Two wins on clay. One ATP 250 title (a record for 22-year-old Australian ATP players named Bernard). One enormous hat. Marquee wins against Pierre Hugues Herbert and Jan Lennard Struff. A lead over the No. 19-ranked player by a staggering 42 points, the equivalent of just under making the final of a 50K Challenger. But is it the all-time best? To answer that question, we had to open up the history books to look at the question from all angles, Hawkeye-style. Here’s how our quest for the answer unfolded:
1. Eight men have won three Slams in a single season since the start of the Open era.
Bernard Tomic is not one of these men.
2. Djokovic is sixth in terms of all-time single-season winning percentage.
Djokovic’s sixth-best all-time single-season winning percentage was mildly impressive, but Bernard Tomic’s foray into playing the bagpipes was objectively better than anything Novak Djokovic did in 2015.
3. Djokovic faced the most top-10 players in his season than anyone else did in theirs.
Djokovic was 28-5 against top 10 players this year. That’s decent, I guess. He had just one loss to a player outside the top 10, the same as Federer in 2006, if you’re impressed by things like that.
On the other hand, Bernard Tomic avenged a devastating Madrid loss to Luca Vanni weeks later at Roland Garros, beating the Italian dark horse Roland Garros contender (as he’s known in my apartment) in truly stunning fashion, needing only four sets to do so.
4. Analyzing the losses:
Here are the combined ranks of the players who defeated the players in their contending seasons.
Djokovic — No. 7.8 (his worst loss was at the start of the season to the big-serving Ivo Karlovic)
Tomic — No. 70.59.
70 is a much bigger number than 7.8.
5. Analyzing the wins:
Djokovic — 11 titles, three Grand Slams, 7 Masters 1000 events (including ATP WTF) and a lowly 500 event in Beijing.
Tomic — One ATP 250 title, almost four slams, almost 11 Masters 1000 titles.
Winning almost 11 Masters 1000s is insane. There aren’t 11 Masters 1000 tournaments on the ATP calendar, which makes Tomic’s accomplishment here even more remarkable.
If things had broken just a tiny bit differently in every single Masters 1000 tournament this year, and if the ATP had added two more Masters 1000 events to their calendar, we could now be celebrating Tomic’s Golden Masters 1000 Calendar Year Slam here. Really makes you think.
6. How many finals did they win?
Tomic won a whopping 100% of the finals he made in 2015. In comparison, Djokovic won a paltry 73% of the finals he made in 2015. This is a no-brainer.
a. Djokovic made a record $21,646,145 in earnings this year. That’s a lot of money.
b. Bernard Tomic used a record seven different fake accents in a post-match press conference, besting his former record of six from 2014. He has absolutely dominated this ATP statistical category since 2013.
But let’s get to the crux of the discussion: Both Djokovic and Tomic lost the French Open this year. This was an enormous missed chance for both players to add to their slam totals.
So while it seems like Tomic obviously had a much better season than Djokovic after looking at these statistics, when taking Tomic’s shocking French Open loss into consideration, I would argue that Djokovic’s season was in fact nearly as good as Tomic’s.