I realize there have been quite a few threads about the "depth" of the men's and the women's fields. However, the French Open is ongoing, and it would be appropriate to conduct a little experiment. Too often, people say "Federer wins everything, and on the women's we have different winners for the past X grandslams. (At this point, I belive X is 8.) Therefore the women's field has more depth" It should be pointed out that simply looking at the winner of the tournament is an unfair measure of the depth of the men's/women's field. For this post, I define the "depth" of a field as the "probability that a lower ranked player can defeat a higher ranked player". Yes, this is a very, very rough definition since it ignores the closeness of the matches played, and only looks at the winner. So, given that definition, it is trivial to find a numerical value for the depth. depth of a field = (number of matches where a lower ranked player defeated a higher ranked player) / (total number of matches). It would be very interesting (I feel) to see the depth for the French Open for the women's and men's fields. If anyone has a lot of time on their hands - and by posting on this forum, I assume you do - please calculate the numerical value of the depth for the French Open. It seems like a very tedious task since there are a total of 64 + 32 + 16 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1 matches = 2^7 -1 matches. Comments about the definition or method? PS - Yes, I'm too lazy to do it myself.

Actually on clay Nadal wins everything, not Federer. Nadal's excessive dominance is what shows the lack of depth in this current touranment, not Federer's, since it is not Federer who dominates the circuit on the surface that this event is being played on. Federer winning the event would actualy show more depth since it would be somebody other then Nadal.

I don't care about finding some mathematical formula for depth. The primary people I hear saying the WTA has depth ... are women commentators. I think they are dreaming. (These are the same folks who were saying Hingis *might* make the top 50 in the first year of her comeback ... because the WTA is too deep. Hogwash!) This phony "depth" thing will be even more clearly illuminated if/when Serena returns. (That girl is working hard on a comeback from what I know.) Then a second comeback will show the WTA for the shallow pool it is. - KK

I have to agree with Kaptan on this one. The fact that Martina got back to the top 10 so fast and so easy (she is in quarters of a slam, won a masters, I don't care what the ranking is she is a top dog) points to one simple conclusion - the competition sucks. Sure, she is good, but she got blown off the court by Dementieva in the finals on hard, she should have had more competition so far. Instead, she breezed through to the quarters of a slam, hardly breaking a sweat. Womens' tennis = no depth. Top girls play good tennis, but they are a small number. Venus, the belgians, 2 or 3 Russians...a couple of czech girls. Now a swiss girl again. No depth whatsoever.

Just because there's a dominant player on tour doesn't mean that the tour lacks depth. Please look up the word DEPTH in the dictionary.

I'm not sure what's going on with the ladies draw. I wouldn't be surprised if almost anyone left in the draw would go on to win it. But the men's field looks really weak compared to years past. Yes Federer+Nadal look great but there's no one left after that(ok, I hear Davydenko is playing well). Just 2 years ago the draw was loaded and no one had a clue as to who would win. Even Federer was sent packing by Guga easily. Nadal hasn't even put a beat down on Fed like that! Anyway, I'm not sure what my opinion is on the comparison between the men+women. I was just thinking out loud there.

I can say that I've heard the claim from male commentators as well - Cliff Drysdale and maybe even Patrick McEnroe said it one time or another. The entire point of my post was to provide an actual mathematical basis (albeit very rough) as to what we mean by "depth". I think we can all agree if a lower ranked player on the men's field is more likely to beat a higher ranked player than is the case on the women's side, then the men's field can be said to have more "depth". Unfortunately, Martina Hingis' comeback isn't enough to justify the claim that the men's tour has more depth than the women's tour.

There's not much depth, but all the girls in the top 20 or so can do plenty of damage. So you'll see the top players winning 6-1 6-0 in the first few rounds, then the upsets come. Safina, Peer, etc. The last 8 Grand Slams have been won by 8 different people. There's not much depth, but there's a big pool of talent at the top.

The pool of good clay courters is diminished at the moment. Around 2000 you had at least 4-5 top Spaniards or Argies in the draw, now the armada has vanished. Compare the actual draw to last year: Canas, Puerta, Coria, Andreev are out for different reasons, Guga and Ferrero are effectively out of the top, Gaudio is missing form. No wonder, that hardcourters are taking over.

Agreed. Last year, the men's draw had twice as much depth (at least). However, the depth on the hardcourts in men's tennis is insane. Blake, Roddick, Federer, Nadal, Ljubicic, Nalbandian, Karlovic, Hewitt, Agassi, Gonzalez, Ancic and even players like Coria, Ginepri, and Baghdatis, Grosjean, Rusedski, Haas, Hrbaty, and Kiefer have performed well. And Safin... when he plays well.

If you gamble on tennis you will see that there is clearly more depth on the men's side. Lower ranked womens players are huge underdogs vs top seeds, you can see that by the odds. There's your mathematical formula. Federer & Nadal are huge favorites in every match they play, but they are ther exception not the rule. But it is surprising that so many top mens players are through to the quarters of the French this year(1,2,3,4,6,12 all made the QF) In '97 only one seed(#16) made the QFs. I think there was more depth in mens tennis then.