Race vs ESP [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Race vs ESP

TheBoiledEgg
11-27-2002, 06:41 PM
That's Awfully Racy
Yes, folks, time for the Annual Comparison: Just how bad were the Race rankings?

In theory, the Race is supposed to predict the year-end Entry rankings. It fails in this, of course, because it's badly designed; it has no actual predictive aspect. It's just a report of what has happened so far, with no accounting for how many events a player has played (let alone a surface control.) The leader a week into the season almost certainly will not be the year-end #1, and even after a month or two, the predictive value of the Race is probably worse than just taking last year's entry rankings and repeating them.

But at least the final Race and Entry rankings agree, right?

Wrong.

Last year, the discrepancy reached all the way into the Top 15: Roger Federer ended the year #12 in the Race, but Goran Ivanisevic was #13 in the Entry Rankings.

Why? Challengers. And some pretty big players were in Challengers this year, including Top Ten player Jiri Novak, who played his local Challenger in Prostejov (losing in the final to Guillermo Coria). And a lot of players play non-Race-Countable events -- at the end of the year, when the two indoor Masters Series have 48-draws, you may see Top Fifty players playing Challengers.

So let's take a little look: Let's compare the Race and Ranking Top 100 this year. The following list shows all players who ended the ATP year in either the Race or Ranking Top 100 (there were 110 such players), with their final Race and Entry rankings, plus the difference between the two:


PLAYER............RACE..ENTRY...DIFF
Acasuso.............55.....41.....14
Agassi...............2......2......0
Arazi...............76.....89.....13
Arthurs.............48.....52......4
Bjorkman............45.....48......3
Blake...............28.....28......0
Boutter.............70.....78......8
Burgsmuller.........80.....77......3
Calleri.............47.....50......3
Canas...............15.....15......0
Carlsen.............65.....65......0
Chela...............23.....23......0
Clavet..............87....116.....29
Clement.............37.....38......1
Coria...............57.....45.....12
Corretja............19.....19......0
Costa................9......9......0
Davydenko...........89.....85......4
Delgado.............90....124.....34
Dent................56.....57......1
Di Pasquale........100.....98......2
Dupuis..............81.....71.....10
El Aynaoui..........22.....22......0
Enqvist.............42.....44......2
Escude..............34.....34......0
Federer..............6......6......0
Ferreira, W.........38.....39......1
Ferrer..............86.....59.....27
Ferrero..............4......4......0
Fish...............102.....81.....21
Gambill.............40.....42......2
Gaudenzi............94....122.....28
Gaudio..............21.....21......0
Golmard.............83....111.....28
Gonzalez............17.....18......1
Grosjean............16.....17......1
Haas................11.....11......0
Henman...............8......8......0
Hewitt...............1......1......0
Hipfl...............93....127.....34
Horna..............127.....79.....48
Hrbaty..............58.....51......7
Johansson...........14.....14......0
Kafelnikov..........27.....27......0
Kiefer..............66.....72......6
Koubek..............50.....54......4
Krajicek............84....112.....28
Kratochvil..........64.....69......5
Kucera..............74.....84.....10
Kuerten.............36.....37......1
Labadze............107.....92.....15
Lapentti............29.....29......0
Lee, H..............88.....91......3
Ljubicic............46.....49......3
Llodra..............92....103.....11
Lopez, F............62.....62......0
Malisse.............25.....25......0
Mantilla............51.....55......4
Martin, A...........60.....61......1
Martin, T...........44.....47......3
Massu...............53.....56......3
Mathieu.............39.....36......3
Meligeni............67.....75......8
Melzer.............101.....90.....11
Mirnyi..............41.....43......2
Montanes............73.....80......7
Morrison...........113.....99.....14
Moya.................5......5......0
Mutis..............235.....94....141
Nalbandian..........12.....12......0
Nieminen............43.....40......3
Norman, D..........154.....96.....58
Norman, M...........82....105.....23
Novak................7......7......0
Pavel...............26.....26......0
Philippoussis.......72.....83.....11
Pioline.............99....120.....21
Pless...............75.....74......1
Portas..............97.....87.....10
Rios................24.....24......0
Robredo.............30.....30......0
Rochus, O...........69.....64......5
Roddick.............10.....10......0
Rosset.............112.....93.....19
Rusedski............31.....31......0
Sa..................59.....66......7
Safin................3......3......0
Sampras.............13.....13......0
Sanchez.............71.....60.....11
Sanguinetti.........52.....46......6
Santoro.............35.....35......0
Saretta.............91.....88......3
Sargsian............85....100.....15
Savolt..............79.....95.....16
Schalken............20.....20......0
Schuettler..........33.....33......0
Sluiter.............96.....70.....26
Spadea..............78.....67.....11
Squillari...........77.....82......5
Srichaphan..........18.....16......2
Stepanek............61.....63......2
Ulihrach............68.....76......8
Vacek...............95....110.....15
Vahaly.............146.....97.....49
Verkerk............123.....86.....37
Vicente.............54.....58......4!
Voinea..............63.....68......5
Voltchkov...........98.....73.....25
Youzhny.............32.....32......0
Zabaleta............49.....53......4

The following players were in the Race Top 100 but not the Entry: Francisco Clavet, Ramon Delgado, Andrea Gaudenzi, Jerome Golmard, Markus Hipfl, Richard Krajicek, Michael Llodra, Magnus Norman, Cedric Pioline, Jan Vacek. (As you can probably tell, these players tend to be older or injured veterans who, because they were ranked high last year, were allowed to play more ATP events than their rankings would entitle them to.)

The following players were in the Entry Top 100 but not the Race: Mardy Fish, Luis Horna, Irakli Labadze, Jurgen Melzer, Jeff Morrison, Olivier Mutis, Dick Norman, Marc Rosset, Brian Vahaly, Martin Verkerk. (These, with exceptions like Rosset, are generally the inverse of the above: Young players who started the year ranked low and who therefore were blocked from playing ATP events until relatively late.)

But we don't have to stop merely with noting differences. Let's analyze (translate: Let's really rub in how stupid Race and Entry is).

First point: Of the Race Top 100, 66 have different Race and Entry Rankings. The differences don't make it to the Top Fifteen this year, but there are three differences in the Top 20: Sebastien Grosjean is #16 in the Race but #17 in the Rankings; Fernando Gonzalez is #17 in the Race, #18 in the Rankings; and Paradorn Srichaphan is a mere #18 in the Race but #16 in the Rankings. There are no other differences in the Top 35, but from #36 on down, only two players (#62 Feliciano Lopez and #65 Kenneth Carlsen) are the same in Race and Entry standings.

We note that these differences will affect the Australian Open seedings!

Second point: The differences between the two rankings can be extreme. Let's list the Top Five in terms of Most Thoroughly Divergent Rankings:


PLAYER............RACE..ENTRY...DIFF
Mutis..............235.....94....141
Norman, D..........154.....96.....58
Vahaly.............146.....97.....49
Horna..............127.....79.....48
Verkerk............123.....86.....37

Note that first one: Olivier Mutis's ranking is off by 250%!

Third point: We can total up the errors for all these players, and divide by the number of players. It turns out that the sum of the differences for our 110 players is 1026. That means the average ranking discrepancy is almost ten positions. And that's with all those players in the Top 35 whose rankings are the same. If we look at, say, the players from #51 to #100 in the Race (a better sample for our purposes), the difference is 570 -- a difference of 11.4 places per player! If we take players #51-#100 in the Entry rankings, things get even worse: The sum of the differences is 712, meaning that these players average a difference of over 14 positions between their Race and Entry rankings.

Fourth point: Without hitting you with all the math, we can look at percentage differences between Race and Entry. In our sample of 110, it turns out that there are seven players (Delgado, Hipfl, Golmard, Krajicek, Clavet, Gaudenzi, and Magnus Norman) whose Race standings are at least 20% less than their entry standings (the most extreme is Delgado; his #90 position in the Race is 27% less than his #124 spot in the Entry Rankings); there are fully eleven players (Mardy Fish, Guillermo Coria, Jose Acasuso, Vladimir Voltchkov, Raemon Sluiter, Martin Verkerk, David Ferrer, Brian Vahaly, Dick Norman, Luis Horna, and Olivier Mutis) whose Race standings are at least 25% higher than their Entry standings. Four of them -- Vahaly, Norman, Horna, and Mutis -- have Race standings that are 50% higher or worse.

In other words, more than 15% of players can expect their rankings to diverge by 20%. The average error is 11%, even counting in the Top 35 with their slight errors. If we again take only players #51-#101 in the Race, the average error is almost 14%.

We could go on, but we suspect you get the picture. What it comes down to is this: Unless you've been Top 50 all year, your Race and Entry points are unlikely to be the same (allowing for the 5:1 ratio of Entry to Race points), and even if you have been Top 50 all year, there is a fair likelihood that someone else, with Challenger points, will cause your standing under the two systems to diverge.

from Bob Larson's tennisnews

vaiva
11-27-2002, 08:53 PM
PLAYER............RACE..ENTRY...DIFF
Mutis..............235.....94....141 That's :eek:

But since there are no differences between the 2 systems in Top 10 and casual fans are not interested in who is below #3 or, maybe, below #10, there is no confusion here. They have this race designed for them.

Peope with deeper interest in tennis know how both systems work pretty well. They follow the entry system. So no confusion here as well.

Two different systems with different target groups. So what's the fuss about it?

Chloe le Bopper
11-27-2002, 10:32 PM
The fuss is to point out that the champions race has some rather obvious flaws.

I mean really - would it kill them to count fractions of points in order to count challengers so that these matched?

Do you really think a player aiming to get into the main draw of the Aussie Open is even looking at his race position?

TheBoiledEgg
11-28-2002, 04:18 PM
They just won't count the Challengers, just like on the WTA, they don't count those towards the chase race.

by counting fractions, those brain dead people will have a thankless job to do.