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The Slamless Ones 11/01/2010 - 2:11 PM

Woz

by Pete Bodo

Mornin'. I got a kick out of this comment left at the Blondes Away! post, and it also got me thinking about a few issues that ought to be raised regarding this Slamless No. 1 issue that has become a staple of the WTA conversation these days. This comes from a poster called Thomas:

manuelsantanafan wrote:

Pete, 44-74 being labelled a .500 winning percentage is consistent with "unreliable math."

When the history of my unexceptional (except for some serious boneheaded plays) baseball career is written, would you be so good as take on the task of calculating my batting averages."

LOL!

True 44 wins in 118 matches is a .373 winning percentage. (.369 if you inlude Capriati matches).

Thomas's outstanding mathematical skills extends, if inadvertently, manuelsantanafan's self-effacing reference to baseball. And while my own woefully poor grasp of statistics—actually, simple math—has often been laid bare in these posts, I can't help but notice that almost any batter in Major League Baseball history would be be more than happy with a .373 batting average against the best teams he faces. Which re-raises the question, how come Elena Dementieva didn't hit at least one out of the park in Paris, New York, London or Melbourne?

I admit the analogy is a bit too deft, and is relevant only because it's so inviting. Comparing baseball, a team sport, with tennis, is an apples and oranges exercise. Still, winning more than a third (oh, please tell me I don't have that percentage wrong!) of your matches against the very best players seems to me a pretty danged good record—especially in the comparative terms in which I used the stat. Anyone care to crunch the numbers and post Wozniacki's winning percentage, based on her 5-20 record against the best players of her time? (And yes, I did leave Jennifer Capriati off that considerably lengthy list; my bad.) I want to say .200. And that's a batting average that might get you shipped to the minors.

This morning, I posted on Wozniacki and the Doha result over at ESPN, and I'd like to further explore an issue I raised there. I might as well come out and flat-out declare it "The Curse of Number Oneness," a hex that befalls players who reach the year-end No. 1 ranking before they've won their first major. I'm not sure that the sample-size is large enough to draw hard and fast conclusions, and we all know that in tennis, anything can happen (if you're former No. 1s Dinara Safina or Marcelo Rios, that something is bad). But when I look at the career trajectory of the greatest of players, one thing really stands out: Most of them expressed their potential greatness before, and in some cases way before, they developed the consistency that enabled them to stay at the top.

In other words, the record suggests that you want to win your major first, then worry about rankings and all that other minutae of the pro life. And I believe this is one reason that most great players will tell you that they don't pay much attention to the numerical rankings, as well as the reason some No. 1 players (year-end and otherwise) have spent a fair amount of time almost apologizing for earning the top spot: Hey, don't blame me, I just swing the rackets. Take your beef to the computer!

Take someone like Amelie Mauresmo, who was No. 1 briefly, but never at the end of the year. She first claimed the top spot (and held it for five weeks) in September 2004, and her Grand Slam performance actually tailed off (if only by a little) for over a year before she won her first major, at the 2006 Australian Open. In any event, she ended her career with "just" two Grand Slam titles. Wouldn't a No. 1 ranking generally predict greater success? But given the history of other Slamless Ones, she acquited herself pretty well.

How about Kim Clijster? She hit No. 1 without benefit of winning a major in August 2003, but didn't win that first major until September 2005, at the U.S. Open (she missed four of nine Slams in that interim, but those are the dates). To date, she's still stuck at three majors, all captured in New York. She may add to that Grand Slam haul yet, but in terms of this discussion her results have been so-so.

The ATP has had only one Slamless One—hail, even Thomas Muster and Yevgeny Kafelnikov won majors before they smelled the roses at the peak of the game. But the ATP has never produced a slamless year-end No. 1 (more about that subset later). The man who came closest to performing what would be, in its own right, the remarkable feat of ascending to the top of the ATP pile without benefit of having taken a Grand Slam title is Marcelo Rios.

Rios became No. 1 on March 30, 1998, and engaged in a protracted tug-of-war for the top spot with Pete Sampras until the very last tournament of the year, the ATP Tour Championships. Sampras, driven by the desire to complete a record sixth-consecutive year at No. 1, practically killed himself in the course of his fall, "Stop Rios!" drive. In the end, Rios proved to be Sampras's greatest ally, as he was forced to withdraw from the year-end championships—and a potential showdown with Sampras for the top spot—because of a bad back that ultimately ended his career not long thereafter.

The big takeaway from all that? Sampras was driven less by the determination to finish No. 1 than by the extraordianary opportunity it represented for him that particular year. And rightly so. Sampras's six straight seasons as year-end No. 1 is a record that any future player will have only once chance to equal or surpass. When players say it's all about the majors, they're telling the truth, which is why there's really no harm in questioning the quality of any given year-end No. 1, especially on Jan. 1. What can't be questioned, though, is whether this or that player "deserves" the top ranking.

In some ways, becoming a Slamless One, especially a Slamless Year-End One, is as much burden as opportunity. Don't for a moment think that Wozniacki wasn't aware of her position as she went out to play Clijsters in Doha. The pressure on No. 1 is enormous, but even more importantly, certain facts suggest that becoming the year-end No. 1 without winning a major only makes the road ahead rougher.

There's little data to go on, but the last person to run a mile in Wozniacki's shoes was Jelena Jankovic. And we saw how finishing the year at No. 1 impacted her performance. Her results took a nosedive from which they have yet to fully recover. She finished No. 1 (without a major) in 2008, and just plain hasn't been the same since. It's no longer a question of whether Jankovic will find her equilibrium; it looks more like she's just searching for niche in the rankings somewhere below—perhaps well below—No. 1.

If you look at the careers of the Steffi Grafs and John McEnroes and Roger Federers and Ivan Lendls of this world, it's obvious that winning a major was part of a process, the first giant step rather than the final one. The tension underlying what the numbers show is between greatness and consistency, and in that regard it's helpful to think of the present system as less of a ranking than a rating. But greatness and consistency don't necessarily go hand-in-hand, as Marat Safin and even Svetlana Kuznetsova have demonstrated, time and again. It's handy to keep that in mind.

Jelena2 Winning a major provides a kind of psychic and emotional fuel, and a stamp of credibility, that makes it easier to achieve a high rating. Mauresmo and Clijsters may argue that it works the other way around, too, although I'm not convinced. Perhaps over time Wozniacki will make me change my mind.

The quality percolating under the surface for these players is confidence, not skill. It's also a matter of priorities and focus. The rule of thumb for those who would be great might as well be: Set your sights on the majors, and the rest will take care of itself. Just look how long it took Rafael Nadal to become No. 1, and if you think that was only because of his rival Federer, think again. It took Sampras took about two-and-a-half years to become No. 1 after he won is first major, in 1990.

But I wouldn't despair if I was a Wozniacki fan. What was she supposed to do, tank matches in order to avoid the Curse of Number Oneness? In that sense, the ranking could almost be said to have fallen in her lap. And she has terrific chances to build on her reputation because of her relative youth (20) and the state of the competition. We're at one of those curious transitional times when a great group of champions probably is in the waning days of a collective career. Imagine if Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic were suddenly unable or unwilling to play and/or win enough to capture the top ranking. I'd say a handful of guys like David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling would suddenly like their chances of winning a major, and even more their odds on reaching No. 1.

It would have been silly for anyone over the past two or three years to claim that Nadal was in a position to put the hammer down and take control of the men's game as its undisputed top dog. But Wozniacki has that sort of opportunity now, which is why her loss to Clijsters has to be considered a set back. You can't expect every legitimate rival to be removed from your path, can you?

What Wozniacki has going for her is a solid game, a strong constitution, and a healthy appetitie for playing—and winning—matches. And she's handled the circumstances surrounding her rise very well, without seeming to get too high, or too low, as it played out. At this moment in history, those are valuable assets. She needs to focus on elevating her game at the most important moments, because that "living in the moment" and "you win some, you lose some" mentality will get her through many matches against her equals or lesser players, but it won't be good enough against players who have tasted ultimate Grand Slam success. And even in the worst case scenarios for the WTA, there will be a few of those players lurking in 2011.


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Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 07:19 PM

Well the player of the year for me is Serena

Posted by Sherlock 11/01/2010 at 07:24 PM

Samantha, sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant to compare Caro with Serena if Caro had one slam to go with her other good results this year. No big deal. Serena's great results in slams and obvious best player status create interesting discussions on this topic given her lack of results otherwise.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 07:28 PM

Samantha Elin,
My WTA player of the year is Kim Clijsters for the following reasons(in no certain order):

(1) Despite winning Australian Open and Wimbledon, Serena has been out the entire second half due to foot injury
(2) Kim won the USO, WTA Championships, Miami(biggest event outside the USO and WTA Championships according to some) and Cincinnati(Premier 5 event)
(3) Despite her good finish, Caroline did not win a Slam or the WTA Championships

Now, if Caroline would have won yesterday, I would have given my WTA player to her as she would have 7 titles highlighted by the WTA Championships, Beijing, Tokyo and Montreal. She would have closed out the year going 33-3 since Wimbledon and most important, she kept playing and winning while the WS, Justine and Kim were out with injury and she(with help from Vera) kept the WTA afloat.

Posted by Carol 11/01/2010 at 07:29 PM

AM, you're very welcome
I don't follow too much the WTA but because the results I'm sure than sooner or later Caro is going to get her first GS
Kim is the player to beat, Serena too but Caro is going up more and more, maybe she needs just a little more confidence in GS and then she will get it

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 07:30 PM

Come on, Sherlock! You've been hanging 'round TW for almost as long as I have, and you know that the general opinion of most of the posters here, based on past discussions of Slams vs Masters/Premier Mandatories, would be that 2 Slams would trump 1 Slam plus 2 or even 3 of those next-in-line tourneys.

I have NOT been and I am NOT one to share that opinion, so I'm just amazed and amused to see others drifting to my side of that issue when it comes to Serena and 2010. I really am.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 07:35 PM

I needed to add Kim was my 2nd choice

3rd choice is Caroline

Posted by lilscot 11/01/2010 at 07:40 PM

AM, Ruth, and Colette:

It always surprises me when people don't seem to like it when professional players have just had enough of the grind after 15 years and try to take it a bit easy. They gripe that they're not around enough, then gripe when they do come around and win!

Instead of wasting time bemoaning the fact that the true stars of today's game are not playing as much as we'd like, we should be rejoicing in the fact that they are still playing at all, and providing us with some truly great memories.

Caroline's time is coming, and soon. Vera is doing great. Sam is still in development.

Come one now, let's enjoy the ride with Serena, Kim, Venus, etc. It's fun watching how their careers have come to fruition. And it's fun now watching them wind down their careers and start their new lives.

As far as I'm concerned, these ladies deserve nothing but respect and admiration for what they've done, and how they are transitioning into their life after tennis.

Posted by Sherlock 11/01/2010 at 07:40 PM

Ruth, true, but I think this is a different case than we've had before, just because of Serena's injuries. Usually the slam-winner side of the discussion had played in other tournaments, had some decent results, etc., so it wasn't just 2 slams and el zippo. :)

Anyway, Serena is obviously the best player around, and I doubt she's losing too much sleep over who the blogs are declaring the POY. :)

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 07:57 PM

"It always surprises me when people don't seem to like it when professional players have just had enough of the grind after 15 years and try to take it a bit easy. They gripe that they're not around enough, then gripe when they do come around and win"

Ain't that the truth, lilscot? I guess it's a no-win situation for the dominant "old ladies" of the Tour! LOL

Sherlock: Agree 100% with your second paragraph @ 7:40 pm. Have to admit that I haven't paid too much attention to the POY and other end-of-year awards etc over the years. But I guess the polls etc are fun for many fans. I'm one of those people who want the season to be shorter because I've had enough tennis by late September, and I quickly start losing interest even in the tennis, not to mention the peripheral stuff.:)

Posted by Colette 11/01/2010 at 08:04 PM

Lilscot, so true!!

I've always applauded Venus and Serena's efforts to "have a life" outside of tennis. And maybe part of the reason we still have them "with us" today is because they have been conservative with their playing schedules and perhaps had other interests so they didn't burn out.

Re Kim, I can't understand why anybody would question her desire or motivation to have her family and continue to play on her own terms. Guess I'm one of those who doesn't quite "get" the "bad Kimmie" side.

Posted by JR 11/01/2010 at 08:06 PM

Good to see Mr Bodo continue to attain the highest standards of journalistic pap.

How you describe the most recent GS winner as "stuck at 3", when the reality is that in the Open era only 13 players have won more. I don't recall anyone ever describing Clijsters as being the best ever, so surely her 3 are a significant achievement.

Always good to check which way the wind is blowing on a Bodo day, that's where the article will be heading as well.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 08:11 PM

JR: Don't be too hard on Pete. Before he was corrected, he had Kim stuck on 2 slams.

Posted by lilscot 11/01/2010 at 08:12 PM

Colette: 8:04 p.m.

Lol! Can you even imagine it? A "Bad Kimmie?" The very idea is funny. What's interesting is that the very things the commies say about Caroline now in regards to her career trajectory and her personality are exactly the same things they said about Kim when she was coming up.

How soon we forget eh? :)

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/01/2010 at 08:14 PM

I, too, agree with lilscot 100%.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 08:17 PM

To answer your question Sherlock, Serena two slams would still be of a higher quality then Caro's one slam and the rest of her titles combined. Agree Ruth, but, I'm not surprise in the least that people are drifting to your position when Serena is the player in question. If Caro had won yesterday, Patrick, I wouldn't have given her the POY. Why? there is NO WAY that seven smaller tier tournaments would equal or come close to two GS which is very rare to see players get in the same year. And just like Andrew said, the GS are greater than the YEC and the YEC is greater than the tier events. I agree with his ranking of what is most important in tennis. And Ruth, you are absolutely right, the general opinion on this forum has been that two GS trumps l GS and 2-3 premiere event. So why the change when we're talking about Serena? Hmmmm!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 08:22 PM

Sherlock, Graf, Evert, Sampras were way before my time of watching tennis. I can't tell you how many titles they won, but I can sure tell you their GS totals.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 08:25 PM

One last thing because I need to study, but you let Rafa end his career with less grandslams than Roger, and Roger will still be the GOAT no matter what his H2H is against Rafa.

Posted by Sherlock 11/01/2010 at 08:29 PM

"And just like Andrew said, the GS are greater than the YEC and the YEC is greater than the tier events."

Um, I'm not sure that's what Andrew was saying. :) He said:

"I'm not sure, on either the WTA or the ATP side, that GS > YEC > Tier 1/1000 tournaments.

You can qualify for the SF stage with one victory out of three in the RR, or go out with two out of three victories. Plus there are 8 players (and obviously, not necessarily the best 8): IW and Miami have 96 player entries, if memory serves.

At the start of the 2000s, I had the impression that the YEC was somewhere between an exo and a "true" tournament. I think it's closer to a true tournament than an exo in 2010, but I still like the pure knockout format."

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 08:31 PM

Ok, thanks Sherlock, I read it wrong because I'm very sure that GS greater than YEC which is greater than the tier events.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 08:36 PM

Should correct myself, I can see an argument where the YEC could be place at an equal or lesser level than the tier event, but I would COMPLETELY disagree with any argument that placed any events above the slams.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/01/2010 at 08:40 PM

Good evening All. Just popping in to add my 2 cents to the conversation. Serena did not only win 2 titles for the season. Her record for the season goes something like this:

Sydney - finalist - lost to Dementieva
Australian Open - winner bt Henin
Australian Open - doubles title
Rome - semifinalist - lost to Jankovic
Madrid - third round - lost to Petrova
Madrid - winner (doubles) title beating Dulko/Penetta
French Open - quarter-finalist - lost to Stosur
French Open - doubles title
Wimbledon - winner
Wimbledon - quarters - lost to Vesnina/Zvonreva
Played exo in Belgium and lost to Clijsters

So, that was Serena's 2010 season in a nutshell. She won 5 titles, not 3.

In addition, I could care less whether anyone here or the powers that be award Clijsters Player of the Year. Who cares? Certainly not Serena. I doubt if the woman is sitting at home wondering about the fact that she is no longer No. 1 or indeed whether she won Player of the Year.

For some players and their fans getting these accolades validate their player. Kudos to them for that.

I will believe what Serena says when she says that when her career is over she does not wish to be remembered as a great tennis player, but rather as a good person.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 08:41 PM

Samantha Elin are you saying that Serena should be #1 for POV because of 2 slams, Kim #2 for 1+, Francesca #3 for 1, Vera #4 for 2 runnerups+, Sam #5 for 1 runnerup+, Justin #6 1runnerup and Caroline best of rest?

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 08:43 PM

In points on the WTA, (for the winners)it's GS-2000, YEC-1500, Premier Mandatories 1000, Premiers-900.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 08:56 PM

I'm saying Serena should be POY because 2 slams is greater than l GS plus premier titles. Nobody is talking runnerup here.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 08:58 PM

My order for POY would be Serena, Kim, Frannie and Caro fourth.

Posted by Aube,Intimidation has never worked with me,even if I had to be the looser!!!categorically refuse to be weak!!! 11/01/2010 at 09:02 PM

Amen Jamaica Karen!,if people will just praise and rate PREMIUM who ever they feel like and just get my two babies(vee and Serena) out of the conversation it will be so fine...
Everybody should be able to praise who they want without bemoaning who you don't like...
What I don't understand is Serena and Venus are always in the conversation, no matter what tennis players own the title of the conversation...
talk about being the common denominator...

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 09:04 PM

Jamaica Karen,
If you put doubles into the equation, I would change my vote to Serena. My thoughts were in the singles area and the WS injuries have been on the front page(ok, my brain) for so long that I forgot that the WS completed the Williams Slam at the French.

Posted by Woz 11/01/2010 at 09:13 PM

Thanks Pete.

Caroline has one hell of a lot of talent. She could be a good enough tennis player to win dounble digit slams. However, she is concealing her talent, hiding behind a defensive game plan that isn't effective enough. Her game has got her to the top of the list, but it is not good enough to beat the Belgans and the Williams.

If Caroline were more aggressive and decided to 'thump' her forehand a little more, she could have beaten Clijsters yesterday. For me, Caroline's forehand is her biggest setback. I like to call it the 'pusher', seemingly she only pushes the ball over the net. In 2011 Caroline will need to seriously improve and solidify that shot of hers. I personally think that it ruins her backhand - her signature one down the line.

I'll say, Wozniacki just can't hit a forehand. I think she needs to watch some of Steffi and/or Serena's and take some pointers from what she watches. It ain't a bad thing to imitate their's.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 09:14 PM

If slams are only things that matter, then you have to say Vera who had 2 seconds at the 2 most important slams and beat Caro badly in 1 would have to be ahead of Caro.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:18 PM

JK Thanks for those stats on Serena

She still is my no 1 WTA player of the year

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:20 PM

Sherlock If you are still here I popped up to place my bets and brought some white grapes from your area

If by some chance I get stomach upset I am coming over ok

Its my Birthday and I dont do Stomach Upsets.

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 09:23 PM

SamE's comment @ 8:58 made me think...I wonder if they're going to have the BJK Cup at Madison Square Garden in February 2011 when the winners of the 4 Slams play. If they do, I hope they choose the #1 player Caroline (2nd choice Vera) for the 4th spot which will be available because Serena won 2 Slams. And it would really be nice to see Frannie get some more attention for her FO win. I probably wouldn't fly up North just for that, but it should be a good show if all 3 Slam winners can play.

Is the POY a formal award with written criteria? Maybe, they have something about types of events and number of events and/or months played in the criteria for winning.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 09:24 PM

I didn't say slams were the only thing that mattered, I said they were the most important trophies. Of course the tier l events and Master series events are important, but just not as important as a slam. And no, a runner up trophy, I wouldn't place above certain higher tier tournament championships. Again, we're talking about the importance of the slam in comparison to other titles, not the runner ups trophies which clearly carries less weigh and is less important. Ok, need to really study. Ciao dudes. One last thing, Italy is going to squash the US just like it did last year, but good luck to the US.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/01/2010 at 09:25 PM

@Aube, I really wished that people would leave the Sisters out of these discussions. Venus and Serena have absolutely nothing left to prove to tennis. They have been playing by their own rules for years and accolades etc have never broken them or made them feel inferior in this sterile world.

The class with which Venus and Serena have conducted themselves in this sport will only be told by those who have eyes to see. I shudder to think of what would have been whispered about Serena if she had just upped and retired in the way that Justine and Elena did. I am still laughing at how Kim is embraced on her return to tennis, seeing as she spent her last year on tour bitching and moaning about the Tour and when her fans at Wimbledon were anticipating seeing her play her final match, she upped and left the sport, causing people like Pete to reflect that she should not let the door hit her on the way out.

She returns to the Tour and those who have been the mainstays of the Tour during her absence are relegated to spurious headlines and their commitment to the Tour is questioned. Where was Kim when Serena was playing 15-16 tournaments a year? She was off on a sabbatical.

It used to gall me non-stop how a professional athlete would write on her blog that she preferred to stay home with her dogs rather than be out playing a sport that allowed her all the comforts of home. I cannot recall any hue and cry being made about those comments, but the minute that Serena says that her only loyalty is to her dogs, she is taken to task for it.

The double standard in this sport never fails to amaze me. Clijsters has won all of her majors on one surface. Venus on 2 different surfaces, yet it is Venus who is classified as a one-surface wonder.

When Serena won the AO in 2007, the commentators all commented that this was her first title since the AO in 2005, yet I do not hear them bemoaning the fact that players who were supposed to take over the game cannot even make it past the first round of majors these days.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/01/2010 at 09:26 PM

Ruth, just saw your post and a little infro, the BJ cup is no longer, it was replaced by a men's event for next year.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:27 PM

I give Kim credit for her USO success though to me I prefer a player that can also do well on other surfaces as well.Kim to me is one dimensional.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 09:43 PM

Ruth,
They would choose Venus before Caroline for the final spot. As you know Venus is the defending champion. I wonder will Venus play Acapulco again in 2011 after Dubai

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 09:44 PM

Samantha Elin,
Thanks for the reminder that the ATP will have MSG for the night.

Posted by nehru 11/01/2010 at 09:54 PM

Does winning a GS make Roddick any better than a consistent player like Murray who has won probably beaten top players at lesser tournaments more often.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 09:55 PM

Aussiemarg,
Kim leads active players in titles on hardcourts with 29(35 if you add carpet) out of the 40 she won.

Posted by nehru 11/01/2010 at 09:58 PM

sorry, read above post as ...like Murray who has beaten top players at lesser tournaments more often.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 10:01 PM

Tuesday ATP Order of Play:

Valencia at 8 AM - Almagro, Kohlschreiber, Murray vs Lopez, Garcia-Lopez vs Ferrer, Tursunov, Soderling and Davydenko scheduled
Basel at 9 AM - Tipsarevic vs Istomin, Giraldo, Troicki vs Berrer and Golubev scheduled
Basel at 11 AM - Lu vs Gasquet
Basel at 1 PM - Gulbis vs Djokovic
Basel at 3 PM - Chiudinelli vs Cilic followed by Hajek vs Nalbandian


Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:06 PM

Master Ace Thanks.A impressive record

Posted by pov 11/01/2010 at 10:08 PM

Tennis W/L stats are weirder than in most sports because the worse you do the less matches you play and also because there is such a huge disparity in the number and level of tournaments players participate in.

Zvonerava has 49-18 for a .731
Clijster's has 40-7 for a .851
S.Williams has 25-4 for a .862
V.Williams has 38-7 for a .844

Azarenka has 42-20 for a .677

Something seems amiss here. Wozniacki *cannot* have a .373


In fact Wozniacki has 63-16 for a .797


Others must have caught the Wozniacki error but I haven't read through the comments.

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 10:10 PM

OH, sorry to hear that, SamE. I'd heard that they were consering an event that featured both men and women, but I suppose they decided to go with the men-only format.

Good point about the surfaces...but it seems that the only top player whose surface ability is often questioned or discussed is Nadal -- and he's won Slams on 3 surfaces. Go, figure! :-)

MA: I think that wild horses couldn't keep Venus away from Acapulco.:) She's had great success there, and you remember what she said about being more enthusiastically received there by the fans than she has been anywhere else, even in her home country.

Posted by zhik_03 11/01/2010 at 10:17 PM

you know what.. letz just give credit to KIM samantha elin and sherlock... she deserves to be the POY... Serena might have been the POY if she had played at least 10 tournaments. but no... so, it would be more justifiable that the POY did not only won quality tournaments but also took part in promoting the WTA. since, she's injured, she's not the POY also due to inconsistencies (due to injuries). So get life: POY in order: KIM, CARO, SERENA, VERA, VENUS, JUSTINE, FRANCHESCA,..... etc...

Posted by yello fuzzy 'jumping into the fray' 11/01/2010 at 10:17 PM

howdy doody


nehru
Does winning a GS make Roddick any better than a consistent player like Murray who has won probably beaten top players at lesser tournaments more often.

yes, Roddick has had better results at the slams and performs better in slam finals....Murray has absolutely crumbled in those 2 finals he's made. You'd expect Murray to extend one of those matches, but he's been blown off the court. you cannot compare the two until Murray wins a slam. he has not won a set in a slam final yet.
If both their careers ended today, Roddick would be the more successful player. Roddick has been to 5 slam finals winning 1,(48 final appearances) has 4 doubles titles in his career and 29 singles titles. Murray has been to only 24 finals, winning 16 and no doubles titles...5 years difference in age

Posted by Northernboy 11/01/2010 at 10:18 PM

Serena Williams' 4 losses this year - to Dementieva in Sydney, Jankovic in Rome, Petrova in Madrid I believe and Stosur in Paris.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/01/2010 at 10:20 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUSSIE MARG
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAY TO YOU

HIP HIP HOORAY

Hope you are having a marvellous day.

Hi everyone

I see Dolgo loss.

Posted by pov 11/01/2010 at 10:22 PM

Here's how I see it: Wozniacki is currently ranked #1. She may win a major or she may not win a major.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 10:22 PM

I am not one who says slams are the only things that matter or that 1/2 slams trumps 6/10 masters. ARod's 1 slam, 5 masters, 29 titles, 8 years in top ten is a little better career wise over Murray now. If Murray was to stay slamless but won 10+ masters, 40+ titles, maybe an Olympic medal/YEC and 6-8 years top 5, I wouldn't say that Roddick had the better career. The closer the numbers are the weight of the slam matters. The farther apart it means less IMHO.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:22 PM

AA Hey thanks my glasses nearly fell off in all those capitols

I have just had a dozen Oysters and a glass of Champange Pink today

Thanks for your wishes

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/01/2010 at 10:22 PM

Oh I see there is a bit of discussion going on about the Olivier Rochus article. I read that on MTF a couple of days ago but was too busy to post it here. I would like to hear what zenggi thinks about it.

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/01/2010 at 10:23 PM

Hey Aussiemarg
happy birthday scorpio!

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 10:23 PM

pov: The only .373 figure that I remember seeing cited today referred to the numbers Pete gave for Elena's performances against top players. Caro's figure was actually lower in that category --.200, but she's got time to improve it!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:24 PM

AA I still call him Dolly by the way.

Now dont get mad with me lol!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/01/2010 at 10:25 PM

Are we allow to go OT here.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:25 PM

Fuzzy Thanks are you a wonderful Scorpio too?

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/01/2010 at 10:27 PM

AM
capricorn here

Posted by Northernboy 11/01/2010 at 10:27 PM

Great post Tommy: I'm not doing any study on it, but I remember Davenport won all her slams by January 2000 then spent a lot of time at #1 without winning another major.
Same with Hingis, who won her last major in January 1999, then spent a lot of time at #1.

Hingis had an absurd amount of time at #1, 209 weeks, or just over 4 years. Davenport held the #1 ranking as late as 2004/2005 I believe. Is it more acceptable to hold the #1 ranking when you haven't won a major in 5 years?

I think all of those blathering about who 'deserves' the #1 ranking need to STfudge up as it's getting REALLY annoying.

Let's recall - Fed and Nadal have won 23 of the last 26 Grand slams. 10 different women have won Grand Slams in that time period. Whose tour is more competitive?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:27 PM

Fuzzy No worries you are still wonderful

Posted by GC20 11/01/2010 at 10:31 PM

roddick fan - if murray hits all of those targets but remains slamless does he make the hall of fame? roddick has good numbers but it's the one slam that puts him in the hall of fame.

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/01/2010 at 10:32 PM

Marg
is that the champagne talking?

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 10:36 PM

YES!! Giants Win 3 to 1! Fantastic pitching game.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:38 PM

Fuzzy Please I have had only 1 glass lol!

AB Yay Go Giants!

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 10:42 PM

I don't know what the records are of the other HOF members, but 40 wins even if they were all 250's would get the greatest british-scotsman of the last 70 years in wouldn't you think.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 10:48 PM

I do believe that Murray will win majors with at least one being at Wimbledon.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:50 PM

I dont know Tim Henman stats are all though I know he failed at Wimbledon.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:52 PM

Roddick Fan I think Andy has a better chance on a hard court myself even though he has failed in GS finals twice.I think the faster hard court suits his game better.

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 10:53 PM

DiMaggio, Berra, Gehrig and....Renteria! 35yo Colombian MVP 2010 World Series - the only 4 players in history to hit series winning runs in 2 different World Series.

Posted by GC20 11/01/2010 at 10:53 PM

I don't think any male tennis player has made it into the hall for singles without a slam because when Chang got in a few years ago there was a lot of talk that he lowered the bar with his one slam. But he did have a pretty nice career: 34 titles, 9 masters, 1 slam.

If Murray ends up with 40 titles but no slam. I don't think he gets in.

Posted by GC20 11/01/2010 at 10:55 PM

Correction 7 masters for Chang.

Posted by Gseries 11/01/2010 at 11:01 PM

Wozniacki is #1 in 2010 without a Grand Slam title.

Deal with it.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 11:03 PM

AM, I would agree that hardcourt is his best surface, but I believe that will be the domain of a healthy Del Potro/Djokovic by 2012. Murray will possibly get a hardC slam, but I feel he will end British sorrow soon at Wimbledon.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:03 PM

Well Fred Perry was the last Englishman who had a career slam and from memory won 3 Wimbledon titles

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:05 PM

Roddick Well I must say he did find his form at Wimbledon this year making the s/final

Posted by sensiiii 11/01/2010 at 11:05 PM

A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Good One

Posted by JR 11/01/2010 at 08:06 PM
Good to see Mr Bodo continue to attain the highest standards of journalistic pap.

How you describe the most recent GS winner as "stuck at 3", when the reality is that in the Open era only 13 players have won more. I don't recall anyone ever describing Clijsters as being the best ever, so surely her 3 are a significant achievement.

Always good to check which way the wind is blowing on a Bodo day, that's where the article will be heading as well.

Posted by Aube,Intimidation has never worked with me,even if I had to be the looser!!!categorically refuse to be weak!!! 11/01/2010 at 11:20 PM

Gseries,
We are dealing with it all right!some of us even said over and over again how happy we're for her and wishing her so many more to win including the big one!
We just don't know how else to deal with it!

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 11:23 PM

Well, if you must win a slam to make the HOF then Murray must win to get in. Djokovic will need to get near 30 wins to get in also. Serena, Venus, Justin, Kim, Maria, Roger, and Rafa would be locks I suppose. Andy, Safin, Hewitt, Ferrero will have backers and opponents. I know I'm forgetting some. Don't mean to offend anyone.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:35 PM

Aube New moniker I see.Just took me a little time to read it.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/01/2010 at 11:35 PM

Just a thought, but with the mens tour bringing all the best together with the 8 mandatory masters if a Murray won 20 and 30 other titles I could defend him going in. They may not take him, but it seems deserving. Good night all.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:37 PM

AA If you are around I suppose you are glued to your TV set David Campbell is singing the National Anthemn.Well at the moment its not raining

Finger crossed.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/01/2010 at 11:37 PM

Spain's Manuel Alonso made the ITHOF without winning a major.

His best result in a major was the finals of Wimbledon one year.

Seems kind of unfair to Spain's Manolo Orantes, who won a major, made the finals of another, and probably had a better overall career than Alonso, but isn't in the ITHOF.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/01/2010 at 11:50 PM

The WTA season isn't over for some surfer gals:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/sports/wta-stars-get-their-feet-wet-ahead-of-balis-tournament-of-champions/404382

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:50 PM

AA Spoke to soon its raining as the horses are in the mounting yard

Just looking at Gai's horse Descardo who loves the wet Hmmm I am now thinking I should not left it out of my 1st 4.

Posted by GC20 11/01/2010 at 11:54 PM

msf - i actually saw orantes play in 1976 when i was a little kid. got his autograph along with connors, ashe, stan smith, and nastase.

orantes has great numbers. he should be in the ithof.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 12:07 AM

Go So You think Go


Yay I got the Triffector 1st 3 places

I also had a bet on American straight out on Ammercian

Yay to the French

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Allez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 12:12 AM

Yay and Yay!!!!!!!!!!

Yahoooooooooooooooooooooooo

Allez Ammercain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also a French Jockey rode him

Yahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 12:13 AM

What a great Birthday present for me

Chanel here I Come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 12:16 AM

I was drinking French Pink Champange Too

Lucky omen

Allez to the Red Wite and Blue colours

Allez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 12:17 AM

Okay end of Melbourne Cup Rant

Allez

Over and Out

Viva la France!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/02/2010 at 12:19 AM

GC20:

That's a good haul of autographs.

Saw Orantes--as well as several other top players at Forest Hills in 1976 and 1977.

His five-setter against Borg in 1976, in which Orantes came back from 0-4 or 1-4 in the fourth set, to take the match to a fifth set was quite exciting.

Posted by temes 11/02/2010 at 12:44 AM

I know I shouldn't laugh at Dolgo losing in 48 mins and hurting his ankle in the process but somehow that turbo loss is so Dolgo. I just find him so comical. lol

Posted by temes 11/02/2010 at 12:57 AM

I think it's silly to compliment Caro on her consistency by putting the veterans down, they are veterans and Caro is just starting out, for example Serena had her share of consistent dominance including smaller tournaments in the past, as someone said at this point she is allowed to do what she pleases! Can I write a longer sentence? Yes!

Posted by zenggi 11/02/2010 at 02:14 AM

Good morning,
I don't plan to read all the comments posted in the last 5 days so I sincerely hope that the TW-lovely-tribe has spoken well about Kim's win in Doha. I feel some contempt in the article but I'd like to know what the Belgians have done to the author to cause this. To be fair, Kim is Flemish and therefore she has my support all the way.

Unlike Christopher Rochus (not Olivier, mind) who stops playing tennis after being denied a WC at Valencia by the director aka Juan Carlos Ferrero. Christopher wanted to finish his career there by letting JCF pay for his travel expenses and then heading to the house he bought at the beach for holidays. De rien, Christophe.

Coming back to my side of the border I'm very pleased by the way Robin Haase has played the first three matches in Basel. Will his body hold without any more injuries? Please! Next opponent is John Isner. I guess he has more chances than against Llodra.

And what about Speedy Federer last night? I didn't have time to savour the victory because it was all over in a hurry. Poor Dolgopolov straining his ankle in such a bad way. I hope he recovers soon. He's a riot and fun to watch because you never know what he'll do next. Alexander needs to slow down and think. I really liked to see how genuinely concerned Roger was about his opponent.

Temes, what are you doing awake so early?. Partying all night?

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/02/2010 at 02:20 AM

Hi zenggi. AM I did really well on the Melbourne Cup and picked 1st, 2nd and 3rd and came third in the sweep at work which I organised. I will never do that again.

Posted by zenggi 11/02/2010 at 02:23 AM

Morning, Angel.
Are you talking about horses? How much? Forget it. I sound like NP. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 02:38 AM

AA Did you go with my picks?

I also backed Amercain to win straight out put $100.00

Also I got the triffecta up as well and put $50.00 on it

Yahoo

Viva La France!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sad news for So You Think it has been retired

Hmmm over racing?

Posted by zenggi 11/02/2010 at 02:42 AM

@ gauloises,

I hope this interview will carry you until next year! Juan Martín del Potro last TV interview. You can see and hear how young he is. Utmost adorable.

http://espndeportes.espn.go.com/videohub/video/clipDeportes?id=1161287&cc=7586

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 02:43 AM

Good Morning Zengii

My birthday just got soo much better

I have always loved Horse racing and have done pretty well in the Melbourne Cup seeing it was run on my Birthday I did even better

Viva La France!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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