TMC: past history of clowns at the Champs

11-10-2006, 02:30 PM
Patsy, Patsy, Who's Got the Patsy?
Like it or hate it, one effect of the round robin format is that you can't get rid of anybody. Barring a severe injury that causes someone to withdraw, a loss doesn't eliminate a player.

It was Elena Dementieva's performance at Madrid that set us thinking about this, but really, the sense is that the patsy is more common on the men's side than the women's -- the men have more clay, and more clay specialists. We can name lots of surface specialists on the women's side, but few of them are top players. Even Dementieva is an all-surface (well, all-surface-except-grass) player; she just seems to have a year-end jinx.

We can't really look for patsies on the women's side; they haven't been playing round robins long enough. But the men have a long history to work on. Let's look back on fifteen years and look for patsies. Our definition of a patsy is simple: A patsy is someone who goes 0-3 in round robin play. An extreme patsy is one who fails even to win a set. So here are the results over the years:

1991: Frankfurt:
Patsies: Novacek (won one set)
Extreme Patsies: Stich

1992: Frankfurt
Patsies: Chang (won one set), Korda (won one set)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

1993: Frankfurt
Patsies: Bruguera (won one set), Courier (won one set)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

1994: Frankfurt
Patsies: Ivanisevic (won one set)
Extreme Patsies: Berasategui

1995: Frankfurt
Patsies: Muster (won three sets), Kafelnikov (won one set)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

1996: Hannover
Patsies: --NONE-- (Agassi was 0-1 then withdrew)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

1997: Hannover
Patsies: --NONE-- (Rusedski and Bruguera were 0-2, Muster was 0-1)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

1998: Hannover
Patsies: Kucera (won two sets) (Costa was 0-2; Agassi and Rios were 0-1)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

1999: Hannover
Extreme Patsies: Lapentti

2000: Lisbon
Patsies: M. Norman (won one set)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

2001: Sydney
Patsies: Kuerten (won two sets)
Extreme Patsies: Rafter

2002: Shanghai
Patsies: Safin (won two sets) (Agassi was 0-2, T. Johansson was 0-1)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

2003: Houston
Patsies: Ferrero (won one set)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

2004: Houston
Extreme Patsies: Gaudio, Coria

2005: Shanghai
Patsies: Coria, Puerta (Agassi was 0-1)
Extreme Patsies: --NONE--

The total score: in 15 years, we had 20 patsies. The list, in alphabetical rather than chronological order:

Berasategui 1994, Bruguera 1993, Chang 1992, Coria 2004, Coria 2005, Courier 1993, Ferrero 2003, Gaudio 2004, Ivanisevic 1994, Kafelnikov 1995, Korda 1992, Kuerten 2001, Lapentti 1999, Muster 1995, Norman 2000, Novacek 1991, Puerta 2005, Rafter 2001, Safin 2002, Stich 1991

Thus only one player has been a repeat patsy: Coria. But there is more. Of our twenty patsies, there were seven extreme patsies. That list, in alphabetical order:

Berasategui 1994, Coria 2004, Coria 2005, Gaudio 2004, Puerta 2005, Rafter 2001, Stich 1991

This list reveals two things. First, Coria was not only the only two-time patsy, but he was a two-time extreme patsy.

What's more, if we look at the seven instances of extreme patsies, five -- Berasategui, Coria twice, Gaudio, and Puerta -- were absolute and complete clay specialists.

There is no obvious cure for this; it's not the Grand Slam wildcard messing things up, since only Gaudio ever won Roland Garros. And it's not too bad when there are two patsies, one in each group, since they balance out. But it's most unfortunate when one patsy really throws off one side of the draw.

Fortunately that appears unlikely to happen at this year's Masters Cup; all the players have at least some results on faster surfaces. On the flip side, there are three players whose best surface is probably clay -- and they're all in one group.

We'll have to see what that does to the Patsy Statistics.

11-10-2006, 02:31 PM
Agassi would have had plenty of 0-3 he is just gutless and withdraws which is even worse than going 0-3

11-10-2006, 02:55 PM
Agassi would have had plenty of 0-3 he is just gutless and withdraws which is even worse than going 0-3

Yeah, and I'm a bit surprised about that...
Regarding Rafter, I think he was not in a good shape in 2001 shoulder-wise but wanted to play the masters in front of his home-crowd, which is again a proof of his big heart...