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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

Interesting research and article "The Retiring Type" by Gavin Versi of Tennis.com which compiles the stats on which top 20 players tend to retire when they are losing and which ones will play on so that their opponents can count a legitimate win. As the thread title shows, Haas leads the ATP group. Click on the link for the whole list and the article which talks about the logic of whether to play or not to play.

article
http://www.tennis.com/features/gener....aspx?id=70254

stats
http://www.tennis.com/features/gener....aspx?id=70246

Last edited by Margy; 03-21-2007 at 03:18 AM.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 03:20 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

Those stats are pretty suspect to me. Matches where a player was less than 2 games behind not counted. in best of 5, only matches where a player was 2 sets down was counted.

Seems pretty suspect. It also doesn't take into account the different kinds of retirement (aka, where a player came into a match with an injury already, where a player started having physical or breathing problems during the match, where a player had a sudden injury like badly twisting an ankle/knee and were told by the trainer to retire), etc. It also doesn't take into account where a player got hurt during a match and tried to play on for a few games and only retired after realizing that was not going to be possible.

I mean, too many variables for me to make those stats meaningful. I can think of several players who have gotten hurt really badly in a match - to expect them to play on would be ridiculous - and some of those same players have completed matches while hurt not as badly. I know that Andy's 'threshold' so to speak is if the trainer tells him it would get worse by continuing to play. If yes, he doesn't risk it - if no, he risks it.

Maybe those who haven't retired much are lucky enough to never have injured themselves that badly during a match. I mean, I don't remember ever seeing Fed or Blake fall and twist an ankle mid-match. Also you have guys who are simply injury prone, have certain types of physical problems etc., and continuing to play would actually put their health and career in danger.

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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 04:43 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

Players with the best records for not retiring when losing include those who are generally well-regarded for their competitive fairness and sportsmanship. Among the men, Roger Federer and James Blake have never quit while behind in a match.

“I’m not surprised that Federer and Blake have never retired,” said Lloyd. “It’s kind of an old school mentality – you don’t ‘deef’ [default]. I think it’s the champion’s mentality. You’ve got to be a champion enough to know that you take it like a man and give the player the satisfaction that they beat you, whether you were injured or not.”
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 04:50 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

If you're not injured there's no reason to retire is there? When's the last time Fed or Blake played with injury? Fed in Shanghai maybe, but he didn't get injured during a match. He was coming off injury going into the tournament and he made the choice to play.

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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:07 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Originally Posted by mirkaland View Post
If you're not injured there's no reason to retire is there? When's the last time Fed or Blake played with injury? Fed in Shanghai maybe, but he didn't get injured during a match. He was coming off injury going into the tournament and he made the choice to play.
That's what I was trying to say. For all the times someone like Haas may have retired with injury, those "stats" fail to mention how many times he kept playing with injury? Still flawed, but a somewhat more telling stat would at least be a comparison of how many times a player has played through an injury and retired? I mean you just have some guys that are more injury-prone (Haas being one of them for that matter), so they are going to get hurt mid-match more. I mean, I guess the only player I really follow closely enough is Andy, but the times he has played through injury even when he maybe shouldn't have by far outweighs his retirements. And I would guess Haas's might too.

You also have a thing like Haas had a major major injury. I can see that he would be more apprehensive to keep playing than maybe someone who hasn't had that experience.

I dunno, something about this whole thing just really bothers me. They're passing this stuff off as important and relevant and leaving out so many important factors. And moreover, they're using it to suggest judgments about how fair or how classy a competitor a player is. Since they chided Haas about his # being the highest, I will merely point out that all you had to do is see how he reacted when Murray got hurt last week and you can't possibly question the kind of sportsman Haas is, regardless of how many times he has retired while losing

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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:11 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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That's what I was trying to say. For all the times someone like Haas may have retired with injury, those "stats" fail to mention how many times he kept playing with injury? Still flawed, but a somewhat more telling stat would at least be a comparison of how many times a player has played through an injury and retired? I mean you just have some guys that are more injury-prone (Haas being one of them for that matter), so they are going to get hurt mid-match more. I mean, I guess the only player I really follow closely enough is Andy, but the times he has played through injury even when he maybe shouldn't have by far outweighs his retirements. And I would guess Haas's might too.

You also have a thing like Haas had a major major injury. I can see that he would be more apprehensive to keep playing than maybe someone who hasn't had that experience.

I dunno, something about this whole thing just really bothers me. They're passing this stuff off as important and relevant and leaving out so many important factors. And moreover, they're using it to suggest judgments about how fair or how classy a competitor a player is. Since they chided Haas about his # being the highest, I will merely point out that all you had to do is see how he reacted when Murray got hurt last week and you can't possibly question the kind of sportsman Haas is, regardless of how many times he has retired while losing
Thank you, Deb. Haas once kept playing through shoulder pain and ended up needing two sugeries and a lengthy injury timeout, and now he tends to err on the side of "OMG a hangnail, must be careful! " And yes, Haas is prone to freak injuries like coming down on stray tennis balls while serving.

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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:18 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

Add that Haas injured his ankle while warming up in Wimbledon and his ankle was swollen like a tennis ball but he still tried to play and retired at 2-6 1-2. This tells how good the above stats are.

And yes, according to the criteria, that match is included in the stat.
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Thank you, Deb. Haas once kept playing through shoulder pain and ended up needing two sugeries and a lengthy injury timeout, and now he tends to err on the side of "OMG a hangnail, must be careful! " And yes, Haas is prone to freak injuries like coming down on stray tennis balls while serving.
Exactly, and you can't blame him. I think if you talk to most of these guys, they will say that it depends on what the trainer says. If the trainer says they won't make it worse, they'll keep playing. But if a guy falls and sprains his ankle and continuing to play might make a week or two injury turn into a thing that could require months off or surgery, the guy would have to be nuts to keep going. i can think of so many times when Andy alone continued to play through an injury, and several times even won, that it's impossible not to question the value of those #s

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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:25 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

Interesting stats. Neely had a Retirement Statistics thread recently. I asked Neely exactly this question (which is what leads me to believe that Neely=Gavin Versi)
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:32 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Originally Posted by Lee View Post
Add that Haas injured his ankle while warming up in Wimbledon and his ankle was swollen like a tennis ball but he still tried to play and retired at 2-6 1-2. This tells how good the above stats are.

And yes, according to the criteria, that match is included in the stat.
We were lucky enough to see the footage of that during IW.

Poor Tommy's swollen ankle and Sampras hurling during the USO are destined to be shown again and again...
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:32 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Add that Haas injured his ankle while warming up in Wimbledon and his ankle was swollen like a tennis ball but he still tried to play and retired at 2-6 1-2.
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Originally Posted by Deb!. View Post
Seems pretty suspect. It also doesn't take into account the different kinds of retirement (aka, where a player came into a match with an injury already, where a player started having physical or breathing problems during the match, where a player had a sudden injury like badly twisting an ankle/knee and were told by the trainer to retire), etc. .
Why would a player who came into a match with injury be found to retire consistently when behind? If it is always due to injury, or injury-proneness, then you should see that it happens to a player as much when he is ahead as when is behind. Sure, you can argue that the injury aggravates during a match he is behind in, so that he has to retire. It can happen, 3, 4, 5 times (Haas in Wimbledon is surely one). But when it happens 11 times that you retire when you are behind, there seems really nothing suspect about the data to me.

You have an injury, you had a few chances to win despite it but weren't able to capitalize. And now you have like 2 games before the match is over in which to equalize and overtake the opponent. What should a reasonable player who does not want to risk aggravation with no benefit in sight (of getting ahead, winning the match) do? Only those with supreme belief about neutralizing their possible injury, and reversing a 1-6 1-5 deficit might continue.
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Why would a player who came into a match with injury be found to retire consistently when behind? If it is always due to injury, or injury-proneness, then you should see that it happens to a player as much when he is ahead as when is behind.
Just for the sake of argument, if you come into a match with an injury, you're more likely to fall behind than otherwise. If you are both losing and risking further damage to your body, there's little incentive to continue, while if you stand to gain points and prize money while risking further damage, you're more likely to play through it, wisely or unwisely.

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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:40 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Why would a player who came into a match with injury be found to retire consistently when behind? If it is always due to injury, or injury-proneness, then you should see that it happens to a player as much when he is ahead as when is behind. Sure, you can argue that the injury aggravates during a match he is behind in, so that he has to retire. It can happen, 3, 4, 5 times. But when it happens 11 times that you retire when you are behind, there seems really nothing suspect about the data to me.

You have an injury, you had a few chances to win despite it but weren't able to capitalize. And now you have like 2 games before the match is over in which to equalize and overtake the opponent. What should a reasonable player who does not want to risk aggravation with no benefit in sight (of getting ahead) do?
Because these guys are competitive, they want to play if they at all can, so they might play a match, like Ljubicic did against Nalby, just in case they might be able to win. And then at the point they get far down, that's when they realize they can't, or maybe it's coincidental that that's when they aggravate the injury? Like Ljubicic said, if he had gone down a break in the 2nd, he would have retired, but he felt like as long as he could keep hanging on that he'd continue to play. He managed to win. I know that Andy has done the same thing (when he beat Ferrer saving MPs in Paris a couple years ago comes to mind)

I just have a problem with the fact that they are lumping all these kinds of retirements together to make generalizations about it. A guy who comes into the match with a perhaps healing-but-not-quite-completely-healed injury who retires down 1-5 in the first when he realizes that the ankle is not going to make it through the end of the match is going to be lumped into the same category as a guy who retires down 1-6 1-4, at least that's how it seems from the explanation... and i have a problem with that.

Just for an example of one i can think of at the top of my head. You have Andy who hurt his ankle badly at Dusseldorf. he does everything in his power to try to play RG, but he goes down 2 sets and a break and can barely move and sits down talking to the trainer crying, and decides to retire. Do you really think he retired b/c he's a bad sport, or because the trainer tells him he could injure his ankle even further and he knows damn well there's no way he can't come back to win with a bum ankle (mind you, he reinjured it late in the year and DID finish the match where he reinjured it, but was out the next 2 weeks ).

It's the generalizations and ignoring so many relevant facts that bother me.

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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:47 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Just for the sake of argument, if you come into a match with an injury, you're more likely to fall behind than otherwise. If you are both losing and risking further damage to your body, there's little incentive to continue, while if you stand to gain points and prize money while risking further damage, you're more likely to play through it, wisely or unwisely.
Isn't that the author's point?
I think that's precisely the author's point -- retiring while within a whisper of losing, because you have little incentive to continue for points or for aggravating an injury or for whatever other reason.

These same players have shown that they are man enough to lose with breadsticks and bagels. So that is not at issue here. They know that 1 more game and the match is over 6-1 6-0 instead of 6-1 5-0 ret. They can not run, they can serve slow, they can do a lot of things to close out the match without contest if it is really that close. Not always --sometimes the injury is debilitating. But often the retiree walks off court with minor problems.
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 05:55 AM
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Re: Haas leads top ATP players in retirements while losing

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Sure, you can argue that the injury aggravates during a match he is behind in, so that he has to retire. It can happen, 3, 4, 5 times (Haas in Wimbledon is surely one). But when it happens 11 times that you retire when you are behind, there seems really nothing suspect about the data to me.
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Just for an example of one i can think of at the top of my head. You have Andy who hurt his ankle badly at Dusseldorf. he does everything in his power to try to play RG, but he goes down 2 sets and a break and can barely move and sits down talking to the trainer crying, and decides to retire. Do you really think he retired b/c he's a bad sport, or because the trainer tells him he could injure his ankle even further and he knows damn well there's no way he can't come back to win with a bum ankle (mind you, he reinjured it late in the year and DID finish the match where he reinjured it, but was out the next 2 weeks ).

It's the generalizations and ignoring so many relevant facts that bother me.

As I said, retirements while losing and truly injured to the point where you have to be wheelchaired out of the stadium do happen. On the opposite end is Mathieu, up 2 sets and ahead in the third set TB within 2 points of winning in Melbourne. Surely no one thinks that he feigned his injury because he was too shy to contest the next round.

How can you separate that in the data from retirements consistently when down? Retirements truly due to debilitating injury or high risk of aggravation happens a lot, and Haas maybe 4, 5 times has experienced it. But 11 times out of 12 when he is down? In some instances within a game of completing a proper loss --well, as the author points out, you have to read between the lines.

Was it truly not possible for Haas, losing 4-6, 0-5 to complete one more game, serve under arm, not run perhaps? Maybe in some cases like at Wimbledon it truly was not. But when there is a wealth of other data which suggest a pattern it is hard not to see it.

This does not make him less of a player btw in my view, it is his prerogative. But as a fan of tennis, as a viewer, and often as a paying spectator, it would be nice to be assured that retirements are truly because the player is not resting his ankle in case of injury before next week's Slam.
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