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Playing the Tennis Rankings Game: Reviewing the Top 10 in 2011… 9

Posted on November 02, 2011 by JA Allen

Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the new world No. 1 in men's tennis.

What a difference a year makes. Nothing brings that point home more than looking back at the men’s and women’s tennis rankings at the end of 2010—and comparing it to today’s ranking.

For the last two years,  the ladies’ rankings were as follows:

2010

  1. Caroline Wozniacki
  2. Vera Zvonareva
  3. Kim Clijsters
  4. Serena Williams
  5. Venus Williams
  6. Samantha Stosur
  7. Francesca Schiavone
  8. Jelena Jankovic
  9. Elena Dementieva
  10. Victoria Azarenka

2011

  1. Caroline Wozniacki
  2. Petra Kvitova
  3. Victoria Azarenka
  4. Maria Sharapova
  5. Na Li
  6. Samantha Stosur
  7. Vera Zvonareva
  8. Agnieszka Radwanska
  9. Marion Bartoli
  10. Andrea Petkovic

Only four of the WTA top ten ranked women at end of 2010 appear again in the top ten in 2011 after the ladies concluded their battle for the 2011 WTA championship.

Many of the perennial “standards” have faded from sight with no Williams sisters or Kim Clijsters making the cut.

For the men, the story is a bit different. While the ATP top ten ranked players at the end of 2010 had a different order, most of the names are the same in 2011—now, as the final three men struggle to make the ATP elite eight field for the 2011 year-end championship.

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Future of Tennis “Dark Horse” Candidates Get Ready for the Upcoming U.S. Open 3

Posted on July 25, 2011 by JA Allen

The faces of the future...Milos Raonic, for one.

It stands to reason that the term “dark horse” originates from the world of horse racing.

For those betting on the outcome, it meant that setting odds became difficult when a horse was not known to gamblers.

Today, in the world of sports or politics, it signifies that a person who was not well known emerged as a winner––an unexpected winner.

So while Juan Martin del Potro may not be a “favorite” entering the 2011 U.S. Open, the Argentine cannot be regarded as a “dark horse” because he is well-known in Flushing Meadows.

Del Potro won the US Open title in 2009.

True “dark horses” are not widely known by the general viewing public because they are relatively new on the tennis scene.

These young players have not made much of a name for themselves––yet.

To date, there are six young guns ready to make their way to the top of the men’s game.

They will become the “dark horses” in the upcoming US Open, representing the future of tennis on the men’s side of the draw.

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Novak Djokovic Stakes His Claim to Number One 6

Posted on July 03, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in four sets to win his first Wimbledon title.

Thanks to the crazy system used to determine tennis rankings, Novak Djokovic was assured of becoming the number one player in the world regardless of the result of the men’s final between Djokovic and current number one Rafael Nadal. But Djokovic eliminated any doubt about his worthiness with an impressive four set victory over Nadal.

In claiming his first Wimbledon title, Djokovic now seems to have replaced Roger Federer as Nadal’s primary rival for tennis supremacy. His 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 victory may not have been in the classic style of previous battles between those two tennis icons, but Djokovic has illustrated that at age 24 he is reaching his tennis prime.

With his sweep through Wimbledon, Djokovic now holds two of the four grand slam titles and has lost only one match in 2011 (in the French Open semifinals to Federer).

Though he still is capable of competing at a high level, the days of Federer dominating men’s tennis are clearly over. He will turn 30 next month and hasn’t won a grand slam since the 2010 Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal is only a year older than Djokovic, but has significantly more wear on his body than his new rival, but also more overall success with 10 grand slam titles. Read the rest of this entry →

Roger Federer: How Does He Stack Up Against the 10 Greatest of All Time? 3

Posted on April 14, 2011 by JA Allen

Roger Federer wins Wimbledon in 2009.

In over a century of judging the hits and misses of men’s professional tennis, tournament rules have come and gone. Styles of play rose and fell with the passage of time.

Technology has increased speed, spin and accuracy as rackets evolved and athletes became bigger, stronger and faster.

In light of constant evolution, it becomes difficult to compare players from one generation to the next because unlike baseball, tennis has never been a game noted for rote statistics.

That is not to say the stats were not there, but as a professional organization, no one thought to keep numbers comparing players in a consistent and forward-thinking manner. Sometimes even the most rudimentary facts about a match are missing.

Even today, there is no consensus about just what statistical measures are important in judging the overall careers of the top men in tennis.

The statistics that seem to matter most currently are: (1) the number of grand slam victories; (2) the number of weeks or total length of time holding the No. 1 ranking; (3) the number of year-end tour championship wins over the best eight men in the field, and (4) the number of Master’s Shields won. Many other statistics considered important by the ATP are detailed here

This ranking looks at players of the modern era, since 1968, although a great case can and should be made for male tennis stars who played before the Open Era.

Compare Federer’s numbers to the stats of others with him in the top 10, especially those who have won slams on all surfaces.

These 10 players in the modern era have set the bar for the rest following in this 21st century.

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Could Andy Murray’s Next Coach Be Tennis Legend Ivan Lendl? 4

Posted on March 30, 2011 by JA Allen

Andy Murray has not won on court since the 2011 Australian Open.

These days Andy Murray walks onto the tennis court a defeated man, ready to receive the next dose of humiliation.

While this does not appear to be the case on the surface, mentally Murray appears to be in no man’s land—in danger of sinking completely from sight as he begins another journey onto the porous red clay of Europe.

Since he moved into the top five in September of 2008, the Scot has remained on everyone’s radar as they waited for him to make his move to the top of the men’s game. That meant winning a major and improving his ranking.

Many expected Murray to be the next No. 1 after Federer and Nadal, lauding his considerable talent.

Since 2008, Murray has held steadfast in the top four, except for a few intermittent weeks when he dipped into the five spot. Now, however, a steady diet of the No. 5 ranking has occurred since January of 2011, with Robin Soderling seemingly ensconced in the No. 4 spot.

Since making the finals of the 2011 Australian Open and losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets 4-6, 2-6, 3-6, Murray has not won a match. The Scot was summarily dismissed in his opening round of play against Marcos Baghdatis at Rotterdam,

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Djokovic, Federer and Nadal: Playing the Rankings Game 2

Posted on March 28, 2011 by JA Allen

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have battled mightily since 2005.

We all aspire to be No. 1 in something.

For most it means attaining an enviable status like being the best-looking or the richest.

In sports, however, it is being the best there is—like winning the World Series or the Super Bowl.  In tennis, it means being ranked No. 1.

Since 1973, 24 men have been ranked No. 1 for varying degrees of time.  Currently there is a new player hoping to claw his way to that top spot—Serb sensation, Novak Djokovic.

A major shift in the tennis landscape occurred after Indian Wells as Novak Djokovic surged past the Federer encampment dug in deep near the summit. The Serb replaced Federer as the No. 2 ranked player in the world.

Federer can still reach out and grab the Serb’s ankle and trip him up on his way to the top––that is, if the Swiss can recapture the Sony Ericsson trophy in Miami. Federer won this tournament in 2005 and 2006.  Djokovic won it in 2007.

Currently in the ATP rankings, Djokovic leads Federer by 430 points.  At Miami in 2010 Djokovic was defeated in the second round. Since he was only awarded ten points, that is all he will lose from his current total as last year’s points fall off.

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