Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?] - MensTennisForums.com
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

Well, since 7/8 seeds made it to RG once again in a Grand Slam, it was time for me to look deep into Open Era statistics, and so I did. I wanted to see the way seeds 1-16 lived up to their seeding in all the Grand Slam tournaments of the Open Era, so I compiled this list, which will be updated periodically.

For every Slam I counted the R16 and up seed pass-through count and weighted them for a score. The QF seeds are the main points because it is the perfect balance between highest rated players in the draw and count (chance of taking them all out). R16 counts as half because seeds 9-16 aren't as valuable, and SF seeds count as half as well because of the higher probability of them all making it to the semifinals. F [1-2] count as 1/4 and W [1] as 1/8. AO has half value while having 64 players or less, so it only becomes on par with the others after 1982. For every Slam a score was created and you can see a correlation with different time periods (like for instance, the 90s has very few Slams getting above 1.000, whilst AO 2017 was the first tournament under 1.000 since 2008. I can see a correlation with the Weak/Strong Era arguments, but I won't help myself to a conclusion yet, rather let MTF sic into this data and cast their opinions. I'm sure that some of the posters here can make some strong arguments now, but please do not fall into fan wars.

GS SEED POWER

P.S.: Anyone who wants to make a chart of it, please do so, I am going to be a bit busy for the next few days.

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Last edited by Slasher1985; 06-06-2017 at 02:03 PM.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:07 PM
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Without having looked at the data yet, I think there will be the usual unresolvable issue: if the top players are dominant, is that a sign of a weak or a strong era? Both interpretations make sense, dominance can be caused by unusual strength of the dominant or by general weakness of the field.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

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Originally Posted by Martin12 View Post
Without having looked at the data yet, I think there will be the usual unresolvable issue: if the top players are dominant, is that a sign of a weak or a strong era? Both interpretations make sense, dominance can be caused by unusual strength of the dominant or by general weakness of the field.
Depends how you look at it really. Eras can hardly be compared. To some, a low score here will mean more value because of the larger number of upsets, to others a strong era is one in which the best 8 players in the world (or highest rated 8 in a tournament) are difficult to defeat by the rest of the field. To each their own, but you'll definitely see significant trend differences between 1997-2004 and 2005-2016.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:28 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

Nice stats, very good effort. An average or something would be nice. For reference:
8/16, 4/8, 2/4, 1/2, 1/1 (so half of players are the appropriate seeded players, and the #1 wins) would result in 1.25 as score.

Hard to draw actual conclusions from this, but for example 2000-2003 ish seems pretty 'weak' which might be true. Also lol at AO99.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:30 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]



Or by average 5 year trends:

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Last edited by MWW; 06-06-2017 at 03:49 PM.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:30 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

I assume the green cells are seeded players. USO '13 and W '13 have both seeded finalists, yet the winners' cells weren't marked green. Couple other finals follow the same pattern. Mistake or something else?
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

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Originally Posted by Miro86 View Post
I assume the green cells are seeded players. USO '13 and W '13 have both seeded finalists, yet the winners' cells weren't marked green. Couple other finals follow the same pattern. Mistake or something else?
The expected seeds must be there. A final expects seeds 1 and 2, while the winner is expected to be the top seed, in order for the seeding to be fulfilled. Both W 13 and U 13 were won by the second seed, so no green for the W block there.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:37 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

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I assume the green cells are seeded players. USO '13 and W '13 have both seeded finalists, yet the winners' cells weren't marked green. Couple other finals follow the same pattern. Mistake or something else?
Only if #1 seed wins it counts for the W cat (and only #1/2 seeds count for F, 1/2/3/4 for SF etc).
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:38 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

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Originally Posted by Slasher1985 View Post
The expected seeds must be there. A final expects seeds 1 and 2, while the winner is expected to be the top seed, in order for the seeding to be fulfilled. Both W 13 and U 13 were won by the second seed, so no green for the W block there.
Ooh, that's a clever system.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:39 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

I also have it slam by slam







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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:45 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

When I'm going home I'm gonna play around with the list. Should be fun.
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

Impressive there @MWW , thanks.

From the slam by slam trends, we can clearly see AO's continued rise (peaking during Djokovic times), RG's instability between 1987 and 2005 (between Lendl and Nadal), Wimbledon's stability and the USO's steady rise to a peak in 2012 and drop ever since. Again, not value wise, rather more like players giving importance to the respective Slam, can we associate that with weak/strong era, is debatable.

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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:46 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

Moreover should you compare hard court slams (I use HC but USO and AO may have been clay or grass for part of 70s), pre open era through the early half of the 80s, the AO was much weaker compared to USO but has caught up considerably in recent times.



Now the next interesting thing: W vs RG. note that RG is high on average up till 1988, when it became very much a domain for clay court specialists, and then lifted through the second half of 2000s to the present thanks to the big 4 playing better there, and overall surface selectivity diminishing
BTW @Slasher1985 I noticed the inconspicuous '0' there for W 1973. Explain the 'boycott' please


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Last edited by MWW; 06-06-2017 at 02:53 PM.
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:48 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

Nice job presenting some interesting stats to consider.

It'd be fairly easy to check which GS tournament has the highest average value here, which would show the tournament where the seedings are most likely to translate into results. Instinctively you would think one of the hard court slams, at least in recent times, would be highest in that regard, as the rankings are more likely to reflect capability on that surface than on clay or grass (Wimbledon seeding formula wouldn't do enough to offset the fact that rankings rely much more on hard and even clay).

Looking at the plot posted by @MWW and it looks as though AO tends to be highest which might fit that... but only in recent years. The AO shows a markedly different trend than the other three slams, with much lower seed strength in the 70s before it eventually catches up and looks to follow the overall slam trend from the mid-80s onward. It seems to me this would coincide with the status of AO as a "must-play" tournament increasing, and the greater participation rate of top players compared to in the early 70s.

(Incidentally, if it is the case that the AO's movement from low seed strength to high seed strength coincides with the increased participation of top players, that might tell us something about whether high seed strength is more likely to be associated with stronger fields or weaker ones... ).

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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 02:52 PM
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Re: Strength of Grand Slam seeds since 1968 [Possible link to Strength of Eras?]

It's not like I'm pretending to say the truth, but I'm honestly tired of this boring era. Yes, Federer and Nadal disputing for AO was beautiful. Yes, sometimes TOP guys contribute for epic world-class matches which no one could ever match. But watching the same old men winning and winning again gets too repetitive.

One winner is ok, pre-Federer and Federer era (not only because I love Roger) was nice because of the constant change-ups which made the slams unpredictable and interesting to watch, even if there is only one guy winning. But when there are QFs which I saw thousands of times, this start to get on my nerves. I almost desire for the TOP 4 (except Roger, but that's got to be my bias, so not counting) to retire and open the space for the new generation which is worse than those legends and which will open the space to floaters to make some wonderful stories.

Last two years were actually better when the 2010 or 2011 for example, we saw more variety, so we're heading in the direction I want (not stating it is right or wrong). We need the stronger and deeper field also. TOP players are better now than in the beginning of the century but the general field is pathetic. They can't back up the upset at all.

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nadal is the worst player ever he was 2 points away from winning he should retire he is ugly and i am going to sleep bye rafael nash!t i hate ur existence
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