Tennis Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,626 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Formula for success

Stats guru Jeff Sagarin devises a new rankings system
Posted: Thursday August 07, 2003 3:14 PM


These are confusing, Motrin-demanding times if you follow tennis' rankings. Or try to, anyway. Juan Carlos Ferrero lost a singles match last week, but later that day inherited the lead in the confounding ATP Champions Race. Meanwhile, Kim Clijsters almost assuredly will take over the No. 1 ranking on the women's side despite never having won a Grand Slam. Has it ever been more apparent that both tours need to reexamine the way in which players are rated?

We know, we know. Unlike other sports, which can simply assess players and teams based on merit, tennis is different. The byzantine rankings may confuse even the most ardent fans, but they also serve as a cattle prod of sorts, motivating players to compete early and often, thus satisfying promoters and sponsors. The upshot? Serena Williams can win wholesale Slams, but if she only plays a dozen events in a calendar year and other players -- Clijsters, for instance -- compete twice as often, Williams' top spot is imperiled -- at least when the rankings take a players' best 17 results. Likewise, when Lleyton Hewitt defiantly scales back his schedule and passes on Masters Series events, he greatly reduces his chances of finishing at No. 1 for a third straight year.

Fortunately, help has arrived. Jeff Sagarin, the statistics savant/deity -- his football rankings are a charter member of the BCS formula and his rankings in various sports appear daily in USA Today -- kindly agreed to come up with a simplified model for tennis. Using the 2003 ATP results as a sample, he has ranked the players based on sets won and lost, set scores and quality of opponent. Thus, if Bob Terwilliger beat Andre Agassi 7-6, 7-6, it would have more bearing that if he beat Abe Simpson 6-0, 6-0. Sagarin's system is not based on volume of matches but on quality, with a minimum of only 10 matches. Also, tournaments are weighted equally. Sort of. Since the rankings are by set score, the Slams (three out of five) inherently carry more weight than the other (best-of-three) events. Nevertheless, there is not a separate tier for Masters Series events, etc.

A couple of asterisks:

*Jeff did not figure in qualifying for Challenger circuit matches. "It's like counting the minors," he says.

*This model would work not only for the WTA, but for your sectional rankings or your doubles league as well.

Link to Jeff's site
http://www.kiva.net/~jsagarin/sports/computennis.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,863 Posts
That was from a few days ago and isn't today's Mailbag/column.
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top