Age distribution of all Open Era major finalists

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by falstaff78, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. bjsnider

    bjsnider Professional

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    I think the fitness level and slow courts mean this is changing and leaning more towards success in the late 20s/early 30s, but we'll see. I'm not convinced young players are capable of hanging around as Murray or Djokovic pounds them down over 5 sets.
     
  2. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    it's a good point. however one of the big takeaways from these charts is to expect substantial improvements between ages 20 and 24. so while it may be the case no one rises to challenge D/N/M we could also be in for a few surprises in the next couple of years!
     
  3. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    that's a great compliment mate. cheers!
     
  4. Cosmic_Colin

    Cosmic_Colin Professional

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    Thanks for your offer... maybe in a month or two. A project at work is making me work 55 hour weeks at the moment, so I haven't had much energy for anything.

    I began the very early stages of the project the other evening. It will be slow but I'll let you know when I've put something meaningful together.
     
  5. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    Here you go - sorry it wasn't the answer you were expecting!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

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    I don't understand. Isn't it just 9 years between Wimbledon 2003 and Wimbledon 2012? And 7 between Roland Garros 2005 and Roland Garros 2012?
     
  7. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    See footnote. For current players (i.e. Fed, Rafa and Nole) I thought it made more sense to show the span from the first major till TODAY as opposed to the last major.

    Given that the ostensible purpose of doing this analysis is to put an upper bound on the length of time over which these guys can keep winning majors.
     
  8. PseudoFed

    PseudoFed Banned

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    Good thread.
     
  9. Soundog

    Soundog Rookie

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    Great analysis !

    I suspect this was because of the catastrophic change in racket technology around that time.

    The 1981 Wimbledon final was played with wood conventional rackets. In 1982, Mats Wilander won the French Open with a graphite mid - the Rossignol F200. The new graphite rackets allowed the young guns to slip past the old guard for the most part except for McEnroe who had adopted the Dunlop Max 200G in 1983. From then on, it was oversize graphite all the way with perhaps the zenith being Chang sneaking past Lendl on his way to winning the French open in 1989 using a prince graphite.
     
  10. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Amazing work Falstaff! It's really interesting. I had the same problem than you. My wife thinks that I'm crazy to spend so much time in tennis number (instead of playing it!).

    However I think their is a problem with your analysis of outlier. Are outlier really outlier when they are nearly half of the total cases? To solve this problem it would be necessary to include more cases. You can't make that with players who have won less than 5 slams, because they wouldn't be spread enough, so you have to include finals as well. The ideal thing would be to pick a bunch of top 10 players from each decades we know were not to much stoped by injuries and make a scale for their slam result. Thus we could see slam success by age for a variety of players, including the one who are not able to win or reach slam final.

    Unfortunately I don't have a lot of free time now but I hope that I can someday participate to a community of tennis freak scientist.
     
  11. muddlehead

    muddlehead Rookie

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    Thanks. Perfect.

    It is what i knew. My silly caveat is sampras won 12 of his 14 between 1993 wimby and 2000 wimby (7 years). 1990 usopen and 2002 usopen the other two.
     
  12. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    the slam finalists are underrated thus gets overlooked in here. It's not that easy and only a handful of players that have reach the final. If we include the finals Lendl is very impressive.
     
  13. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    thanks ten char
     
  14. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    Hey Flash always a pleasure to meet a fellow freak / nut. Not to mention a fellow member of the married club.

    When I first made the little table with age buckets I thought the same thing - why are half the guys outliers? and do I need to include more cases?

    Then I realized that the chart in the OP does precisely that! Essentially it includes ALL the cases, and sums them up! And the size of the sample (n=444) means it is statistically robust. There are 229 major / season finale final appearances between ages 22-25 and only 140 from ages 26-39!
     
  15. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    outstanding hypothesis! I had totally not thought of that. But that would have to be the answer. it would explain the only outlying period in open era history where teenagers were performing by an absurd margin!

    you pretty much have to be rafa on clay to be able to reach a major final as a teenager!
     
  16. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    Sorry for the random bump, but in the aftermath of the Stakh-tastrophe someone posted precisely the kind of ignorant, fanciful garbage that this thread was designed to counteract.

    So just to remind everyone once again, Federer IS feeling the effects of age.
     
  17. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    And he also was the youngest winning the AO!
     
  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Legend

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    Thanks, Phoenix, for mentioning Rosewall and my name...
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Legend

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    Yes, 18 years and 2 months.
     
  20. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    It would certainly appear that 22-25 are the magic years for male tennis players.
     
  21. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    Falstaff,

    I read most of this thread when you linked to it in the thread about Nadal's MTOs today. I liked it and am thankful that you wrote it. But I do have a few questions and comments:

    1) You say that the sample size is significant because you have 444 data points but the problem is that many of the data points are repeated for different people. In fact, you don't have nearly that number of different Grand Slam winners or finalists, and so I wonder whether you are really on such firm ground in predicting that the data won't change over time?

    2) Do you still stand by what you said a year ago about the improvement of younger players? Already in the women's game, the number of 31+ Slam champions is greater in the past year than it was for decades before that, and it seems plausible that the ages will rise in the men's game, too. Already Ferrer made his first major final at 31. A multiple Slam champion making a final at 31 is explicable in terms of the high level of his overall game, so that proportionate drop in skills still leaves him competitive. But Ferrer was essentially as good as, or better than, ever at 31. Tommy Haas isn't that far off his best-ever level at 35. Federer being #12 at 35 might imply that he was way off his best. But although Haas was #2 at one point, he only finished in the top 10 once, so he's also almost at his maximum level.

    3) In short, it seems to me that, just as the teen Slam finalist phenomenon turned out to be a feature of the 1980s (one of the 4 non-80s finalists was Sampras in 1990, so still the same era, anyway), so a feature of the 2010s might well be more finalists in their 30s.

    4) Even if that doesn't happen, it still seems rather unlikely that 2014 won't be a year of domination by players aged 27+. By the time of the next Slam, every single member of the current top 10 apart from Del Potro will be 27. Sure, Raonic is #11 and Dimitrov might well break through. But the current composition of the top ten is much older than it has been before.

    Here's a website that tracks ranking by age: http://tennisabstract.com/reports/rankingsByAge.html
     
  22. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

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    Relax folks, ...
    I forgot just how good and potentially insightful this thread was/is.

    PS, I bet falstaff is pretty cheesed off right about now.
     
  23. kOaMaster

    kOaMaster Hall of Fame

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    this needs an update before AO15 (after the WTF14)

    I love this thread! :)

    thanks a lot to falstaff!
     
  24. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the great data !

    By the way, the major shift in modern tennis happened between 2003-4, namely when
    1. Wimbledon and US Open slow down their surfaces.
    2. Polyester string took over fully.
    3. The ATP ranking system changed.

    I mean it's the beginning of modern baseline era with advent of major players like Federer and Nadal.

    It would nice to see some data before and after that.

    It would be also nice to see the average ages of top 25 or 50 at each periods.
    Current top 25 certainly look pretty old compared to 80s and 90s.
     
  25. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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  26. chjtennis

    chjtennis Legend

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    So, basically when Federer gets to the finals of the slams, he is the first ever to do so in most cases. He's the 1st 33 yo to reach Wimbledon and USO finals, and the first 34 yo to reach the final of Wimbledon. Quite remarkable.
     
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  27. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    His original charts were made in at the beginning of 2013, shortly after the AO, and have not accounted for anything since.
     
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  28. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    Great work, thanks!! Have replaced in OP
     
  29. RSH

    RSH Semi-Pro

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    @falstaff78 Why no U.S. Open odds thread this time around?
     
  30. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    It was a lot of work so with inertia I didn't end up doing it. If someone suggests it a few weeks before a future major I'll get my *** in gear!
     
  31. cronus

    cronus Professional

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    [​IMG]

    federer won a GS from 16 - 21? when did this happen?
     
  32. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    Wimbledon 2003. He only turned 22 a month later.
     
  33. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    Falstaff: Thanks again for putting this thread up. It's really interesting and I appreciate it.

    May I ask for your thoughts on my post #121 on this thread, which I put up in January 2014, please? As I said at the time, it seems to me that what you need to test for is NOT the slam final slots but the results of particular players. Indeed, as I expected at the time, the last two years have been dominated by players aged 27 or 28. Here's the age distribution of Slam finalists since you originally posted this thread:

    24: 1 (Nishikori US Open 2014)
    25: 1 (Cilic US Open 2014)
    26: 3 (Djokovic Wimbledon and US Open 2013, Murray Wimbledon 2013)
    27: 7 (Nadal Roland Garros and US Open 2013, Australian Open 2014, Djokovic Roland Garros and Wimbledon 2014, Australian Open 2015, Murray Australian Open 2015)
    28: 4 (Wawrinka Australian Open 2014, Nadal Roland Garros 2014, Djokovic Roland Garros and Wimbledon 2015)
    30: 1 (Wawrinka Roland Garros 2015)
    31: 1 (Ferrer Roland Garros 2013)
    32: 1 (Federer Wimbledon 2014)
    33: 1 (Federer Wimbledon 2015)

    And the US Open finalists will be at least 26, too, and if Young loses today as expected, then one of the finalists will be 28+. The other one probably will be 28, too.

    Clearly, 10/11 Slams is too small a sample to be any more than incidental evidence of a long-term change, but it is worth pondering. There has been a long-term change since the 1990s of teenagers no longer being competitive. As I've posted elsewhere this week, in between 1982 and 1990, seven of 35 Slams were won by a teenager. Since the start of 1991, one of 100 Slams has been (as the US Open won't be won by a teenager). If there has been a long-term change in the success of teenagers, isn't it also plausible that there may one day be a long-term change in the success of early 20-somethings and of early 30-somethings, too?
     
  34. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    He's doing great for his age, but may I point out that he neither reached a US Open final at 33 (in fact, he was 28 when he last played a US Open final) nor a Wimbledon final at 34 (at least, he hasn't done that yet!)?
     
  35. sarmpas

    sarmpas Semi-Pro

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    If your data is all accurate then great evidence. This is why I don't rate Laver's calender Slam achieved when he was 32.
     
  36. BGod

    BGod Professional

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    Tennis is a cruel mistress when it comes to decline.

    It just happens and it breaks you down a full notch within a year.

    Courier: 95-97
    Edberg: 1994
    Wilander: 1989


    This is of course not looking at devastating injuries like Hewitt, Safin, Rios, etc.
     
  37. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    I followed all of those declines at the time, and it's my opinion that none of them was purely physical.

    In the case of Wilander, it is obviously the case that it was mostly mental. He had to work really hard for his dominant '88, and he was just burned out by it, and lost the will to keep winning. (If I recall correctly from what you said recently, you were only a year or two old in 1989, right?)

    Courier: remember that he'd also burned out in 1994 and gone way down in the rankings. Motivation was obviously a big problem for him from late 1993 onwards, when he started reading a book during the year-end championships. The confidence blow of then blowing two Slam quarter-finals in a row from two sets up just knocked the stuffing out of his will to compete. Like Wilander, he was also a player who always had to work really hard and frequently burned out as a result. (Wilander had briefly burned out in early 1985, too).

    Edberg: my favorite player of all time, but I do have to say that part of what happened to him was changing conditions that didn't suit him. He always struggled against more powerful players - witness his poor overall record against Becker. The new generation of the 1990s was just more powerful than the previous one of the late 80s, so compared to Becker, he couldn't adapt as well.

    On another note, I'd say that Edberg's decline was pretty gradual from 1992 onwards. It only really accelerated in 1995. His form in the spring of 1994 was actually quite a bit better than it had been for much of 1993. And then he did quite a bit better in 1996 than he had in 1995.
     
  38. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    I suspect that my (methodological) query about Falstaff's data is not clear (it probably is to him, but I doubt it is to everyone else), so let me illustrate with an example:

    He counts number of times players have reached a Slam final, and not number of players who have done it at each age. I say this is multiple counting and therefore exaggerates the number in the data set. Here's the example:

    Borg reached 16 Slam finals, but he never played a Slam after his 26th birthday. Therefore, all his Slam finals were at the age of 25 or less.

    I think it's pretty clear that this is ONE data point to support the conclusion that players in general decline after the age of 27/8 (or, in this case, 26).

    But Falstaff's methodology mean that it counts as SIXTEEN data points to support that conclusion, because Borg filled 16 slots in Grand Slam finals.

    Given that he does this across every player, he comes to the conclusion that he has 444 data points. But far fewer than 444 different players have reached a Slam final in the open era, and it's the number of different players that is really relevant here.
     
  39. chjtennis

    chjtennis Legend

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    Ah, yeah. Got those mixed up. Looks like I wasn't having a good day yesterday and made 2 posts where I got facts wrong. Thanks for pointing that out.
     
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  40. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    It happens! And Federer has a decent shot of making a US Open final at 34, which would be even more impressive than what you gave him credit for!
     
  41. BGod

    BGod Professional

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    Coric is a good bet to explode next two years. We have to keep looking at guys under 20.

    Players that haven't won a Masters or made Slam semi by 22 are lost causes as far as all timers go.
     
  42. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    What about Coric makes him seem so potentially special to you? To me, what we've seen from him so far is enough to suggest he can be a top 5 player, but the jury must still be out on any more than that.

    By the way, not making a Slam 4th round before his 19th birthday would make him a late developer by the standards of the 1980s. Becker had won two Slams by that age.
     
  43. BGod

    BGod Professional

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    I'm going off Djokovic's development most recently.

    Made his first Slam Final at 20, won his next Slam, won his 2nd at 23.
     
  44. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    But what about Coric's game makes you think that he's got the potential to be as good as Djokovic?
     
  45. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Good work!

    :D
     
  46. RunDatGame

    RunDatGame Rookie

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    Update?
     
  47. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    Soon
     
  48. RedFoe

    RedFoe Semi-Pro

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    There's a huge problem with this chart. It doesn't show how the age has drastically RISEN in the past 6 years. Last 6 years there has been ZERO player younger than 23 to lift a slam. Until 2010 there were NO TWO YEARS in a row this happened.

    Proof that this is the VETERAN ERA. Hence RF's 34 is overrated.
     
  49. reaper

    reaper Professional

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    We'll probably see a lot of young players (age about 20) in Grand Slam finals from 2018 on for a few years. As Djokovic becomes less consistent, it's hard to see the current group of 21-26 year olds dominating. The current group of top players is skewed older. As they fade, the
    replacements will likely be at the young end of the distribution.... unless Jack Sock and Bernard Tomic start making finals!
     
  50. RedFoe

    RedFoe Semi-Pro

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    It should be very interesting to see if the middle generation finally delivers something, or whether as you said they get leap-frogged by the guys born 1995 and after. Hard to predict.
     

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