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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?

ATP

Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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