The ATP is Drunk

Not sure who exactly is in charge of what (marketing, draws, doing the laundry, etc.), but the ATP (is that Chris Kermode?) is a mess.

I’m just pointing to two things: that Next Gen opening ceremony disaster – how dumb was that?

Kermode_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqqVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwfSVWeZ_vEN7c6bHu2jJnT8But I have dumber: the Nitto ATP Finals group drawings. I said at the beginning that Nadal had an easier group, compared to Federer, but this is ridiculous.

Dimitrov just waxed (a depleted) Goffin 0 and 2. I seriously forgot who the fourth player of that group is for a second: oh yeah, Thiem, another depleted fellow.

Dimitrov had trouble with Thiem, so we’re not yet calling his tennis upper-class.

Meanwhile, the Becker group is large and in charge. We’ll see how this Zverev v Sock plays-out, but I don’t think you want to be playing Sock right now, unless your Roger. Is Sock’s break-through win against Cilic going to cost him? Will he be too “depleted” to put-up much of a fight against Sascha? That’s how this story goes with these ATP middle-class blokes. Keep riding high, Jack.

On the other hand, group Sampras (thanks for throwing shade at that esteemed name, ATP wonks) will likely offer up for the SF a seemingly in-form Dimitrov and a winner of Goffin v Thiem?  Carreno Busta is, of course, on the premises, but that group, to be clear, couldn’t be making my point more emphatic.

Pull your shit together, ATP.

13 thoughts on “The ATP is Drunk

  1. wilfried

    Players getting trashed in the ATP finals has happened in the past, happens today and will happen in the future. There is nothing new here under the sun as far as I’m concerned.
    Some examples from recent years :
    Federer vs Murray 0 and 1 in 56 minutes (RR ATP finals 2014) ;
    Djokovic vs Cilic 1 and 1 in 57 minutes (RR ATP finals 2014) ;
    Federer vs Nadal 0 and 3 in 61 minutes (RR ATP finals 2011) ;
    Djokovic vs Wawrinka in 3 and 0 in 65 minutes. (RR ATP finals 2014) ;
    Djokovic vs Nishikori in 1 and 1 in 65 minutes (RR ATP finals 2015) ;
    Djokovic vs Berdych 2 and 2 in 69 minutes (RR ATP finals 2014) ;
    Etc… I could go on for a lot longer list than the one I’m providing you.
    Goffin lost 0 and 2 in 74 minutes btw.
    As for the observation that one group is much easier than the other one, we don’t need to go back in time very far to find examples of factual disproportionality between the strength of both groups.
    For illustrative purposes lets have a brief look at the ATP Finals of 2014 and 2011.
    ATP finals 2011 : Djokovic, world number 1 at the end of 2011, is drawn in a group with nr. 3 Murray, nr. 5 Ferrer and nr. 7 Berdych. World number 2 Rafael Nadal is drawn in a group with nr. 4 Federer, nr. 6 Tsonga and nr. 8 Fish. Andy Murray withdraws after losing his first match in group 1 from Ferrer (similar to Nadal this year) and is replaced by nr. 9 Janko Tipsarevic. The latter manages to win one of his 2 matches, namely the one against his compatriot Novak Djokovic (who loses 2 of his RR matches and doens’t make it to the SF’s). Guess who is playing the final in 2011 ? Federer and Tsonga, respectively ranked nr. 4 and nr. 6, both from the second group !
    ATP finals 2014 : Djokovic beats his RR opponents quite easily (see data above), nevertheless, Wawrinka makes it to the semi finals of the event, where Roger Federer (from the other group) has to play 3 grueling sets to prevail over Stan in a third set tiebreaker, who lasted 2 hours and 48. Djokovic wins the final by W/O.
    Don’t know if there exist a solution to prevent it from happening.


    1. Matt

      I’m not talking only about the scoreline.

      But it shows how tanked Goffin is, with a bad knee, who played a match vs. a guy with a worse knee and the other guy in the group (Thiem) who for anyone paying any attention to the tour over the last several months knows is pretty much gassed at this point. 3/4 in the Sampras group struggling (VISIBLY) with less than competent tennis or decent health at this point.

      The other group is VISIBLY bigger and more physical. And healthier.

      Sure, you can find historical complications, etc., but we’re talking about a tone-deaf tour and these groupings are a disaster.

      Of course players are at their wits end in November. But this applies to 3/4 of that group with the one odd ball a guy who hasn’t exactly lit-up the tour this or any year.

      The other group? All kinds of much deeper talent.

      I never said this is unprecedented. Sorry.

      This is just weak. And there’s no disputing that.


  2. wilfried

    Disagree with the other group being more talented overall.
    Federer certainly is way more talented, but the other fellows of his group being more talented, well that is open to discussion imo. Depends on what you understand by talent.
    Cilic is not more talented than Goffin in my perception. His H2H vs. Goffin is negative (2-3).
    Sock is on the rise, but still has to confirm, which I think and hope he will do. His H2H versus tiny little Goffin is 0 – 3 btw.
    I agree with members of group Sampras at the moment physically struggling with their health to a more or less extent, depending on the player.
    Have no more time left to wirte today.


    1. Matt

      “Cilic is not more talented than Goffin in my perception. His H2H vs. Goffin is negative (2-3).”

      Are you kidding? The H2H is your strategy there?

      Cilic is an oddball, but his resume is a bit higher-end than the Belgian, I’m afraid.

      Here’s where I would go with this: if the ATP has their hands tied with world rankings/seeds, some kind of historical precedent/pattern that they must attend to, then maybe there’s isn’t much more to say, other than what a shame.

      2012-13 and 2016 groups went like this (seeds):
      1 3 5 7
      2 4 6 8

      2014-15 like this:
      1 3 6 8
      2 4 5 7

      2017 looks like this:
      1 4 6 7
      2 3 5 8

      So, they have some leeway here.
      On paper Becker is better, pound-for-pound.
      But as a legitimate tournament organizer, you should (if you are, at all, NOT a moronic, head-in-the-sand buffoon) consider the context, players’ health, other circumstances.

      If a news organization, blogger or even some fan on twitter has some inkling or insight or common sense suggesting that Nadal might not even make his first match, due to injury — you know, you watch tennis, see players pull-out of tournaments, discuss injury, etc., — that should be a factor for the ATP to consider (any tournament organizer).

      Same goes for Thiem who has been abysmal the second half of the year; Goffin almost snapped his leg in May, been injured, has come back in Asia, but apparently he too is nursing an injury. . . you have to take these things into consideration.

      So, on paper they’re lopsided (I would argue), but taking into consideration OTHER factors (which one should in order to ensure top-notch competition, etc.), Becker is, as I said, VISIBLY deeper, more dominant.

      There is no real set-in-stone pattern on the groupings. To say they are blind drawings is bullshit.

      If anything, this is unprecedented, the seedings/groups.
      And sure enough, since the tournament has been in London,
      there has never been a 1467 and 2358 draw.

      Well done, ATP.


      1. Utsav

        There were a few who predicted Nadal’s withdrawal. IIRC, Rusedski called it before the tourney started.


      2. wilfried

        I ain’t kidding.
        I write it like I see it, same as you.
        The other group all kinds of deeper talent, you write ?
        If Cilic, and Sock for that matter, are so much more talented than Goffin, why do they have such a hard time winning against him, the Belgian wood sprite ( in the description of tennis-x staff). It shouldn’t be such a problem for them, shouldn’t it ? Match-up perhaps ? Honestly, I wouldn’t have had any problem with them two being ‘drawn’ in the Sampras group with Goffin, but that’s just me I guess with my bias.
        By which I’m not saying he would have won against them.
        As for Cilic’s resume being better, sure it is a lot better at the moment. His career arch differs from Goffin’s, and he has been three more years on the tour too, with more confidence since winning his freaking US Open in 2014. But he is not as talented as the big four, like Goffin isn’t either.


      3. Matt

        You’ve made this about Goffin. That’s your own argument you can hash-out all by yourself.

        The Becker group is, objectively speaking, a much deeper, stronger group. It’s not even close. That you don’t see that is interesting, to say the least.

        It’s not about Goffin. Or is it.


  3. wilfried

    Fair enough if you think I’m making my argument about Goffin.
    I’ve been comparing a couple players of the Becker group with Goffin only because I know David Goffin a bit better than the other players, that’s all.
    Cilic won only 1 out of 9 RR-matches he played in the context of 3 Nitto ATP finals !
    This is not particularly a splendid record if you ask me.
    Admittedly perhaps in a strange way, what I’ve been trying to get across among other things is also the perception / view that a loss is just another loss, and nothing more, and that in the end the severeness of the score is of minor importance.
    Wether you lose or win is what matters.


    1. Matt

      No one is arguing scoreline, which I clarified yesterday.
      I guess you missed too the discussion of seeds/groups.
      These are bizarre groups for a few different reasons; they make very little sense
      to someone who pays attention to the tour.
      I already went over this.


  4. wilfried

    I’ve not been analyzing the draws yet nor the rules by which they are made, so can’t really comment on that aspect. I can see, like everyone else, that the big hitters are to be found in the Becker group, but whether this is a coïncidence or the result of manipulation is hard to say.
    It doesn’t matter that much to me anyway.
    As for the scorelines, sure you don’t argue about scorelines, but you mention them in a particular way to get certain points across with which I don’t necessarily agree.
    You have your opinion, I’ve mine. We agree to disagree, based on different types of knowledge
    I haven’t seen as much tennis as you have, and I I haven’t been contacted by betting sides either, like you apparently have been.
    So I guess I better keep my views for myself, and don’t write at all about the stuff that I think might be important, and that in the end are not easy to explain.


    1. Matt

      I said the groups are lopsided. You disagreed.

      Nadal (out), Thiem, Dimitrov, Goffin, Busta
      Federer, Zverev, Cilic, Sock

      The eye test and some basic context (involving one watching tennis this year)
      underscores my “opinion.”

      You disagree. Fine.

      But making this about Goffin and now my being
      “contacted by betting sides” renders this all a moot point.

      And furthermore, you’re going to keep your ideas to yourself.
      This one got away from you, Wilfried.


  5. Wouldn’t be interested to know what everyone’s thoughts were on how to prevent the Top players from getting injured so often. From a fan perspective it’s great to have so much Tennis to watch both ATP and WTA. However it is effecting the game.


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