Indicator of the depth of the field?

05-25-2010, 11:33 AM
There have been a lot of talk about if the depth of the field is greater now than what it was some 20-30 years ago. But is that really the case?
I thought one way of measuring it would be to count the results going according to ranking at every slam played during the open era.
During a slam 127 matches are played (assuming noone retires). If most of the matches goes according to ranking, one could assume the depth isn´t very good and vice versa.

Now I´m too lazy to look for stats myself, sorry! But if anyone is interested looking for stats, please write them here and the percentage of matches going according to rankings in slams during the open era.


05-25-2010, 11:43 AM
Since (and including) 2000, there have been 29,798 ATP matches and 19,352 have been won by the higher ranked player. That's 64.94%. Give me some more time and I'll give you year by year statistics and Grand Slams only.


Feel free to put these stats in your opening post. Unfortunately, I can't seem to attach the excel file of matches I am using, but I got all this data from ( and just did some copying and pasting and formulae to get the result.

05-25-2010, 11:53 AM
Not surprisingly, in Grand Slams the percentage is higher. Since 2000, 3668 of the 5207 Grand Slam matches have been won by the higher ranked player, that's 70.44%.

There has been an upwards trend in recent years (still only Grand Slams):

Year %Won by Higher Ranked Player
2000 68.3
2001 69.1
2002 67.7
2003 69.7
2004 67.7
2005 70.9
2006 70.7
2007 73.4
2008 71.3
2009 74.4
2010 77.2

05-25-2010, 11:54 AM
Thanks StatRacket, I´ll update the first post if this thread generates enough interest!

05-25-2010, 05:27 PM
There is something not quite right with this statistic but I can't put my finger on it. It's not clear what is meant by "depth".

Let me give my intuition. Let's say the average ranking of the players in the QFs in 2010 is 10, and the average ranking of the players in the QFs in 1990 is 20. At first glance we might say, yes there was more depth in 1990 but this is not necessarily true. The question is, how many of the players have a realistic chance of winning the title?
It might be reasonable to say that the lower the average, the more people have a realistic chance of winning the title. So there is more depth in the playing field in 2010 than in 1990.

The interpretation of this not really clear.

Why do I bring up the average ranking here? This statistic is an indicator for the average ranking in later rounds (we can expect that the higher the percentage, the lower the average).

I have no ideas for a better statistic though.

05-25-2010, 05:49 PM
Well this stat can´t be used to determine the overall strength of the field during a certain time. It only shows to some degree the difference between say an average top 10 player and an average top 100 player at a certain time. So it might be wrong to talk about depth here.

I´m a bit surprized to find out that the percentage has been rising between 2000 - 2010. That would suggest that the difference between the top and one´s ranked lower is bigger. But of course that doesn´t automatically mean that the top 100 player of today is worse than the top 100 player 10 years ago.