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tennischick
Mar 30th, 2003, 11:02 AM
The Fifth Slam?

This feature is a rerun -- a slightly updated edition of one we ran last year at this time. We thought we'd throw it in today as a freebie, just for the nostalgia of it.

It comes up every year around this time. Is Miami the "fifth Slam"? That is, is this -- the largest tournament after the Slams -- in the same league?

It is and it isn't. In one way, it's actually become more like the Slams in the past few years: The Slams now have 32 seeds, as Miami has had for years. But the Slams are all currently 128 draws, and Miami is 96. (We should note, of course, that the Slams have used other formats in the past.) The men's matches at Miami are best of three, not best of five. Miami is twelve days long, not fourteen. The Slams offer mixed doubles; Miami no longer does, though it did in the past. So there is still a "format difference."

There isn't much difference in the fields, though. For the women, Miami is as strong as any Slam -- in fact, historically, it's been stronger than the Australian Open; a lot of top women skip Melbourne (in 2002 and 2003, it was Jelena Dokic, and Amelie Mauresmo was also out this year; in the past, it's been the serve-and-volleyers, Jana Novotna and Nathalie Tauziat). For the men, Miami is generally stronger than Wimbledon; the clay-courters usually find an excuse to skip the grass season, but they don't skip spring hardcourts.

But there is another measure of how strong Miami is: The players who have won it. Let's take a look. We'll cut off the list at 1987. Prior to that, there was a large "Lipton Championships," but it wasn't at the current site.

Men's Winners:
2002: Andre Agassi
2001: Andre Agassi
2000: Pete Sampras
1999: Richard Krajicek
1998: Marcelo Rios
1997: Thomas Muster
1996: Andre Agassi
1995: Andre Agassi
1994: Pete Sampras
1993: Pete Sampras
1992: Michael Chang
1991: Jim Courier
1990: Andre Agassi
1989: Ivan Lendl
1988: Mats Wilander
1987: Miroslav Mecir

Women's Winners:
2002: Serena Williams
2001: Venus Williams
2000: Martina Hingis
1999: Venus Williams
1998: Venus Williams
1997: Martina Hingis
1996: Steffi Graf
1995: Steffi Graf
1994: Steffi Graf
1993: Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1992: Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1991: Monica Seles
1990: Monica Seles
1989: Gabriela Sabatini
1988: Steffi Graf
1987: Steffi Graf

The picture for the women is pretty clear: Every player who has won Miami in its time in Key Biscayne has been a Slam winner (though some had not yet won a Slam at the time of their victory), and all but Gabriela Sabatini won multiple Slams and has spent time as the world's #1. This extends before 1987, we might add; before that, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova took home titles. This isn't true for the other Tier I events; Kimiko Date won the Pan Pacific in 1995; Daniela Hantuchova won Indian Wells last year and Kim Clijsters won it this year; Amanda Coetzer won Hilton Head (now Charleston) in 1998; Justine Henin won Berlin last year and Mary Joe Fernandez won it in 1997; Jelena Dokic won Rome in 2001, Amelie Mauresmo won the Canadian Open last year and Pam Shriver won in 1987, Magdalena Maleeva won Moscow last year, Jelena Dokic in 2001 Nathalie Tauziat won it in 1999; and Magdalena Maleeva won Zurich in 1994. (There are other long-time events on the WTA with only Slam winners as titleists, though: New Haven -- though it's a fairly new event -- and of course the year-end championship.) On the numbers, it's actually a bigger feat to win Miami than to win a single Slam.

The men aren't quite as clear-cut; Marcelo Rios never won a Slam, but he was #1; Mecir never won a Slam, but had assorted finals and would have been a genuine candidate except for his back. Every other Miami winner has won Slams; most of them have multiple Slams.

Miami isn't a Slam, so it can't be the fifth Slam. But it seems pretty clear: If you're good enough to win Miami, you're good enough to win Slams.

brickhousesupporter
Mar 30th, 2003, 12:51 PM
So even if Carlos Moya wins today . This trend will still be intact. Cool:)

Gowza
Mar 31st, 2003, 02:51 AM
personally i think it would be nice if the still played mixed doubles and a juniors event. i think it would be nice to have an eent outside the slams where the men went best out of 5 sets the whole tournament. i wouldn't want it to be made a 128 draw because it isn't a slam and the slams need to be bigger than all the other tournaments.

miami certainly in the strongest outside the slams.

if we had to pick a fifth slam i think it would be hard not to pick miami because of the size and the strong field. it also has a wheelchair tennis tournament which imo puts it above IW (which imo is the only other possible 5th slam due to the draws size - but the sisters aren't there and henin either so the draw is weaker).

1jackson2001
Mar 31st, 2003, 03:14 AM
yea and the men don't even have a 96 draw size at IW..they only have 64. But word is that it's gonna be 96 for the men next year as well.