February Tournament Play and Early 2017 Contenders

I watched Tsonga get his 2nd set break-of-serve of Goffin up 5-4 in their Rotterdam final, which became a run-away title for Jo-Willy 46 64 61. I was literally thinking, if he loses to Goffin here, it’s over for Jo-Wilfried. That tenth game of the 2nd set was so typical Tsonga. Microcosm of his career. He has the game and set in hand, 40-15, Belgian serving to get the set to a potential TB, maybe a straight-set win, massive achievement for the world #11, a guy who pretty consistently shows-up, but just doesn’t quite have the fire power of the top guys. Game goes to deuce. Tsonga hits a monster FH DTL to find another SP. Then Tsonga hits an inexplicably (characteristic) tired BH into the net. Then another show of brilliance. Then another soft point. He finally wins the game, but it’s just too typical of Tsonga to see this kind of, as I have said many times before, lackadaisical tennis. The 3rd set seems a pretty definitive measure of the contrast of these two tennis talents.

Goffin will continue to show-up and play solid tennis, but really doesn’t earn that distinction as a “contender” on the ATP, and we’re, of course, really talking about the 1000s and majors. None the less, I may be eating these words as back-to-back finals appearances in Sofia and Rotterdam is tremendous work. I am rooting for the Belgian player. I used to have a few Belgian commenters (I see some still read); perhaps they might find some poetic inspiration from the play of Goffin, resident of Monte-Carlo, the tennis capital, apparently.

Tsonga remains a potential threat, or contender, for the 2017 tour. Barely. But we’re always on the look for the underachieving Frenchman to bring some quality to these draws. Good for him to get this Rotterdam title, which had a loaded field.  The mysterious Frenchman . . .

I’m late on this 2017 tournament commentary, but Montpellier, Sofia two weeks ago and Rotterdam, Memphis and Buenos Aires this past week provide some insight that will only become clarified, extended or complicated in the coming weeks as we anticipate the tour touching-down in the desert for the 2017 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the season’s first Masters 1000.

Dimitrov is still surging though he was beaten in Rotterdam last week by finalist Goffin. Dimitrov took care of business in his hometown of Sofia with what looked like a very emotional bit of tennis for the Bulgarian. A much anticipated SF between Grior and DimitrovBH.jpgDominic Thiem came up empty as the Austrian fell to 24 year-old Nikoloz Basilashvili, from Georgia. Dimitrov is on track for sure. Of course, we had that back in the first weeks of January, our eyes on Baby Fed because of his strong finish to 2016. Indeed, this tennis site strives for no surprises.

In other words, as lovers quarrel over GOAT genitalia, we keep our eyes on the prize.

Dominic Thiem continues to make his case for being a contender. Sure he lost early in Sofia, but he was the #1 seed, and followed that up with a great win in 1R of Rotterdam where he got quite the floater in Sascha Zverev, coming off his win at Montpellier, where he dismantled a bunch of locals on his way to another title (Chardy, Tsonga and Gasquet all took the mat against the young German).

Thiem beat Zverev 36 63 64 in a show of big hitting youngsters showcasing the future. Something to keep an eye on: Thiem figured-out the 6’6″ Zverev had trouble with balls below the net; this became an obvious strategy and advantage. Turned the match around.dominicthiem2017australianopenday2pucnqoemiojl Clearly, Zverev is the next Del Potro. Aside from obvious style differences, the comparison is pretty clean though Zverev needs to develop that huge FH. Good early season match-up of future stars we’ll probably reference again.

Worth noting that Zverev and his older brother won the Montpellier doubles. Great work! What genius turn of events Melbourne was – the rise of Mischa among the highlights.

Dimitrov actually had a tough 1R match against Mischa in Rotterdam before his rematch with Istomin. After those two Melbourne throw-backs, Grigor took it on the chin to Goffin in the following match.

What we see in the relevancy of Sascha is the influence this has on Mischa, so we get a kind of two-for-one. Mischa will hopefully remain a strong threat in the early rounds for the lazy or incomplete player.

So far: Contenders: Tsonga (barely but brilliant Rotterdam win, mate!), Dimitrov, Thiem, Sascha. . .Nishikori?

The loss to Dolgopolov is pretty poor. I didn’t watch much of this tournament at all, but there is not concern here, really. I will say this (listen up, Belgium): Goffin’s play puts him just a few steps to the rear of Nishikori. That’s not looking at the last three years, but three weeks, so admittedly Goffin has to continue, to consolidate.  But I’m growing weary of Kei, perhaps more a Tsonga-type than anything: one magical run to a major final, like Jo-Willy, interestingly enough. His collapse in the WTF, his inability to stay healthy. Guys like Dimitrov have so much more game and variety. That baseline “brilliance” made famous by Djokovic and Nadal is beginning to wear-out, my tennis friends.

How about Cilic, our dear friend, Marin. Good heavens he stinks. First match in Montpellier, as the #1 seed, he loses to 32 year-old Dustin Brown, who’s no slouch, granted, but what the hell. Then Marin travels to Rotterdam, again as the #1 seed, only to get hammered by Tsonga in the QF (Cilic survived a 3-setter 1R vs. Paire and a 3-setter vs. Coric to reach Tsonga). Awful, dreadful stuff from world #7, winner of a single major.

Should we include Cilic in our contender category? No.

Let’s get to the big boys.

Raonic? Not convinced. I love his professionalism, but don’t like the athleticism and his professionalism can actually be seen as a try-hard. He forces the ball too often. He does not have the athleticism of a Del Potro or Sascha Zverev. He’s more Isner than those two.

Del Potro. We get some evidence in Del Ray Beach (Florida) this week. How can his play somehow decline from 2016? We will be rooting hard for the Gentle Giant this year.

Wawrinka always. Can’t wait for him to find a few good matches, maybe a good run at one of the clay Masters as a run-up to Roland Garros. We need Stanimal in Paris all pissed off and fit.

Sir Andy should rebound well. He probably wins Miami and will be a handful/nightmare for many this season.

Roger won Melbourne. We’ll have more to say about his 2017, but I think he’s very dangerous. How is he not very very dangerous at this point? His tennis is not as physical as the rest of the gang. He’s got so much experience it’s nauseating. . .to his detractors. His nadal_netfaultserve is big and he may have found the perfect pitchman who doubles as the janitor, just the guy Roger needs in his corner at this point: Ivan the terrible.

Who wants to play Roger, raise your hand?

Nadal may be just as compelling as Roger, for obvious reasons, but with the FO on the horizon, he has to be readying his game for war. Looks like he liked what he saw in Moya: Toni announcing his “retirement.” Finally. Several parallels in the Fedal 2017 campaigns, no?. Moya makes Rafa another unknown quantity, like Federer. Nadal’s Melbourne tactics were very interesting. Look at his ROS court positioning vs. Raonic. Not sure Milos has much for a surging Rafa anyways, but this seemed to be a huge factor. Out of nowhere.

Another show of hands. Who wants to play Rafa?  😀

This spring should be a blast.

Ahh, and then there’s Slowvak Courtkovic, or N(sl)o(w)le. Tell the fan club sniffing the slow court specialist’s gym shorts to shut it down; they’re making their boyfriend look like a Djoker.

Novak is one of the greats. That’s our position we’ve written about from day 1.

But there has been a bit of change in the narrative as of the last 9 months, which has given birth, if you will, to a bit of Serbian crisis.

And, again, no surprises here. The base-line physicality of defense-first tennis has massive limitations. See: age. And the demise of court homogenization?  I have so much to say about a Sampras/Federer kind of universe vs. an alternatively slow court era.

But back to the Serb.

Not enough has been made about the 2016 Djokollapse. Think of the fan club talking now about his clay prowess as RG nears. Comparing him to Roger, talking of his domination of the Spaniard whose level fell off the face of the earth.

Folks, fan clubbers and tennis aficionados alike: the Djokollapse was a disaster for the guy. History is speeding by and the time is now to get “it” while the getting is good. Roger’s early 2000s is of that model, as is Nadal’s FO domination. Novak’s time is/was now. He novak-djokovic-australian-open-tennis_3406915needs to mount that horse in a hurry and get back to business. He hasn’t done enough to become what the fan club desires so desperately.

Most sensible tennis brains have the top level as Laver/Federer/Sampras/Nadal. Why? Partly because of majors and enough of the eye test to say, yes. I actually put Lendl right up there, as well. Nole is essentially in there because he’s not done. But he has to win big tournaments. 2017 AO was huge. So was 2016 WTF and 2016 USO. The man has to get his act together quick.

The fan club says Novak is back on track. The Mcshow Tennis Blog has doubts in that the very evidence that Djokovic is back is flawed. That poor 2nd set in the Doha final about which we were clear was a sign of lingering trouble, not to mention his 2R dismissal in Melbourne suggest he has to prove the reverse of this pattern is reality and not nostalgia.

Obviously, Novak is a contender; if we’re getting to the business-end of the tennis in these tournaments, he should be right there. His big match mettle is all-time. But he needs to wake-up, smell the coffee and get back to his winning formula.

Fedal is rejuvenated and Murray is on his own last crusade. Not to mention Stan is your worst nightmare. Yeah, I’m talking to you.

Everything tennis looks pretty damn good, you all. Sorry for the delay in discourse.
Know that I’m here, defending the wall. Always.

Bring on March.

15 comments

  1. Thank the heavens, some well needed tennis perspective on current events. I’ve been out of the loop on what’s happening in men’s tennis for the past week, need to get my act together!

    To quote a fellow tennis enthusiast, and in his own words, an “expert”: “The only reason that Federer wasn’t winning #18 was because of how well Djokovic was playing. I knew Federer was still playing at an incredibly high level and that all the talk of decline from his fans was just sour grapes that he kept losing to Djokovic.”

    I rest my case. Never mind the 6-year difference between the two, but I digress.

    The Nole fangirl club has pretty much always been a miserable little bunch because he was never #1 when it really mattered. When Fedal were in their prime the Djoker was always #3, and as you know often underperforming while not even reaching a spot to confront Fedal in many majors. Not that being #3 is bad, you are occasionally allowed snatch an AO from time to time while the big boys go to town everywhere else. This recent desperate grasping-at-straws-attempt to boost the fangirls confidence by comparing the Grandmaster to the Djoker on clay (lol!) just proves this beyond any doubt.

    As always looking forward to the next write up, good job Matt!

  2. 👍 Matt. You are a “true tennis fan!”! Oops! Am I quoting the fan girl?! Sorry! But truly you are. Not him. The only tennis blog worth reading is yours. Yes, please keep defending the wall. Please save us from the madness of that fangirl. I used to go go there a lot and even commented there. He now calls it a tennis blog but when I go there I don’t get tennis news but fangirling and defensiveness. Sickening. Even the matches he analyses are so superficial and chokeful of bias. No tennis acumen whatsoever; couldn’t even string two sensible sentences together on the game or the players. He doesn’t write tennis! Everything is coloured by his painful past. Poor guy. I think he lives in a cave or something. Poor Djoker being reduced to a mere slow surface player by his most loyal fan! I can’t wait for Djokovic not to win FO; not that I don’t like Djoker but I just want to see what excuses he would come up with next. Anyway, thanks for a great wrap up of what is happening and what to expect. You are the most astute, sensible and unbiased tennis writer I ever come across. Sorry to keep repeating. But you are. I’m just very impressed by your articles and I feel, in today’s rubbish world, that it is imperative that when I come across something genuine and worthy, I must encourage and support it. I love how you admit you were wrong about Nadal without being defensive and like a man. Fangirl has a lot to learn from you. Why is it so hard for some ppl (fangirl) to admit their mistakes? We all make mistakes. You gain more respect and you move on with a clean slate instead of holding on unto your grave; as what he is doing. Every article, every comment he gives has defensiveness written all over it. Anyway, you, mighty Matt, is the true EXPERT! Love your very astute, wise and experienced analysis. Keep them coming.

    Thiem has to learn not to overplay and not play like Nadal; like every point is matchpoint! Agree about Tsonga; he is French, what you expect, haha! Love your description of Stanimal, “all pissed off and fit” gosh I love that animal when he is on! couldnt agree more that Fedal are rejuvenated. If Roger plays his cards well, he may even achieve the calendar slam. Far fetched. But never say never. It could be something at the back of his mind. The first few clay tourneys would show us where Rafa is. If he is healthy, I don’t see Djoker beating him. Murray seems to have hit a wall as far as his game is concerned. Yeah, his serve has improved. But he is so good at the net, has great touch/feel, why isn’t he developing a more all court game. He is such a passive player; it’s his personality, I suppose, so reflective in his play. If only he grows his net game and keep hitting that fh bigger and flatter. That fh comes and goes. It’s like he just can’t develop to be a more aggressive player. Stuck. Raonic is done. Gofin, the second gen Ferrer. My heart bleeds for him. Such a nice guy. Humble, unassuming, professional, hard working, solid, always turns up. I pray, one day, miracle happens, he wins at least a 500. Zverev is a future slam winner; barring injuries. It’s so demanding on tour these days you never know how that tall young body will hold up. Hope he has experts helping him there. Don’t want another Juan Martin repeat. Kyrgios another sad case. Talent completely wasted. Product of the entitled generation. Cilic is finito. Kei is glass. I feel Djoker will be back bar injuries (seems to be carrying lingering/niggling injuries) but will not reach 2011/2015 intensity. You said right. It had to be USO 2016, Wtf 2016 and AO 2017. He blinked and limped. He is too good not to win a couple or more slams. But he seems so not interested and unmotivated. If he doesn’t defend FO, I would say the end is nearly here. And if there are dismal showings in Wimbledon and USO, then I said the end is truly here, he is done.

    1. “I love how you admit you were wrong about Nadal without being defensive and like a man.” I still stand by what I’ve said, but Rafa’s just one-of-a-kind, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. There’s a real genius to his game. What I would pay to see Nadal v Pistol Pete go toe-to-toe!

      Thanks for the kind words, TB. I’m glad you’re over here to contribute. Do me a favor and spread the word; I need to reach out to some various sporting syndicates myself. Really want to take the wordy love world wide. 😉

      Tough to say what is happening with Novak. I agree he has a few more slams in him, but he has looked literally famished, worn-out since ’16 FO. This idea that his Novak slam wore him out is also a little weak. Roger was reaching every slam final for like 3 years in a row. But Novak’s played a lot of big tennis. Is he nearing the end? Doubt it. But AO seems like his best chance, based on the numbers. WB and USO are not kind to him even though he has 3 WBs. That, to me, is almost a Becker benefit. The German was pretty instrumental, imho, in Novak’s success there. He has to be really beaming to win there now.

      We’ll see.

      Again, good stuff, TB.

    2. Good commentary TB! And I agree with most of it. The other blogger should rename his blog to the Ultimate Tennis Fanfiction blog, because when he isn’t telling the truth he is making Things up as goes along. We have several regular visitors to Matt’s blog and I think the numbers will only increase, there is no reason why this shouldn’t be the place to be when discussing men’s pro tennis!

      Oh, and a parting gift to any fangirl spying out there. I saw what Matt did with the Nadal pic in this post, so I feel the ned to add an extra touch of salt Lol!

      http://media2.giphy.com/media/I9fM2wBPuCeGc/200.gif

  3. To be fair to the fangirl (I am not a psychologist, but I can play one on the blog), he’s, in effect, torn between his old and new love. This seems pretty obvious. His latest Djokovic v Federer on clay is a case of reaction formation. Another explanation could be found in the discussion of romantic ideology.

    Food for thought.

    😀

    1. I am no psychologist either, but that man needs professional help! I must admit the Fed vs Djok on clay pseudo debate had me thinking, oh wait no it didn’t! Because that clay debate is irrelevant for anyone who bothered to open their eyes and witness what unfolded at the FO in the last 10 years, and then there was the moment when this happened:

      http://i.perezhilton.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/roger-federer-celebrates-twins.gif

      When a guy 6 years older than you can school you when you are in your supposed “ultimate form 2011” on the biggest stage on clay, then in my book that other guys automatically wins this clay debate, oh and let’s not forget the 4 consecutive FO finals where only the undisputed clay GOAT was there to defend the world against a Federer who could have had 6 French Open titles and I am almost sure he would have won every single one, because he was for a long time the second best clay court player in the world, right behind this monstrosity:

      http://www2.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Rafael+Nadal+French+Open+Roland+Garros+2008+veJSyTAiMcGl.jpg

      P.S these GIFS and pictures really turn out nicely on the blog, keep using as many as you can, it really spruces up your articles and gives some visual cues to your observations.

  4. Thanks Caligula. I am in awe of Matt and all you regular commentators. Your tennis knowledge and command of English are so much more advanced than mine. But I have an eye and a great appreciation for objective, discerning, accurate, factual reporting! It’s is so rare nowadays. That’s why I Love Matt’s. Although Matt sometimes can be a bit patronizing😉 But that’s totally ok, he can get away with it as far as I’m concerned because his tennis observances are so accurate and unbiased. Matt, Yes, when I can, I get word around to read your blog. I’m just surprised why you are not attracting more readers/commentators. I suppose a lot of tennis fans are basically favourite player based. They go for blogs of their fav players rather than a general tennis blog. Btw, Caligula, how come you didn’t get back at fangirl when he responded to your comment? I was boiling to read his response to you and couldn’t wait for a comeback response from you! I was like checking his blog everyday for you to kill him, haha! Or did you actually responded to him but he, as usual, deleted (how dare he do that to you, O Mighty Caligula!!) your next comment coz you are a “biased Fedfan and not a true tennis fan”!! Find me one article of his that do not mention the words, “biased Fedfan”, “I consider myself a tennis expert” , “if you are a true tennis fan”, 🙄🙄gosh! You can use that 3 mantras in a torture tennis chamber!! I think a big majority of his traffic are fans reacting to his provocative naïveté and ignorance and ……madness. Put him back in his place, Oh mighty Caligula. You can and you must!! It just sickens me when he shoots down every commentator with a different view or who even dare to whisper Federer….

    Matt, I don’t mean you admit you were wrong about Nadal. I am sorry, I didn’t articulate it accurately. I meant you stood by your views but you are man enough to recognise and acknowledge Nadal’s recent resurgence without defending and justifying your past views; like how the fangirl does it ENDLESSLY. Like a broken record…..That’s why he is the fangirl and you are Matt, the Man😁And that’s why I love Stanimal so much. He is such a MAN! Roger too; despite his tears and smoothness. He is really MAN. How many whines you ever heard from him about rules, tours too long, court surface (remember blue clay?! Princesses Nadal, Murray, Djoker crying foul play) how many times he EVER look up at his box? How many times he ever took MTO? Has he EVER retired?! How many years as ATP president and NEVER complaining how much time and effort it took from him! How many interviews he has ever skipped whether win or lose? How many times he has got back from PAINFUL, DEPRESSIVE, SOUL KILLING losses? How many times he ever asked fans/journalists for pity/understanding if he didn’t perform well. He always took full responsibility for all his losses. How many times he was hurting so much physically but NEVER showed it (rope a dope Djoker), ALL through almost 20 year career span! Who has as “clean” a record as he has?! And just to add the cherry on the top; the man is such a wonderful son, husband and father. Isn’t it so ANNOYING that someone can be so perfect?!! Remember “Mary Poppins”? – “Practically perfect in every way”. That sums up Roger Federer; love him or hate him. Just for all that and being so Man, he is already the GOAT. No need to even talk about his achievements…..you hear me, fangirl?!

  5. Hi Matt,

    I’ll get out of my den to share some thoughts with you and your readers (an exception to the rule).
    I enjoyed reading your post by the way. It’s a nicely written and balanced post, including the comments about David Goffin.
    As a compatriot of David, I follow his performances pretty closely, some three years already, so no surprise, I watched all his matches this week and I’m pleased with what I saw. There is gradual progress in his game and in his results, and the Rotterdam 2017 event particularly yielded a couple of ‘first time’s for David : 1st time he has passed the first round there, after 3 earlier failed attempts, 1st time him beating Grigor Dimitrov after 3 former failed attempts at ATP level, and reaching his third ATP-final at the 500 level only to lose then to Tsonga like he already did in Basel 2014 and Tokyo 2016, respectively to Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios.
    Could David become a contender at ATP-1000 level or slam level ? I doubt it strongly, because he simply lacks the physique (the tennis-x staff once referred to him as ‘The Belgian wood sprite’).
    I’d like to see him winning titles at ATP-500 level though. We’ll see.
    More pertinent question : Could David become part of the ATP top 10 ?
    Some tennis-expert’s answer to this question, disclosed on his blog on oktober 20th 2014, after David’s loss to Roger Federer in Basel, goes like this :
    « Goffin has a pretty nice game but as I said in my last post he just doesn’t have the weapons to hurt Roger. I don’t see him ever being a top ten player either. Maybe he can hang around in the top 10 somewhere, although there are more and more young talent coming through ».
    http://theultimatetennisblog.com/federer-clinches-6th-basel-title-and-closes-in-on-year-end-number-one/
    Well, the facts already prove our tennis expert partly wrong: David is not just hanging around ‘somewhere’ in the top 30, but is clearly closing in on the top 10.
    What about the second part of his comment, the one about seeing David ever being a top 10 player ? Well, this assertion probably won’t hold true either, and I tell you why I believe so.

    Those who don’t like statistics better stop reading here and go back to the comfort of ignorance, because my argument is based on (personal) analysis of tennis ranking data.

    With the others I’d like to share some of that knowledge that I gradually gained by analyzing the statistics of the Emirates ATP rankings, because I believe they can put into perspective what it actually means to be ranked 10th, 9th, 8th in the Emirates ATP ranking system, or for that matter any rank in the top 10.
    In the analysis to which I am referring here, the first step is to collect – systematically and completely – all the ATP points totalized by players occupying spots nr. 8, nr. 9, nr. 10 etc… in the ‘Emirates ATP rankings, week by week, for all seasons in which the current calculation system was put into effect (2009 uptil today), and then put all this data in a spread sheet in a structured way (I actually did this exercise for every rank of the top 10, because I wanted to be able to recognize from these data so called ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ periods in tennis).
    This step results in a number of data sets each containing 425 values, i.e. a series for players occupying rank 8, one for players occupying spot nr. 9 , one for players ranked nr. 10 (425 = (52 weeks* 8) + 9 weeks for the current season).
    The second step is to rank these sets of values in ascending order and to determine the deciles, and the ‘mean’ and ‘average’ of these data sets.
    Here are the results of this operation for players ranked nr. 10 and nr. 9 in the world:
    Decile: Ranking Pts for players ranked nr 10 // Ranking Pts for players ranked nr. 9
    1st decile: 2,110 pts – 2,525 pts. // 2,335 pts – 2,715 pts;
    2d decile: 2,525 pts – 2,635 pts // 2,715 pts – 2,860 pts;
    3d decile: 2,640 pts – 2,725 pts // 2,875 pts – 2,985 pts;
    4d decile: 2,725 pts – 2,865 pts // 2,985 pts – 3,100 pts;
    5th decile: 2,865 pts – 2,915 pts // 3,105 pts – 3,180 pts;
    6th decile: 2,915 pts – 3,000 pts // 3,180 pts – 3,260 pts;
    7th decile: 3,000 pts – 3,100 pts // 3,260 pts – 3,300 pts;
    8th decile: 3,105 pts – 3,220 pts // 3,300 pts – 3?490 pts;
    9th decile: 3,220 pts – 3,450 pts // 3,490 pts – 3,710 pts;
    10th decile 3,450 pts – 4,145 pts // 3,735 pts – 4,510 pts.
    Average: 2,957 pts (rank 10) // 3,201 pts (rank 9)
    Let’s now proceed to the third step of the analysis and put David Goffin’s ranking in perspective.
    David Goffin currently occupies spot nr. 10 in the ATP rankings, having totalized 3,245 pts during the last 52 weeks (in his best 18 tourney results).
    Let’s first assume that David can keep his total ranking points at this level during a complete year. Well, provided that these results from the past represent a pretty reliable statistic to estimate the future, it can be concluded from these data that by totaling 3,245 points David will have – on average- about 80% chance of being ranked nr. 10 (because 3,245 pts is located in the 9th decile for players ranked nr. 10) , and slightly more than 50 % to be ranked nr. 9 (3,245 pts being located in the 6th decile for players ranked nr. 9), which in terms of weeks comes down to being ranked – on average – circa 40 weeks for nr. 10 and circa 27 weeks for nr.9.
    Let’s now assume his ranking points go back down to 2,750 points, which is the total ranking points he had at the start of the 2017 season, and assume that his points remain at that level.
    Well, in the series of 425 values for players ranked nr. 10, we find 138 items with lower ranking points than 2,750 pts ( i.e. all the values in the first 3 deciles, and part of the 4th decile), which comes down to a 33% probability (=138/425) being ranked nr. 10 (or in terms of weeks: about 13 weeks a year) when a player has only 2,750 pts in the ATP ranking system.
    By contrast in the series of 425 values for players ranked nr. 9, only 55 items have a value smaller than 2,750 pts, which corresponds with a 13% probability, or in terms of weeks, about 5 à 6 weeks.
    By way of illustration you find here the first ten values of the first decile from the set of players ranked nr. 10:
    Date ranking pts player
    2011.07.04 2,110 pts Andy Roddick
    2011.07.11 2,110 pts Andy Roddick
    2011.07.18 2,110 pts Andy Roddick
    2011.07.25 2,165 pts Nicolas Almagro
    2011.08.01 2,165 pts Nicolas Almagro
    2011.08.08 2,165 pts Nicolas Almagro
    2011.06.06 2,200 pts Andy Roddick
    2011.06.13 2,200 pts Andy Roddick
    2011.06.20 2,200 pts Andy Roddick
    2011.06.27 2,200 pts Andy Roddick

    and here the first ten values of the first decile from the set of players ranked nr. 9:
    2011.06.13 2,335 pts Mardy Fish
    2011.06.20 2,335 pts Mardy Fish
    2011.06.27 2,335 pts Mardy Fish
    2011.11.14 2,395 pts J. Tipsarevic
    2011.11.21 2,395 pts J. Tipsarevic
    2011.08.08 2,420 pts T. Berdych
    2011.08.15 2,420 pts T. Berdych
    2011.07.11 2,435 pts Mardy Fish
    2011.07.18 2,435 pts Mardy Fish
    2011.07.25 2,435 pts Mardy Fish

    The data above are clear evidence that the 2011 season was not particularly a strong top 10 season. These data imply also that all seasons are not the same in terms of strength of the top 10. David could well be ranked within the top 10 in the near future, but it will partly depend on the strength of his opponents in the top 10 and top 20 (as he doesn’t have a habit of losing to players outside the top 20).
    I’d like to end my contribution here with a positive, scintillating statement from our tennis expert’s post (click on the hyperlink mentioned earlier in my comment and read his post): ‘Let’s face it, the slams are the most important thing’.

    1. Wilfried, thanks for the comment. Nice to that Goffin’s play inspired some discussion!
      Been really busy, but I will respond more thoughtfully to your comment. Pretty interesting analysis.
      Thanks again.

      1. I could and would have written some thoughts on Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray etc.. as well, but my comment was already way too long, so I decided not to add anything else, which resulted in a one-sided comment centered on David Goffin. Sorry about that.

What say you?