Monday, May 19, 2014

5/19/14 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 - It just isn't even close. Spain is clearly the best tennis country in the world right now. Spain already has 15 players with at least 250 ranking points accumulated this year. The next highest countries are France with 10, while Germany has eight and the United States has six. Those are the only three countries that are worth comparing in that department, but none of them have a single player that has accumulated even 1000 ranking points this year. Meanwhile Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer alone combine for more points than all of the eight Germans plus the six Americans.

2. Switzerland - When the last rankings came out, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka had just met in the Monte Carlo final, which was a huge boost to put the country in the No. 2 spot. However, since then, the two Swiss men have collected a mere 110 more ranking points with disappointing results in both Madrid and Rome. Switzerland still being at No. 2 says more about the struggles for France than the success of Switzerland.

3. France - This has not been a good year for France. In Madrid, the country tallied just three wins, and one of them was Gilles Simon advancing from a retirement over countryman Benoit Paire after two games. France ended the 2013 season with two top 10 players and Simon not far behind, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ranks the highest in the Race Rankings at 15 and Gael Monfils is the only other Frenchman in the top 25.

4. Serbia - Last month, Serbia had four players in the top 150 of the Race Rankings. However, this week, Dusan Lajovic is the only player joining Novak Djokovic in the top 150 and he only has 16 more ranking points now than a week ago. However, Djokovic's title in Rome has kept Serbia at No. 4 in the rankings. After Djokovic won his fifth 1000 title in his last six attempts, the Serb donated all of his prize money to his home country, which is currently battling floods.

5. Czech Republic - Lukas Rosol upset Fabio Fognini in Rome, while Tomas Berdych fell to Grigor Dimitrov one week after beating him in Madrid. Rosol went on to lose in the next round and Radek Stepanek fell to Djokovic in the second round of Rome. But the scattered victories for the Czech Republic was enough to move the country ahead of the United States for No. 5 in the rankings.

6. Germany - Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber have each come out of their slumps to play incredible tennis. However, injuries are still plaguing Germany. Right after knocking out Wawrinka in Rome, Haas was forced to retire against Dimitrov with a shoulder injury. And Florian Mayer, who hasn't played since withdrawing in Miami, has announced he will not play in the second grand slam of the year.

7. United States - It must be the clay season, because the United States has dropped two spots in one month. The clay court struggles in the United States are continuing. Since the last rankings (4/21/14), the United States has won a grand total of two tour-level matches, and both were by John Isner in Madrid. A group of Americans are in action in Nice this week, so they have a chance to turn around the trend, but the United States likely won't get back into the top five until the tour returns to North America.

8. Japan - From the start of Barcelona to late in the second set of the Madrid final, the hottest tennis player in the world was Japan's Kei Nishikori. However, an injury sidelined his incredible run of success and forced him to pull out of Rome to head back to Miami for treatment. Still, Nishikori became the first Japanese tennis player in the top 10, which has moved the country up three spots in one month.

9. Italy - This is supposed to be the time of year where Italy moves up in the rankings. Instead the Italians had one of their poorest showings at their home tournament in recent memory. Italy is holding onto a slight lead over the injury-laden Argentina. Fabio Fognini missed his golden opportunity to reach the top 10 for the first time. If he and Andreas Seppi can't get out of their slump soon, the country might drop out of the top 10.

10. Argentina - Carlos Berlocq won his second career title just a few weeks ago, while Juan Martin del Potro remains sidelined with a wrist injury. Frederico Delbonis reached the semifinal in Casablanca and leads Argentinians in the YTD Rankings. The depth of the South American country is what is keeping them in the top 10, while they await the return of Del Potro.

11. Croatia - Marin Cilic is part of a group of young players that have really outperformed their expectations so far in 2014. Cilic entered the year ranked 37, but is currently ranked No. 11 in the Race Rankings. If he can make a run at a few big tournaments, he could suddenly be a real contender to play in the year-end finals.

12. Bulgaria - Grigor Dimitrov reached his first career semifinal at a Masters 1000, and now he is knocking on the door of the top 10. BabyFed is ranked No. 8 in the YTD Rankings with a comfortable lead over Andy Murray for now. He should have no problem reaching the top 10 by the end of the US Open.

13. Russia - Teymuraz Gabashvili has announced himself on the tour over the course of the last few months and is now the No. 1 Russian in the Race Rankings. He already is into the second round in Nice and has a great chance to finish the year as the No. 1 Russian.

14. Great Britain - For the first time in 2014, Andy Murray looked good in Rome, reaching the quarterfinals and giving Nadal all he could handle on clay. This has been a very disappointing season for the British No. 1 and his ranking will plummet after Wimbledon, but his result this week will give his fans hope again.

15. Ukraine - Ukraine has dropped three spots in the rankings since last month, but the inconsistency isn't surprising from a country whose No. 1 player is Alexandr Dogopolov.

16. Australia - Since Hewitt won a title to start the year, he hasn't earned more than 45 ranking points at any tournament, yet he still leads Australia in the YTD Rankings. That's how much the rest are struggling.

17. Colombia - Santiago Giraldo had an incredible week in Madrid, beating Tsonga and Murray to reach the quarterfinals, putting himself in the mix for a seed in Wimbledon, and keeping his country in the top 20.

18. Canada - Here is my piece on Milos Raonic. He is the only reason why Canada is still in the top 20.

19. Latvia - Ernests Gulbis has won eight of his last 11 matches with his losses coming to red-hot Nishikori and clay-specialist Ferrer. He recently reached a career-high ranking of 17.

20. Austria - The Melzer brothers are beginning to make an impact on the tennis world and Dominic Thiem upset Wawrinka in Madrid. Austria was 26 in the last rankings, making the largest leap into the top 20 of any country.

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

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