Thursday, April 24, 2014

4/21/14 YTD Country Power Rankings

These are the rankings of how each country has done since the end of the 2013 tennis season. Rankings are based mainly on the year-to-date ranking of the individuals from that country

1. Spain - Spain still holds onto the No. 1 ranking comfortably despite an early exit from Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo. Nadal still reached the final in Miami and David Ferrer reached the semifinals at Monte Carlo. With Barcelona, going on this week, Spain's lead should only grow.

2. Switzerland - Despite having only two players in the top 150 in the world of the year-to-date rankings compared to 16 and 17 for the two other countries in the top three, Switzerland still finds itself ranked No. 2. Those two players for Switzerland are both ranked in the top three for the YTD rankings and played each other in the Monte Carlo final for big points for the country. However, it is going to be difficult for Switzerland to keep holding off France.

3. France - France sits comfortably at No. 3, but with 17 players in the top 150 in the YTD rankings, the French should be doing better. Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire, who have been a reliable source of ranking points for France in the past, have combined for nine wins all year. As Spain's only real contender for the year-end No. 1 ranking as a country, France has not put up much of a fight. The combined amount of points for France's top four players does not even match how many Nadal has collected for Spain. Meanwhile, the top 10 for France have less than Nadal and Ferrer combined.

4. Serbia - With a title in Miami and a semifinal in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic led Serbia to the most significant jump in the rankings from last month as the Serbs hop from No. 7 to No. 4. A right wrist injury to Djokovic looked like it would send Serbia right back down to where it came from, but Djokovic announced today that he will play in Madrid as scheduled. Still, Serbia does not hold a huge lead over the No. 5 & 6 countries, so Djokovic has his work cut out for him.

5. United States - The United States were one of the three countries surpassed by the Serbs this week. I said in the past that No. 4 is the highest the Americans could possibly finish, but even that seems unlikely now with the way Djokovic has played in the 1000's. The new American No. 2 Bradley Klahn has cooled off, losing in the first round of Indian Wells and Miami. His number of challenger titles is still greater than his number of tour-level victories in 2014.

6. Czech Republic - Berdych reached the semifinals in Miami and is ranked fifth in the year-to-date rankings, putting the Czechs right behind the United States, going into the worst time of year for the Americans. Lukas Rosol is looking to defend his title in Bucharest this week.

7. Germany - The Germans had been neck-and-neck with the Americans for most of the season, but the last couple weeks have not been good for them. Of the top 15 Germans in the YTD rankings, 14 saw their ranking drop last week. The only German that went up in the rankings was Philipp Kohlschreiber, who went up a total of one spot.

8. Italy - The clay season is here and the Italians are already taking advantage, moving up two spots since the last rankings. The Italians have a long way to go to catch up to the Germans or Czechs, but this is the time of year to do it with the 1000 in Rome just around the corner and then the French Open.

9. Argentina - It could be worse for Argentina, but Frederico Delbonis saved the day. The top-ranked Argentine in the YTD rankings reached the semifinals in Casablanca and is keeping the South American country in the top 10 by the skin of their teeth.

10. Croatia - Croatia is one of five countries in the top 10 with four or less players in the top 150 of the YTD rankings, meaning just a few players a carrying their ranking, and that has been Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic so far. Cilic is ranked 11th in the YTD rankings. The Croat has cooled off of late failing to reach the round of 16 in both Monte Carlo and Miami. Karlovic is currently on a three-match losing streak, but Croatia is still holding onto a top 10 spot, sliding just one place in the rankings.

11. Japan - The Japanese are up one spot from a month ago and all of the top Japanese are in action this week. Kei Nishikori, who reached the semifinals in Miami before suffering an injury, is playing in Barcelona. Meanwhile, Go Soeda, Tatsuma Ito, Hiroki Moriya, Yasutaka Uchiyama, and Yuichi Sugita are all playing in the 90 Challenger in Shenzhen, China.

12. Ukraine - Every single tennis player from Ukraine with a YTD ranking except one, saw that ranking drop last week, and the one player that didn't drop simply didn't move at all. So the Ukraine should be pleased it is only one spot lower than a month ago. Dolgopolov reached the quarterfinals in Miami, but was upset early by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Monte Carlo.

13. Russia - Right now Teymuraz Gabashvili is the Russian No. 1 in the YTD rankings with Mikhail Youzhny, Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Nikolay Davydenko both outside of the top 100. That means there is a good opportunity for Russia to get much higher in the rankings, but there is no guarantee that those three will each rise in the rankings. They have a combined age of 94.

14. Great Britain - Despite an impressive two-set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Miami, Andy Murray's struggles have continued. He suffered a two-set loss to Djokovic the following round and then lost to Fognini on clay in Davis Cup. Now Murray has skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona. If he doesn't repeat at SW19, his 52-week ranking is going to take a big hit.

15. Australia - Out of the countries that have had a disappointing start to 2014, Australia might be the worst, dropping another spot in the rankings. In my first rankings, Australia was No. 8 and the further away we get from January, the further down under Australia goes. If we took away Australia's fantastic January, the country would be ranked down in the 30s.

16. Bulgaria - Like Murray's ranking, Bulgaria's is standing on one leg. However, that's the No. 9 leg to stand on in 2014. Grigor Dimitrov didn't play poorly since the last rankings, losing to David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori. However, it wasn't enough to move Bulgaria up in the rankings. Bulgaria does remain the highest ranked country with just one player in the top 150 of the YTD rankings.

17. Colombia - Los Tres Amigos, Alejandro Falla, Alejandro Gonzalez, and Santiago Giraldo are the three men holding up Colombia's ranking with no clear No. 1. Even Giraldo, who is the lowest of the three in the YTD rankings just upset Tommy Robredo and then beat his compadre Gonzalez to reach the Houston semifinals.

18. South Africa - Kevin Anderson is on a three-match losing streak right now and the clay season hasn't normally been a source of many ranking points, so it will be a battle for him to keep South Africa in the top 20 single-handedly.

19. Canada - Canada moved up one entire spot. This is a country that was No. 11 at the end of 2013 in my rankings, so barely making the top 20 is certainly disappointing. The one bright spot has been Milos Raonic, who returned to the top 10, but is still only ranked No. 18 in the YTD rankings.

20. Latvia - Ernests Gulbis suffered his third consecutive loss last week, falling to Dolgopolov. Gulbis started the year 15-4, but hasn't won a match since the last rankings came out, resulting in dropping two spots. The good news is that there is a big gap between 20 and 21, so he can only go up.

21. Chinese Taipei
22. Kazakhstan
23. Netherlands
24. Slovenia
25. Brazil
26. Austria
27. Slovakia
28. India
29. Finland
30. Poland
31. Portugal
32. Uzbekistan
33. Luxembourg
34. Dominican Republic
35. Tunisia
36. Belgium
37. Bosnia and Herzegovina
38. Lithuania
39. Romania
40. Israel
41. Turkey
42. Cyprus
43. Uruguay

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