The 4 players with the best five-set Grand Slam win rates: Carlos Alcaraz improves record at Wimbledon

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz and Bjorn Borg
Carlos Alcaraz and Bjorn Borg celebrate at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz improved his sensational record in five-set matches by triumphing in a contest that went the distance for the 12th time in his career at the 2024 Wimbledon Championships.

The three-time Grand Slam champion overcame world No 29 Frances Tiafoe 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 in a thrilling third round battle at Wimbledon.

This win saw Alcaraz take his fifth-set record to a staggering 12-1, giving him the highest win rate of any man in Grand Slam matches that go to a decider.

Following his victory against Tiafoe at the All England Club, the 21-year-old Spaniard spoke about his superb five-set statistics.

“In the fifth set, I think I increase my tennis, my level,” the world No 3 said in his post-match press conference. “I feel great physically and that helps a lot to play more calmly than the opponent.

“I feel much better than the opponent physically and mentally. I know that the other guy has to play at a really high level of tennis and intensity in the fifth set if he wants to beat me. That helps me a lot to deal much better with those difficult situations in the fifth set.

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“I’m playing with the stats that I just lost one match in the fifth set. That’s an advantage for me. That’s why I am feeling really, really well physically and in those situations I play at my high level.

“In my head I’m thinking that I’m good in the [fifth set] and have the belief that I am going to win, I’m going to play my best tennis.

“In every match that I’ve played five sets, I played really close or my best tennis. I realised that I’m good at it and I believe that I’m going to win. I think that’s a good point for me.”

Here, we look at the four players with the best win percentage in five-set Grand Slam matches in the Open Era (minimum of 10 matches played).

Carlos Alcaraz – 12-1 (92.3%)

Alcaraz’s only defeat in a match that went to a fifth set came against Matteo Berrettini in the third round of the 2022 Australian Open. The Spaniard was just 18 and fell in a match tiebreak to the Italian.

The Spaniard won three consecutive five-setters against Marin Cilic, Jannik Sinner and Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively at the 2022 US Open, where he won his maiden Major.

In the 2023 Wimbledon final, Alcaraz defeated Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller to end the tennis legend’s 34-match winning streak at the event.

Alcaraz also prevailed in consecutive matches that went the distance against Sinner and Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and the championship match at the 2024 French Open, where he secured his third Grand Slam.

Bjorn Borg – 20-3 (87%)

Bjorn Borg won 20 of the 23 five-set matches he contested in his career and amassed a superb 5-1 record in Grand Slam finals that went to a deciding set.

The Swede came from two sets to love down to defeat Manuel Orantes in his maiden Major final at the 1974 French Open.

In 1981, Borg downed Ivan Lendl in a five-set title match to claim his sixth Roland Garros crown and his 11th and last Grand Slam title.

At Wimbledon, Borg won five-set finals against Jimmy Connors in 1977, Roscoe Tanner in 1979, and John McEnroe in a famous 1980 showdown.

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The former world No 1’s only loss in a Major final that went the distance came against John McEnroe at the 1980 US Open, where he never lifted the trophy.

Johan Kriek – 12-2 (86.7%)

Johan Kriek compiled an impressive 12-2 record in five-set matches at Major tournaments during a career spanning from 1978 to 1994.

The South African-American was a two-time Australian Open champion, defeating Steve Denton in the 1981 and 1982 championship matches in Melbourne.

He won a five-setter in each of his Australian Open title runs: against Chris Lewis in the third round in 1981; and against Paul McNamee in the semi-finals in 1982.

Kriek, who reached a career-high ranking of world No 7, won 14 singles titles, and was also a semi-finalist at both the French Open and the US Open.

Harold Solomon 11-2 (84.6%)

Harold Solomon earned 11 victories from the 13 five-set Grand Slam contests he featured in during a career that ran from 1971 to 1986.

The American won three-five setters en route to reaching the final at the 1976 French Open, where he was beaten by Adriano Panatta.

His deciding set triumphs in his Roland Garros run came against Kim Warwick in the opening round, Sashi Melon in the second round, and Raul Ramirez in the semi-finals.

Solomon peaked at fifth in the ATP Rankings and was a 22-time singles titlist, while he also reached the last four at the US Open.

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