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France, the home of tennis

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TENNIS ATP – They haven’t won a major since 1983, but they can boast 12 players in the top 100 and they organise 6 tournaments; this is why France can be considered the most tennis friendly nation at the moment. Antonio Garofalo, translated by Paul Sassoon

 

Let me start with a premise, this article isn’t an accurate statistical analysis of the state of tennis around the world and it isn’t meant to be an analysis of the quality and capabilities of the various tennis federations. This is just a bit of fun and it should be taken as such even if the results do provoke some interesting thoughts.

First I looked at the tournaments that each nation organises and added the amount of ATP points that these tournaments give to the winner (2000 for the Grand Slams, 1000 for the Master 1000 and so on…). I have included every tournament in the ATP calendar for 2014 except for the ATP Finals as the points the winner collects is variable and because the event does not have a fixed home.

Obviously this table is dominated by the countries that host the 4 Majors. The USA lead this special ranking with 11 tournaments. The US are the only country that hosts more than one Master 1000, three, as well as the US Open. Behind the States there is France with 5 tournaments plus the Roland Garros (and the Monte-Carlo Master 1000 that is almost a French event). Australia and England follow the top two, but there is a big gap. In both countries the focus is on their Grand Slam event and almost all the other tournaments are in preparation for the Major.

The first country that does not organise a Major to come up in this table is Spain (Master 1000 of Madrid, ATP 500s of Valencia and Barcelona) followed by China (Master 1000 Shanghai, ATP 500 in Beijing and the ATP 250 in Shenzen). Germany is seventh followed by Italy, Canada and Monaco which have just their own Master 1000.

COUNTRY TOURNAMENTS POINTS
1 USA 11 7.000
2 FRANCE 6 4.000
3 AUSTRALIA 3 2.500
3 GREAT BRITAIN 3 2.500
5 SPAIN 3 2.000
6 CHINA 3 1.750
7 GERMANY 5 1.500
8 ITALY 1 1.000
8 CANADA 1 1.000
8 MONACO 1 1.000
11 SWITZERLAND 2 750
11 BRAZIL 2 750
11 HOLLAND 2 750
14 SWEDEN 2 500
14 AUSTRIA 2 500
14 CROATIA 2 500
14 RUSSIA 2 500
14 JAPAN 1 500
14 MEXICO 1 500
14 UAE 1 500
21 INDIA 1 250
21 QATAR 1 250
21 NEW ZELAND 1 250
21 CHILE 1 250
21 ARGENTINA 1 250
21 MAROCCO 1 250
21 ROMANIA 1 250
21 PORTUGAL 1 250
21 COLOMBIA 1 250
21 ISRAEL 1 250
21 THAILAND 1 250

 

The second table I prepared is the multiplication of the points in the previous table by the number of players that each country has in the top 100 (ranking of the 7th of July 2014). First interesting number that pops out is that there are 15 countries with at least one player in the top 100 from countries that don’t hold ATP events. The leader of this “champions without tournament” ranking is the Czech Republic that can boast Berdych, Stepanek, Rosol and Vesely in the ATP top 100 list. Also Serbia features in this ranking. The Balkan state can boast the World Number 1 (and Lajovic in the top 100) but since Nole’s family stopped organising the Belgrade tournament, the country has not been able to set up another ATP Tour event.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are 12 countries that organise at least one ATP Tour event even if they don’t have a current top 100 player. China is one of these 12 countries as they organise a Master 1000 in Shanghai, an ATP 500 in Beijing and an ATP 250 in Shenzen, yet their best player is Zhang ranked 173 in the world. China believes that it is just a matter of time before their players start to climb the rankings and organising so many events is an excellent way to attract kids to the sport. Also Li Na’s successes make life easier for the Chinese federation.

Also Sweden has two tournaments with a good tradition like Bastad and Stockholm, and like China they do not have a player in the top 100. Since Soderling retired, the Swedes are absent from the top echelons of tennis (to be honest also in the lower echelons).

Back to the rankings, France has 12 players in the top 100 which allows them to overtake the US that has 6 top 100 players (just one in the top 60).

The French have not been able to find a player capable of winning a Grand Slam event, but Gasquet, Tsonga, Monfils, Simon and the rest are a good crop of players that can perform at a very high level. Looking at this table we can safely say that the French have invested well the money they make from the Roland Garros.

 

COUNTRY POINTS TOP100 NO. OF EVENTS
1 FRANCE

48.000

12

6

USA

42.000

6

11

3 SPAIN

28.000

14

3

4 GERMANY

10.500

7

5

5 AUSTRALIA

10.000

4

3

6 ITALY

3.000

3

1

6 CANADA

3.000

3

1

8 GREAT BRITAIN

2.500

1

3

9 RUSSIA

2.000

4

2

10 ARGENTINA

1.500

6

1

10 AUSTRIA

1.500

3

2

10 CROATIA

1.500

3

2

10 SWITZERLAND

1.500

2

2

10 HOLLAND

1.500

2

2

15 COLOMBIA

750

3

1

15 BRAZIL

750

1

2

17 JAPAN

500

1

1

18 PORTUGAL

250

1

1

18 ISRAEL

250

1

1

 

In the third table I prepared I decided to stretch my statistical analysis to create a “coefficient of tennis health” for each country. How did I do it? For each nation with at least three players in the top 100 I calculated the average ranking of the first three (let’s call it “top 3 average”).

The next step was to divide the points in table 1 (the sum of the ATP points for the winner of the tournaments in each country) by the “top 3 average” to obtain a coefficient that unites the ability to produce players with the ability in organising tennis tournaments.

France leads this “coefficient” table ahead of Spain, that has now become a tennis superpower on and off the court, and the USA that can compensate the lack of quality players with the number of events it organises.

Three countries do not make it in this rankings even if they should really. Serbia has the world number one, but they don’t host any ATP tournament. Switzerland organises two tournaments (Basel and Gstaad), but just 2 top 100 players. They are numbers 3 and 4 in the world, but the lack of a third top 100 player excludes them from this special ranking. Counting just Federer and Wawrinka the Swiss would be third with a coefficient of 214,2. Also Great Britain is out of this table, Murray is the only player that the UK has in the top 100 and he has dropped to number 10 in the world because of his injuries. If only the first player was taken in consideration Great Britain would be first! As it stands the British number 2 is Daniel Evans ranked 146th in the world and third is James Ward 154th in the ATP list. So the British top 3 average is 103.3 and the resulting “coefficient of tennis health” is 24.2. This coefficient would place Britain in 6th place behind Germany and ahead of Canada.

 

COUNTRY TENNIS HEALTH COEFFICIENT

AVERAGE RANKING

TOP3

1 FRANCE

235,2

17

2 SPAIN

222,2

9

3 USA

145,8

48

4 AUSTRALIA

45,7

60,5

5 GERMANY

44,6

33,6

6 CANADA

22,4

44,6

7 ITALY

21,4

46,6

8 CROATIA

14,6

34,6

9 RUSSIA

12,9

38,6

10 ARGENTINA

8,6

29

11 AUSTRIA

6,8

73

12 COLOMBIA

4,6

54

 

What do you think of this analysis?

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The Trial Has Ended: David Ferrer Is Now A Head Coach Of Alexander Zverev

The former French Open finalist is set to become a regular face on the men’s Tour once again but in a differnt capacity.

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By Emil Evtimov

David Ferrer is the new head coach of Alexander Zverev alongside his father Alexander Sr. The news was revealed by the world No.7 after his win against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Nice.

 

In the beginning of July Zverev announced that he and Ferrer will work together on a trial basis for two weeks in Monte Carlo. Now the German confirmed that the former world No.3 and Roland Garros finalist will be on his side as a coach at least until the end of the year. 

“The trial period is over. We are together. We understand each other great and now we are a team,” said Zverev.

Ferrer won’t be the first prominent name in team Zverev. Previously the three-time Masters 1000 champion worked with Juan Carlos Ferrero and Ivan Lendl. Since the end of his relationship with Lendl, Zverev has been trained mainly by his dad.

“David and my father are both my head coaches now. My dad doesn’t get any younger. Both are extremely important for the team.”

For Ferrer this will be the first coaching experience. His playing career ended in May 2019 during the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid with his last opponent on the court being none other than Zverev.

For quite a long time Zverev was considered the big star from the young generation but in 2019 was a bit overshadowed by players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and  Daniil Medvedev.

The German began 2020 with a great performance at the Australian Open reaching the semifinals where he lost to Dominic Thiem in four sets.

Zverev is on the entry list for the first tournament after the pandemic – the Western & Southern Open which will be staged in New York to create a “protective bubble” for the US Open. The 23-year old talks also about the Grand Slam tournament, saying he would prefer it not to happen, although he is going to play at this point.

“It is a bit crazy to play the US Open now. I would prefer if it would not happen and we just restart in Europe. Because of the pandemic it is not the right time to fly. But when they host the open – what shall we played do? Especially when everyone plays’ it is about ranking points, too. At this point I didn’t think about withdrawing. If everyone reacts within hygiene rules and it will be similar to the NBA bubble it could work out.”

Zverev was one of the tennis players most criticized for his behaviour during the pandemic. The reason was his participation in the Adria Tour where he and his colleagues weren’t following the social distancing rules very strictly. The German gave a negative test for COVID-19 after finding out about the positive test of Grigor Dimitrov. He promised to be in quarantine for safety reasons but was seen partying a few days after. This caused a criticism from Nick Kyrgios, as well as a Twitter war between the Australian and German legend Boris Becker.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas opens up: “I Wasn’t Sure If I Was Good Enough”

Stefanos Tsitsipas reflects on how hard it was in the beginning of his pro career.

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BY EMIL EVTIMOV

 

In the latest instalment of “Behind the Racquet” world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas has shed light on the personal struggles he encountered whilst breaking into the sport.

Tsitsipas had a great 2019 season, climbing from N.15 to N.6 at the end of the year after winning the Nitto ATP Finals, as well as two ATP 250 tournaments in Estoril and Marseille. He also reached the final of the Madrid Open.

However, life wasn’t always so easy for the charming Greek. In his “Behind the Racquet” post, he recalls the times when he was playing Futures while doubting that he was good enough to play professional tennis. He admitted he was feeling “very lonely” and not having many friends on the ATP tour.

Here is the Tsitsipas story in the “Behind the Racquet”:

“In 2018, I broke into the Top 15 and was seeded in Grand Slams. That’s when I understood my potential. In the beginning, I traveled with only my dad. Now, I travel with my dad, mom, and three siblings. I’m the main source of income for my family. 

I have hobbies that keep me interested in different aspects of life. These activities keep me creative and are reflected in my tennis game and presence on court. Sometimes, I post things on my social media that not many people understand. These posts express my inner creativity. I’m just trying to be different from the rest. I put Stefanos’ twist on life. I am philosophical, I come from a country with a history of philosophy and I don’t know if I was Pythagoras or Socrates in my previous life, but I wouldn’t mind being either one. 

There was a time when I wasn’t doing well. I started to play futures and was doubting myself. I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to play professional tennis. My country was going through hard times. Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy. The entire population was suffering. My father’s siblings were unemployed and couldn’t feed their families. People looked at me like I was the one ruling the country and they thought I was part of the problem. 

I felt isolated. I wasn’t home to see what was going on because I was traveling. I needed support. My mental coach shared his wisdom and inspired me. Then I said to myself, ‘You’ve dedicated your entire life to tennis, you can’t just give up. You’ve got to keep going.’ I play tennis to prove that my country has a great history and can achieve success. Tennis is a very introverted sport and we face everything alone. We have a team that follows us all over the world but I have spent countless sleepless nights on my own. All the traveling and competing causes a lot of stress and I grew very lonely.

I was an introverted child and I didn’t have many friends. When I first started playing on tour, I thought I would develop friendships but it turned out to be the opposite. Most players keep to themselves. I feel like players don’t want to become friends because they think someone will grab a secret from you to beat you. I guess they’re just too serious about the whole thing. Friends would make traveling less lonely.”

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Roger Federer enjoys calm year ahead of the 2021 season

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is happy to enjoy a calm year ahead of the 2021 season. The Swiss legend admitted in an interview to Sportpanorama on the Swiss channel SRF 2 that he has not started his preparation for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he will be bidding to his first Olympic singles gold medal. 

 

Federer started the 2020 season with a semifinal at the Australian Open. He saved seven match points in his five-set quarter final against Tennys Sandgren before losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. Last February he underwent arthroscopic surgery for a right knee injury and ended the 2020 season to give time to his body to recover. 

“I have not started mental preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. When you have been on the tour for 20 years, you are happy to have a more calm year. We have so many matches and competitions that whenever you take a break you know that someone else is winning in that time. That’s why it is extremely difficult to say. I take a break. Everyone is now forced to have a break and I think that 90% of the players are thinking: fortunately I can have a break. Tennis is constant and nonstop. You could not really prepare for Tokyo as there would have been 20 tournaments before. They are also very important, even though maybe not as important as the Olympics, which have another significance. We have many big events. That’s why the preparation just starts three months in before. You have the block in tennis with French Open, Wimbledon and Olympic Games. It depends on which surface it is even though in tennis it’s classic on hardcourt in Tokyo. Everyone can play on hardcourt, but you have to specially prepare for clay and grass”, said Federer. 

Federer has enjoyed spending time with his family in the past few months. 

“For the first time in twenty years I have been at one place for five and six years. Of course I enjoy it. We have been incredibly careful and have not seen my parents and friends. We took everything serious which is the right way as it’s not been over yet. That’s why I did not do any interviews and keep distance in everything I do. That’s very important for us. When you are having an injury you can’t do much anyway and have more calm moments at home. You don’t have the stress of the next competition and match, you don’t have nerves, you don’t have the strain from travelling and having a jet-leg, you are not tired. You can enjoy your family life way more”. 

Federer hopes that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will take place in 2021. The Swiss Maestro will be bidding to win his first olympic singles gold medal after the title he won with Stan Wawrinka in the doubles tournament in Beijing 2008. 

“Unfortunately I was injured in Rio and now the Games were postponed, I had the feeling I always took a lot with me away from the Olympic Games. First to be part of it, then with the goal to get a medal, maybe even a Gold one. That’s a completely differerent situation how you enjoyed the Olympic Games. I am curious how Tokyo will be. I hope it will take place. We are one year away but there are voices who say: maybe it’s too early until we have everything under control. I am hopeful all will be good. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that in our position is a goal, otherwise you wonder why you even go there in the first place. I think something is possible. Whether this will be in singles, doubles or mixed. I don’t know yet what I am going to play. I think I would have a chance in singles. At a tournament everything is possible. It’s another story over a whole season but at one tournament many things are possible. At the situation I am in right now i have to honestly say that I would be glad to participate. When I am 100% fit I would be happy to get a medal. When I won’t have one, I would be disappointed but I know that I gave everything and I can look proudly. Tokyo has been great. It was another experience and I could participate at another Olympic Games. My family will be with me just like in London. It’s already a success for me when I am at 100% and can participate, but a medal should be the goal”, said Federer. 

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