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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now that the year is over, who do you think were the most improved and least improved players of 2018?

I was thinking about this, and one objective way to do so is by using the year-end Elo ratings from UTS, and taking the difference between the year-end rating in 2018 vs. 2017.

Here is what I got for most improved players:




I was surprised to see Jarry in first place, mainly because he's not a player I've paid much attention to.
What's not surprising is that the list is full of young next-gen players (because obviously they are expected to improve): I think Tsitsipas definitely makes sense in second place, as he went from nowhere to top 20 in the world. Same for De Minaur. Khachanov also impressed us all with his form.

Then it was interesting to look at some of the older players. Well there's Cecchinato and Basilashvili, who are in their mid 20s. It's also nice to see Kevin Anderson make so much progress in his 30s!


What's also interesting is to see the players whose form deteriorated the most in 2018:



It shouldn't shock anyone that Jack Sock is the worst of the worst - his collapse in (singles) form is almost unprecedented. Dimitrov is in a shameful 8th place. Then, whereas the previous list was full of next-gens on the rise, this one is full of players who have retired or have announced they will retire: Gilles Muller, Mayer, David Ferrer, etc...

It also has injured Wawrinka and Andy Murray.

But then you also have older players who haven't announced retirement yet, but it makes you think if their fall will continue... Karlovic, Victor Estrella, Baghdatis, Berdych (though he's younger than the others), and.... yes, sadly Roger Federer. Now, Roger Federer's form is still excellent - he only makes the list because his 2017 form was unbelievably good. But still, it makes you wonder: he's 37 years old, so will 2019 see him decline by this much again? Or will he once again re-write what is possible and have another great year?
 

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Also surprised to see Jarry at the top and Medvedev not in the top 5.
If you asked me the question straight, without thinking much I would have answered: 1. Tsitsipas, 2. Medvedev, 3. De Minaur.
 

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Most improved players for me would be Tsitsipas, Medvedev, De Minaur and Karen.

Least improved players, well Sock and Dimitrov immediately come to mind here. Very surprised how Dimitrov has been this year, I thought he would've kicked on after winning WTF, I never expected him to drop out the top 10. Of course ranking wise it's Murray, but he's been injured for most of the year and had a hip surgery in January.
 

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Agree with the general sentiment / names expressed here. Wonder who had the biggest jump(s) in ranking? IIRC De Minaur's is quite impressive, but then I also recall there being some guy who jumped from 800 or so close to 100 or something... Can't recall the specifics, nor the name (might look this up; anyone has this off the top of the head...?)

But yeah, would give it to guys who went on to clinch some titles, possibly even over toughest opponents, like what Tsitsipas and Khachanov did. I've also been impressed by De Minaur's consistency simply in terms of his level of play, just hasn't been able to clinch a title yet. Have only seen some highlight clip of Jarry.

Jumps in W/L% (ranked from highest to lowest; some of them played only a handful of matches in 2017):

- Tsitsipas: 28.6% --> 60.3% (Diff. 31.7%)
- De Minaur: 28.6% --> 55.8% (Diff. 27.2%)
- Khachanov: 46.2% --> 66.7% (Diff. 20.5%)
- Coric: 45.7% --> 64.9% (Diff. 19.2%)
- Medvedev: 47.8% --> 64.1% (Diff. 16.3%)
- Jarry: 40% --> 53.3% (Diff. 13.3%)


edit. Then you also have a guy like Zverev, who also got the biggest win of his career this year; both in terms of ATP points, and the quality of the opponent(s). How would one rate such development, making progress at the upper echelon...

edit 2. Some notable jumps in YE ranking:

- Pablo Andujar: 512 --> 82 Was checking from Ultimate Tennis Statistics, but there may be some glitch/discrepancy. Went to the ATP site, and Andujar's ranking actually dipped as low as 1821 this February and also lower than 512 already last year. Now it's 82.
- Ugo Humbert: 381 --> 100
- Christian Garin: 311 --> 85
- Alexei Popyrin: 756 --> 149 (might've been him I had in mind earlier)
- De Minaur: 208 --> 31
- Molleker: 662 --> 197

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@mcekovic FYI, see my comment above on Andujar's ranking. There's some difference on your site and ATP's. Andujar's last ranking for 2017 on your site is September 11th at 512. The next one listed is April 9th, 2018, at 355. On the ATP site, for 2017 they have that September 11th one, but then also #729 for September 18th. After that they have some glitchy bit, three weeks of 'ranking #0' (= no ranking, or a glitch/mistake?), followed by a dip to #1764 on October 16th.

https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/pablo-andujar/a596/rankings-history
http://www.ultimatetennisstatistics.com/playerProfile?playerId=4664#
 

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Would add, that just like Andujar who I mentioned, a guy like Kanderson has also been on Tour for years. For veterans especially, one could also reflect whether this year was their all-time peak. For Andujar not so much; has at one time been ranked in the 30s with a few solid runs in bigger tournaments. For Kanderson though, seemingly was his best year to date. Was just thinking that another interesting metric could be to see how the peak YE ELO compares to YE ELO 2018, to distinguish those who have reached their peaks this year from ones who may have made some sort of comeback, but have had an even better stretch some time in the past (like Andujar e.g.).
 

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Klizan should not be on list. He is a yoyo. I will move up and down not only year to year but every 3 months. Crazy guy. Every season he will have a good patch and bad patch. On his day, an incredible player. Maybe top 5 on clay. Maybe my next avatar. Who knows @Pantelija
 

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Klizan should not be on list. He is a yoyo. I will move up and down not only year to year but every 3 months. Crazy guy. Every season he will have a good patch and bad patch. On his day, an incredible player. Maybe top 5 on clay. Maybe my next avatar. Who knows @Pantelija
The sooner Bretrev holding wtf trophy is gone, the better. :thumbsup:

OT: Medvedev, Khachanov, Tsitsipas, De Minaur, Coric. Jarry has imroved but not on such high level like these guys.
 

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I can see why Tsitipas, di Minaur, Karen and Coric are right up there. I would have had Edmund in there too, a jump from around 50 to top 15 is pretty impressive.

I don't know how the ELO rating is done but I don't necessarilly buy the idea that the mere size in a jump in rankings tells all. Certainly it's a hell of a lot easier to go from 500 to 400 than it is to go from 30 to number 1. I think you'd need to weight things to reflect that.

If you exclude injuries and ageing types, Sock has to be the biggest faller, looks overweight, undynamic, uncommitted and may now be better sticking to doubles.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm surprised that Rublev isn't among the "least improved" players of 2018.
Yeah, he definitely declined, but apparently others declined more. For what it's worth, he'd be in 38th place, having declined by 50 points.

In front of him still are the likes of Lucas Pouille, RBA, Dustin Brown, Monfils, and Feliciano Lopez, according to this methodology.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would have had Edmund in there too, a jump from around 50 to top 15 is pretty impressive.
Edmund is actually in 21st place (up 94 points), so he just narrowly didn't make the list.

I don't know how the ELO rating is done but I don't necessarilly buy the idea that the mere size in a jump in rankings tells all.
Yeah, that's why I used the Elo rating. It works on a logarithmic scale. So an increase of 100 Elo points should be equivalent in relative magnitude, regardless of whether you're moving up from 1,500 or from 2,500 points.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Was just thinking that another interesting metric could be to see how the peak YE ELO compares to YE ELO 2018, to distinguish those who have reached their peaks this year from ones who may have made some sort of comeback, but have had an even better stretch some time in the past (like Andujar e.g.).
Interesting idea. I crunched the numbers, and here are the results below.
It's not too different from the first list, but it pushes up mostly the youngest of players. Tsitsipas finishes first here, and Taylor Fritz and Kyle Edmund appear.

 

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Missing Garin in this, went from #312 to #85 this year.
 

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who discusses least improved players? lol
 

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BTW - shouldn't it be: "the most deteriorated player" instead of "the least improved"? The least improved suggests that he is still better than he was by a tiny bit and there are many players who are just worse.
 

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Edmund is actually in 21st place (up 94 points), so he just narrowly didn't make the list.


Yeah, that's why I used the Elo rating. It works on a logarithmic scale. So an increase of 100 Elo points should be equivalent in relative magnitude, regardless of whether you're moving up from 1,500 or from 2,500 points.
Thanks for the info. I should perhaps check out the exact methodology.

Certainly there are players on there who I don't personally think match Edmund's effort, or are even that close.
 
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