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Old 04-03-2013, 12:02 PM   #61
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

As for the Delpo + Berdych vs Ferrer debates, take their results at Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid & Roland Garros from the past 2 years to make a comparison (ignoring 250s and 500s because it takes up too much time and it would inspire fewer quips of "vulture"):

2011 Monte Carlo:
Berdych beats Rochus, loses to Ljubicic in 3rd Round
Ferrer beats F. Lopez, Raonic, Troicki and Melzer, loses to Nadal in final

2011 Madrid:
Del Potro beats Starace and Cilic, withdraws before playing Nadal in third round
Berdych beats Granollers and Monaco, loses to Bellucci in quarter finals
Ferrer beats Mannarino and Stakhovsky, loses to Djokovic in quarter finals

2011 Rome:
Berdych beats Monaco and Nieminen, loses to Gasquet in quarter finals.

2011 French Open:
Berdych loses to Robert in first round
Del Potro beats Karlovic and Kavcic, loses to Djokovic in third round
Ferrer beats Nieminen, Benneteau and Stakhovsky, loses to Monfils in fourth round


2012 Monte Carlo:
Ferrer loses to Bellucci in second round
Berdych beats Cilic, Nishikori and Murray, loses to Djokovic in semi finals

2012 Madrid:
Ferrer beats Stepanek and Almagro, loses to Federer in quarter finals
Del Potro beats Mayer, Youzhny, Cilic and Dolgopolov, loses to Berdych in semi finals
Berdych beats Anderson, Monfils, Verdasco, Del Potro, loses to Federer in final

2012 Rome:
Del Potro beats Llodra and Youzhny, loses to Tsonga in third round
Ferrer beats Verdasco, Simon and Gasquet, loses to Nadal in semi finals
Berdych beats Kubot and Almagro, loses to Nadal in quarter finals

2012 French Open:
Berdych beats Sela, Llodra and Anderson, loses to Del Potro in fourth round
Del Potro beats Montanes, Roger-Vasselin, Cilic and Berdych, loses to Federer in quarter finals
Ferrer beats Lacko, Paire, Youzhny, Granollers and Almagro, loses to Nadal in semi finals

In the past couple years Berdych and Del Potro have beaten each other once, and Ferrer beat Del Potro in the Davis Cup final, Berdych and Ferrer haven't played each other on clay for several years.

Make of that what you will.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:08 PM   #62
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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Better level of play is vastly different from ranking points. As a Djokovic fan, you should know this better than most as he kept a top 4 ranking for like a year without beating any top 10 player for 10 months in 2010, ahead of players who were getting much bigger wins simply because his seeding allowed him to - he could afford to play at #8-10 level and still be top 4. The seeding system in tennis is ridiculously protective of top players, more so than in any other sport, and does generate a lot of situations where level of play is not reflected in the rankings.

I'll actually probably start a thread about this later, I'm often baffled how people believe rankings reflect level of play. Here's a riddle: imagine Wawrinka plays at #4 level the entire year and Murray play at #7 level, who will finish the year ranked higher?
The problem here is that for you consistency isn't one of the aspects that you consider when judging a players "level".

I have no idea why you do that. Results is What matter, and results get you points that get you rankings. It's math.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:11 PM   #63
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

Being 'consistent' only indicates that there isn't a substantial variance in level of performance. It doesn't tell is anything about the actual level of quality of a player.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:13 PM   #64
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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The problem here is that for you consistency isn't one of the aspects that you consider when judging a players "level".

I have no idea why you do that. Results is What matter, and results get you points that get you rankings. It's math.
Answer my hypothetical question then, if Murray plays at #7 level all year long and Wawrinka at #4 who will be ranked higher by the end of the year?

Results do get you rankings, but it's easier to get them when you get easier draws. If Djokovic hadn't started 2010 in top 4 his level of play throughout until the US Open would not have been enough to secure a top 4 position at the end of the year; he'd have got tougher draw and had to face top 10 players, who he couldn't beat for 10 months, earlier in draws. The seeding system in tennis is designed to offer top players staying power, it is ridiculously protective.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:13 PM   #65
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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Being 'consistent' only indicates that there isn't a substantial variance in level of performance. It doesn't tell is anything about the actual level of quality of a player.
If you are consistent enough to be a top5 for over two years...
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:16 PM   #66
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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Answer my hypothetical question then, if Murray plays at #7 level all year long and Wawrinka at #4 who will be ranked higher by the end of the year?

Results do get you rankings, but it's easier to get them when you get easier draws. If Djokovic hadn't started 2010 in top 4 his level of play throughout until the US Open would not have been enough to secure a top 4 position at the end of the year; he'd have got tougher draw and had to face top 10 players, who he couldn't beat for 10 months, earlier in draws. The seeding system in tennis is designed to offer top players staying power, it is ridiculously protective.
The hypothetical question makes no sense because neither would play at that level every match every tournament, because if they did, odds are Wawa would end up as #4 after 12 months. And now it's my time to say that you being a Delpo fan should understand this even better. He did win USO in 2009.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:23 PM   #67
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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The hypothetical question makes no sense because neither would play at that level every match every tournament, because if they did, odds are Wawa would end up as #4 after 12 months. And now it's my time to say that you being a Delpo fan should understand this even better. He did win USO in 2009.
Except he wouldn't, Murray would still end the year comfortably ahead of Wawrinka. Wawrinka played at a much higher level at the AO than many players who ended up getting more ranking points than him for the tournament, simply because he drew the eventual champion in round 4. His seeding means he will face top 3 players in R16 often, meaning that playing at #4 level isn't enough to get past that round. Murray, on the other hand, will get past that round even playing at #7 level because he will play inferior players.

What does Del Potro's US Open win have to do with this btw? Del Potro's 2009 year is a good example though, he played at #3 level to end the year ranked #5 simply because Murray and Djokovic were protected from Fedal and Murray/Djokovic in the QF stage. He was by far the most immediate threat to Fedal during the year and made a far bigger impact at the biggest events than Murray and Djokovic, still ended the year ranked behind them due to seeding. Soderling in 2009 too, was underranked because he kept drawing Federer, his worst matchup on tour, early in Slams when his level was enough to go further otherwise.

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Old 04-03-2013, 12:31 PM   #68
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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Except he wouldn't, Murray would still end the year comfortably ahead of Wawrinka. Wawrinka played at a much higher level at the AO than many players who ended up getting more ranking points than him for the tournament, simply because he drew the eventual champion in round 4. His seeding means he will face top 3 players in R16 often, meaning that playing at #4 level isn't enough to get past that round. Murray, on the other hand, will get past that round even playing at #7 level because he will play inferior players.

What does Del Potro's US Open win have to do with this btw? Del Potro's 2009 year is a good example though, he played at #3 level to end the year ranked #5 simply because Murray and Djokovic were protected from Fedal and Murray/Djokovic in the QF stage. He was by far the most immediate threat to Fedal during the year and made a far bigger impact at the biggest events than Murray and Djokovic, still ended the year ranked behind them due to seeding.
So your argument is Wawrinka and ONE tournament? Has he played on a top4 level since? Again, we always end up in the same place: consitency... It does take tallent playing close to your best for large periods of time. If we are only going to consider the absolute peak of players, regardless of how rare those occasions are, we would have to start including Nalbandian in the GOAT discussion. That would make sense?

As for Delpo, dear, for once stop ignoring MS tournaments.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:40 PM   #69
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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So your argument is Wawrinka and ONE tournament? Has he played on a top4 level since? Again, we always end up in the same place: consitency... It does take tallent playing close to your best for large periods of time. If we are only going to consider the absolute peak of players, regardless of how rare those occasions are, we would have to start including Nalbandian in the GOAT discussion. That would make sense?

As for Delpo, dear, for once stop ignoring MS tournaments.
You completely missed my argument here. I'm merely analysing a flaw in the tennis ranking system/seeding system and not saying that Wawrinka should be in the top 10. All I'm saying is that even if Wawrinka played better than Murray in every tournament of the year it'd not be enough to be ranked ahead of him come the end of the year. Playing at a hypothetical #4 level, he'd lose to the top 3 in R4 of mot events with his seeding, while Murray playing at a #7 level would get past R4 of most events since he'd face inferior players. It's an hypothetical to show how rankings do not always reflect level of play at all. You can use Nishikori, Monaco, Gasquet... whoever is ranked between 10-20 to make this point.

I'm not ignoring them, although I could given the huge disparity in terms of Slam/WTF performance. It all comes back to what I said before though: due to his seeding from the start of the year, Delpo had no protection from Fedal in the QF stage of those events (either Fedal in QF or a Murray/Djokovic + one of Fedal to reach the final, which doesn't make it much easier), which made him lose earlier that he would have otherwise in some tournaments. Reverse the seedings or abolish the seeding system and JMDP would have easily outranked them. In the same year, you had Soderling being underranked in relation to his level of play due to bumping into Federer early on at Wimbledon and USO when he was in great form. The main point is that though, in a sport with a seeding system as protective as tennis, there's simply no way rankings are an accurate measure of level of play. Someone like Nishikori could play at #5 level at RG, still won't get more than R4 points for it as he will draw one of the top 4 in R4.

Last edited by Mark Lenders : 04-03-2013 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:50 PM   #70
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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You completely missed my argument here. I'm merely analysing a flaw in the tennis ranking system/seeding system and not saying that Wawrinka should be in the top 10. All I'm saying is that even if Wawrinka played better than Murray in every tournament of the year it'd not be enough to be ranked ahead of him come the end of the year. Playing at a hypothetical #4 level, he'd lose to the top 3 in R4 of mot events with his seeding, while Murray playing at a #7 level would get past R4 of most events since he'd face inferior players. It's an hypothetical to show how rankings do not always reflect level of play at all. You can use Nishikori, Monaco, Gasquet... whoever is ranked between 10-20 to make this point.

I'm not ignoring them, although I could given the huge disparity in terms of Slam/WTF performance. It all comes back to what I said before though: due to his seeding from the start of the year, Delpo had no protection from Fedal in the QF stage of those events (either Fedal in QF or a Murray/Djokovic + one of Fedal to reach the final, which doesn't make it much easier), which made him lose earlier that he would have otherwise in some tournaments. Reverse the seedings or abolish the seeding system and JMDP would have easily outranked them. In the same year, you had Soderling being underranked in relation to his level of play due to bumping into Federer early on at Wimbledon and USO when he was in great form.
You cannot say that. It can happen, but it's not impossible neither unlikely. In 2007 Djokovic climbed the rankings from 16 to 3. How do you explain that? Let me tell you, because for 12 months he consistently played like #3. He did beat Rafa and Roger in a few occasions and some competitive losses against them. So if Wawa were to play with a #4 level for 12 months, odds are he would be beating Murray, Nadal, Roger ad Nole too, even if only a couple of times and therefor there is a pretty good chance he would be #4 by the end of the year.

How else do you explain a climb from #16 to #3? It's a pretty fair comparison with Wawa right now, no?

Also, what measures do you propose to change this "problem" you see?
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:52 PM   #71
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:02 PM   #72
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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You cannot say that. It can happen, but it's not impossible neither unlikely. In 2007 Djokovic climbed the rankings from 16 to 3. How do you explain that? Let me tell you, because for 12 months he consistently played like #3. He did beat Rafa and Roger in a few occasions and some competitive losses against them. So if Wawa were to play with a #4 level for 12 months, odds are he would be beating Murray, Nadal, Roger ad Nole too, even if only a couple of times and therefor there is a pretty good chance he would be #4 by the end of the year.

How else do you explain a climb from #16 to #3? It's a pretty fair comparison with Wawa right now, no?

Also, what measures do you propose to change this "problem" you see?
Tennis was less stratified back then than it is now, every position below Federer and Nadal was up for grabs. For a while now you've had top 8 players consistently living up to their seedings for the most part, making it very difficult for anyone to break into the top 8. An equivalent of Djokovic would have a far tougher task of climbing up the rankings than Djokovic had at the time. Not to mention, as you claimed, Djokovic beat Federer and Nadal a few times in his big runs. Had he beaten everyone else but not Federer and Nadal, he'd not have got to #3 despite being the third best player.

This specific problem can be diminished by reducing the number of seeds to 16 in Slams and 8 in Masters, and by ending this 1-4 vs 13-16 and 5-8 vs 9-12 thing. It can never be fully eliminated as long as there is a seeding system though. It is wrong to believe that rankings and level of play are the same thing though, you get rankings points according to the rounds you reach in tournaments, which is not only dependent on level of play but on the draws you get and the seedings you have. For someone like say Berdych to become #1 playing better than Djokovic wouldn't be enough to do it, he'd have to play much better to pull it off since current seedings mean Djokovic will be given easier draws for the most part.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:13 PM   #73
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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Tennis was less stratified back then than it is now, every position below Federer and Nadal was up for grabs. For a while now you've had top 8 players consistently living up to their seedings for the most part, making it very difficult for anyone to break into the top 8. An equivalent of Djokovic would have a far tougher task of climbing up the rankings than Djokovic had at the time. Not to mention, as you claimed, Djokovic beat Federer and Nadal a few times in his big runs. Had he beaten everyone else but not Federer and Nadal, he'd not have got to #3 despite being the third best player.
So you are just supplying arguments to the fact that consistency does matter? And because these top8 live to their seeding Wawa stays out, because he does not play like a top8 consistently like they do. I just don't understand your point.

And Djokovic beating Rafa and Roger is only a consequence of his #3 level and nothing else. Wawrinka, or any other player, plays with a Top4 level for 12 months and odds are be is #4 by the end of the year. Simple. Davydenko is a good example here as well, before Murray he was a consistent #4 and he did win MS tournaments, just like he did beat Rafa and Nole a few times.

Quote:
This specific problem can be diminished by reducing the number of seeds to 16 in Slams and 8 in Masters, and by ending this 1-4 vs 13-16 and 5-8 vs 9-12 thing. It can never be fully eliminated as long as there is a seeding system though. It is wrong to believe that rankings and level of play are the same thing though, you get rankings points according to the rounds you reach in tournaments, which is not only dependent on level of play but on the draws you get and the seedings you have. For someone like say Berdych to become #1 playing better than Djokovic wouldn't be enough to do it, he'd have to play much better to pull it off since current seedings mean Djokovic will be given easier draws for the most part.
So your solution would be putting the #17th player in a bigger risk of meeting a top8 much earlier in slams? That would help him climb up the rankings?

Current seeding does give Djokovic, etc easier draws. But they got their by successfully going deeper and deeper in tournaments having much harder draws.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:26 PM   #74
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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So you are just supplying arguments to the fact that consistency does matter? And because these top8 live to their seeding Wawa stays out, because he does not play like a top8 consistently like they do. I just don't understand your point.

And Djokovic beating Rafa and Roger is only a consequence of his #3 level and nothing else. Wawrinka, or any other player, plays with a Top4 level for 12 months and odds are be is #4 by the end of the year. Simple. Davydenko is a good example here as well, before Murray he was a consistent #4 and he did win MS tournaments, just like he did beat Rafa and Nole a few times.



So your solution would be putting the #17th player in a bigger risk of meeting a top8 much earlier in slams? That would help him climb up the rankings?

Current seeding does give Djokovic, etc easier draws. But they got their by successfully going deeper and deeper in tournaments having much harder draws.
When did I ever say consistency didn't matter? It's not the reason Wawrinka's top 8 chances are limited though; even if he is consistent he'll face a top 4 player in R16, while the players ranked 5-8 will face a 9-12 player, making it easier for them to go far in tournaments. That's the issue here: playing like a top 8 consistently won't get him into the top 8, he needs to play like a top 4 because those are the opponents he needs to beat to progress past R4 of most events.

Davydenko is an awful example tbh, since he kept a stable ranking for many years before his wrist injury in 2010, he didn't have to make a huge climb. Not to mention that surface homogenization enhances the problems of the seedind system, what with top players able ti perform consistently everywhere far more easily than before.

Yup, that would make rankings shift far more often, as top players wouldn't have an easy ride early in big events anymore, top guys are far more prone to upsets early on when they're not really into the tournament yet and having to face better player in early rounds will generate more upsets and allow unfancied players to have big runs.

Yes, Djokovic earned this 'privilege' but it's a vicious cycle that allows him to drop his level significantly and still keep a stable ranking in the top 4.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:35 PM   #75
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Default Re: Who are the Clay court specialists?

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The problem here is that for you consistency isn't one of the aspects that you consider when judging a players "level".
That is just Lenders. If he had to take into account consistency he'd have to admit that Del Potro is actually pretty shit and overrated. Ignore him, he is a parody.

There are not really any claycourt specialists any more. If you are good enough to succeed on clay then you are good enough to succeed on modern hardcourts.

The guys like Mugro who have winning records on clay and losing records on hardcourts are that way mostly because they choose not to play many HC tournaments.
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