Thriding

Dreaming of clay? Djokovic since Roland Garros

As the French Open final between Djokovic and Nadal unfolded, it was difficult to get a measure of what was going on. Nadal started by breaking twice, and yet after six games the set was tied 3-3. As Pete Bodo put it in his review of the match, “Nadal began making inexplicable errors, almost as if it was a sympathetic reaction of some kind”. Gradually it became apparent that both players were extremely nervous. The match ebbed and flowed, more in Nadal’s direction, but at times very definitely in Djokovic’s.

After the match, Nadal looked extremely relieved. Before the clay court season started it had seemed reasonable to suggest that no matter what happened during the Masters series tournaments, Nadal was going to retain his Roland Garros crown, even if it killed him. As it turned out, Nadal got the upper hand from the start of the clay court season, beating a distracted Djokovic easily in the Monte Carlo final, 6-3 6-1. The scoreline in the Rome final wasn’t so one sided, but Nadal again beat Djokovic in straight sets, 7-5 6-3. Nadal had been mentally prepared for a struggle equal to the 2011 clay court season, when Djokovic followed his pair of victories over Nadal at Indian Well and Miami with straigh sets wins in the finals of Madrid and Rome, and in response to 2011, and he had made alterations to his game So while the long battle through the clay court season to reclaim his territory had been a total success, one could see that it had cost him; in the French Open final he had had to dig very deep. 

We will probably not know for quite a while exactly what the balance of physical and mental exhaustion was that saw Nadal stretched into a fifth set against Rosol in the 2nd round at Wimbledon. What Rosol then produced in the fifth set was almost beyond belief, but nonetheless Nadal looked a beaten man. Mentally or physically? Probably it was a mixture of both: clearly a post-French Open hangover was in place.

In his press conference after the French Open final, Djokovic was oddly sprightly, as if he was appreciative of the lesson that he had learnt at Nadal’s hands during the match. He pointed out that it was his first Roland Garros final, and that combining that with beating Nadal was a bridge too far. He seemed to be already enthusiastic for the 2013 tournament, as if he was raring to put what he had learnt in that match into practice.

Since then it has been harder to get a measure of how Djokovic has been. Before Wimbledon he played no warm-up tournament, and then progressed without much trouble: he had straight sets victories over Ferrero, Harrison, Troicki and Mayer; before the semifinal he lost just the one set, to Stepanek, and was never taken to a tiebreak. But in the semifinal he lost to Federer. Despite his winning the second set, it did not feel like the momentum was ever truly with him, and he left the tournament surprisingly quietly. A similar pattern was followed at the Olympics: he looked strong beating Tsonga in the quarterfinals, but was then efficiently beaten by Murray, 7-5 7-5. Maybe Djokovic has been having a post-French Open hangover too?

Unlike the rest of the top eight, Djokovic both turned up at the Toronto Masters and applied himself, dropping just one set as he beat Tomic, Querrey, Haas, Tipsarevic and Gasquet. Since he didn’t face any of Federer, Nadal or Murray, it was just as difficult to assess how he was at this tournament as it had been at the Olympics and Wimbledon. The following week in Cincinnati he once again marched through the draw – and then lost the final 6-0 7-6 to Federer. For a player to win a Masters tournament one week and then lose the final of another the following is scarcely unheard of; in any case he had had the Olympics immediately before that, and so a degree of tiredness was inevitable. So, yet again, we found it hard to know just how Djokovic was.

Djokovic’s run through the draw at the US Open was nicely paced: easy victories in the early rounds left him fresh for the quarterfinals as he took revenge on Del Potro for of his loss in the Olympics’ bronze medal match. In the windswept first set of his semifinal against Ferrer he looked very unhappy but when they returned the next day, he once again looked dominant.

In the US Open final we finally saw from Djokovic something of the fight that he had shown during the French Open final: whereas in the Olympics semifinal Murray had had little trouble taking the two sets off Djokovic, in this final he was stretched all the way, and, as Lendl pointed out, had to fight his way back into the match in the second half of the fourth set.

Recently Djokovic has spoken of his desire to get his number one ranking back from Federer. Given that Federer has a lot of points to defend over the remainder of the year, this seems like a realistic ambition, and maybe we saw in the US Open final Djokovic regaining the final degree of his concentration. But maybe, really, he is still dreaming of the 2013 French Open final and of completing his career slam by winning the hardest battle of all: beating Nadal at Roland Garros.

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How the Big Four dominate the records of active players

The retirements of Ferrero and Roddick this autumn further increase the Big Four’s relative dominance of the lists of achievements of active players.

Since Murray reached no.4 in September 2008 there have only been 14 weeks when another player has been in the top 4: Soderling for 11 weeks, Del Potro for 3 weeks.

In all categories the Big Four dominate effortlessly, with only 3 acheivements equal to theirs – or to be more accurate, equal to Murray:

  1. Hewitt’s 2 Grand Slam titles: 2001 US Open, 2002 Wimbledon
  2. Del Potro’s 1 Grand Slam title: 2009 US Open
  3. Hewitt’s 28 career titles

Lleyton Hewitt is currently world number 100 and aged 31, but has reiterated as recently as this July that he has no plans for retirement. He also won the YEC in 2001 and 2002

Another player that comes close to Murray’s achievements is Davydenko. He has won 3 Masters titles, and 21 titles in total (against Murray’s 8 Masters and 24 total titles). Davydenko also won the 2009 YEC, which puts him level with Djokovic who won in 2008. Neither Nadal nor Murray have won the YEC, but they both have Olympic Gold Medals.

Grand Slam titles

  1. Federer – 17
  2. Nadal – 11
  3. Djokovic – 5
  4. Hewitt – 2
  5. Murray – 1
  6. Del Potro – 1

Grand Slam final appearance

  1. Federer – 24
  2. Nadal – 16
  3. Djokovic – 9
  4. Murray – 5
  5. Hewitt – 4
  6. Soderling – 2
  7. Baghdatis – 1
  8. Berdych – 1
  9. Del Potro – 1
  10. Nalbandian – 1
  11. Tsonga – 1

Masters titles

  1. Federer – 21
  2. Nadal – 21
  3. Djokovic – 12
  4. Murray – 8
  5. Davydenko – 3
  6. Hewitt – 2
  7. Nalbandian – 2
  8. Berdych – 1
  9. Haas – 1
  10. Robredo – 1
  11. Soderling – 1
  12. Tsonga – 1

Total number of titles (qualification: Top 20 or 5+)

  1. Federer – 76
  2. Nadal – 50
  3. Djokovic – 31
  4. Hewitt – 28
  5. Murray – 24
  6. Davydenko – 21
  7. Ferrer – 16
  8. Haas – 13
  9. Almagro – 12
  10. Del Potro – 11
  11. Nalbandian – 11
  12. Blake – 10
  13. Simon – 10
  14. Cilic – 8
  15. Tsonga – 8
  16. Youzhny – 8
  17. Berdych – 7
  18. Querrey – 7
  19. Fish – 6
  20. Gasquet – 6
  21. Monaco – 6
  22. Isner – 5
  23. Stepanek – 5
  24. Verdasco – 5
  25. Kohlschreiber – 4
  26. Raonic – 3
  27. Tipsarevic – 3
  28. Wawrinka – 3
  29. Dolgopolov – 2
  30. Nishikori – 1

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The Big Four and the Little Four

Now that Andy Murray has won the US Open, the concept of the Big Four has solidified to a further degree. Over the summer Del Potro has moved from a position just beyond Tipsarevic in the rankings, to No.8, and now has a worthwhile points margin. Thus we can begin to see a Little Four, arranged behind the Big Four

Here’s the Top Ten after the US Open:

  1. Federer – 11,805
  2. Djokovic – 10,470
  3. Murray – 8,570
  4. Nadal – 7,515
  5. Ferrer – 5,915
  6. Berdych – 4,830
  7. Tsonga – 4,520
  8. Del Potro – 3,890
  9. Tipsarevic – 3,285
  10. Isner – 2,610

The Big Four

All of them have GS titles, multiple Masters titles and a large number of titles:

  1. Federer: 17 GSs, 21 Masters, 76 titles inc. 6 YECs
  2. Djokovic: 5 GSs, 12 Masters, 31 titles inc. 1 YEC plus 1 Davis Cup
  3. Murray: 1 GS, 8 Masters, 24 titles inc. Olympic Gold
  4. Nadal : 11 GSs, 21 Masters, 50 titles inc. Olympic Gold, plus 4 Davis Cups

The Little Four

Only one of these four has a GS title – Del Potro – and only two have a Masters title: Tsonga and Berdych have both won the Paris Indoor Masters. Ferrer has neither a GS nor a Masters title, but does have six ATP500 titles.

All four of these players have appeared at a YEC or GS final.

  1. Ferrer: 16 titles, inc. 6 ATP500s (also ’07 YEC final)
  2. Berdych: 7 titles, inc. 1 ATP1000 & 2 ATP500s (also ’10 Wimbledon final)
  3. Tsonga: 8 titles, inc. 1 ATP1000 & 1 ATP500 (also ’08 AO & ’11 YEC finals)
  4. Del Potro: 11 titles, inc. 1 GS and 3 ATP500s (also ’09 YEC final)

The next four beyond

Only one of the next quartet has a Masters final appearance and between them they have just 4 ATP500s (compared with 11 for the Little Four)

  1. Tipsarevic: 3 ATP250s (plus 7 ATP250s finals)
  2. Isner: 5 ATP250s (plus 1 ATP1000, 1 ATP500  & 5 ATP250 finals)
  3. Monaco: 6 titles, inc. 2 ATP500s
  4. Almagro: 12 titles, inc. 2 ATP500s

By all measurements,excepting Del Potro’s US Open title, the Big Four have placed themselves beyond the rest of the field. Similarly, we can see that the Little Four, ranked 5-8, have achievements which place them clearly above the chasing pack.

The Little Four in 2012

Ferrer

The breakdown of Ferrer’s points shows that over the last 12 months he has been very consistent. In the GSs he has reached two SFs and two QFs, and last November’s YEC made the SF. He reached the final of the Shanghai Masters and holds five titles at the moment.

  • Australian Open: QF  (l. to Djokovic)
  • French Open: SF  (l. to Nadal)
  • Wimbledon: QF (l. to Murray)
  • US Open: SF (l. to Djokovic)

In the Grand Slams he has only lost to members of the Big Four, and at RG beat Murray. At Wimbledon he beat Del Potro in straight sets.

  • Masters: F, SF, QF, QF, QF, R32 R32
  • ATP500s: Won Acapulco; finalist in Barcelona
  • ATP250s: Won Bastad, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Buenos Aires, Auckland

All five of Ferrer’s titles have come in tournaments where he was the top seed.

It is in the Masters tournaments that he has underperformed: as well as losing to Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Nadal, he has also lost to Isner, Wawrinka, Bellucci and Istomin.

It is difficult to see anything in his record which would suggest that he’s likely to make a breakthrough at a slam, but one certainly could hope that he might transfer his consistency in slams to the Masters.

This year the indoor Paris Masters will be the week immediately before the YEC. Perhaps this will be the moment for Ferrer to win an ATP1000?

Berdych

Like Ferrer, Berdych both reached the SF of the YEC last year and was a finalist in an autumn ATP1000. His Grand Slam results are patchier than Ferrers, and his Masters record not quite as good. 

  • Australian Open: QF (l. to Nadal)
  • French Open: R16 (l. to Del Potro)
  • Wimbledon: R128 (l. to Gulbis)
  • US Open: SF (l. to Murray)
  • Masters: F, SF, SF, QF, R16, R16, R16, R16, R32
  • ATP500s: Won Beijing ’11
  • ATP250s: Won Montpellier

Losses to lower-ranked players in the last 12 months:

  • Almagro in Indian Wells
  • Dimitrov in Miami
  • Haas in Halle
  • Gasquet in Canada
  • Raonic in Cincinnati
  • Isner in Winston-Salem
  • Nishikori in Basel
  • Lopez in Shanghai

In 2012 he is 2-6 against the top 4, beating Murray in Monte Carlo and Federer last week in the US Open. To win a big tournament he will probably have to beat two higher-ranked players in a rowm, nor have lost to a low-ranked player beforehand.

His one big title, the Paris Indoor Masters, came seven years ago. He has never won more than one title in a year.

Tsonga

Tsonga finished 2011 with a flourish: he won the Vienna tournament, and reached the finals of the Paris Masters and the YEC, losing both to Federer. At the YEC he had beaten Nadal, Berdych and Fish. 

  • Australian Open: R16 (l. to Nishikori)
  • French Open: QF (l. to Djokovic)
  • Wimbledon: SF (l. to Murray)
  • US Open: R64 (l. to Klizan)
  • Masters: F, QF, QF, QF R16, 16, R32, R32
  • ATP250s: Won Doha, Vienna, Metz

In 2012 he is 0-5 against the top 4. Like Berdych he has the game to take out the members of the top 4, but on current form it difficult to imagine that he will plough through an entire draw to take a Masters, let alone a GS. He did well to reach the final of the YEC, but then Djokovic was long-spent by that stage of 2011, indoor hard court is Nadal’s worst surface by far, and Murray had a groin injury and limped through just one match.

Del Potro

Del Potro is the lowest ranked of these four players, but, unlike Berdych and Tsonga, converted his one GS final appearance, winning the 2009 US Open

  • Australian Open: QF (l. to Federer)
  • French Open: QF (l. to Federer)
  • Wimbledon: R16 (l. to Ferrer)
  • US Open: QF (l. to Djokovic)
  • Masters: SF, SF, QF, R16, R16, R32
  • ATP500s: Finalist in Rotterdam (l. to Federer)
  • ATP250s: Won Estoril, Marseille

At ATP1000s in 2012 Del Potro has only lost to a lower ranked player once: Stepanek in Toronto. That match came straight after he won the Olympic bronze medal against Djokovic; in turn that was just after losing to Federer 3-6, 7-6, 19-17. His other losses at 2012 Masters have been to Federer, Djokovic, Ferrer, Berdych and Tsonga.

His record against the top 4 in 2012 is 0-6 against Federer and 1-1 against Djokovic. That run against of six losses to Federer is interesting: it was Federer he beat in the 2009 US Open final and later that autumn he beat Federer again at the YEC. In the run-up his that US Open in the summer of 2009 he had already beaten Nadal twice and Roddick (then ranked no.5) twice: his only loss was to Murray in the Montreal final.

Clearly, if Del Potro were to regain his 2009 game, then one could expect him to rise easily over Berdych, Tsonga and Ferrer, to threaten the Big Four. It is a shame we have not seen him against Murray or Nadal in 2012. He has record against those two is 4-12; all four victories came in 2009.

It seems that Del Potro’s career could go one of two ways: he could be the next Djokovic, consolidating an early GS title with a period of dominance, or he could be the next Roddick, forever trying to follow up that one early success, but eternally frustrated by those at the very top of the game. 

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The head-to-head records for the Olympic R16

Top quarter

Federer vs Istomin

  • head to head: 2-0 (Most recent: Cincinnati 2010)
  • ranking: 1 vs 35
  • Wimbledon 2012: W – R16
  • Istomin’s big win recently was Ferrer at Indian Wells

Tipsarevic vs Isner 

  • head to head: 1-0 (Vienna 2009)
  • ranking: 8 vs 11
  • Wimbledon 2012: R32 vs R128
  • Isner has three wins over top 10 this year: Federer in Davis Cup (Feb), Djokovic at Indian Wells (Mar) and Tsonga in DC (Apr). No top 20 wins since losing Houston final to Monaco (Apr)

2nd quarter

Ferrer vs Nishikori

  • head to head: 1-1 (Ferrer, Tokyo 2011)
  • ranking: 5 vs 17
  • Wimbledon 2012: QF vs R32
  • Nishikori’s win against Ferrer was at the 2008 US Open. His ony win of any significance was against Tsonga at the Australian Open. Highest ranked win since then: Ramos (42) at Monte Carlo

Del Potro vs Simon

  • head to head: 2-2 (Simon, US Open 2011)
  • ranking: 9 vs 13
  • Wimbledon 2012: R16 vs R64
  • Del Potro beat Simon at Wimbledon 2011. Simon beat Tipsarevic and Tsonga at Monte Carlo, but has only beaten Fognini and Young in the top 50 since then.

3rd quarter

Murray vs Baghdatis

  • head to head: 4-3 (Murray, Wimbledon 2012)
  • ranking: 4 vs 45
  • Wimbledon 2012: RU vs R32 
  • Baghdatis’ only win vs Murray in last five years was Rotterdam 2011, when Murray was having a long run of bad form after the Australian Open final

Almagro vs Darcis

  • head to head: 3-0 (Nice, 2012)
  • ranking: 12 vs 75
  • Wimbledon 2012: R32 vs R128
  • Until he beat Berdych in the opening round in London 2012, his best wins had been Troicki at Delray Beach and Baghdatis at Eastbourne

Bottom quarter

Djokovic vs Hewitt

  • head to head: 5-1 (Djokovic, Australian Open 2012)
  • ranking: 2 vs 159
  • Wimbledon 2012: SF vs R128
  • Hewitt hasn’t beaten Djokovic since US Open 2006

Tsonga vs Lopez

  • head to head: 3-0 (Shanghai 2010)
  • ranking: 6 vs 29
  • Wimbledon 2012: SF vs R128
  • Tsonga beat Lopez at Wimbledon 2007. Lopez’ only top 30 win this year was Isner at AO.

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Nadal’s results in the lulls between his annual runs of success

Just as Nadal has stretches of intense success, he also has lulls. My previous post on Nadal included details of his annual run of success. Here are the lulls in between them, and what Nadal acheived in them:

1. Between Madrid 2005 and Dubai 2006 (4 months)

Nadal had had a very successful 2005, winning tournaments throughout the year.

The only tournament Nadal played in this gap was Marseille, a fortnight before Dubai. He reached the SF, losing to Clement. He missed the Australian Open 2006 through injury.

2. Between Roland Garros 2006 and Indian Wells 2007 (8 months)

2006 had started well: he beat Federer at the Dubai final, and then won his usual quartet of clay titles (MC, Barcelona, Rome, RG)

  • Queens, QF, lost to Hewitt
  • Wimbledon, F, lost to Federer
  • Toronto, R16, lost to Berdych
  • Cincinnati, QF, JC Ferrero
  • US Open, QF, Youzhny
  • Stockholm, R16, J Johansson
  • Madrid, QF, Berdych
  • YEC, SF, Federer
  • AO, QF, Gonzalez
  • Dubai, QF, Youzhny

Six of out ten tournaments ended at QF for him, with just one RU, and one SF

3. Between Madrid Stuttgart 2007 and Monte Carlo 2008 (9 months)

Stuttgart 2007 was the last post-Roland Garros tournament that Nadal played. It was soon after he lost in 5 sets to Federer in the Wimbledon final

  • Montreal, SF, Djokovic
  • Cincinnati, R32, Monaco (ret.)
  • US Open, R16, Ferrer
  • Madrid, QF, Nalbandian
  • Paris, F, Nalbandian
  • YEC, SF, Federer
  • Chennai, F, Youzhny
  • AO, SF, Tsonga
  • Rotterdam, R16, Seppi
  • Dubai, QF, Roddick
  • Indian Wells, SF, Djokovic
  • Miami, F, Davydenko

In this run of 12 tournaments he reached 3 finals, 4 SF, 2 QF

4. Between Olympics 2008 and Australian Open 2009 (5 months)

2008 was one of Nadal’s most successful years, in which he won Wimbledon as well as the French Open, and then the Canadian Masters for a second time and Olympic gold. The lull that followed it was more of a catching of breath than anything else:

  • US Open, SF, Murray
  • Madrid, SF, Simon
  • Paris, QF, Davydenko
  • Doha, QF, Monfils

Only four tournaments in this lull, difficult to see any pattern, but can note that there weren’t any pre-QF losses this time

5. Between Rome 2009 and Monte Carlo 2010 (11 months)

2009 was the only year in which Nadal won two hard court titles before the clay season: the Australian Open and Indian Wells. The clay season came to halt with the long SF victory over Djokovic at Madrid. After this came the losses to Federer and Soderling, and Nadal was unable to defend his Wimbledon title.

  • Madrid, F, Federer
  • RG, R16, Soderling
  • Montreal, QF, Del Potro
  • Cincinnati, SF, Djokovic
  • US Open, SF, Del Potro
  • Beijing, SF, Cilic
  • Shanghai, F, Davydenko
  • Djokovic, SF, Paris
  • YEC, RR, (3 x L)
  • Doha, F, Davydenko
  • AO, QF, Murray
  • Indian Wells, SF, Ljubicic
  • Miami, SF, Roddick

Aside from the shock loss to Soderling at Roland Garros and the poor performance at the YEC, there were no pre-QF losses: at the other 11 tournaments there were 3 finals, 6 SF, 2 QF

6. Between Tokyo 2010 and Monte Carlo 2011 (6 months)

2010 had been another of Nadal’s exceptional years, and he went one further than 2008, in that he won the US Open as well as Wimbledon and Roland Garros. Once the run came to an end in Shanghai, the results were generally still strong:

  • Shanghai, R16, Melzer
  • YEC, F, Federer
  • Doha, SF, Davydenko
  • AO, QF, Ferrer
  • Indian Wells, F, Djokovic
  • Miami, F, Djokovic

In just six tournaments Nadal reached 3 finals, with just the one poor result in Shanghai. The loss to Ferrer in the Australian Open QF was in straight sets, and Nadal took a long rest afterwards.

7. Between Roland Garros 2011 and Monte Carlo 2012 (11 months)

2011 is already remember as the year in which Djokovic raised himself emphatically over Nadal, though what might have happened between at Roland Garros will never be known. 

  • Queens, QF, Tsonga
  • Wimbledon, F, Djokovic
  • Montreal, R32, Dodig
  • Cincinnati, QF, Fish
  • US Open, F, Djokovic
  • Tokyo, F, Murray
  • Shanghai, R16, Mayer
  • YEC, RR, (2 x L)
  • Doha, SF, Monfils
  • AO, F, Djokovic
  • Indian Well, SF, Federer
  • Miami, SF, Murray (w/o)

In these 12 tournaments there are 4 finals (the most in any lull) 3 SFs, 2 QFs and 2 pre-QF losses

8. Since Roland Garros 2012 (2 months)

In the clay-court season Nadal reasserted himself over Djokovic, at least on that surface, beating him at Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros.

Since then he has played just two tournaments: his traditional pre-Wimbledon QF at Halle (Kohlschreiber) and then the big shock:

  • Wimbledon, R64, Rosol

The average of the seven completed lulls has been seven and a half months long and has contained eight tournaments

In order of length:

  • 5. 2009/10, 11 months, 13 tournaments, 3 finals, 6 SFs, 2 QFs, 2 pre-QF
  • 7. 2011/12, 11 months, 12 tournaments, 4 finals, 3 SFs, 2 QFs, 2 pre-QF
  • 3. 2007/08, 9 months, 12 tournaments, 3 finals, 4 SFs, 2 QFs, 3 pre-QF
  • 2. 2006/07, 8 months, 10 tournaments, 1 final, 1 SF, 6 QFs, 2 pre-QF
  • 6. 2010/11, 6 months, 6 tournaments, 3 finals, 1 SF, 1 QF, 1 pre-QF
  • 4. 2008/09, 5 months, 4 tournaments, 0 finals, 2 SFs, 2 QFs, 0 pre-QF
  • 1. 2005/6, 4  months, 1 tournament, 0 finals, 1 SF, 0 QFs, 0 pre-QF

The longest was after the knee-Soderling combination, the second longest thanks to Djokovic’s run from AO 2011 to AO 2012. Next come the two lulls after losing in the Wimbledon final. Then the two lulls after multi-slam streaks, and finally the short injury-ridden lull after his first year of great success. 

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    The fringes of the Top 10 in 2012

    For all of 2012 Nos.1-4 have been Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray

    For all of 2012 Nos. 5-7 have been Ferrer, Tsonga and Berdych

    At the start of the year the the last three places of the top 10, and the next three places were:

    • 8. Fish
    • 9. Tipsarevic
    • 10. Almagro
    • 11. Del Potro
    • 12. Simon
    • 13. Soderling

    After the Australian Open Monfils replaced Soderling’s place in this 8-13 bracket, and then he in turn was replaced by Isner. As of today, thanks to winning the Hamburg ATP500, Monaco has jumped to No.10, pushing Simon (last year’s winner of Hamburg) out of this bracket.

    First a comparison of the statistics of the six players currently ranked 8-13, and then, under that some conclusions

    8. Tipsarevic

    • Started 2012 at: 9
    • During 2012: Nos. 8-10
    • Top 10 in 2012: 30 weeks
    • 2012 win-loss: 39-15
    • 2012 slams: R32 / R16 / R32 
    • 2012 Masters: Madrid SF, Miami QF
    • 2012 titles: World Team Championship, Stuttgart
    • career finals: 3-7
    • Masters: 2 SFs
    • Slam: 1 QF

    9. Del Potro

    • Started 2012 at: 11
    • During 2012: Nos. 9-12 
    • Top 10 in 2012: 20 weeks
    • 2012 win-loss: 40-10
    • 2012 slams: QF / QF / R16
    • 2012 Masters:  Madrid SF, Indian Wells QF
    • 2012 titles: Marseille, Estoril
    • career finals: 11-5 (1 GS, 3 ATP500s)
    • Masters: 1 RU, 4 SFs
    • Slams: 1 W, 1 SF, 4 QFs

    10. Monaco

    • Started 2012 at: 26
    • During 2012: Nos. 10-29  
    • Top 10 in 2012: 1 week
    • 2012 win-loss: 31-10
    • 2012 slams: R128 / R16 / R32
    • 2012 Masters: Miami SF
    • 2012 titles: Vina del Mar, Houston, Hamburg 500
    • career finals: 6-9 (2 ATP500s)
    • Masters: 2 SF
    • Slams: never beyond R16

    11. Isner

    • Started 2012 at: 18
    • During 2012: Nos. 9-18  
    • Top 10 in 2012: 11 weeks
    • 2012 win-loss: 30-13 
    • 2012 slams: R32 / R64 / R128
    • 2012 Masters: Indian Wells RU
    • 2012 titles: Newport
    • career finals: 4-7
    • Masters: 1 RU, 1 SF
    • Slams: 1 QF

    12. Almagro

    • Started 2012 at: 10
    • During 2012: Nos. 10-14 (only 1 week at 14)
    • Top 10 in 2012: 5 weeks
    • 2012 win-loss: 46-15
    • 2012 slams: R16 / QF / R32
    • 2012 Masters: Indian Wells QF
    • 2012 titles: Sao Paulo, Nice
    • career finals: 12-6 (2 ATP500s)
    • Masters: 1 SF
    • Slams: 3 QFs

    13. Fish

    • Started 2012 at: 8
    • During 2012: Nos. 8-13
    • Top 10 in 2012: 22 weeks
    • 2012 win-loss: 10-8
    • 2012 slams: R64 / – / R16
    • 2012 Masters: Miami QF
    • 2012 titles: –
    • career finals: 6-14
    • Masters: 4 RU, 2 SFs
    • Slam: 3 QFs

    Weeks in Top 10:

    • 30: Tipsarevic
    • 22: Fish
    • 20: Del Potro
    • 11: Isner
    • 5: Almagro
    • 1: Monaco

    If Fish’s fitness has stabilised after a troubled year so far, should we expect him to regain his usual place in the top 10 with Tipsarevic and Del Potro?

    2012 win-loss:

    • Almagro: 46-15
    • Del Potro 40-10
    • Tipsarevic: 39-15
    • Monaco 31-10
    • Isner 30-13
    • Fish: 10-8

    Almagro has played the most in 2012, has won two titles, yet has slipped from the top 10

    Titles in 2012:

    • 3: Monaco
    • 2: Tipsarevic, Del Potro, Almagro
    • 1: Isner
    • 0: Fish

    As well as having the most titles, Monaco is the only of these players to have won an ATP500 this year

    Career finals:

    • Almagro: 12-6
    • Del Potro: 11-5
    • Fish: 6-14
    • Monaco: 6-9
    • Isner: 4-7
    • Tipsarevic: 3-7

    Almagro has the most titles; also of his 6 lost finals, 5 were to Ferrer. Del Potro obviously stands out as the only one with a Grand Slam title. Fish similarly stands out for having reached 4 Masters finals, which he lost to Roddick, Federer and Djokovic (twice)

    Conclusions:

    Isner (up 7 places since 2011) has the best Masters result of the six, but the worst record in the 3 slams, with a 3-3 record, and second lowest number of titles. The most inconsistent of the six

    Tipsarevic (up 1 place) has had the most consistent year, and has spent all of 2012 in the Top 10. At the slams he has not reached a QF.

    Monaco (up 16 places) has built his rise on success at the less fashionable clay tournaments (cf Almagro and, to a degree, Ferrer) plus a SF at Miami

    Fish (down 5 places) has played the least of the six, thanks to a variety of health problems. His pedigree – he has the best ATP1000s results, and his slam record is second only to Del Potro – would suggest that his place in the top 10 is dependent only on his health. He and Del Potro are the only ones of the six to have been ranked higher than No.8

    Almagro (down 2 places) has had a better slam record than Tipsarevic and has won as many titles, but has only reached one Masters QF. He has been very busy in 2012, and defending a lot of points in the process. However in the rest of 2012 he will only be defending 380 of 2,545 ranking points, so maybe we should expect a rise through the rest of the year?

    Del Potro (up 2 places) has by far the best slam record of this six in 2012, and indeed in his career. In 2011 he had an indifferent summer – R32 at US Open and at Cincinnati and Canada Masters, and a worse autumn: he didn’t play at either the Shanghai or Paris Masters, and then lost both his singles ties in the Davis Cup final against Spain. Given his proven talent, his generally steady performance so far in 2012 and his having only 360 of 3,180 points to defend in the rest of 2012, surely the time has come for him to break out of this 8-13 bracket and challenge Berdych, Tsonga and Ferrer in the heart of the Top 10.

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    The Top 12 rearranged by results in Grand Slams

    The current top twelve players in order of their Grand Slam results:

    Top_12_by_gs

    The four things worth mentioning are

    • Thanks to his 2009 US Open title, Del Potro jumps up a long way
    • Ferrer is the only one to have reached SFs and not won one
    • Isner, Tipsarevic and Gilles Simon are very firmly rooted to the bottom of the chart
    • Murray, as often seems when comparing records, is in a weird class of his own, having reached more finals than Tsonga, Berdych and Del Potro put together

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    The Top Four’s dominance of the Masters Series tournaments

    15 currently-active players have won a Masters title:

    • Ferrero (4) – Rome 2001, Monte Carlo 2002, 2003, Madrid 2004
    • Haas (1) – Stuttgart Indoor 2001 (became Madrid / Shanghai)
    • Hewitt (2) – Indian Wells 2002, 2003
    • Federer (20) – Hamburg 2002….
    • Roddick (5) – Canada 2003, Cincinnati 2003, 2006 Miami 2004, 2010
    • Nadal (21) – Monte Carlo 2005….
    • Berdych (1) – Paris 2005
    • Robredo (1) – Hamburg 2006
    • Davydenko (3) – Paris 2006, Miami 2008, Madrid 2009
    • Djokovic (11) – Miami 2007….
    • Nalbandian (2) – Madrid 2007, Paris 2007
    • Murray (8) – Cincinnati 2008….
    • Tsonga (1) – Paris 2008
    • Ljubicic (1) – Indian Wells 2010
    • Soderling (1) – Paris 2010

    Of the 66 Masters held since Nadal’s first Masters title at Monte Carlo in 2005, only 12 (18%) have been won by a player other than the top 4.

    7 of these 12 were at end-of-season autumn indoor tournaments:

    • Paris 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
    • Madrid 2007, 2009

    Only 5 of those 12 were from the main pre-US Open part of the season, ie just 5 of 55 outdoor tournaments:

    • Hamburg 2006 (Robredo)
    • Cincinnati 2006 (Roddick)
    • Miami 2008 (Davydenko)
    • Miami 2010 (Roddick)
    • Indian Wells 2010 (Ljubicic)

      Two months shy of his 30th birthday, Roddick is the youngest of that quartet. 

      Success rates of the top 4 since each won their 1st title (US hard-clay-autumn)

      • Federer: 22% – 20 wins from 91 Masters since Hamburg ’02  (12-6-2)
      • Nadal: 32% – 21 wins from 66 Masters since Monte Carlo ’05 (4-16-1)
      • Djokovic: 22% – 11 wins from 49 Masters since Miami ’07 (7-3-1)
      • Murray: 23% – 8 wins from 35 Masters since Cincinnati ’08 (5-0-3)

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      Andy Murray’s time in the top 4

      Murray reached the top 4 in Sep 2008. He is still number four, but sometimes has been no.3, four times has slipped to no.5, and once briefly reached no.2

      • 08 Sep ’08 – No.4 for 32 weeks
      • 11 May ’09 – No.3 for 12 weeks
      • 17 Aug ’09 – No.2 for 3 weeks
      • 14 Sep ’09 – No.3 for 5 weeks
      • 19 Oct ’09 – No.4 for 12 weeks
      • 11 Jan ’10 – No.5 for 1 week (Del Potro no.4)
      • 18 Jan ’10 – No.4 for 1 week
      • 01 Feb ’10 – No.3 for 2 weeks
      • 15 Feb ’10 – No.4 for 4 weeks
      • 22 Mar ’10 – No.3 for 1 week
      • 05 Apr ’10 – No.4 for 2 weeks
      • 19 Apr ’10 – No.5 for 2 weeks (Del Potro no.4)
      • 03 May ’10 – No.4 for 26 weeks
      • 15 Nov ’10 – No.5 for 2 weeks (Soderling no.4)
      • 29 Nov ’10 – No.4 for 6 weeks
      • 10 Jan ’11 – No.5 for 9 weeks (Soderling no.4)
      • 04 Apr ’11 – No.4 for 25 weeks
      • 17 Oct ’11 – No.3 for 6 weeks
      • 28 Nov ’11 – No.4 for 29 weeks

      The periods away from No.4 are so short as to be scarcely worth analysing. His arrival there in Sep ’08 was with the points he gained by reaching the US Open final. A month prior to that he won the Cincinnati Masters while ranked no.9

      His week at No.5 in Jan ’10 coincided with the Australian Open draw: to reach the final that year he had to beat Nadal in the QFs (and Cilic in the SFs) Del Potro’s 3 weeks at No.4 were with points from his 2009 US Open title.

      His 11 weeks at No.5 after Nov 2010 were just after Soderling won the Paris Masters and had still points from his 2nd appearance in a French Open final.

        In total 181 weeks have past since Murray reached the top 4:

        • 3 weeks at No.2 (2%)
        • 26 weeks at No.3 (14%)
        • 138 weeks at No.4 (76%)
        • 14 weeks at No.5 (8%)

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        The eleven ATP finals of John Isner

        John Isner has reached eleven ATP tour finals, compiling a 4-7 record

        2007

        • Washington – lost to Roddick (ranked 5)

        2010

        • Auckland
        • Memphis 500 – lost to Querrey (31)
        • Belgrade – lost to Querrey (22)
        • Atlanta – lost to Fish (49)

        2011

        • Newport
        • Atlanta – lost to Fish (9)
        • Winston-Salem

        2012

        • Indian Wells Masters – lost to Federer (3)
        • Houston – lost to Monaco (16)
        • Newport

        All four of his victories have been at a tournament held in a week adjacent to a Grand Slam:

        2010 Auckland

        • week before Australian Open
        • ranking of 8th seed: 31 (Montanes)
        • ranking of defeated finalist: 67 (Clement)

        2011 Newport

        • week after Wimbledon
        • ranking of 8th seed: 83 (Kamke)
        • ranking of defeated finalist: 73 (Rochus)

        2011 Winston-Salem

        • week before US Open
        • ranking of 8th seed: 40 (Baghdatis)
        • ranking of defeated finalist: 113 (Benneteau)

        2012 Newport

        • week after Wimbledon
        • ranking of 8th seed: 53 (Muller)
        • ranking of defeated finalist: 223 (Hewitt)

        Details taken from the list of Isner’s finals on Wikipedia and his page on the ATP site

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