Sunday, May 15, 2016

Country Power Rankings

As I frequently do on this blog, I'm putting together my list of the top countries in tennis. The list follows a simple formula. I take the sum 52-week ranking points of every player from a country ranked within the top 140 in the world and then rank each country by total ranking points.

Spain has dominated this list for as long as I have been compiling it, which started in 2012. However, I have been predicting the Spanish demise for over a year now. Spain remains atop the list this week, but their lead continues to shrink with both France and Serbia pushing for the No. 1 ranking.

The top 7 is all actually exactly the same as it was at the end of 2015 and curiously, the United States has exactly the same number of total points (10,766). Meanwhile, France has significantly shrunk the gap between behind Serbia and Spain. The countries making the biggest gains though were Argentina, Croatia, and Germany. Here is the complete list:

1. Spain
2. Serbia
3. France
4. Switzerland
5. United States
6. Great Britain
7. Japan
8. Argentina
9. Australia
10. Croatia
11. Germany
12. Czech Republic
13. Italy
14. Russia
15. Canada
16. Austria
17. Ukraine
18. Belgium
19. Slovak Republic
20. Brazil
21. Portugal
22. South Africa
23. Netherlands
24. Uruguay
25. Bosnia & Herzegovina
26. Bulgaria
27. Cyprus
28. Luxembourg
29. Lithuania
30. Israel
31. Uzbekistan
32. Tunisia
33. Latvia
34. Kazakhstan
35. Dominican Republic
36. Chinese Taipei
37. Colombia
38. Georgia
39. Poland
40. Korea
41. Sweden
42. Moldova

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Djokovic since end of 2014 vs. Nadal's career on clay

It is commonly said that the toughest achievement in tennis for the last decade or more is to defeat Rafael Nadal on clay. However, following his three-set win over Kei Nishikori today, Novak Djokovic is beginning to make the case that beating the Serb on any surface might be the toughest task in tennis.

Since his loss to Federer in the 2014 Shanghai semifinals, Djokovic has been nearly unbeatable. However, Nadal since 2005 has also been nearly unbeatable on the dirt. So how do Djokovic's numbers in the last 19 months compare to those of Nadal for over a decade on clay?

Djokovic's overall win percentage in the time period is 93.94% with 124 wins and just eight losses. Nadal is right behind with an overall record on clay of 337-23 since 2005, which is a win percentage of 93.61%.

Then comparing what Djokovic has done in the last five majors to what Nadal has done in his career at Roland Garros also shows little difference. Nadal has a career record of 70-2 at the French Open, while Djokovic has gone 34-1 in the last five majors. That's a difference of 0.08% in terms of win percentage.

Djokovic does begin to pull away from Nadal even if only slightly when looking at what Djokovic has done at ATP Masters Events, including the year-end finals. Djokovic compiles a record of 74-3 in the last 16 of such events for a win percentage of 96.1%. Nadal when playing at Rome, Monte Carlo, Madrid, and Hamburg (only when the events were clay 1000's) since 2005, has a career record of 143-14, which is a win percentage of 91.08%.

On top of that, Djokovic's ability to win against the best players in the last 19 months has been put to the test more often. Djokovic has played 43.2% of his matches against players in the top 10, putting together a record of 52-5 in such matches. However, the Spaniard plays against players in the top 10 only half as often on clay since 2005.

For the last 19 months, Djokovic has been playing much tougher competition than Nadal had to face on the clay, and his winning rate is just as good if not better. The toughest task in tennis is no longer to beat Nadal on clay, but simply to beat Djokovic on any surface at all.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Projected 2016 Wimbledon Seeds

Roland Garros is still in action, but it's never too early to start talking about Wimbledon. The Wimbledon seeds will be determined on June 20, so players have until then to rack up as many ranking points as possible to try to get one of those 32 coveted seeds.

Wimbledon is the only tournament in tennis that does not use ATP rankings to seed the players, but instead uses a formula which takes the ranking system but adds points based on results on grass in recent years. So these are the projected 2016 gentlemen's singles Wimbledon seeds following the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.

Keep in mind: When the draw is made, the No. 1 seed is placed at the bottom and the No. 2 seed is placed at the top. Then the seeds are placed into groups 3-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-24, 25-32. The actual number that a player is seeded doesn't matter, only the group matters. In other words, there is no advantage to being the No. 3 seed instead of being No. 4. So the important distinctions are 2-3, 4-5, 8-9, 12-13, 16-17, 24-25, 32-unseeded.

Race To Wimbledon
This ranking adjusts each player's current ranking based on the Wimbledon formula and also takes away all points that the players have to defend between now and when the seeds come out. It's like the Race to London rankings, but this time we are racing to Wimbledon.
1. Novak Djokovic 19,170
2. Andy Murray 9030
3. Roger Federer 8255
4. Stan Wawrinka 5665
5. Rafael Nadal 5568
6. Kei Nishikori 4335
7. Richard Gasquet 3659
8. Milos Raonic 3505
9. Tomas Berdych 3278
10. Marin Cilic 3235
11. Dominic Thiem 3133
12. David Goffin 3028
13. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2950
14. David Ferrer 2594
15. Roberto Bautista Agut 2398
16. Gael Monfils 2268
17. Nick Kyrgios 2215
17. Gilles Simon 2215
19. John Isner 2168
20. Kevin Anderson 1865
21. Feliciano Lopez 1830
22. Viktor Troicki 1805
23. Grigor Dimitrov 1780
24. Bernard Tomic 1749
25. Benoit Paire 1649
26. Ivo Karlovic 1610
27. Jack Sock 1583
28. Philipp Kohlschreiber 1494
29. Pablo Cuevas 1488
30. Alexandr Dolgopolov 1463
31. Sam Querrey 1384
32. Lucas Pouille 1321
Joao Sousa 1320
Jeremy Chardy 1320
Fabio Fognini 1243
Federico Delbonis 1228

If Wimbledon Were Today
This set of rankings is what would happen if the seedings were done today. In other words, the ranking points that the players have to defend are added back on. So if all players do exactly what they did last year, this is what the seeds will be.
1. Novak Djokovic 20,370
2. Andy Murray 10,250
3. Roger Federer 9115
4. Stan Wawrinka 7665
5. Rafael Nadal 5998
6. Kei Nishikori 4830
7. Richard Gasquet 3839
8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3670
9. Milos Raonic 3595
10. Tomas Berdych 3458
11. Marin Cilic 3415
12. David Goffin 3223
13. Dominic Thiem 3178
14. David Ferrer 2954
15. Gael Monfils 2628
16. Gilles Simon 2575
17. Roberto Bautista Agut 2443
18. Nick Kyrgios 2305
19. John Isner 2303
20. Kevin Anderson 2255
21. Viktor Troicki 2030
22. Feliciano Lopez 1840
23. Ivo Karlovic 1835
24. Bernard Tomic 1794
25. Grigor Dimitrov 1790
26. Jack Sock 1763
27. Benoit Paire 1739
28. Pablo Cuevas 1578
29. Philipp Kohlschreiber 1539
30. Jeremy Chardy 1500
31. Alexandr Dolgopolov 1473
32. Andreas Seppi 1420
Sam Querrey 1394
Joao Sousa 1365
Lucas Pouille 1321
Fabio Fognini 1288

Top 5: The top positions are all but locked in with Djokovic at No. 1 followed by Murray, Federer, Wawrinka, then Nadal if he does not pull out of the tournament.

8-9: Berdych and Tsonga are both ranked inside the top 8 right now, but Raonic and Gasquet are in great position to supplant them in the 5-8 bracket. Both Gasquet and Raonic have reached the semifinals of Wimbledon once in the last two years. On top of that, Gasquet and Raonic both reached the second week at Roland Garros to nearly clinch their spots in the top eight.

12-13: Thiem just beat Goffin in the Roland Garros quarterfinals, but that might not be enough for the Austrian to grab the No. 12 seed. Goffin's superior grass results in previous seasons could give him just enough of an edge in this one. Tsonga pulled out of Roland Garros with an injury, meaning he is losing a lot of ranking points this week. It's possible that both Thiem and Goffin pull ahead of the Frenchman

16-17: This is one of the most important distinctions, and there are lots of moving pieces here. With the withdrawal of Monfils from Roland Garrros, there are lots of possibilities. Simon, Thiem, Bautista Agut, and Kyrgios are all in the running for the three spots. If Anderson can get a wildcard into a grass event and get some points there, he could have a shot as well. Even Isner and Lopez have an outside shot at getting into the top 16. With each week, this section of the seeding has become more and more complicated.

24-25: Tomic seemed to have his spot in the top 24 locked up, but he has gone into a massive slump recently, allowing Troicki to make this very interesting. It's possible now that both Tomic and Troicki get in, since Paire had an early loss this week. Karlovic and Sock are also on the bubble for this group as well, but the margins are a lot smaller for the lower-seeded players, so this one could look very different after the first week at Roland Garros.

32-unseeded: Unlike the rest, this distinction depends entirely on the ATP rankings. If a player is ranked No. 33 in the world, but would be the No. 25 seed according to the Wimbledon formula, it doesn't matter. This mainly affects Dimitrov who is currently No. 36 in the world and lost in the first round of Roland Garros. If he can't get into the top 32, he won't be seeded leaving the door open for Johnson or Fognini. Also, that would help either Paire or Kohlschreiber to slide into the No. 24 slot.

What will end up happening is somewhere between the two lists. Here is my full list of predictions.

1. Novak Djokovic
2. Andy Murray
3. Roger Federer
4. Stan Wawrinka
5. Rafael Nadal
6. Kei Nishikori
7. Richard Gasquet
8. Milos Raonic
9. Marin Cilic
10. Tomas Berdych
11. David Goffin
12. Dominic Thiem
13. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
14. David Ferrer
15. Roberto Bautista Agut
16. Nick Kyrgios
17, John Isner
18. Gilles Simon
19. Gael Monfils
20. Feliciano Lopez
21. Viktor Troicki
22. Bernard Tomic
23. Kevin Anderson
24. Benoit Paire
25. Ivo Karlovic
26. Philipp Kohlschreiber
27. Jack Sock
28. Alexandr Dolgopolov
29. Pablo Cuevas
30. Joao Sousa
31. Lucas Pouille
32. Albert Ramos