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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

Fabio Fognini beats Guido Pella in straight sets to reach the fourth round in Melbourne

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Fabio Fognini beat Guido Pella 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The Italian star converted five of his six break points to close out the match after 2 hours and nine minutes.

 

Fognini saved two break points in the first set with a forehand and a backhand and held his serve. The Italian star did not convert a break point in a long seventh game. Both players went on serve to set up a tie-break. Fognini did not drop a single point to cruise through to a 7-0 win.

In the second set Fognini earned a crucial break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. He held his serve on the second deuce after saving a break point. The 2019 Monte-Carlo champion sealed the second set with another break with a forehand return winner.

Fognini earned a break lead in the fourth game of the decisive set. Pella broke straight back in the fifth game. Both traded breaks again in the sixth and seventh games. Fognini broke for the third time and converted his second match point with a serve up the T.

He is also the 12th player to come back from two sets down at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

With his five-set victories over Reilly Opelka and Jordan Thompson in the first two matches Fognini made history on Wednesday when the “Come-back king” became the first player to win back-to-back Australian Open matches in final set tie-breaks.

“I am so happy to be in the fourth round again in Australia. Now it’s time to recover. I played a really solid game against a really tough opponent. I am happy with the performance”, said Fognini.

Fognini set up a fourth round match against 2018 Australian Open quarter finalist Tennys Sandgren, who beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 52 minutes. Sandgren fended off nine break points and converted just 2 of his 14 break point chances. Two years ago Sandgen beat Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem en route to reaching his first quarter final at a Grand Slam event.

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Marin Cilic prevails over Roberto Bautista Agut in five-set thriller in Melbourne

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Marin Cilic overcame Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 after 4 hours and 10 minutes to score his first top 10 win since the 2018 US Open, when he beat David Goffin.

 

Cilic fought back from losing the first set at the tie-break, but he bounced back in the second set by breaking serve in the ninth game, when Bautista Agut made a forehand error. Cilic held on his serve to win the second set 6-4 to draw level to 1-1.

Cilic cruised through to a bagel win in the third set. The Croatian player got an early break in the fourth set to open up a 3-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Cilic did not convert a break point chance at 5-5. Bautista Agut earned the break at 6-5 to force the match to the fifth set.

Cilic broke serve in the opening game of the fifth set with a forehand winner, but he did not convert a break point at 4-2. He broke for the seventh time in the match in Bautista Agut’s next service game to clinch a thrilling win, as Bautista Agut fired a backhand into the net.

Cilic took a re-match against the Spanish player, who won their previous head-to-head clash at the 2019 Australian Open in five sets.

“I had an incredible patch. It was a surreal level. Every ball I was hitting was going in. It was coming off my raquet incredibly well. I knew Roberto would always fight and he pushed me all the way in the fourth set”, said Cilic.

 

 

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Karen Khachanov edges Mikael Ymer in marathon match in Melbourne

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Karen Khachanov battled past Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 4 hours and 14 minutes.

 

Ymer broke serve twice in the second and fourth games of the fourth set to open up a 4-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the seventh game, but Ymer broke for the third time to take the fourth set 6-3.

Khachanov broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2, but he was broken back in the next game.

Khachanov was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the fifth set before trailing 6-8 in the decisive match tie-break. Khachanov came back by winning four consecutive points to clinch a thrilling win.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 2 hours and 4 minutes setting up a third round match against Danil Medvedev. Popyrin broke twice in each of the first and third sets and saved all four break point chances.

Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2. Anderson was leading by two sets and 4-2 in the third set, but Fritz broke back before winning the third set at the tie-break. Fritz cruised through the fourth and fifth sets. Fritz will face Dominic Thiem in the third round.

“That was huge for me. He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back. Going back to back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself that I have to keep running”,said Fritz.

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