Re: Radwanskas' autumn tennis trips
Aga presented as biggest underachiever
Tennis Players With Big-Stage Frigh
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By Carl Bialik
Away from Grand Slam courts over the past year, David Ferrer is among the best players in the world, nearly as effective as 16-time Grand Slam champ Roger Federer. At major tournaments, he’s almost a nonentity. He hasn’t reached a quarterfinal in over two years, and he’s reached just one Grand Slam semifinal in his career despite entering 20 major tournaments ranked in the Top 20. Of those 20 tournaments, he’s lost to a lower-ranked player 17 times
Some players treat every point of every tour event like match point at Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Others use the tour events as tune-ups, practicing and working out kinks in their games while conserving energy and seemingly caring little about winning matches, let alone titles. The result is that rankings, which dictate seedings at tournaments, often don’t reflect how well players play on the biggest stages, when the sport is attracting its biggest audiences.
The most extreme example among Top 20 men and women is Serena Williams. Even before her recent foot injury, which kept her out of several tour events and the U.S. Open, Williams played few WTA events, and didn’t do much at the ones she entered. Among the Top 20 women, she ranks 13th in points at events outside the Grand Slams. More than two thirds of her ranking points come from majors, the highest proportion of any woman in that group and just behind Juan Martin del Potro, who has been injured for much of the time since he won last year’s U.S. Open. Since Williams won at Charleston in April 2008, she has won five majors, a tour championship (which by ranking points is three quarters of a major) — and no other tour events.
The anti-Williams is No. 10 Agnieszka Radwanska, who has the fourth-most points at non-majors in the last year, but hasn’t reached a major quarterfinal and was upset in the second round in Flushing this week.
Though he enters many more events, Federer is, like Williams, a veteran who focuses on the biggest events. Despite failing to reach the semifinals at the last two majors after 23 straight, Federer still has gotten 54% of his ranking points from majors over the last year, the highest proportion among Top 20 men after Del Potro. At all other events over the last year, Federer has just the fourth-most points among Top 20 players, and is barely ahead of a group of five other men, including Ferrer.
Ferrer is the biggest underachiever at majors — or overachiever at other events, depending on how you look at it — in the men’s Top 15, and third-biggest in the Top 20, behind Ivan Ljubicic and Marcos Baghdatis, both of whom kept to form by exiting the Open in first-round upsets. Ferrer, though, has advanced to the third round, and has a favorable draw to reach a quarterfinal — where he’d likely face countryman Rafael Nadal, who is No. 1 in both ranking points at majors and away from majors.