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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

 

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Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted

The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.

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Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in action against Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.

 

At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.

The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.

Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.

“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”

The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.

Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.

During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.

“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”

Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

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Denis Shapovalov gets revenge win over Nadal to reach quarterfinals in Rome

The Canadian avenged a loss he suffered last year by beating the king of clay in the eternal city.

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Image via Roberto Dell’Olivo

Denis Shapovalov booked his spot in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open after beating the world number four Rafael Nadal in three tight sets 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and 36 minutes on Pista Centrale.

 

The Canadian fired 35 winners and served 13 aces while the Spaniard hit 34 unforced errors in a match that went back and forth.

“It’s definitely incredible to me to beat him. Having match points against him last year was kind of a hurtful feeling,” said Shapovalov who lost to the Spaniard at the same tournament 12 months ago. “Coming back here this year, I definitely remember that match. Obviously great tennis, but that one really hurt. Happy to get the win this time around”.

It was the Spaniard with the better start to the match, putting pressure right away on the world number 16 in the second game of the match and it took Shapovalov almost 10 minutes to save three breakpoints and hold serve.

At 2-1 Nadal kept pushing and struck setting up two breakpoints with his ferocious forehand and then broke the Toronto native with a solid backhand down the line winner.

After consolidating the break the world number four was hungry for more and again with his powerful forehand set up more break opportunities and broke again to take a 5-1 lead and served out the first set.

Shapovalov once again faced three breakpoints in the opening game of the second set but managed to save all of them and was able to hold serve. In the following game he broke Nadal to love for the early 2-0 lead.

He was able to consolidate the break but at 4-3 the Spaniard fought back and managed to break back to go back on serve. However, the Canadian at 6-5 was able to get the crucial break to take the second set and send the match to a third.

Nadal responded right away breaking the Canadian in the first game of the third set but the following game Shapovalov set up three breakpoints with a perfectly timed forehand winner.

He broke back the following point and at 3-2 Nadal struggled with his serve and double faulted to give the world number 16 a 4-2 lead as it seemed he was struggling with an injury.

After running down a ball he was seen hunched over at the towel box and was almost limping after points and wincing before serving or returning serve.

At 5-2 with the Spaniard serving to stay in the match and in pain, Shapovalov had three chances to seal the win and it was third time lucky as Nadal last shot went out.

I was trying to change something, he was completely outplaying me and I was hanging in there and I was really happy to turn it around,” said Shapovalov.

Shapovalov will next face Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals on Friday. In their last meeting the Norweigan was able to come out with the win when they played in the Geneva Open final last summer.

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After Multiple Surgeries, Comeback Kid Stan Wawrinka Books Djokovic Showdown In Rome

In only his third tournament of the year, 37-year-old Wawrinka admits the upcoming clash will be ‘really difficult’ but he is willing to give it his best shot.

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Image via https://twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia/

Until now 15 months have passed since Stan Wawrinka last experienced the feeling of recording back-to-back wins in a tournament of any sort.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion was sidelined from the sport for a year due a foot injury which ended up requiring two surgeries. The first was done in March last year before he underwent another procedure in June. The surgeries occurred just four years after he underwent two other operations on his left knee. Despite the physical problems and frustration, the Swiss isn’t giving up on his career just yet and is proving why at this week’s Italian Open.

A day after knocking out 14th seed Reilly Opelka, Wawrinka battled on court for almost three hours to oust Laslo Djere 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-4, in front of a highly animated crowd. The rollercoaster battle saw him fight back from a 1-3 deficit in the deciding set. Then four match points came and went before he finally prevailed. Booking his place in the last 16 of a Masters 1000 event for the first time since Paris 2020.

“It’s helping me to keep doing what I love. Tennis is a passion. The crowd, the support, the atmosphere, these courts is the reason why after two surgeries and one year out (of the Tour) I’m still playing tennis at 37. To live those moments as much as I can and I’m enjoying it a lot,” Wawrinka told atptour.com following his win over Djere.

At 361st in the world, Wawrinka has become the lowest-ranked player to reach the third round of a Masters event since Taylor Dent at the 2009 Miami Open. In Rome specifically, he is the lowest-ranked third round player since Carrado Borroni in 1995.

The reward is a clash with world No.1 Novak Djokovic in what will be a true test for Wawrinka. The two have an extensive rivalry after playing each other on the Tour 25 times before, including the finals of the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open. Djokovic currently leads their head-to-head 19-6 with their last meeting taking place in 2019.

“It’s always special to play against him,” Wawrinka said of the 20-time Grand Slam winner. “As I’ve said many times I’m not where I want to be yet with my game and fitness level. I need those matches.’
“To have a chance to play against the best player (in the ATP rankings) it’s going to be really difficult for me because I think I’m not ready to compete at that level. (But) it’s what I need. I need those challenges and push myself as much as I can to keep improving.”

Wawrinka’s win over Djere is his 535th on the ATP Tour and his 24th at the Italian Masters.

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