The Top-Performing Nations On Clay In Men’s Tennis - UBITENNIS
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The Top-Performing Nations On Clay In Men’s Tennis

Which nation is, performance-wise, the best on the dirt?

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Using the dataset found in the previous article “The Greatest Tennis Players On Clay In The Open Era: An Analysis“, UbiTennis now presents an analysis of the performances of each country, using a “drill down” or “downward spiral drill” methodology, where being at the bottom means actually being at the forefront of this special ranking. For this purpose, a new dataset was created in order to build aggregate scores and verify the performances of every nation for each year.

 

The analyses were focused on the so-called “big titles”, Slams and Masters 1000 or whatever their name was since the Grand Prix was created in 1970, considering that, over the years, these tournaments have been grouped under some collective names such as: Grand Prix ​​Super Series (until 1989, also including a few WCT events), then Championship Series, Super 9 and Masters Series, before being referenced, from 2009 onwards, with the label we’re familiar with – the Barcelona Olympic tournament from 1992 was also added to the list. Therefore, the tournaments considered were:

  • The French Open starting from 1968.
  • The US Open from 1975 to 1977.
  • The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, which was rewarded with the same points as a Major.
  • The tournaments of Rome and Montecarlo, starting from 1970.
  • The Hamburg tournament from 1978 to 2009, when it was replaced by the Madrid Masters.
  • The Canadian Open from 1972 to 1975 and again in the 1978 season.
  • The Indianapolis and Boston tournaments from 1974 to 1977.
  • The Washington tournament from 1975 to 1977.
  • The Forest Hills tournament from 1982 to 1985.

In order to study the performance of every country in the aforementioned tournaments, four main aspects were evaluated:

  • The total aggregate points obtained, using a very simple scoring system: for the Majors, 2 points for a Grand Slam victory, 1 for a final, 0.5 for a semi, 0.25 for a quarter final; on the other hand, a point for a win in a 1000 or Masters Series or Super 9, 0.5 points for a final, 0.25 for a semifinal run.
  • The number of players who contributed to a nation’s total score.
  • The trend of the aggregate score, including a peak analysis.
  • The number of zeros scored by the leading nations.

Before proceeding with the analysis, it is necessary to proceed with some clarifications over the methodology used. Aggregate scores for each country were obtained considering currently existing nations, even if they didn’t exist at some point throughout the historical period included in the study. As an example, the points coming from tennis players from the former Soviet Union were included to the total sum of Russian points.

With regard to the dismembered countries, the main observation criterium was the player’s actual residence, or the role he held at the time within their own tennis federation. Using this judgement criteria, the scores of Jovanovic, Franulovic and Pilic were counted for Croatia, while Mecir scored his points for Slovakia. Finally, the so-called “naturalisations” of tennis players have been completely excluded, considering only the nation in which a player grew up – as such, Lendl’s points were attributed entirely to Czech Republic, Kriek and Pattison’s to South Africa, Mulligan and Bob Hewitt’s to Australia.

We also note that in the 1981 season 10.5 points were awarded, due to the fact that the final of the tournament in Monte Carlo could not be finished due to repeated rains, thus not awarding the title to either of the two finalists. To date, it is the only case of a draw in the history of open era tennis.

For those interested in further analyses, the link to the dataset can be found below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yPJRwVG5LyOEBvCNtK1mK5- 0Hihf36gZ / view? usp = sharing

Caveats are over, let’s now analyse the results.

GEOGRAPHICAL SCORE DISTRIBUTION

From a first look at the geographical distribution of the points, it emerges that 41 nations scored at least 0.25 points, with a total of 255 players included in this clay-oriented tennis ranking. The northern hemisphere dominates, with Spain, the United States, Sweden and the Czech Republic scoring between 30 and 140 points. We will see in the detail these scores, but we can anticipate that Argentina places fourth, not far from Sweden. In gray we can see all of the countries that have not obtained any point, as far as this surface is concerned.

The most important facet is to understand how many players have expressed the different tennis traditions that were capable of reaching at least a semi-final of an ATP1000 or a quarter-final of a slam on clay, be it red or green.

Total scores by number of players

If we consider the nations that have obtained a score higher than 5.75, the analysis is reduced to 19 nations whose scores are as follows:

CountryAggregated ScoreNumber of Players
Spain13928
USA71.2529
Sweden55.2516
Argentina48.519
Czechia33.7511
Switzerland29.755
France27.7521
Serbia25.53
Australia15.514
Austria16.254
Germany15.511
Romania14.55
Russia14.7511
Brazil135
Italy11.7511
Croatia118
Chile9.755
UK8.755
Netherlands63

In the graph below we can appreciate the aggregate total scores for each country, associated with the number of players who have expressed them:

Apart from the off-the-charts scores by Spain and the US, the French performance needs to be highlighted, since the Exagon has produced 21 players, for a total of 27.75 points, and is the second nation for number of scoreless years, with just 17 zeros during the 53 seasons observed, trailing only Spain with 5.

Argentine clay tennis also stands out with its 19 players, 48.5 points, and 21 scoreless seasons.

Russia, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic all have produced 11 players but with significantly different scores, with Czechia pacing the rivals. Finally, among the tennis traditions that have expressed between 3 and 5 players, it is clear how Serbia and Switzerland stand out from the rest of the group, due to the results provided by Djokovic and Federer, respectively.

On page 2, how each country fared historically

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Who Are The Best Hard Court Creators In The Last 12 Months?

Here are some of the best players at earning break points on a hard court in the last 12 months.

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Garbine Muguruza (@Tennis - Twitter)

As the Australian Open, slowly, approaches UbiTennis looks at the biggest hard court creators from the last 52 weeks.

 

Although winning matches are determined on how many break point opportunities you convert, to convert the break points you need to create them in the first place.

This can be the biggest challenge but for the players below this isn’t a problem as they are able to consistently create break point opportunities on a hard court.

Starting with the women, it may be a surprise to nobody that Garbine Muguruza, one of the more aggressive returners on the tour leads the way, earning on average 10.4 break points in the last 52 weeks on a hard court.

Muguruza’s hard-hitting style mixed with controlled placement puts her in pole position to punish her opponents on return.

There are also other big hitters in the top 10 such as Petra Kvitova, who averages 9.6 break points while Aryna Sabalenka earns 9.5 break points on a hard court.

While 2020 grand slam champions Iga Swiatek (9.8) and Naomi Osaka (9.3) also feature on this list.

Meanwhile on the men’s side it is Roger Federer who leads this list on average earning 10.8 break points, slightly more than Garbine Muguruza who is on top of the women’s list.

Federer is just ahead of Roberto Bautista Agut with 10.5 break points. This shows just how much Bautista Agut has improved on hard courts in the last 12 months being able to create so many break point opportunities with his return game.

Also featuring on this list are Alexander Zverev (9.2), Novak Djokovic (8.5) and Daniil Medvedev (8.3).

These are the players to look out for when seeing the players who are most likely to create opportunities in their respective draws and who the biggest servers may want to avoid in the Australian Open.

Here are the full lists of the top 10 from each tour and remember the Australian Open is set to begin on the 8th of February.

WTA Top 11 – Most Break Points Earned On A Hard Court In Last 52 Weeks

  1. Garbine Muguruza – 10.4
  2. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – 10.2
  3. Saisai Zheng – 9.9
  4. Iga Swiatek – 9.8
  5. Anett Kontaveit – 9.6
  6. Petra Kvitova – 9.6
  7. Petra Martic – 9.6
  8. Aryna Sabalenka – 9.5
  9. Ons Jabeur – 9.5
  10. Simona Halep – 9.3
  11. Naomi Osaka – 9.3

ATP Top 12 – Most Break Points Earned On A Hard Court In Last 52 Weeks

  1. Roger Federer – 10.8
  2. Roberto Bautista Agut – 10.5
  3. Alexander Zverev – 9.2
  4. John Millman – 8.9
  5. Dominic Thiem – 8.9
  6. Guido Pella – 8.8
  7. Cristian Garin – 8.5
  8. Novak Djokovic – 8.5
  9. David Goffin – 8.4
  10. Adrian Mannarino – 8.3
  11. Daniil Medvedev – 8.3
  12. Grigor Dimitrov – 8.3

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Further 23 Players In Hard Quarantine After More Positive Tests On Charter Flight

More players head into hard quarantine ahead of the first grand slam of the year.

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(@emirates - Twitter)

A further 23 players have been told that they are being placed into hard quarantine after another positive COVID-19 test on a charter flight from Abu Dhabi.

 

Players were notified this evening in Australia that there was a positive test on the Abu Dhabi charter flight. Although it looks it wasn’t a player who tested positive it now means 23 more players will now go into hard quarantine.

This follows the news of 24 players going into hard quarantine after two positive tests from a charter flight from Los Angeles.

It is understood from several journalists that among those who are now being placed into hard quarantine from the Abu Dhabi flight are Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Bianca Andreescu, Angelique Kerber, Marta Kostyuk, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ons Jabeur.

Although there are only 47 players in hard quarantine so far, there is a fear that this number could rise with more COVID test results still waiting to come back.

Before the charter flights, Andy Murray, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova were denied entry into Australia via the chartered flights due to positive COVID results.

The first set of tournaments in Australia are set to begin on the 31st of January with the Australian Open due to begin on the 8th of February.

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ANALYSIS: Daniil Medvedev’s Run At The ATP Finals – Win Against Nadal Was The Turning point

Using two types of graphs, UbiTennis takes a closer look at the five matches won by Daniil Medvedev at the 2020 ATP Finals.

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Let’s analyse the five matches won at the ATP Finals by Daniil Medvedev, using the graphical representations provided by Federico Bertelli. We have renamed the graphs as “The ride”, recalling the famous Wagnerian composition. The first series of graphs is made up of decision trees and illustrates the trend of Medvedev’s and his opponents behind their respective serves, from the first round robin match to the final won against Dominic Thiem.

 

These are the details of his debut match against Zverev. The graph is easy to read: on the right (in blue) the times he held his serve are represented, while the time he broke his opponent are on the left (in red). The thicker the segment that connects two scores, the more frequently that ‘path’ of play has been covered.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/39qVQVmRFll9YWeGxM_Dl-qEBE7Z2iwMHIfrEa6v5WwIKELuSfGEYrmgVQkDzPhlhsEthmsawLr4Cx-hi-NC15wcu85Yjt_unBZPfFJWpWoyoW5JS1Xbzxf63e2tZnzu0Z_RDCg
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/72lIM46LmWsHKBUr3Rhw7oYq4Lto4obP0mA7E_kQH9bVB58TMEhC1Onixq0M8tZch1ZG4v8Hmf_Ntxss48abHouM1wqaPgRaQSeAcsSbJCZAY1Tea-lYVQzeStc61ayblLIasXM

Medvedev’s solidity holding serve is undeniable, because he performed best in deuce receiver and deuce server situations. It can also be observed how the Russian got broken just once in his first three matches, against Zverev at 30-40, while against Nadal he was particularly in trouble with his own serve, as the Spaniard was the only one who broke him several times, taking advantage of some favourable scoring situations such as 0-40, 15-40 and deuce receiver.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/e0lb0_yVnzwb24LWS-xN7qdhxz4DqiNqCBEolubVLln3Qv_7Na99-mCi4WU_k9UrBT4T4H2OqcnxnlYEcO8TX4LtwMA3nkLW94JK6hnnEEshOXFd9_HNZ6seBhP56_deatR2Rig
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/IPBeJdkVLRtQewleS-MxR7QHtzpehhO8wIslpXwlGLisR7KrzSbMng2lAUoAdjIMj2EWBPWhA838l2AJX27anuWFex_oIUSFdMHfoQWDlpW8DoLUx209sVr8cg7qdfvOdfJojX8

However, against Thiem, although Medvedev found himself tangled in a decider, the trend reverts back to that of the round matches: the only chance that Thiem had to snatch the serve was on the deuce receiver. He had no other chance from 40-40. 

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Medvedev-finals.jpg

The graphical analysis, corroborated by the thickness of the oblique blue lines, also shows the growing solidity of the Russian from match to match, winning the opening two points in his service games. This is a sign of a growing confidence in his game as the Russian advanced towards the final stages of the tournament, e.g. the semi-final and the final.

As for the situations in which Medvedev was particularly proficient on his opponent’s serve, the deuce receiver stands out, a circumstance that was present in all five matches, followed by the 30-40 – he broke on this situation against Zverev and Schwartzman.

AN OVERVIEW

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/vjDrxErqtjvDOnK9dhmExHj5OiMeiNHupX3ffY3sKFBPPQ39Yb7Gipu39P5_XYAlGoBbgeILp7kDrYKrQBoaVRJHSzD731_9doLJ2GVFq4xafnYhzlBeyORsZ4HY5UB88OHV3ao

The second series of graphs on Medvedev’s Valkyrian ride consists of radar graphs illustrating the classic statistics shown at the end of each match, which are equivalent to the following percentages – starting from the top and going clockwise: percentage of first serves in play, percentage of points won with his first and second serve, break points saved and converted, points won on the return against first and second serve, total points won, total points won on the return and on serve. What you see above is the diagram of Medvedev’s debut match: it is easy to see that he did better than Zverev in all statistics except for the percentage of first serves in play.

From the analysis of the first three matches of the group stage, even though the yellow area is predominant in almost all the statistical percentages, it’s clear that Medvedev was more effective in saving break points than his opponents (more than 80 percent against Zverev and 100 percent against Djokovic and Schwartzman), as well as in converting them. Against Schwartzman, he was actually bettered in the percentage of points won with the second service and in points won on the return against the opponent’s second serve.

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bbb.jpg

However, in the next two matches the percentage profiles of break balls saved and converted change because Nadal’s and Thiem’s numbers are higher than the Medvedev’s. So, ultimately, it means that Medvedev conceded fewer break points and managed to convert those that his opponents offered him during the match. 

That shows a great solidity.

If the general statistical profile of the Medvedev’s match against Thiem is similar to that of the matches won against Djokovic and Zverev, and in some ways to the one against Schwartzman as well, the statistics outline against Nadal is totally abnormal and should be considered as an outlier. The percentage of points won returning Nadal’s second serve and on his own second serve were the crucial ones. We will analyse this aspect in another article that will deal with Medvedev’s positioning on the return.

In conclusion, from the analysis of the statistical profiles, it appears that the semi-final bout against Nadal was the toughest obstacle that Medvedev had to overcome in his ride to success in a tournament in which he turned out more than anyone to be able (perhaps naturally) to give the match the desired direction, even when the numbers were not completely by his side.

Article by Andrea Canella; translated by Alice Nagni; edited by Tommaso Villa

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