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Victoria Azarenka vs. Roger Federer – who was better in the last 12 months?

Our contributor Omair is continuing his series of comparing the top of the WTA with their corresponding ATP colleagues. So far we've had:

Now it's Victoria Azarenka's and Roger Federer's turn. Let's see which player was better in the past 12 months. For reference, please visit the article comparing Sharapova and Murray to see the parameters taken into account.

People may be saying: "Are you serious, how can you ever compare Roger Federer with Victoria Azarenka? Their careers are completely different: Federer has won 17 Grand Slams, Azarenka just two, etc." You must be thinking that I am going crazy, but seriously, I am not out of my mind. We are talking about the results over the period of last 12 months, not their entire careers. They are both ranked No.2 at the moment, and there is no better way to measure the consistency of both tours than by comparing the results of the top players.

There were a lot interesting things that I noticed while doing these analyses: in my previous article it was that Sharapova won four more matches than Murray despite playing five fewer tournaments, now it's that Federer reached the quarterfinals or better of all the 17 tournaments he played with the exception of one, Federer beat three Top 10 players in two tournaments, Azarenka won 58% of her matches against the Top 4 players, and Azarenka either retired or withdrew from her matches four times during the course of last 12 months.

Azarenka and Federer had few things in common over the course of last 12 months. They remained No.1 for a certain period of time, although for Azarenka the time span was way longer than for Federer. She stayed at the top spot for pretty much the entire 12 months with the exceptions of few weeks, when Sharapova reached the top spot. Each player won one Grand Slam.

Let us see how the two did in the categories we defined in our previous article. The categories highlighted in yellow go in favor of Azarenka, while the ones highlighted in blue go in favor of Federer.

Federer and Azarenka both played 17 tournaments. Azarenka's winning percentage was better than Federer’s, thanks to her three withdrawals (Rome, Tokyo and Brisbane), which do not count as losses. In almost all the categories Azarenka leads Federer, but there are quite a few things that the stats do not cover.

Azarenka beat two or more Top 10 players in five tournaments, just like Federer, but what is more telling is that Federer beat three Top 10 players twice, while Azarenka beat three Top players only once in a tournament during the year.

Let us see how the important indicators look when presented graphically:

Azarenka had a better winning percentage overall, better record against the Top 4 and Top 10 players and lost fewer matches to players outside the Top 10.

Federer did not retire or withdraw from any tournament during the last 12 months, while Azarenka had four such cases. Federer made the finals of more tournaments as compared to Azarenka, and his match winning percentage is better than Azarenka's if we take into account her withdrawals.

It will depend on the weight you assign a certain indicator when deciding which player was more consistent. In this case both have done quite well, but I will give Azarenka a minor edge, based on the following factors (although being a huge Federer fan, I have to eat my heart out to give the slight advantage to Azarenka):

  • Originally I had planned to give Federer the edge, but the thing that changed my mind at the last minute was the fact that Azarenka still has to lose a match this year. She has played three tournaments this year and is still to lose a match, whereas Federer has lost three matches so far this year.
  • Azarenka has a better winning percentage against the Top 4 and Top 10 players compared to Federer.
  • Azarenka lost just one match to a player ranked outside the Top 20, the loss coming at the hands of Tamira Paszek, who was then ranked No.43, in the second round of Montreal, while Federer lost three matches to players ranked outside the Top 20, his worst loss coming at the hands of Tommy Haas, then ranked No.87, in the final of Hale.

Who do you think has been more consistent over the course of last 12 months and where do you see your player taking advantage over the other?

Do let me know in case you have any queries. You can connect with me on my Tennis Stats website. Moreover, you can read all my guest posts on Women's Tennis Blog in Omair's Corner. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)

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One thought on “Victoria Azarenka vs. Roger Federer – who was better in the last 12 months?

  1. Tennis Blog

    Vica seemes to have better results. Don't know why, but Roger seems to be a little down either this and the previous season. Hope he'll get better results as the time goes by. Great season for Azarenka though, she's playing a really good tennis :)

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