Best bet for a player to get a title - clay?

09-18-2006, 08:55 PM
It was the thread on players winning their first title that started off this bit of analysis. I looked at the top ten’s first 3 titles:

Federer (41) Milan, Sydney, Hamburg TMS
Nadal (17) Sopot, Acapulco, Costa do Sauipe
Lubjicic (5) Lyon, Vienna, Metz
Nalbandian (5) Estoril, Basel, Munich
Davydenko (8) Adelaide, Estoril, Munich
Roddick (21) Atlanta (clay and now N/A), Houston, Washington
Robredo (4) Sopot, Barcelona, Hamburg TMS
Baghdatis (1) Beijing
Blake (6) Washington, New Haven, Stockholm
Stepanek (1) Rotterdam

There are 26 titles here and 50% are clay. Now does that mean that there are more mickey mouse tournaments on clay, so an up and coming player, wanting a first, second or third title, should play those? Or am I making this a bit simplistic :(

09-18-2006, 09:19 PM
Clay and hardcourt (also counting indoor hardcourt) have by far the most events, does that help?

So it's naturally very seldom a player's first ATP title is coming on grass like Gasquet did it ;)

09-18-2006, 09:31 PM
Only 4 of those players had their first ever title on clay, and you can't call Estoril a mickey mouse event considering Nalbandian beat Ferrero and Moya among others to win that title in 2002.

It's worth noting BTW that Adelaide was an astoundingly weak field when Davydenko won it in 2003 - he defeated the big Vs, Voinea in the semis and Vliegen in the final. Back then he wouldn't have stood a chance against stronger Top 40 competition, it's a very different scenario nowadays of course.

Rotterdam this year when Stepanek won was also quite possibly the weakest it's ever been, considering how high-quality the field usually is; ironically his biggest scalp that week was Davydenko. And from that list, I believe Federer's road to the Milan title in 2001 was not the strongest; he did have to face Ivanisevic indoors, pre-Wimbledon comeback, but the one big name he beat was Kafelnikov, against whom he admittedly had a losing record.

So surface and mickey mouse status isn't as simple a correlation as one might think. ;)