Email
Print
Email
Print

The Toss: Making cases for ATP Player of the Year award

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have split their 2012 matches, with Federer winning the two most recent matches at Wimbledon and Cincinnati (pictured). (Icon SMI)

Last week on The Toss, we followed Andy Murray’s U.S. Open victory with a look at whether the final against Novak Djokovic was a peek into the next great tennis rivalry. More than half of the readers were not yet convinced.

There has been plenty of ink spilled on Murray’s breakthrough win. So let’s step back a bit and put the Grand Slam season in perspective with another debate. Murray’s title at the year’s final major marks the first time since 2003 that the calendar’s four Slams were won by four players. Among other firsts, that sure complicates the race for a coveted ATP award.

Today’s Toss: If the season ended today, who wins ATP Player of the Year?

C.W. Sesno: Since the Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal era — later Djokovic and finally we can include Murray — the ATP has had an easy formula for deciding the Player of the Year: He who wins the most Slams, wins the award.

Federer won four straight PoY awards from 2004-07, grabbing three majors in each year except ’05, when Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal split the first two, and again in ’09 when Juan Martin del Potro upset the powers that be at the U.S. Open. Nadal took the award in ’08 with two Slams when Djokovic won Melbourne and Federer won Wimbledon, and again in ’10 after sweeping the year’s final three Slams. Djokovic, of course, dominated 2011 to win three titles of the major variety and PoY.

So a top-line look might make this season seem a little less clear. SI.com’s Bruce Jenkins made the argument that with the equal Slam ledger, the award should be decided in another manner:

Now that the standings are even, this award is best gauged on the emotional scale. …

The Player of the Year cannot be Nadal, not the way his knee injury so badly curtailed his summer. It can’t be Federer, although his career resurgence was marvelous to behold. Djokovic has the credentials, but he had a letdown year in the wake of his 2011 dominance.

Murray’s season — Wimbledon final, Olympic title, first British man to win a major since 1936 — is the one we’ll remember. It wasn’t just a soul-satisfying breakthrough for Murray, or tennis-starved Scotland, or the whole of Great Britain. It was a major development in tennis, lending great promise to 2013 and sweeping up the public’s attention along the way.

Sorry, Bruce, I’m not buying it. To me, this is an award based in flat-out achievement. So let’s just stick with the numbers and we have our obvious answer: Federer has more wins, more titles, a higher ranking and fewer losses than any other player in contention. That’s one Slam, three Masters shields (to Djokovic’s two and Murray’s zilch), one Olympic silver medal in singles and a couple of 500-level titles to clinch the deal. Oh, and did we mention he’s the world No. 1?

Numbers. It’s as simple as that. So, Courtney, can I drop the mic and walk off, or do you feel otherwise?

Courtney Nguyen: Now, now, Chris. While I’m not going to argue with your numbers, I do think you’re looking at the wrong ones. You’re only telling part of the story, and that story doesn’t involve Mr. Djokovic.

You can take your Rotterdam titles, Masters shields and win-loss records. I’m going to back the guy who’s been inarguably the best at the tournaments that matter the most, the Slams. That guy is Novak Djokovic. He won the Australian Open, made the finals of the French Open and U.S. Open and the semifinals of Wimbledon. No one was more consistent than he was this year, with his three Slam losses going to Nadal on clay, Federer on grass and Murray on hard courts. Those are hard losses, but explainable ones.

In comparison, Federer had the worst Slam season of our viable Player of the Year candidates. He’s the only member of the Big Four not to make at least two finals this year and he actually performed worse at the Slams than the man you discount so quickly: Andy Murray. Ranked in order of success, Murray won the U.S. Open, made the final of Wimbledon, the semifinals of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the French Open. Federer won Wimbledon, made the semifinals of both the Australian Open and the French Open and the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open. On the whole, Murray actually made it one round further than Federer at the Slams this year.

In addition to more success than the rest at the Slams, Djokovic has been the most consistent man on tour all year. He’s played three fewer tournaments than Federer yet the Serb leads in prize money at $7 million to Federer’s $6.3 million, a testament to his consistency at the biggest tournaments. In fact, in his 13 tournaments this year, Djokovic lost before the semifinals only once (Janko Tipsarevic, Madrid quarterfinals). Once, Chris. Once.

Compare that to Bruce’s boy Andy and it’s not even close. As good as Murray’s year was at the Slams — and I do buy Bruce’s argument more than you do, Chris — he was completely invisible outside of them. Obviously, his Olympic gold medal was massive, but if you set aside that victory Murray has won only one non-Slam title this year, and that was all the way back in January in Brisbane. If the season ended today, I think it’s a tough case to make for Murray.

Obviously, Djokovic hasn’t had a season to match his history-making 201. But that shouldn’t be a knock against him when all he’s done is still prove himself to be the best player in 2012. As of now, Djokovic is the clear-cut choice. Sure, Federer may be No. 1, but that ranking is flawed for the purposes of this argument because it includes points accumulated in 2011. No, for our discussion, what matters are the Race to London rankings, which only tallies points earned in the 2012 season. Those rankings?

1. Novak Djokovic: 9,910
2. Roger Federer: 8,920
3. Rafael Nadal: 6,840
4. Andy Murray: 6,730.

Boom. Now I’ll drop my mic.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer’s loss to Tomas Berdych in the quarters was his earliest U.S. Open loss since 2003. (AP)

Sesno: Yes! Nothing makes me happier than a Toss full of mic drops, though I’ll admit your argument forced me to realize I didn’t quite B-Rabbit this edition like I hoped. Lots of good points, Courtney, let’s look at them one by one.

You say you buy into Bruce’s argument more than I do. If that’s the case, how can we overlook the significance of what Federer has done this year? Practically every time he takes the court he sets some milestone or breaks another record, continuing his assault on the history books as the greatest of all time. Sure, any player’s current ranking points were partially acquired in 2011. But if an argument in favor of Murray is that he broke through at a Grand Slam for the first time, ending the British major drought and capturing the hearts and minds of the public, doesn’t that too look to factors outside of the 2012 tennis season?

Let’s not forget: Many were quick to write off Federer’s post-U.S. Open run in 2011 as a result of fatigued players ahead of him in the rankings. He was on the tail end of his career and was grabbing easy wins at indoor events. But Federer has debunked that thinking this year. He’s won big titles on every surface, with a Slam on grass and Masters titles on clay and hard. He’s back to No. 1 for the first time in two years, passing Pete Sampras’ mark for most weeks at the top spot. If not for fear of carpal tunnel, I’d continue to list the milestones Federer has set this year.

Moving right along. Your point about their records at Slams is fair, but perhaps also overstating the importance of a single match. Yes, Federer’s quarterfinal loss to Tomas Berdych at the U.S. Open puts him on the short end of any “rounds reached at Slams” argument. And it cost him year-to-date prize money bragging rights as well. (Though I don’t think you want to bring earnings into this debate, as Federer sits at No. 5 on Forbes‘ highest-paid athletes list. Djokovic? No. 61.) Beating Berdych guarantees Federer at least doubles his U.S. Open take-home. In fact, the difference in their prize money almost exactly matches the difference in their U.S. Open payouts, as Djokovic left with a runner-up check of $950,000 to Federer’s $237,500.

The Race to London rankings are similarly anchored in the U.S. Open results, where Djokovic acquired 840 more points than Federer with a run to the final. All of this is to say your argument against Federer for Player of the Year relies heavily on his U.S. Open performance. Could a little recency bias be coming into play here? And if it comes down to performance at the Slams and the Race points, consider that Nadal leads Murray in Race points despite SKIPPING the year’s final major. Something is awry there.

You say Djokovic has been the most consistent player of the year with 12 semis appearances in 13 tournaments? Federer has fallen before the semis just twice this year, and has played more tournaments. Federer lost to Andy Roddick in Miami, a match he should have won. Djokovic lost to John Isner at Indian Wells, a match he should have won. Federer stepped up to play for his country twice in Davis Cup, going 2-1 in singles. Djokovic has been a no-show (I’m not faulting him, lots of reasons to skip, just sayin’).

Tennis is unlike other sports in that win/loss record isn’t the be-all and end-all. Nope, in this fine sport it’s about titles. Plain and simple. Same number of Slams? Fine, let’s go down a peg. Federer has more Olympic medals, more Masters titles and more 500-level titles. I’d drop the mic again, but the last one landed right on my toe.

Nguyen: I just don’t see how you can so quickly discount Slam performance, Chris. The fact is that Federer’s results at the four biggest tournaments in tennis, the the ultimate tests in a player’s legacy, fall below Djokovic’s and Murray’s. It’s not as simple as saying they all won one Slam and therefore the tiebreaker is Masters shields. If that’s the analysis, then Djokovic’s year with two Masters shields was no better than Nadal’s two clay Masters titles, which was better than Murray’s strikeout. With all due respect to Rafa, that’s ridiculous.

As for your argument that Federer’s 2012 was somehow more historically significant than Murray’s, I think the ghost of Fred Perry would scoff at you — in a totally polite and dignified British way, of course — if not for the fact that he’s been banished. As Bruce said, we will look back on 2012 and remember it for being the year that Murray finally made good, snapping a 76-year streak of futility and ruining anyone’s attempt to make fun of British tennis for a damn long time. He did it by beating Federer on grass at the Olympics and stopping Djokovic, the defending champion, in New York.

Federer’s Wimbledon campaign was ridiculous and his relentless assault on the record books is notable. But did he return home to Switzerland after Wimbledon to a parade of thousands? No, because what he did in winning his 17th Slam and reclaiming No. 1 to break Sampras’ record was, as absurd as it sounds, business as usual.

Of course, what we talk about when we talk about Murray is sentimentality and I agree with you, Chris, that bias can tempt us to skew things Murray’s way. But numbers don’t reflect recency bias. They are stark, they are not swayed by warm-and-fuzzies, and in this case they’re pretty clear. We still have more than two months left in the season with a load of points up in the air. I have no doubt we’ll have to wait to see how the fall season unfolds until we can confidently designate the man of 2012. But  if the season were to end today, Novak Djokovic has accumulated more points than anyone else in 2012. As of now, he’s the 2012 Player of the Year.

Ajde and all that jazz.

  • Published On Sep 20, 2012
  • 74 comments
    Michael9
    Michael9

    The POTY assesses the player’s performance over the entire season from January (Doha / Brisbane / Chennai) to the season-ending World Tour Finals and Davis Cup finals in November. One of the POTY criteria – the Year-End No. 1 – is actually based on a complete 52-week year, because at some point the top-ranked player clinches the No. 1 for the remainder of the year, as no other player can overtake him after the seasons ends in November.

     

    It is not appropriate to debate who wins the POTY “if the season ended today”. That's because it is not feasible to assess portions of the season (e.g., first nine months) because (a) the ATP has traditionally given each player a 52-week rankings block to accomplish their best results and (b) the entire season tends to be dynamic in nature as various top players go through ebbs and flows (based on changing form, surface/conditions, injuries, vacation breaks, luck, etc.).

     

    At different moments this season, three different players had accumulated the most YTD points.

     

    - At end March, Federer had the most YTD points (Murray was sixth). Woohoo Fed is definitely Player of The Year at that point!!  Already short-sighted critics had begun to write off Murray’s chances the rest of the year.

    http://tinyurl.com/cn7sac9

     

    - Mid-May Djokovic had the most points, barely ahead of Federer.

    http://tinyurl.com/ckerm9t

     

    - End June, Nadal had the most YTD points. Some supporters of Nadal were certain that he would win Wimbledon and return to No. 1

    http://tinyurl.com/c3sjgbc

     

    - At end August, Federer was just 165 points behind Djokovic – despite skipping two Masters 1,000 this year. Had Federer played a few rounds at Toronto, he would have had the lead going into the US Open.

    http://tinyurl.com/9nvewqu

     

    - After US Open, Djokovic now has a temporary 990 point lead. http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/YTD-Singles.aspx

     

    Thus Courtney’s conclusion is misleading: “If the season were to end today (mid September), Novak Djokovic has accumulated more points than anyone else in 2012. As of now, he’s the 2012 Player of the Year.” Based on the ATP criteria in my first post below, we could have had three different POTYs swapping places several times this year -- depending on which week of this year this Toss was held.

     

    Btw, Djokovic did not “played three fewer tournaments than Federer” to date: Djokovic played 13 ATP Tour tournaments and Federer played 14 ATP Tour tournaments. The ATP’s ‘Singles Race to London’ listed Federer as having 16 tournaments because he played two Davis Cup ties this year, so each tie was counted as a tournament. The miniscule 25 points he got from helping his country are worthless to his rankings as it will probably be designated non-countable by Basel. Because he played Davis Cup and went deep at the Olympics, Federer had to sacrifice two Masters 1000 tournaments (Monte Carlo and Toronto) worth 2,000 points. On the other hand, Djokovic skipped Davis Cup and spent half the effort losing his final two Olympic matches -- so Djokovic was able and is scheduled to play every Masters 1000 this year (including Monte Carlo).

     

    Federer has traditionally performed better than Djokovic does in the final two months of the season – and Federer has the tour-best 52-week winning percentage on indoors, hardcourt and outdoors. We know that Federer will be playing Shanghai. If Federer is not distracted (by having to lead a player boycott of the Australian Open and organizing an alternative tournament for players), then it remains within the realm of possibility for Roger to win about 1,000 points more than whatever Djokovic earns this Fall. If Federer does that, he finishes the year No. 1 and will be crowned both ATP World Tour Champion and also awarded the ATP World No. 1 (Player Of The Year). If Federer does not do that, then Djokovic ends the Year No.1 and gets those accolades.

     

    It’s unlikely that Murray will be able to finish No.1 in the rankings because he has only 4,500 points maximum from his four events and must win about 3,180 points over and above what Djokovic wins. 

     

    Michael9
    Michael9

    Djokovic was able to focus his efforts 100% on his ATP Tour rankings and goals -- especially the grand slams and masters tournaments -- because he slacked off and skipped Davis Cup the last two years!

     

    Young Djokovic, Murray and Nadal completely skipped Davis Cup this entire year -- zilch, not even one match. While Serbia and Britain lost their Davis Cup ties without their star players, the news media kept quiet. Last year, Djokovic practically slacked off Davis Cup as well, as he only played 1.5 matches the entire 2011: in July 2011, Djokovic lost one doubles match in straight sets against a mediocre-ranked Swedish doubles pair (despite Djokovic partnering Nenad Zimonjic, who was the world's No.1 doubles player during most of 2010) and then, in September 2011 in the deciding rubber of the hardcourt tie in Serbia, Djokovic retired while losing 6-7, 0-3 in an arguably contrived theatrical display of injury the moment he realized he was broken (a few days later, he enthusiastically played a soccer match in Belgrade).

    http://tinyurl.com/d3ru3af

     

    Djokovic was able to play every Masters 1000 event this year (even Monte Carlo, Toronto, Shanghai) because (a) he completely skipped Davis Cup this year and (b) quickly/easily lost his last two matches at the Olympics compared to Federer's record-breaking effort (which forced Federer to skip Toronto).

     

    Would Djokovic's grand slam, masters and ranking results in 2012 and 2011 been negatively affected had he played Davis Cup for his country (like Federer did)? Yes, probably. By Djokovic, Murray and Nadal putting their individual careers first before Davis Cup this year, they had significantly more time to rest, prepare and focus on the grand slams and masters than Federer did.

     

    As Federer explained in 2010 (L'Equipe): “I consider that a Davis Cup round amounts to take out one Masters 1000" (i.e., for each Davis Cup tie he plays, Roger has to sacrifice one Masters 1000 from his schedule) and "People have to understand that it’s just not possible to do everything. Had I made another choice, maybe I wouldn’t have won (2009 French Open)  last year. Do people prefer me to play the Davis Cup or to hold the (Grand Slam) record? Don’t Swiss people prefer having me as the world No. 1? If I play it and then it costs me in the rankings, people will always be there to tell me: ‘Ho, hum, you’re not No 1 anymore!’ ”

     

    Over the past 52 weeks, 31-year old Federer has played more matches (84) than 25-year old Djokovic (81). Djokovic played the exact number of matches (76) as Federer did in 2011. And Djokovic played only two matches more (71) than Federer (69) in 2012. [In 2006, 25-year old Federer not only played 97 matches that year (including many more best-of-five set matches and six-round tournaments than players do today), Federer also patriotically played Davis Cup for his country (beating Serbia in the full three matches Roger played) and he also selflessly visited the tsunami-orphans in India during Christmastime in his role as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.]

    http://tinyurl.com/9vog588

     

    Unlike Djokovic, Federer played the maximum four Davis Cup ties for his country -- two ties in 2012 plus another two ties in 2011 (totalling ten matches he did not need as a 31-year old player). Since Federer is the only top five player who plays both doubles and singles, each Davis Cup tie involves potentially playing three best-of-five-set rubbers on three consecutive days -- so it's as exhausting for an aging player as playing a one-week event. There were two away ties of those four ties (Australia and Netherlands). In mid-September 2011, just three days after his US Open loss to Djokovic, 30-year old Federer made the 10,000 mile trip all the way to Sydney Australia to play three matches (best-of-five sets) on grass in the middle of the hard court season. That Australia Davis Cup tie probably burned up 10 to 12 days from Federer’s Fall schedule in travel, jetlag, pre-tie practice, 3-day tie, travel, jetlag and recovery (more if he got injured or sick). That's 20,000 miles of travelling over two days -– by far the longest distance travelled by any current top ten player for a Davis Cup tie in their careers (David Ferrer’s 12,000 mile two-way trip for the 2008 Argentina DC finals was next longest). Yet Federer patriotically played two ties in Australia in his career (also in 2003). Because Federer played Davis Cup in Australia immediately after the US Open, he had to sacrifice the Asian swing tournaments of Tokyo and Shanghai. Once a long break refreshed him, Federer went on a tear in the last three events of 2011, but he cut it fine.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrdFEJTr5-o

     

    As a consequence of Federer's Davis Cup duties, Roger had to sacrifice three Masters 1000 tournaments since September 2011, which cost him 3,000 points (2011 Shanghai, 2012 Monte Carlo and 2012 Toronto... for a while there were concerns he might have to skip 2012 Shanghai as he was "wounded, tired and exhausted"). Federer's miniscule 25 noncountable points from playing Davis Cup cannot be added to his ranking points (i.e., Davis Cup is worthless to his ranking) and he was paid little for his time so he probably lost money (since he is not under contract to play Davis Cup, unlike other players who play regularly). Meanwhile, Djokovic did not have to skip any Masters event this year.

     

    Indeed, Federer's Davis Cup career record of total matches and percentage of ties played by age 25 (2006) and age 26 (2007) is far superior to the records of the 25-to-26 year old Nadal, Djokovic and Murray.  Roger played 11 consecutive seasons of Davis Cup until age 29 (and played his first 13 consecutive ties during his first six Davis Cup seasons). Even at his age, Federer has played as many Davis Cup ties (8) as young Nadal did since 2006.

     

    Djokovic skipping Davis Cup and, ironically, his easy losses at the Olympics gave him an advantage at the big-point events of the grand slams and masters 1000.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    This debate over the 'coveted ATP Player Of The Year award' hinges on this fundamental issue: what measures/criteria do the ATP use to choose the ATP Player Of The Year? Any assessment that does not apply the ATP's criteria is irrelevant to choosing the POTY. Thus we can toss out every argument in which Courtney and others applied their non-ATP criteria in order to favor their preferred player to be the POTY.

     

    The POTY is the player who has most dominated the ATP World Tour that year by holding the No. 1 ranking as well as winning the most grand slams. The ATP uses interchangeably the terms ATP Player Of The Year (ATP Media Guide, website) and ATP World Tour No. 1 (ATP website). The list of POTY winners since the award began in 1975 are in this link:

    http://tinyurl.com/9sddktl

     

    The ATP uses the following two primary measures/criteria for choosing the POTY:

     

    1. The player who finishes the year at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings (i.e., year-end No. 1), which is based on the ranking points earned in the immediate past 52-week period on the ATP World Tour. This player is officially crowned the year's ATP World Tour Champion during a ceremony at the ATP World Tour Finals season-ending championship. In 31 of the the last 37 years since the POTY award started, the player who held the year-end No.1 ranking was also awarded the POTY (except in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1989). The list of ATP World Tour Champions since the ATP rankings began in 1973 are in this link:

    http://tinyurl.com/ycdkm4k

     

    2. The player who is the winningest grand slam titlist that year (i.e., the player who has won the most slam championships or won equal to the most slam championships). What matters are slam titles won -- since this validates the POTY's dominance of the ATP World Tour. However, a slam champion's other slam finals/semifinals do not matter because such micro results (as well as performance in other tournaments) are already weighted and reflected in the ATP Rankings. Note: where the year-end No. 1 ranked player won less slams than a lower-ranked player, the ATP may or may not choose to award the POTY to the lower-ranked player with more slams (the ower-ranked player with more slams was POTY only in 1978, 1982, 1989 but was not awarded POTY in 1977).

     

    How has the ATP actually chosen the POTY since this award began in 1975? I've analyzed the precedents and categorized them into Scenarios A to D (see below). We know from Scenario B -- where four slams were won by four players -- that the ATP will likely award the POTY to the single-slam player who ends the year No. 1 (which will probably be either Federer or Djokovic, since Murray is mathemathically too far behind). Thus we can stop arguing using our personal criteria since we now have the simple 'official formula' for choosing the POTY.

     

    Scenario A: In most years (21 of 37), the POTY was was both year-end No. 1 and won the most slams, such as Federer, Nadal and Djokovic did since 2004. 

     

    Scenario B: Where four different players won one slam each (regardless whether or not any of these four slam winners also reached another slam final), the POTY was the year-end No. 1 who won one slam even if he did not reach another slam final  (except in 1976):

    - In 1985 (Lendl), 1990 (Edberg), 1996 (Sampras), 1998 (Sampras), 2001 (Hewitt) and 2002 (Hewitt), none of the lower-ranked players with one slam reached another slam final.

    - In 1991, No.1 Stefan Edberg with only one slam (USO) was awarded POTY over No. 2 Jim Courier with one slam (FO) and one slam final (USO)  as well as over No. 3 Boris Becker with one slam (AO) and one slam final (W).

    - In 2000, No. 1 Kuerten with one slam (FO) and with one year-end championship was awarded POTY over No. 3 Sampras with one slam (W) and one slam final (USO).

    - In 2003, No. 1 Roddick with one slam (USO) was awarded POTY over No. 3 Ferrero with one slam (FO) and one slam final (USO).

    - In 1983, No. 1 McEnroe with one slam (W) was awarded player of the year over No. 4 Wilander with one slam (AO) and one slam final (FO).

     

    Scenario C: Where the No. 2 player had more slams than No.1 player, he was awarded POTY (except in 1977 and 1975):

    - In 1978, No. 2 Bjorn Borg with two slams was awarded POTY over No. 1 Jimmy Connors with one slam

    - In 1982, No. 2 Jimmy Connors with two slams was awarded POTY over No. 1 John McEnroe with zero slam

    - In 1989, No. 2 Boris Becker with two slams was awarded POTY over No. 1 Ivan Lendl with one slam.

     

    Scenario  D: There were three anomalies in the first three years of the POTY (all involving Jimmy Connors, who was disliked by the ATP).

    - In 1975, No. 4 Arthur Ashe with one slam (W) was awarded POTY over No. 3 Borg with one slam (FO) as well as over No. 1 Connors with zero slam but three slam finals (AO, W, USO)

    - In 1976, No. 2 Bjorn Borg with one slam (W) and one slam final (USO) was awarded POTY over No. 1 Connors with one slam (USO),

    - In 1977, No. 3 Bjorn Borg with only one slam (W) was awarded POTY over No 2 Guillermo Vilas with two slams (FO, USO), one slam final (AO) and 16 titles as well as over No. 1 Connors with YEC, zero slams and two slam finals (W, USO).

     

    Below are examples of how the ATP website describes the Players Of The Year (aka ATP World Tour No. 1). Notice that the focus is on year-end No.1 (ATP World Tour Champion), other No. 1 accomplishments, total titles won, grand slam titles won and other accomplishments, World Tour Finals title won, Masters 1000 titles won, match win-loss record, other notable records (e.g., match-winning streak). The ATP does not bother with secondary data such as slam finals, prize money, consistency, top players beaten, feelings of futility felt by only 1% of the world's population, parade of a few thousand out ofthe world's population of seven billion, etc.

     

    - 2009 Player Of The Year, Roger Federer: "The Swiss native finished as ATP World Tour Champion for the fifth time in six years, highlighted by Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. He became the sixth man in the history of the sport to win all four Grand Slam titles during his career and the all-time leader with the most Grand Slam singles titles. He won his 15th Slam crown at Wimbledon, surpassing Pete Sampras, and last month added his 16th title at the Australian Open. He became the second player in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings (since 1973) to finish No. 1 after losing it for a season. Ivan Lendl accomplished the feat in 1989."

     

    - 2010 ATP World Tour No. 1, Rafael Nadal: "The Spaniard won seven titles, including three Grand Slam crowns in a row (Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open). At 24 years, 3 months, he became the youngest man in the Open Era and seventh man overall to complete a career Grand Slam with his first title in Flushing Meadows. He also became the first player to win three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay court titles (Monte-Carlo, Rome, Madrid) in the same season. He is the all-time leader with 18 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. He compiled a 67-9 match record, his fourth straight season with at least 65 match wins."

     

    - 2011 ATP World Tour No. 1, Novak Djokovic: "The 24-year-old Serbian won 10 tour-level titles, highlighted by three Grand Slam championships (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open) and a record five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies in one season. Djokovic ascended to No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings following Wimbledon. He opened 2011 with a 41-match winning streak, just shy of John McEnroe’s record 42-0 start in 1984, and enters the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 69-4 match record."

    bryanstillman
    bryanstillman

    The biggest story of the year in Men's tennis is the regaining of the #1 ranking by Roger Federer. He did it by winning Wimbledon (still the biggest title in tennis) and breaking Pete Sampras's weeks at #1 record. These are clearly the most important achievements this year. Roger's five or six years older than the other top four guys yet he climbed the biggest mountain by far this year. I'm happy for Murray and amused by Djokovic but it's Roger's year and I assure you, they all know it.

    tom_heffner
    tom_heffner

    Wow, what a tough year with all of the Big 4 doing something great.  Still, if I had to give my ranking for my POY honors, I would go with Federer as number 1 heading into the fall/winter stretch.  My other two and why I think so http://tennismaven.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-vote-for-atp-player-of-year.html

     

    By the way, how much longer can Federer keep this up?  It seems like we keep writing him off only to have him roar back.  More than his serve, forehand, and backhand...I think his FOOTWORK is the reason.  Once he loses that, he loses his competitive edge.  In another life, if he did not play tennis, that footwork would have made him a great boxer http://tennismaven.blogspot.com/2012/09/what-if-big-4-didnt-play-tennis.html

     

    Tom

    http://tennismaven.blogspot.com/

     

    alok k
    alok k

    dmmtennis makes some very good points but the  Federer- Murray situation is a bit different from the woznicki-kvitova situation. It is also not fair to totally dismiss the smaller events especially the masters 1000 events. Murray's is a good narrative since a wonderfully gifted player has at last started to realize the potential that he showed so early in his career. The seemingly never-ending wait finally got over. However, Federer's narrative is not all that bad either given that he won a major after two years when most people had started to discount his chances at the majors. To achieve what he did at this age is no mean thing considering that all his main rivals are much younger. For sheer will power, in the face of adverse odds, I think Federer also has a pretty good case. 

    dami1bourd1
    dami1bourd1

    Well, it's interesting to see how americans rate athletes mostly to the amount of money they have earned during the year, even if an enormous part of this money is won through advertisement and not carreer success. I guess this is a reason why they speak so much about Sharapova here?

    Europeans rate players according to their on-court results. As you said it, the top 4 players all won one major + Djokovic is probably going to finish the year as the number one. Consequently, europeans will vote for him as the player of the year.

    PS: We will also note that from a level of play point of view, the 2012 AO final is by far the match of the year. 

    MatthewNeiger
    MatthewNeiger

    I don't have any issue handing AM POY.  Trajectory as well as level certainly comes into it, as does historical signficance. You can also make the argument about most improved going to AM, given the jump he's taken.  Fed has a big argument as well.  Novak, unfortunately, is being measured against 2011 Novak, and Rafa is hurt. 

    bluhvn
    bluhvn

    I've thought that, while the slams are important, the tennis year is more than just the majors. If those are the criteria, then the award loses its integrity.  To me the most remarkable player this year has been Roger Federer.  It depends, I guess, what happens the rest of the schedule, but if it was awarded right now .... 

     

    I like the link given us by Will Grey. Thanks!

    Tom14
    Tom14

    SInce for the first time in years the men's slams have four different holders. Celebrate it and don't name anyone Player of the Year I mean do any of the top four really care worry about it? If someone wins 3 of 4 slams I don't think they need a silver platter or tiffany vase to tell him he's on top. Just celebrate one of tennis' best seasons if that does work name all 4 player of the year. Might even get tennis on the cover of SI you know if they run out of football photo''s from now until February.

    IdaAnnaTaylor
    IdaAnnaTaylor

    This is by far one of the dumbest points I have ever read: "But did he return home to Switzerland after Wimbledon to a parade of thousands?"  What do you think happened to Federer when he won his first slam????  The same damn thing.  And if Murray were to ever win a 17th major, I highly doubt the British public would give a parade for him either!!

    robbati21
    robbati21

    I think it's myopic to forget that the season was almost seven months old until the Olympics rolled along.  Apart from the Wimbledon final, and maybe even the Miami final, Murray just was not a factor after he won the 250 Brisbane title.  In fact, I would say that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were divvying up the titles so much during that period that this seven-month period was when the diehard Bug Four argument was at its MOST tenuous; Until the Olympics-US Open double, I would say commentators and writers wrote 'the Big Four' less than they had last year, when Murray both made the latter stages of Slams and racked up other tour titles. 

     

    Sure, Murray may be the PtR (Player to Remember), but that's more due to the historic nature of his two achievements in relation to his country.  For example, while Murray became the first British man to do a variety of things, Federer became the first man of all-time to pass 286 weeks at No. 1 and joined Sampras with a 7th Wimbledon title (7!).  We may remember Murray, but the numbers will remember Federer and Djokovic.  And the numbers, not the heart, determine Player of the Year, and sorry, but that's the way it's always been.

     

    How many of us remember Federer's 2008 comeback from a devastating French-Wimbledon summer (not to mention mono) to rack up doubles gold and the US Open?  But who was PoY?  Nadal.

     

    How many of us remember Del Potro's 2009 US Open breakthrough?  But who was PoY?  Federer.

     

    Finally, I would say that if Murray wins the World Tour Finals, you could make a case that  he join a three-way tie among himself, Federer and Djokovic, but not pass them.  If Federer or Djokovic wins the WTF, that player will be Player of the Year (and probably Year-end No. 1).  But I don't think Federer will care as long as he passes 300 weeks, haha. 

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @Michael9 I think this excuse is very weak even for a Federer devotee. This year, Federer played exactly THREE Davis Cup matches. How three matches over the course of an entire season warrants ten paragraphs of explanation is beyond me.

     

    Going further, if you look back over the last three seasons, you see that Federer has played six Davis Cup Matches (5-1) while Nadal has also played 6 (6-0)* , and Djokovic has played 8 (7-1). I'm also not convinced your match counts are accurate, because the ATP seems to list Djokovic has playing more matches than Federer (based on their W-L records) in each of the last three seasons. Nadal also played more than Federer in 2010 and 2011, with 2012 obviously being fewer due to Nadal's withdrawals.

     

    (*Note that it would likely have been more if Nadal hadn't had to pull out of the tie against Argentina a couple weeks ago.)

     

    And, in case anyone doesn't know, over the last three seasons Djokovic and Nadal each have more grand slams (4 and 5, respectively) than Federer does (2).

     

    In any one season, different players might play different tournaments, participate in Davis Cup differently, etc., but clearly things even out. Federer has done no more in Davis Cup over the last three years than either Djokovic or Nadal, yet Djokovic and Nadal have each posted better results. (It's also worth mentioning that because Switzerland has not advanced very far in Davis Cup in about a decade, Federer has never been called on to play as much as Djokovic was when Serbia won in 2010 or Nadal was when Spain won in 2008, 2009, or 2011; It's a lot easier to play four preliminary round matches every year than it would be to go all the way to the finals year after year.)

     

    The bottom line is that it's ludicrous to paint Federer as a Davis Cup stalwart and Nadal and Djokovic as unpatriotic slackers given the actual numbers. All of them play pretty similarly overall, and two or three matches over the course of a season aren't going to make a substantial difference.

    CM
    CM

     @Michael9 It's hard to believe that Vilas was not Player of the Year in 1977.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @Michael9 Thanks a lot for doing this research. It's very interesting.

     

    A couple of thoughts in response:

     

    -That we can deduce what the ATP seems to think is important from its prior decisions doesn't really give us an "official formula," especially where there are some aberrations and where the criteria may have evolved over time. It would be helpful if the ATP would publish its actual criteria. If anything, I think your results show that there *isn't* a simple formula for determining who should be the Player of the Year under circumstances like we have this year.

     

    -Even if we could determine the ATP's "official formula," that doesn't mean other views are irrelevant. The ATP could be using criteria we think are wrong, and that's worth discussing. It's a normative question rather than a positive one (who *should*, rather than who will, be ATP Player of the Year). I think this is especially true to the extent the ATP might be conflicted (as they may have been, for example, with Connors, and in other ways that I describe below).

     

    -I totally disagree with the idea that slam results other than wins (e.g., other finals, semifinals, etc.) "do not matter because such micro results . . . are already weighted and reflected in the ATP Rankings." First of all, Slam wins are already weighted and reflected in ATP Rankings, too, so why are other results any different?

     

    Second, and more importantly, why should we defer to the ATP Rankings' weights? The point values are arbitrary. There's no reason from pure logic why a masters win should be worth exactly half a slam win, or a slam final should be worth 60% of a slam win. And common reason would probably contradict those values, because no one actually believes that winning two masters events is equally significant to winning a slam or that reaching two slam finals adds up to more than actually winning one. So why should we defer to a rankings system that weights results that way? Just because it's "official"? To me, that's naive and unsophisticated. 

     

    Which brings me to the conflict the ATP faces. The ATP doesn't make money off of the slams, which are their own entities and not ATP events. The ATP makes money off of the regular tour, and thus wants to encourage the top players to play regular tour events. For that reason, it makes sense that they would exaggerate the significant of the tour events in their rankings.

     

    So I'm loathe to depend on the ATP's ranking system when it isn't actually designed to reflect reality, and to the extent the ATP's "official formula" for determining the Player of the Year could be similarly conflicted, I don't want to just defer to that either.

     

    -Finally, you can't fail to account for the fact that this year is different than most others by virtue of the Olympics and also that this Olympics is particularly meaningful in light of the venue and increased participation. (For the record, the Olympics are also woefully undervalued by the ATP's rankings.) I don't think it's too absurd to use the Olympics as a tiebreaker when you have closely-ranked players who have all won one Slam.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @bryanstillman Hmm.. It was very rude of Murray to beat Federer at the Olympics knowing full well that this is Roger's year...

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @martinstake How is he the most consistently elite *this year* when Djokovic outperformed him in the majors and has more ranking points? His return to #1 is no doubt impressive in terms of what it means for his career, but Djokovic will still have spent more time at #1 this year than anyone else regardless of what happens from here on out. So I don't really understand how "without doubt" "the fed" is Player of the Year.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @alok k I agree that what Federer did is all the more impressive given his age, but it does seem sort of unfair to Djokovic to give him less credit for actually accomplishing more than Federer did (on paper, anyway) just because he had higher expectations.

     

    And it's worth remembering that Murray faced some "adverse odds" of his own given that he's come along as the 4th best player at a time when the top-three players are dominating like never before. To come back weeks after the crushing defeat at Wimbledon to win the Olympics the way he did shows tremendous resolve. I think that matured him a great deal, and I think that's a big part of why he was able to win the US Open despite not playing his best throughout most of the tournament. The resilience was very impressive to me (even though I still don't like the way Murray acts on the court--but maybe that will change as he accomplishes more and gets more secure in himself).

    CM
    CM

     @MatthewNeiger Djokovic is "being measured against 2011 Novak" by Fed KADs, primarily. It's more palatable than comparing the slam results of Fed and Nole in either 2011 or 2012, I guess.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @bluhvn So what's the difference in your mind between Player of the Year and Year-End #1?

    Tennis77777777
    Tennis77777777

     @IdaAnnaTaylor  Um, yes, it's a dumb point, but if you've been exposed to the comments of "forty deuce", you'd realize this was one of her more lucid moments.  

     

    Tennis commentary has sunk to the depths of American political discourse.  The more offensive you are, the more snarky you are, the more groupies you'll attract. 

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @robbati21 Again, I don't understand the point of naming a player of the year if it's just inevitably going to be the same thing as the year-end number one. That makes no sense. "Player to Remember," on the other hand, is something that doesn't have an award as it is, so I think it makes plenty of sense to base Player of the Year on the same things you'd factor in to decide the "Player to Remember."

     

    And your rhetorical questions at the end are very confusing to me. When *anyone* thinks about 2008, I doubt they think of Federer's doubles gold or that he came back from mono. People obviously think of the greatest match ever played, won by Nadal. That was the dominant storyline and the most memorable occurrence, so naturally Nadal was PotY. (Incidentally, if they do think of the Olympics, I'm quite sure they think of Nadal winning singles gold before they think of Federer winning doubles.)

     

    And in 2009, people probably do remember Del Potro, but agian the dominant story was far and away Federer finally winning the French. So again, the most memorable player was the PotY. That's the way it should be.

     

    Federer or Djokovic will be year-end #1. That's great. But the player of the year, as things now stand, ought to be Murray.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @dmmtennisYour counting and/or sources are wrong.

     

    Click ‘Results’ tab in link. This year Federer played FIVE  best-of-five-set Davis Cup matches in two ties (3 of the 4 matches went to 4 sets). The 2 ties were played on clay courts in the middle of the hard court season, which involves surface adaptation. [Over the past 15 months, Federer played 10 best-of-five set matches in 4 DC ties.].

    http://tinyurl.com/8nqpqg9

     

    My facts are correct:  young Djokovic, Murray and Nadal completely skipped DC this entire year 2012 (no ties or matches). And Djokovic put in only the minimal effort last year. Click ‘Results’ tab in link to see Djokovic’s DC record in 2012 and 2011. Djokovic played only 2 of Serbia’s 5 ties in last two seasons, only 1 doubles match and half a singles match.

    http://tinyurl.com/8mcubsm

     

    It’s naive and blind to pretend “clearly things even out.” Djokovic, Murray, Nadal – like Federer – all know that playing DC negatively affects their ATP tour results. An examination of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray’s records indicate a likely correlation between their DC participation and their ATP results.

     

    - In 2010, when Djokovic played the most DC in his career (4 ties, 8 matches, won the DC)  it directly affected his ATP results: 2010 is his worst ATP year since 2006 (before he reached No. 3 in 2007): lowest year-end ranking points, least ATP titles, least ATP finals reached, worst match-winning percentage.

     

    - In 2010, Rafa Nadal won three slams when he skipped DC throughout 2010.

     

    - In 2008 Nadal won two slams while he skipped 4 of 6 DC ties in 2007 and 2008.

     

    It’s not coincidence that Djokovic, Murray, Nadal all skipped DC this year. Had they not skipped DC ties and/or matches in 2012 and/or 2011,

     

    - would Djokovic have won 4 slams and reached 2 other slam finals? Some results probably would be different.

     

    - would Murray have won the 2012 US Open and Olympics as well as reached the Wimbledon final? One or two of his results probably would have been different.

     

    - would Nadal have beaten Djokovic 3 out of 3 matches during the 2012 clay season and won the 2012 French Open? One or two of his results probably would have been different. [Look what happened in 2011 – after Nadal skipped DC in 2010 (he won 3 straight slams), in 2011 Nadal played 3 of 4 DC ties but he lost 7 consecutive finals to Djokovic. Nadal was lucky to win 2011 French Open, as Federer beat red-hot Djokovic for him.]

     

    It is irrelevant to go back three years of DC seasons since my original comments pertained to their slam results in 2012 and 2011. You disingenuously changed my two-year parameter to “the last three years”: “if you look back over the last three seasons, you see that Federer has played six Davis Cup Matches (5-1) while Nadal has also played 6 (6-0)*”

     

    But even if we compare Nadal and Federer over the three seasons since (2010, 2011, 2012):, it is clear you did not do your research, you cannot count, you are not telling the whole story, and do not understand what you’re arguing about:

     

    - NADAL: 23-to-26 year old Nadal completely skipped two DC seasons (2010, 2012). He played DC only in 2011. Nadal played only 3 ties (33%) out of Spain’s 9 ties since 2010. Nadal played a total of 6 matches in the 3 ties. He played one easy away tie (Belgium) and played 2 home clay ties (2011 France, 2011 Argentina). Nadal skipped 2 away ties (2011 USA, 2010 France). Nadal skipped the away hardcourt tie against the toughest team with the most highly-ranked players faced by Spain in winning DC in 2011: USA on hardcourts. [In his career, Nadal skipped every DC away tie outside Europe. Since 2006, Nadal has played only 8 ties (38%) of Spain's 21 DC ties, and skipped 13 ties. Durig this period, David Ferrer carried Spain by playing 16 ties (76%) of those 21 ties.].

    http://tinyurl.com/7v7265w

     

    - FEDERER: 28-to-31 year old Federer skipped only one DC season (2010) in his career, after playing 11 consecutive DC seasons since 1999 (the only modern great player with a better record is Stefan Edberg).  Federer played 4 ties (67%) out of Switzerland’s 6 DC ties since 2010. In those 4 ties, Federer played a total of 10 matches. Federer played 2 away ties (2011 Australia, 2012 Netherlands) and played 2 home ties (2012 USA, 2011 Portugal). He skipped 2 away ties (2010 Kazakhstan, 2010 Spain).

     

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @dmmtennis You start off with a personal attack (“Federer devotee”) because your disingenuous arguments fail on the facts, logic, principles and/or truth.

     

    Example: my Federer/Djokovic match counts over the past two seasons (past 52-weeks, 2012, 2011) are 100% accurate. You are wrong: you twisted my stats by adding one extra year to change it to “each of the last three seasons” and then claimed the ATP “seems to list Djokovic has playing more matches than Federer.” You’re discredited.

     

    It’s nonsense that “Federer has never been called on to play as much as Djokovic was when Serbia won in 2010 or Nadal was when Spain won in 2008, 2009, or 2011.” Federer’s 2003 DC run was more demanding than what Djokovic and Nadal did.  Djokovic and Nadal never played more than 2 matches per tie, so their load was less. As well, Federer in many ways put more effort into DC this year (5 matches, 18 sets, one away tie, one home tie) than Nadal did in 2008, 2009, 2011.

     

    - In 2003, when Switzerland reached DC semifinal, Federer played 3 away ties (Australia, Netherlands, France) totaling 9 best-of-five set matches (33 sets). In every tie, Federer played the maximum 3 best-of-five set matches on 3 consecutive days. The away tie in Australia is much more physically demanding than any away tie Djokovic or Nadal did.

     

    - In 2010, when Serbia won the DC, Djokovic played three home ties and one away tie (Croatia) totaling only 8 matches (29 sets).

     

    - In 2008, when Spain won Davis cup, Nadal skipped two away ties outside Europe: DC final in Argentina (see link for what he did during the final) and Peru. Nadal played only 3 matches (10 sets) in just 2 ties: 2 matches in one home clay tie and 1 match in one away tie (Germany).

    http://tinyurl.com/dyu6oed

     

    - In 2009, when Spain won DC, Nadal skipped two home ties. Nadal played only 4 matches (11 sets) in just 2 home clay ties.

     

    - In 2011, when Spain won DC, Nadal skipped the most critical away tie against the toughest team (USA). Nadal played just 2 home clay ties and one away tie (Belgium). Nadal played only 6 matches (16 sets), two were best-of-three set dead rubbers.

     

    You make claims about issues you do not understand: “it's ludicrous to paint Federer as a DC stalwart and Nadal and Djokovic as unpatriotic slackers given the actual numbers. All of them play pretty similarly overall”.   Federer's DC record from age 17 to 26 (1999 to 2007) is superior to the records of the 25-to-26 year old Nadal, Djokovic and Murray who played their first DC tie in 2004, 2004 and 2005 respectively. Therefore, we can compare the first 9 DC seasons: of Roger, Rafa, Novak, Andy (it’s 8 seasons for Andy, as his first tie was in 2005):

     

    - Federer (1999 to 2007, age 17 to 26): 4.89 rubbers/matches per year (44 rubbers over 9 years); played 16 ties (84%) out of Switzerland’s 19 ties; played 9 DC seasons (did not miss his first 11 consecutive seasons, until 2010).

     

    - Nadal (2004 to 2012, age 17 to 26): 3 rubbers per year (27 rubbers over 9 years); played 14 ties (52%) out of Spain’s 27 ties; played 6 DC seasons (skipped 2007, 2010, 2012)

     

    - Djokovic (2004 to 2012, age 16 to 25): 3.33 rubbers per year (30 rubbers over 9 years); played 17 ties (74%) out of Serbia’s 23 ties; played 8 DC seasons (skipped 2012)

     

    - Murray (2005 to 2012, age 17 to 25); 2.75 rubbers per year (22 rubbers over 8 years); played 11 ties (61%) of Britain’s 18 ties; played 6 DC seasons (skipped 2010, 2012).

     

    Michael9
    Michael9

     @CM   I completely agree. I analyzed 1977 data some time back. He should have been both Year-End No.1 as well as Player Of The Year. I doubt the ATP will ever officially redress this wrong.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    dmmtennis:    I disagree with your self-serving views, which simply aim to support your 20 questionable posts on this thread.

     

    My thorough analysis shows the ATP has the simple 'official formula' for choosing the POTY for this year’s circumstances: year-end No.1 and one slam (preferably Wimbledon, but not necessary). Given these clear criteria, whichever one-slam champion (Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray) finishes the year as the No. 1 player on the ATP rankings, the ATP will choose that player to be the POTY. Most likely will be Federer or Djokovic, since Murray is unlikely to finish No. 1.

     

    There is rarely any inflexible “official formula” for deciding on any award in human activity (simply because of the numerous possibilities). Criteria / measures are guidelines, not as rigid rules. A few aberrations are acceptable. Most award bestowers do not reveal their selection criteria.

     

    Having analyzed 37 years of POTY data, I can say that the ATP has been relatively consistent: clear patterns indicate the criteria for choosing the POTY under the circumstances we have this year. The few aberrations are understandable and happened in the early years of the award.

     

    Of the 37 years of POTY awards, there were 12 years where the four slams were shared by four different players (1975, 1976, 1983*, 1985, 1990, 1991**, 1996, 1998, 2000*, 2001, 2002, 2003*). In 10 of those 12 years – 1983 to 2003, the most recent years – the award was bestowed to the player holding the year-end No.1 ranking (this was the case even when one or more other slam champions had reached another slam final, as was the case in those years marked with an asterisk* or **). Only in the first two years of the award (1975, 1976) were there aberrations, probably due to the ATP’s dislike of Jimmy Connors and their respect for Arthur Ashe. But thereafter, in the past 35 years, the pattern has been consistent (actually constant) with respect to the circumstances we have this year. The only other discernable pattern was that the POTY was Wimbledon champion in 6 (50%) of those 12 years.

     

    That’s the ATP’s criteria. Take it or leave it, I don’t care. Your views on “slam results other than wins” won’t change how the ATP will select the POTY, which will be based on its precedents that most stakeholders accept.

     

    In any case, I agree with the ATP’s criteria of No. 1 ranking and most slams: it’s simple and elegant, given the mission of the top players are to hold the No. 1 ranking and win grand slams, among other titles.

     

    - The POTY should hold the No.1 ranking, which reflects how well the player performed and dominated the year. The ranking is a weighted formula where the grand slams make up 46% of the mandatory points. The weighted formula of the world rankings provides a systematic and comprehensive assessment of the player’s overall accomplishments and where the various parts of his accomplishments fit in the big picture. 

     

    - The POTY should hold the most major championships – since the biggest titles are the symbols that validate the player’s dominance of the ATP World Tour. In order to motivate the POTY to win grand slam titles – in the five years where the No. 1 player held less slams than the other top players (1975, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1989) -- the ATP has bestowed the POTY on the No. 2 or 3 player with more slams (though 1977 was an aberration in an early year involving the No. 2 and No. 3 player). In any major sport it’s always been the case that only one champion wins the title and is left standing, and the rest go home empty handed (you don’t get much recognition for being second or third best – you’re seen as a loser, that’s just reality of sports life).

     

    In human activity, everything is arbitrary to some degree. Ultimately, recognized authorities such as the ATP take decisions on matters such as weights. The relative ranking weights have been around for some time, and the vast majority of stakeholders who matter (players, ATP, ITF, analysts, fans, etc.) generally accept the formula. You are a nobody whose views aren’t compelling, so your personal opinions on the ATP ranking do not matter. If you don’t want to ‘defer’ to their ranking system that is acceptable to most people, I don’t care

     

    Your dubious speculation that the ATP is deliberately under-weighting the slams to encourage players to play non-slam events fails the logic test – if what you say is true, then why doesn’t the ATP (a) give zero points to the Slams and Olympics, (b) remove the slams from its list of mandatory events and (c) hold alternative ATP events during the slams -- in order to encourage players to play more tour events? Indeed, by cutting down the mandatory events, the ATP encourages players to play the slams. Your speculations are not just ludicrous but ignorant of tennis history: in most of the 135 years of tennis history, the players played a slew of events in the tennis season, not just the grand slams. Example, in 1969 Rod Laver won the calendar grand slam (won four slams) among 17 titles. The next year he won 12 titles (zero slams) and was still considered by some as co-player of the year 1970. It’s wrong to over-fixate on the slams as if there are only four tournaments that matter in a tennis season.

     

    After winning the US Open, Andy Murray was asked whether he considered himself the most successful player of the year until now. His reply is instructive: “I don't think I have had the best year on the tour, no… there is more to the tennis tour than just the Grand Slams… I think it is important to remember the tennis season.  It starts in January, finishes in November, there is four slams, but there is also many other tournaments to get to No. 1 in the world, which I think if you're No. 1 you deserve to be the player of the year. You can't just rely on only playing the Grand Slams.  You need to do well at the other events, as well.  I haven't done as well as I have needed to get to No. 1 in the world. I would say Novak or Roger would be the best players this year.  But there is still a few months left.” Clearly Murray explained his place in the world rankings while the slams in context.

     

    A tiebreaker is redundant obviously because the No. 1 ranking is already the most sensible tiebreaker available, given the circumstances of this year and the precedents in ATP history of the POTY.

     

    In any case, I disagree that the Olympics should be used as a tiebreaker as well as your perception that the Olympics is suddenly more meaningful. On another thread, I have explained at length why the novelty event of the Olympics, at this point in tennis history, still has no cachet. The Year-End Championships has earned the right as a far more meaningful and prestigious tournament – its honor roll of champions are a who’s who list of great players who this event at their peak. That’s why the WTF iss often considered the fifth most prestigious championship in tennis.

    CM
    CM

     @dmmtennis  Rude of Djokovic to straight-set Fed at Roland Garros, too....

    forevernado
    forevernado

     @dmmtennis  @bluhvn Year-End #1 is abut the points. Player of the Year is about who has had the best overall year. For example, 2011 Petra Kivitiva (sp?) was the Player of the year even though Caroline Wozniaki (sp?) won the the Year-End #1.

    robbati21
    robbati21

     @dmmtennis Well, if our disagreement rests on whether numbers or power of remembrance is involved, I see no way of resolving this issue, but allow me to reiterate that Player of the Year is traditionally determined by the numbers/significance of accomplishment, or at the very least, as Mr. Sesno and Ms. Nguyen demonstrate, the numbers/accomplishments are typically where tennis analysts go to gather their evidence.  If you don't buy that, then I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise.

     

    But let's just say we go off memory, then.  I think your memory is based on recency bias.  What was the most memorable story of 2012, before Murray came along?  I would argue that it was Federer's tear through Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells and Madrid, in which he essentially set up what everyone had been deeming impossible for the last year and a half: a return to the No. 1 ranking.  He finally did so in emphatic fashion, winning Wimbledon, just like old times, and in doing so tied the open era record for number of Wimbledon titles.  In the span of a couple weeks, he became Wimbledon champion (for the 7th time), regained the No. 1 ranking, and set the all-time men's mark for weeks at No. 1, at 287, and counting.  Plus, he'll break 300 weeks if he makes R16 in Shanghai.  I don't know about you, but that's pretty memorable.  It practically mirrored his 2005 season, in fact if you add in Cincy (and even his two semi losses at AO and RG). 

     

    With all due respect to Andy Murray and the Brits, for me, what he did isn't any more memorable than what Federer did, and in fact, numbers-wise, it's less impressive.  He became the first British man in 70-something years to win a Grand Slam, yes, but Federer became the first man--British, Spanish, Swiss, you name it--ever to be No. 1 for 287 weeks.  He became just the third man, ever, to win Wimbledon SEVEN times.  Just because we've become so used to Federer setting records and whatnot doesn't make his more recent accomplishments any less impressive or memorable.  In fact, I would argue, they're even more impressive.  Sure, that's been diluted a bit by the US Open loss, but Murray's season was diluted a bit by...five whole months during which i don't really remember Murray that much.

    forevernado
    forevernado

    So if Andy Roddick had won a major then he should be named POY ... by your criteria even though the guy is ranked down in the 20s or so?  You should be placed on another planet if this is truly your thinking of the whole thing.

     

    Oh and by the way year end # one is more about how many points you can rack up so it benefits the person who is 1) plays the most and 2) consistantly finishes the best in several tournaments.  That is why the WTA has had several #1s who have not won majors. It can happen on the mens side as well but because the top four are also the most consistent (and until this year one of the top three has won more than one major in a claendar year making it almost mathematically impossible for a non major winner to capture the year end #1 ranking) and actually play a lot this hole in the system is not exposed on the mens side like it is on the womens side but the possibility is there.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @CM   My posts explained how skipping Davis Cup probably benefited Djokovic in the grand slams and year-end ranking.

     

    My intention wasn’t to “knock” Djokovic per se. Regardless, it always is fair to point out whenever a 24-to- 25 year-old top player skips Davis Cup the entire year. Just because he helped win one Davis Cup does not release Djokovic from DC.

     

    Although Djokovic did help Serbia win Davis Cup in 2010, he had a deep enough team [Nenad Zimonjic (World No. 1 doubles player for most of 2010, Tipsarevic and Troicki]. In 2010, Djokovic did not play Davis Cup for 12 months before his 2008 DC ties as well as did not play for 7 months after his 2010 DC ties.

     

    - Djokovic (2004 to 2012, nine years): Djokovic did play 8 consecutive years, where he played 17 ties (74%) out of Serbia’s 23 ties during that period. He skipped 2012. Played 3.33 rubbers per year (30 rubbers over 9 years).

     

    - Federer (1999 to 2007, nine years): Federer played 16 ties (84%) out of Switzerland’s 19 ties in his first 9 DC seasons. Federer played 11 consecutive seasons (only season skipped was 2010). As well, Federer’s Davis Cup record was perfect until 2005 -- Roger won his first four Slams without missing any Davis Cup tie during that period.  Played 4.89 rubbers/matches per year (44 rubbers over 9 years).

     

    CM
    CM

     @Michael9  @dmmtennis When it comes to Davis Cup, maybe it's a case of quality over quantity? After all, Djokovic helped win the Cup! He played 17 ties in 8 consecutive years. It's the one area that seems wildly unfair to Knock Djokovic.

    Michael9
    Michael9

     @dmmtennis Spare us your insincere comments. You need to stop your weaseling and personal attacks,  as well as stop bugging me and other  posters (like you did earlier on this and other blogs).  You need attention -- you're the one who first came to my original posts and insisted on posting numerous replies to me.  It's clear your spurious arguments tend to lack substance (fact, logic, consistent principles and truth) and often are smoke and mirrors designed to obfuscate our views in order to impose your views. You’re not interested in a sincere debate on good faith -- you simply want to push your dubious points of view on us.

     

    Next time you reply another person's post,  you should curb your ego; try to discuss in a fair, honest and sincere way (i.e., curb your weaseling); and do not start off with a first reply that insinuates that the original poster''s views are "naive and unsophisticated" (especially when it better describes you). Now take your bruised ego and run along. You've wasted too much of our time on your replies.

     

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @Michael9  @dmmtennis hmmm... I honestly think you might be crazy (I know, I know, ad hominem). And since you clearly think I'm an idiot (or thereabouts) there's not any point in continuing this discussion. But I do appreciate all the research you put into it. Hopefully you were able to persuade someone with it.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @dmmtennis  Finally, some of your points below are relevant to my original post.

     

    Your view does not matter that "(you're) not paying attention to doubles in the Davis Cup..." because you lack competence to make an informed judgment on this issue. The International Tennis Federation first counts a player's total/overall matches/rubbers played -- singles and doubles combined -- as their primary record in Davis Cup (singles and doubles per se is secondary). There are good reasons for this: (a) doubles is always critical and hotly contested because it can clinch or extend the tie (players actually get more ATP ranking points for winning a Davis Cup doubles match than for a singles match) and (b) playing three best-of-five set matches over three or two consecutive days stresses and fatigues a player much more than if they simply had to play two matches with a rest day in between (which is what Nadal and Djokovic usually do). The ATP counts each tie as equivalent to a tournament because of the effort involved in each Davis Cup tie.

     

    In any case, Federer and other players who play singles and doubles are the real experts on this issue, not you: they say that for them playing one Davis Cup tie is equivalent to playing one tournament (Federer equates it to a Masters 1000 in sacrifice and effort) and that playing both singles and doubles is far more exhausting.  I introduced you to the Davis Cup website a few days ago -- go research player interviews before you give us another uninformed opinion on this issue.

     

    Playing Davis Cup doubles is mandatory for Federer, because his weak team requires him to play both doubles and singles. It is not an option for Federer to play doubles in Davis Cup. These exhausting singles and doubles Davis Cup ties have a direct impact on Federer's performance on the ATP World Tour -- including his grand slam results, year-end ranking and ATP Player Of The Year Award.

     

    It is irrelevant to account for ATP Tour doubles because Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are voluntarily choosing when and where to play ATP doubles, it's not mandatory. Playing doubles on the ATP Tour is entirely optional and voluntary. Losing an ATP doubles match has no consequence (unlike losing a Davis Cup doubles match) so players do not need to put in as much effort as they do in Davis Cup.

     

    Certain players like Nadal and Djokovic play some ATP doubles for a few reasons: to practice their serve-and-volley skills, to get match practice on the court surface, and to have fun practice with a friend (Nadal’s doubles partner like Marc Lopez). These players use doubles to get match practice for their singles matches. In the last four years, Nadal played doubles to get match practice on hardcourt and grass.

     

    Most observers do not realize that Nadal often whines about being injured/sick then contradicts himself by playing so much hardcourt doubles while claiming to be injured/sick. Nadal claimed he was injured since February (played the French Open on anti-inflammatories, etc) yet he chose to play doubles at Halle (non-mandatory event), Miami and Indian Wells this year instead of resting his knee. Why? Because it's a practice session he needs for the surface and his knee was not injured enough to stop him from playing doubles. In 2008 Fall, Nadal used the excuse of chronic knee tendinitis to skip both the World Tour Finals in Shanghai and the Davis Cup finals played in Argentina -- yet in his last two events, he played doubles in Paris Masters indoors with his Argentine buddy Juan Monaco and played doubles in Madrid Masters indoors with his buddy Carlos Moya (who retired from playing Davis Cup in 2004) -- he obviously was not practicing for the Davis Cup finals with an Argentine and a non-Davis Cup player. He was giving himself match practice for the singles events.

     

    I do not care that "(you) don't really care at all about how Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic have participated in DC over their careers" – remember, this is my post so I will decide what is and is not relevant to discussion in my post. Not you, because you do not debate in good faith

     

    What's relevant to my post and to the Toss article is what's happened in 2012 and 2011. You are disingenuously trying to obfuscate the issues and water down Federer's Davis Cup efforts over the last 15 months by expanding the period under consideration from two years to three years ("if you look at the last three years together, there's no reason to believe Federer was taxed more so than the others"). Common sense tells us that Davis Cup in 2010 has virtually no impact on 2012, especially the way players like Nadal, Djokovic and Murray skip an entire season of Davis Cup.

     

    Despite the information I've provided, you disingenuously persist in repeating your nonsense that Davis Cup does not "influence their competition with each other over the last few seasons when #1 has been up for grabs". I have already shown that:

    - When Djokovic won Davis Cup in 2010, that was his worst year in results on the ATP Tour. When Djokovic played just 1.5 matches in 2011, that was his best year in results.

    - When Nadal skipped Davis Cup entirely in 2010, that was his best year in results and year-end ranking. When Nadal skipped Davis Cup entirely in 2007 and played just three matches in 2008, that was his second best year in results and year end ranking. When Nadal played three Davis Cup ties (6 matches) in 2011, he lost his No. 1 ranking and lost 7 straight finals to Djokovic.

     

    Is it any wonder that Djokovic, Nadal and Murray all skipped Davis Cup entirely this year?

     

    Bottom line, I do not care that the significant efforts Federer patriotically "devoted to Davis Cup this year don't influence (your) thinking of who has had the best season at all" since I find your spurious arguments to be self-serving to further your pre-determined views.

     

    Bottom line it is irrelevant to the ATP that "to (you), it's much more important that both Murray and Djokovic have outperformed Federer at the slams." It does not mater if the other players have reached one or two more Slam finals. As I showed from my analysis of the ATP's precedents, whichever of the top four players finishes the year No.1 on the ATP Rankings, the ATP will likely award that player the ATP Player Of The Year. 

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @dmmtennis  My original post primarily compares what Federer and Djokovic did in the last two years, not before that. Therefore your irrelevant arguments about "Federer hasn't been called on to play as much Davis Cup as Djokovic in 2010 or Nadal in 2011, 2009, or 2008" are irrelevant because (a) they exceed the relevant past two years (i.e., 2012 and 2011) as well as (b) exceed the relevant primary subjects (Djokovic and Federer) in my post.

     

    Despite the indepth information I've already posted, you disingenuously persist in repeating the nonsense that Nadal played more Davis Cup in 2008, 2009, 2011 than Federer has done over the past 9 to 15 months.

    - Federer has played 37 sets (10 matches) in Davis Cup over the last 15 months

    - Nadal also played 37 total sets (13 matches) in Davis Cup since October 2006!

    - What you omit telling us is that, since October 2006, the only Davis Cup seasons Nadal played were 2008, 2009 and 2011. Nadal skipped Davis Cup entirely in 2007, 2010 and 2011. That’s why you chose 2008, 2009, 2011.

    - 30 to 31 year old Federer's efforts in Davis Cup are much more exhausting in the last 15 months than it would be for 22-to-25 year old Nadal in his prime over 72 months since 2006!

     

     It did not matter that Nadal's team frequently went to the finals -- since beginning 2006, Nadal played only 8 Davis Cup ties (that’s approximately one tie per year). Nadal looks like a hero winning clay matches in Spain, but in reality he did not play much Davis Cup (skipped three entire seasons)  yet Spain's deep team still won 10 of 13 ties skipped by Nadal since 2006.

     

    My earlier posts already provided the information that can be put together to show that Federer over the last 15 months has put in more effort into Davis Cup than both Djokovic and Nadal put into their Davis Cup wins.

     

    - FEDERER: Over the last 15 months, 30-to-31-year old Federer played 4 consecutive ties (2 away, 2 home) consisting of 10 matches and 37 sets. One away tie was in Australia, a 20,000 mile round trip, while another away tie was in Netherlands. [Or over the last 12 months: Federer played 3 ties (2 away, 1 home) consisting of 8 matches and 30 sets. Or over the last 9 months: Federer played 2 ties (1 away, 1 home) consisting of 5 matches and 18 sets.]. Federer is expected to play the maximum 3 matches in every tie, unless it is a dead rubber.

     

    - NADAL: Federer put more effort into Davis Cup over the past 9 to 15 months than young Nadal in his prime put into winning those 3 Davis Cups you mentioned over the last six years: 2008 (2 ties, 3 matches, 10 sets), in 2009 (2 ties, 4 matches, 11 sets), or in 2011 (3 ties, 6 matches, 16 sets). Nadal played no more than 2 consecutive ties in the 2008, 2009, 2011. Nadal played 5 of his 7 ties on his favorite Spain clay courts (home ties).  In 2008, Nadal did not play Davis Cup for 19 months before his 2008 DC ties as well as did not play DC for 6 months after his 2008 DC ties. In 2009, Nadal did not play DC for 6 months before his 2009 DC ties as well as did not play DC for 15 months after his 2009 DC ties. In 2011, Nadal did not play DC for 15 months before his 2011 DC ties as well as did not play DC since his 2011 DC ties.

     

    - DJOKOVIC: Federer arguably put more effort into Davis Cup over the past 9 to 15 months than young Djokovic in his prime put into winning Davis Cup in 2010 (4 ties, 8 matches, 29 sets). Three of the four ties were home ties in Serbia. In 2010, Djokovic did not play Davis Cup for 12 months before his 2008 DC ties as well as did not play for 7 months after his 2010 DC ties. Djokovic never played more than 2 matches per tie, because Serbia has a relatively deep team with Nenad Zimonjic (No. 1 doubles player for most of 2010), Tipsarevic and Troicki.

     

    I am not interested in your further irrelevant and spurious replies on your  irrelevant issues you brought up here.

     

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @dmmtennis  Spare us your feigned sentiments. You’re not interested in a sincere debate. Your spurious claims lack substance and your arguments tend to be smoke and mirrors aimed to impose your views and obfuscate our views.

     

    1. Your label “a Federer devotee” (dmmtennis: “this excuse is very weak even for a Federer devotee”) is a classic ad hominem given the context. Your disingenuousness is not fooling anyone here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

     

     

    2. You pretend “How does adding another year make my conclusions wrong? I'm just adding some new information to try to paint a bigger picture. It's not disingenuous to add accurate information.”

     

    - Keep your reply within the parameters of my original post (which is a response to Courtney and Sesno’s Toss article based on issues pertaining to the years 2012 and 2011). Your reply is irrelevant wherever you are “just adding some new information to try to paint a bigger picture” that exceeds the parameters of my post. In any case, your “bigger pictures” are just self-serving deviations. Please stop replying if you cannot debate in good faith.

     

    - Your arguments are not just wrong, disingenuous and irrelevant -- but also deceitful. You disingenuously disregarded that my match counts are based on the relevant last two seasons in order to deny the 100% accuracy of my match counts. Instead you disingenuously increased my match counts in the last two seasons by expanding to your irrelevant “last three seasons” in order to use your three seasons to deceitfully accuse me of providing inaccurate match counts (dmmtennis: “I'm also not convinced your match counts are accurate”).

     

    - In my original post, the primary subjects are Djokovic and Federer. (My argument  “Djokovic was able to focus his efforts 100% on (the Slams and the ATP Tour rankings)… because he slacked off and skipped Davis Cup the last two years!” was my response to Courtney’s argument that she’s “going to back the guy who’s been inarguably the best at the (Slams)…  in comparison, Federer had the worst Slam season of our viable Player of the Year candidates.”)

     

    - It was relevant to consider only Djokovic and Federer’s match counts within the past two seasons (three periods measured: past 52 weeks, 2012 season, 2011 season) that are relevant to Djokovic “slacked off and skipped Davis Cup the last two years.” Given this, it is irrelevant to my post for you to expand to “each of the last three seasons” by including the 2010 season as well as for you to add “new information” about Nadal.

     

    - My information on match counts is 100% accurate in all three periods within the last two seasons: (a) over the past 52 weeks, Federer has played 84 matches (more matches than Djokovic’s 81 matches); (b) in 2012 season, Federer played 69 matches (two matches less than Djokovic’s 71 matches); and (c) in 2011, Federer and Djokovic both played 76 matches each. Despite this, you made a false claim (dmmtennis: “I'm also not convinced your match counts are accurate because the ATP seems to list Djokovic has playing more matches than Federer (based on their W-L records)…”). But you discredit yourself by failing to provide any credible numbers to substantiate your false claims.

     

     I am not interested in your further irrelevant and spurious replies on your irrelevant issues.

     

     

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @Michael9 Oh boy...

     

    1. How is it a personal attack to say someone is a Federer devotee? I thought the part where I call your excuses weak was much worse, but whatever.

     

    2. How does adding another year make my conclusions wrong? I'm just adding some new information to try to paint a bigger picture. It's not disingenuous to add accurate information.

     

    3. When I said Federer hasn't been called on to play as much Davis Cup as Djokovic in 2010 or Nadal in 2011, 2009, or 2008, it was in the context of saying Switzerland hasn't advanced very far in nearly a decade. You then bring up 2003, which is nearly a decade ago. That's my point. Playing every tie is easier when your team rarely goes very far.

     

    4. I'm not paying attention to doubles in the Davis Cup because (a) it's not as demanding as singles, and (b) different players play doubles different in the tour in general. I'd guess Nadal plays more doubles than Djokovic and Federer, but I'm not sure. But the point is unless you're going to add all that up, too, you're not going to be telling the full story.

     

    Having checked quickly, it seems over the last three years Nadal has played 31 doubles matches and Federer has played only 15. If three total matches in Davis Cup is supposed to make such a huge difference, surely those doubles matches ought to be accounted for as well.

     

    5. I don't really care at all about how Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic have participated in DC over their careers in the context of this discussion. I'm talking about how it influences their competition with each other over the last few seasons when #1 has been up for grabs. Your premise seems to have been that Federer hasn't been on a level playing field because he's committed so much more energy to Davis Cup, but I think that while things always vary year to year, if you look at the last three years together, there's no reason to believe Federer was taxed more so than the others. Yes, in a given season a particularly grueling DC match might set you back some, but little variations like that are things the players have to deal with all the time, and generally it balances out over time.

    The bottom line is that the THREE singles matches Federer has devoted to Davis Cup this year don't influence my thinking of who has had the best season at all (particularly given who those matches came against and the results). To me, it's much more important that both Murray and Djokovic have outperformed Federer at the slams, and I doubt even you could find a way to blame that on Davis Cup.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @dmmtennis  My original posts are direct responses to Courtney and Sesno’s Toss article. I did not seek you out or respond to your earlier posts. You had been hopping from poster to poster on this blog trying to obfuscate posts that don’t conform to your views. Eventually you landed on my original posts, where you made unsolicited replies. You’re on my posts, but you’re not here to discuss things in good faith. Therefore, you do not get to decide what I can and cannot discuss – or who I want to have a discussion with. But don’t worry: I don’t dismiss everything someone says – just those things that are the product of weaseling and bad faith. I do not care that you “don’t think anyone cares about” what I want to discuss. Don’t misrepresent yourself as “people who disagree” – when so far it is just one person (you). You really need to stop projecting one of you as if there is a whole community of you, lol.

     

    Without first understanding how the ATP tends to select the POTY, any chatter about how the ATP ought to determine POTY will tend to be chaotic, moot and dominated by bullies like yourself who try to foist their views onto others.

     

    Your  belief "no one actually believes that winning two masters events is equally significant to winning a slam or that reaching two slam finals adds up to more than actually winning one" indicates your understanding of tennis was probably forged in the last 15 years or so. Those who have been around longer might understand that there was a time when a Masters tournament was worth more than 50% of a grand slam. For example, in 1994 Andre Agassi won 807 points for winning US Open and later won 559 points for winning Paris indoors -- i.e., Paris indoors was worth 69% of US Open points in 1994. Not every Masters event was 69% of a slam (others were 56% or 62%, etc.) in those years, but it's still higher than 50%.

     

    Your speculations and fictions on the ATP's motivation for and assignment of rankings points seem to be created by your ego, ignorance and tunnel-vision about the place of the grand slams in the tennis season.

     

    You haven’t done your homework if you "don't think anyone believes that any two masters events are as meaningful as one slam?"  Excerpt from Jon Wertheim's mailbag:

    Justin DePietropaolo’s Question: “Is there any argument at all to say that it's harder to win a Masters Series tournament than a major? The field is stronger, the draws are smaller, and they play best two-of-three, meaning an upset is easier”.

    Jon Wertheim: “…Andre Agassi, among others, made this observation as well, but yes, you could make the case that TMS events might be harder to win than majors…At a TMS event, the top players are in attendance and the bottom ones aren't -- so you could make the case that the draws are, in fact, tougher. After the first few rounds at a TMS, you no longer have a day to rest between matches. (Consider Federer in Indian Wells, where he beat Juan Martin del Potro, Rafael Nadal and then John Isner in the span of about 42 hours.)  In the case of the men, while the best-of-three format helps with stamina and recovery, it also lends itself to upsets. Over best-of-five, the better player usually brings his superiority, there's a regression to the mean, etc. Over best-of-three, a player can get hot for an hour and -- poof -- there's your upset. No one contends that the majors aren't the four tentpoles of tennis. They're the most important events of the year and the most important benchmarks when we assess a player's career. But I would contend that we don't give enough weight to the top tour events. Look at the remaining fields in Miami and look at the precious few sessions remaining. Then consider what a feat it will be for the winners to emerge.”

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/news/20120328/masters-mailbag/

     

    The manner in which you put down and re-construct the thoughtful Andy Murray reveals much about your mindset: “Murray's own views aren't authoritative, particularly because when evaluating oneself it pays to adopt views that are overly humble and even self-deprecating.” In your hubris, you presume only your views reflect reality and are tied to logic.

     

    The unauthoritative views are yours – if only you had the humility to realize it.

     

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @Michael9 Hmm... if you want to have a discussion with yourself about how the ATP *will* select PotY, that's fine. I don't think anyone cares about that. People seem to be more interested in discussion how the ATP *ought* to determine PotY.

     

    Lol... neither of our views on the ATP matter... at all. But we still get to talk about things. If you're going to dismiss everything someone says that you disagree with because they're a "nobody whose views aren't compelling," well then I'll just do the same to you and we won't get very far, will we?

     

    I think the answers to your questions about my views on the ATP's assignment of rankings points are relatively straightforward. The ATP obviously can't give zero points for the majors because they need their rankings to have some connection to reality. No matter what the ATP does, everyone will still care about the Slams more than any ATP tournament. If the ATP ignored the slams, it would obviously marginalize itself. So it can't do that.

     

    However, they do obviously tilt their rankings more toward the tour events than reality would dictate. As I said, I don't think anyone believes that any two masters events are as meaningful as one slam, but the ATP makes the rankings that way because they obviously have an interest in the players participating in regular tour events. This isn't some bizarre conspiracy theory I don't think. I think everyone knows that that the tours need the players to participate in tour events to make money, and that left to their own devices, the players would focus even more on the slams than they already do.

     

    Murray's own views aren't authoritative, particularly because when evaluating oneself it pays to adopt views that are overly humble and even self-deprecating.

     

    You are quite obnoxious to discuss things with because you're very condescending with people who disagree. I thought you ought to get some response to your lengthy post, but if you don't value other views, I probably shouldn't offer any more. You seem like you'd prefer to have a conversation with yourself, which is fine, but I don't see why you'd want to have it here.

    forevernado
    forevernado

     @dmmtennis  @bluhvn No not necessarily.

    She was consistent over more tournaments but Petra won = or more tournaments than Woz and the tournaments she won was higher profile (year end tournament and Wimbledon) and she went undefeated in the indoor season.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @forevernado  @bluhvn But didn't Wozniaki have the better year? In theory, that's what the points are supposed to show. Outside of Wimbledon and the year-end championships, Kvitova had a pretty mediocre season. The fact that she was still the PotY (which I agree with) makes my point for me. It's not about who was the most consistent over the course of the season. It's about whose performance made the biggest impact on the year in tennis.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @robbati21 I definitely agree with you that it's a Golden Era and that it's only because of what an exciting and balanced year it's been that we have to put so much thought into how to decide PotY. And unquestionably, Federer deserves a lot of credit for causing this Golden Era. As I said elsewhere, I don't mind if we both just happen to place difference levels of significance on what the players did--it's subjective.

     

    And maybe the bottom line is that the season isn't over anyway, so all of this might be moot after we see what happens for the rest of the year. Hopefully the players feel this way too and will actually put in a strong effort over the last couple months of the season.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @forevernado  @dmmtennis  @robbati21 I'm not sure what you're saying here about $, but I think the $ is mandated by the ATP--i.e., if you want your tournament to be worth X number of points (or to be "mandatory," which also shows how the players feel about them; no one has to make the Slams "mandatory"), you have to commit Y number of dollars/euros.

     

    Again, it just shows how the ATP uses the ranking points as a tool to get players to play at certain events (which, in turn, is why tournaments will feel they need to commit more money). I *never* said the rankings weren't important or necessary, but it's clear that they aren't meant to reflect reality. As you seem to concede, the weight of the ranking points for each level is up for debate, and my point is we shouldn't just look at the rankings and assume they're a good reflection of the significance of everyone's accomplishments.

     

    Because they're not. And they're not meant to be. And any tennis fan can look at the fact that you get the same points for winning Shanghai and Cincinnati as you do for Wimbledon and realize that something amiss. 

     

    I'm not trying to penalize Federer or Djokovic for not happening to be British, but I don't think I am. The fact is, Federer did not perform as well at the Majors this year. And in addition to having done better at the Majors than Federer, Murray also won the Olympics, which I think is the next most important event of the year. The only difference between us seems to be that you think Rotterdam and Indian Wells make up for this, and I don't, because those are events that honestly no one is going to remember when they think of 2012 years from now.

     

    And I still don't understand why, under your rubric, you wouldn't put Djokovic ahead of Federer considering Djokovic has done better at the majors AND on the regular tour.

    robbati21
    robbati21

     @dmmtennis Alright, you got me, I am a fan of Federer and all that he's accomplished.  In my defense, however, I am not one of those worshipers who posts 'PeRFect' or 'King Roger' everywhere possible, because I do respect Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, and do think they've raised the game in ways that even Federer did not (although one could argue that this was in reaction to Federer's high level in the first place).  Also, I would admit that if not for the timely combination of Djokovic's dip in form from 2011, Murray's struggles prior to Wimbledon and Lukas Rosol, we probably wouldn't even be having this conversation right now. 

     

    As for why I mentioned 2008 and 2009, I was using those as examples of my claim that just because what one player does is memorable, especially toward the latter stages of the year, that doesn't mean that someone else didn't accomplish something equally as memorable, or subjectively equally, and perhaps even more impressive numbers-wise, which is what I think the case is here with Federer and Murray. 

     

    Now, I still think that Player of the Year has to include numbers somehow, but how about we just agree to appreciate the fact that we're just now trying to formulate a rubric for PoY...meaning that the last time there wasn't a clear PoY was probably in 2003, though I'm not sure about that because I was too young then to really understand tennis, so I'm not too familiar with that year. 

     

    I mean, think about it: Murray did what many, like you would argue are the most memorable and historic achievements this year, but maybe doesn't have the stats to back it up.  Federer has the stats to back it up, and what he did was significant, but perhaps it's same-old, same-old and he technically had a poorer Slam record than Djokovic-Murray.  Djokovic actually had the best Slam record of them all, but three titles plus several high profile losses in finals makes us forget that he's No. 1 in the yearly race to London.  Nadal, obviously, only played half the year, but ironically still has more titles than either Djokovic or Murray and is still ahead of Murray in the Race to London. 

     

    All the more reason why this is the Golden Era of men's tennis.

    forevernado
    forevernado

     @dmmtennis  @robbati21 

    "The mistake I think some people are making is letting the rankings determine the significance of everything that's happening on the tour. The rankings are completely arbitrary. There's no reason a Masters event should be 1000 points a Slam 2000, and a slam final 1200, and a semi 750, and on and on. Those are just made up numbers. In fact, the numbers obviously *shouldn't* be that way, because NO ONE thinks two masters events are as important as one major, and no one things two grand slam finals are more important than a win. The points simply don't reflect reality, and they're not really designed to."

     

    You are so wrong with this statement. $ is a big factor in determine importance and ranking points. Not to mention, with out some way to rank people there is no way to do a draw up accurately. So ranking is VERY improtant and necessary. As to the weight imposed on each level ... that is a totally different subject and debate for another time.

     

    You seem to be caught up in thought that POY and Year end #1 is one in the same.  They are not. As significant it is that Murray FINALLY won a major and the first British guy to do it in 78 years and winning the Olympic Gold when it happen to be in his back yard that is also incredible but don't penalize or devaule the importance of the triumps of the other guys, specifically Federer just because this isn't his first time or that it has been like never that a Swiss guy or Serb guy has ever won a major until Fed or Djok.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @robbati21 When you say that PotY is determined by the "numbers/significance of accomplishment," I completely agree. Where we disagree is in evaluating the "significance of accomplishment" element. I think the majors are more significant than you seem to, and I think the main tour events are less significant. One way I'm trying to show that the majors are more significant is by pointing out that those are what people are going to remember. People are more likely to remember the most significant things.

     

    The mistake I think some people are making is letting the rankings determine the significance of everything that's happening on the tour. The rankings are completely arbitrary. There's no reason a Masters event should be 1000 points a Slam 2000, and a slam final 1200, and a semi 750, and on and on. Those are just made up numbers. In fact, the numbers obviously *shouldn't* be that way, because NO ONE thinks two masters events are as important as one major, and no one things two grand slam finals are more important than a win. The points simply don't reflect reality, and they're not really designed to.

     

    As for your evaluations on what's most memorable, I understand that different people will be struck by different things to an extent, but my sense is that you're a Federer fan and that your perceptions are skewed that way. How else could you possibly look at 2008 and think of Federer winning the US Open after his harrowing battle with mono as the most memorable thing that happened? I think 95% of ordinary tennis fans would think of the 2008 Wimbledon final.

     

    And while winning Wimbledon and regaining #1 is obviously huge for Federer and very memorable in its own right, I don't think it's really any more memorable for 2012 than Murray winning his first major or Djokovic winning that epic Australian final (which, I should point out, didn't happen recently). And then of course you add on Murray winning the Olympics in London (in very decisive fashion, no less), and I just think Murray has an edge. Not a huge one by any means, but an edge. And Rotterdam and Indian Wells where Federer has an edge, doesn't make up the difference.

     

    The last thing I'll say is that when you talk about Federer setting the record for most weeks at #1 and becoming the third person to win Wimbledon 7 times, those are obviously hugely significant records that will echo throughout tennis history. But we're just supposed to be looking at 2012, and if you take those records into account, it's really not fair because you're giving Federer credit for his whole career. He didn't win *seven* Wimbledons this year, he won one. He wasn't ranked #1 for 280+ weeks this year, he was ranked #1 for what, 10 so far? This isn't a lifetime achievement award (which Federer obviously wins), it's an award just for 2012.

     

    I'm fine disagreeing about what we found more memorable bc that's obviously very subjective. I'm not a big Murray or Federer fan, and I find what Murray did *this year* more impressive. But that's just me. I'm more concerned that we all mean the same thing when we talk about "Player of the Year" and are basing our decisions on the same criteria. I think the Player of the Year should be based heavily on the most memorable things that happened over the course of the year, that the arbitrary points-based ranking system is not very important at all, and that we should only look at things that happened this year, not what those things mean in the context of a decades-long career.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @forevernado lol my first clue that you can't name the winners of the masters for the last five years from memory is that you didn't even know that Murray has more than Federer. That was also a good clue that you're biased in favor of Federer.

    Meanwhile, you assume I have an "obvious dislike" for Federer that seems to be based solely on the fact that I don't think he should be the Player of the Year. Seems hypocritical...

    forevernado
    forevernado

     @dmmtennis  @forevernado How can you say that I can't name the last 5 years winner when you know nothing about me. Just like the rest of your arguement, your statements are based on you not knowing what the HELL your talking about. Don't speak for other people's abilities, i.e. me if you don't know the person/people. You have no idea what others are able to do.

    As for the rest of your statement ... when was the last time Murray won a Master .... not this year? The last time he won a master was late last year when Fed and Djok wasn't even in the tournament. Murray has won only 8 Master titles where Fed has won 21.

    Your ignorance about tennis, inability to be netrual, and obvious dislike for Fed. has blinded you to reason. You need to stop talking about tennis until you educate yourself better and can come back with reasonable arguements.

    jlfpianist1
    jlfpianist1

    Juan Carlos Ferrero won the French in 2003, not Nadal.  Nadal's first French title came in 2005.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @forevernado I highly doubt you could name the winners of the masters events for the last five years from memory, especially if you think that Federer has so many and Murray so few. In fact, Murray has more masters wins in the last 5 years than Federer does. Maybe they're harder to remember than you thought if you really believed Murray had "very few of them."

     

    For comparison, I guarantee you you'll never forget how many grand slams Murray and Federer have because those are the things people care about. And, over the course of the entire YEAR, Murray has outperformed Federer at these major events (including the Olympics), which is why I think he's the PotY.

     

    And I'm not a particularly huge Murray fan (I do like to pull for the underdog, which he has been, but I also don't like the way he portrays himself on the court). Maybe the fact that I actually know the numbers while you made a false assumption favorable to Federer shows that I'm less biased in this conversation? And in any event, I don't see how you could go on and on about how the entire YEAR is what matters and still pick Federer over Djokovic unless you're a pretty big Federer fan. Djokovic has outperformed Federer this year at the majors (Federer's the only one of the three not to make at least the semis at every Major and not to make at least two finals; Djokovic, meanwhile, made finals in *three* of the four and his worst performance was a semi), and he has more ranking points.

     

    Even if I did "have blinders on for Murray only," that wouldn't explain why I also think Djokovic should be ahead of Federer.

     

    Anyway, I tend to go back and forth with people until everyone but me has lost interest, so I understand if you want to just agree to disagree. It's been interesting discussing this with you.

    forevernado
    forevernado

     @dmmtennis  @forevernado Actually I could name you all the master event winners for the last 5 years since the majority of them was btwn Fed, Nadal, and Djok.  Murray has very few of them.  I am a tennis fan in general not only Fed. It is you who seems to have the blinders on for Murray only.  I say again POY is Player of the YEAR so all the tournaments should be taken in to account not just the majors, the Olympics and Year End. Lastly I would not call Indian Wells a "minor" tournament and who one that .... oh yeah a guy named Fed. .... for a record breaking time.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @forevernado What I meant was that Djokovic outperformed Federer at the Majors and the Olympics as a whole, and that's true. He also has more points than Federer when you take into account the entire tour. So that's why I can't understand why you would have Federer ahead of Djokovic even based on your own criteria for determining PotY. Except of course, if you're a Federer fan and just happen to be more impressed by his accomplishments because he's the one who happened to accomplish them.

     

    And Murray outperformed Federer by one quarterfinal, *and* he beat him at the Olympics. So if you take the five most important events of the year (so far, at least), Murray did better. You're right that Federer did better at the smaller events, and our disagreement is simply that you think the smaller events make up for the bigger ones. I think they might make a difference when you're doing a whole-year ranking, but when you're evaluating what player defined the year and should be called Player of the Year, it's the bigger events that should decide it. Those are the events you're going to think of in the future when you look back on 2012.

     

    I still don't think you could name for me the past five winners of all these masters events you seem to think are so important, but I know you can tell me who won the last five Wimbledons, US Opens, etc., and who won gold in London and Beijing.

    forevernado
    forevernado

    Also in reference to 2003, that was the last time where there was a different male major winner in all 4 majors.

    Agassi - Aussie

    Nadal - French

    Fed - Wimbledon

    Roddick - US

    forevernado
    forevernado

    Djok did not outperfom Fed at the Olympics. He didn't even medal. Murray only "out did" Fed by 1 quarterfinal but again did NOTHING in any of the Masters.

    As for Roddick in 2003 he won amjor, was #1 in the rankings and won several other high profile torunamenst other than the majors that is why he won POY.

    dmmtennis
    dmmtennis

     @forevernado 

    1. That's not my thinking at all, and I don't understand what I've said that's made you think that. Murray isn't Roddick--he's not ranked in the 20s, he's ranked third, and he didn't just win a major, he also won the Olympics and outperformed Federer at the majors as a whole (which, for the record, span nine months, not just two).

     

    (And, incidentally, Roddick did in fact win player of the year in 2003 when he won his only slam.)

     

    2. Year end #1 isn't "more" about having more points; that's all it's about, that's it's definition. And my point is that if you're going to talk about consistency and deciding player of the year based on Rotterdam and Dubai, you might as well just use the idiotic points system that decides the rankings. But if you do that, I think you're ignoring reality (which the rankings obviously do). The bottom line is that when you think of 2012, you don't think of any of those small tournaments that are the reason Federer has more points/wins than Murray and Djokovic. You're going to think of the majors and maybe a couple others (the Olympics, maybe the World Tour Finals, maybe one or two masters events). In the majors and the Olympics, both Djokovic and Murray have outperformed Federer.

     

    To me that's what defines the season and should therefore be the basis of the player of the year. How can you decide the player of 2012 based on things no one is going to think about when they think of 2012? It makes no sense.