grand Slam in Florida. After losing before the final at his next three events, Borg won the title at the following three in Rotterdam, Monte Carlo and Las Vegas.
Soon after the Swede won his fourth Roland Garros title in six years. Immediately after he completed the ‘Channel Slam’ by winning his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, defeating world number one Connors in straight sets in the semi-finals. Moreover, this Slam triumph saw Borg claim the top ATP ranking from Connors.
Borg then won 14 consecutive matches across Bastad, Toronto and the US Open. He won the first tow tournaments before losing in the quarter-finals of the Slam.
The 23-year-old further won titles in Palermo, Tokyo, the WCT Challenge Cup and the Masters to finish the year with 13 titles and an 84-6 win-loss record. Only John McEnroe defeated Borg more than once in 1979, in New Orleans and Dallas at the WCT Finals.
3. Roger Federer – 2006 & 2005 – 92-5 (94.8%) & 81-4 (95.3%)
The same man occupies the next two positions, none other than 20-time Slam champion Roger Federer. The Swiss Maestro dominated the sport as ATP world number one for 237 consecutive weeks between June 2004 and August 2008.
His two most prolific winning seasons came in the middle of that streak. Entering 2005, Federer had four Slam titles to his name; two Wimbledon and one each at the US and Australian Opens.
The 23-year-old kicked off his season by winning his first Qatar Open title, but fell to eventual champion Marat Safin at the Australian Open in the semi-finals.
The Swiss then won four consecutive titles and 22 matches in a row at Rotterdam, Dubai and the ‘Sunshine Double’ of Indian Wells and the Miami Masters.
The streak ended at 25 match wins when Federer lost in the quarter-finals of Monte Carlo to Richard Gasquet. He then won the Hamburg Masters, avenging his loss to Gasquet by overcoming the Frenchman in the final in Germany.
Federer then reached his the first Roland Garros semi-final before falling to Nadal at what would be his first Slam title in Paris. Federer then won 34 consecutive matches, claiming five straight tiles, including a second US Open and third Wimbledon crown.
The Swiss only lost one further match that season, his last match outright of 2005. In the final of the tour finals, Federer lost in five sets to world number 12 David Nalbandian. Federer lost just four matches that year, two at Slams, once at Masters level and once at the tour Finals.
2006 was more prolific in terms of match wins, but fell just short of 2005 by win percentage. Federer defended his Qatar Open title and won a second Australian Open before losing to Nadal in the finals of Dubai.
Once again Federer clinched the ‘Sunshine Double’ before losing in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters, again to Nadal. The same was true at the Rome Masters as Nadal secured the title there.
And again at Roland Garros, Nadal defeated Federer in the final to defend his crown in Paris. But Federer was undeterred. The Swiss won Halle, Wimbledon and the Canadian Masters for 18 successive victories. The run was ended at 19 when Andy Murray defeated Federer at the Cincinnati Masters.
Titles at the US Open, Tokyo Japan Open, Madrid Masters, Swiss Indoors Basel and tour Finals followed from there. This saw Federer end 2006 with a 29-match win streak. He only lost to two players that year: Nadal four times and Murray once.
2. Jimmy Connors – 1974 – 94-4 (95.9%)
Connors entered the year without a Slam title to his name. That changed immediately as he won his first Australian Open crown to kick off 1974.
The American then won seven titles across his next eight events accumulating a 34-1 win-loss record along the way. After losing in Washington, Connors won Manchester, lost in Nottingham and then won his first Wimbledon title, defeating Ken Rosewall in the final 6-1, 6-1, 6-4.
Soon after, Connors climbed to world number one for the first time, staying there for 160 consecutive weeks and 268 in total over his career.
After winning Indianapolis before the US Open, Connors won the New York Slam, again defeating Rosewall in the final, this time by a humiliating scoreline of 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in the shortest men’s Slam final of the Open Era.
Connors then triumphed in Los Angeles, London and Johannesburg to cap the year with just four losses to 94 wins.
1. John McEnroe – 1984 – 82-3 (96.5%)
McEnroe is the only male player of the Open Era to go through an entire season with just three losses. He won seven tournaments in a row to start his 1984 season, accruing 33 straight wins along the way.
The 25-year-old only suffered his first loss at the end of May. He lost to Ivan Lendl at the Roland Garros final. His only appearance in the final of the Slam, McEnroe lost the match after leading by two sets to love.
McEnroe then won Queen’s and Wimbledon back-to-back before a title in Toronto was followed by his second loss of the year, this time to Indian player Vijay Amritraj.
McEnroe avenged his Roland Garros final loss by defeating Lendl at the US Open in straight sets. This and Wimbledon were his final two singles Slam titles.
Titles in San Francisco and Stockholm followed. Then, his third and final loss came in the Davis Cup final to Henrik Sundstrom of Sweden. McEnroe capped his year by winning the Masters in New York, the equivalent to the ATP Tour Finals today.
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