Here's an interesting article that divides players into two groups: Top Tier players and Second Tier players: http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2007/04/sam.html Roddick's in a bit of quandry: he's clearly not on the same tier as Federer or Nadal, but he's also not as mediocre as the second tier of players are. So where does Roddick fit? My idea: Top Tier: Federer, Nadal Top Middle Tier: Roddick Second Tier: Robredo, Davydenko, Nalbandian, Ljubicic, Blake Here's the article. What do you all think? During the Australian Open, Peter Bodo wrote an article in which he referred to the trio of David Nalbandian, Nikolay Davydenko, and Ivan Ljubicic as "second-tier" players. This spawned a rather heated discussion, including some posters taking offense at Pete's choice of words. I happened to agree with Pete's assessment, so I decided to look up some hard numbers on this trio. This is what I posted at the time: Nalbandian, Davydenko, Ljubicic have a combined record of 22-19 in finals and zero Slam titles. Compare that with the top 2 players: Federer (45-13, 9 Slam titles), Nadal (17-3, 2 Slam titles). In that context, they are second-tier players who don't "bring it" in the Slams. After reading subsequent posts, including one where Andrew suggested adding Blake and Robredo to the second tier and Roddick to the first tier, I decided to delve deeper into the available data. I examined the records of the top eight players (as of mid-January; the stats below are current) and calculated a "score" by applying the following weighting, which was based on the relative importance of titles: * Slam = 4 * Year-End Championship (YEC) = 3 * Masters Series = 2 * Other Title = 1 * Weighed Score = 4*Slams + 3*YEC + 2* Masters Series + Other Titles The data shows a clear delineation between Tier I and Tier II players. Not only have all three players in Tier I won at least one Slam, but each has also won multiple Masters Series titles. In fact, the least decorated Tier I player, Roddick, has more Masters Series titles than the entire Tier II group. Tier I players have higher winning percentages in finals than all those in Tier II, with the exception of Roddick when compared against Davydenko. It should be noted that three of Roddick's losses were in Slam finals (to Federer). Tier I players have a much higher percentage of "big" titles (Slams, Masters Series, YEC) than Tier II players. Players in Tier II have only reached one Slam final combined, in addition to only winning two Masters Series titles and one YEC. In response to Pete's comment that "the only players in my first tier are GS winners (and mostly multiple GS winners) and contenders", someone brought up the case of one-Slam wonder Gaston Gaudio. Applying the formula above, his score came to 11. Now that we have the numbers, there are some interesting questions to ponder: 1. Will any of the current Tier II players move up to Tier I? 2. Will any of the Young Guns move up to Tier I? Of the aforementioned Tier II players, Blake is the only one who I feel has a decent shot at moving up to Tier I, as he is a late bloomer who has improved in the past two years, though his mental game and 5-set record could use some additional work. He has the weapons (mainly his big forehand) to make the next jump, and with his big game, he is a threat at the two hardcourt Slams (especially the US Open) and possibly Wimbledon. Davydenko is a consistent player, but appears to lack the extra gear needed to defeat the Tier I players (0-13 combined against them). Two recent additions to the top ten, Gonzalez (weighted score of 8 ) and Haas (12), have started well this year, with stellar performances at the Australian Open. Of the two, Gonzalez seems more likely to make the jump to Tier I, with his huge forehand and a bigger game overall, combined with a newfound consistency. With the Young Guns it's more about potential than previous results, since they are still in the embryonic stages of their careers. Though Nadal is technically a Young Gun, he will not be included here since he is already in Tier I. Of this group, only Baghdatis has reached a Slam final. Djokovic and Berdych are the only ones to win a Masters Series title, and Gasquet is the only other player to reach a Masters Series final (two -- he lost both to Federer). Murray recently defended his San Jose title, and has a style of play that can frustrate many opponents and seems to be geared towards long-term success. At the start of the year, I felt that Gasquet, with his incredible talent and versatile game that works on all surfaces, would be the one to break through and win a Slam. However, Djokovic's success at Miami and Indian Wells have served notice that he is rapidly improving. I'm not yet ready to anoint him as the next great thing, and his fitness level does not seem to be high enough right now to win seven best-of-5 set matches over a two-week period. At this point, I don't see anyone from either Tier II or the Young Guns winning the French or Wimbledon this year. Perhaps things will change by the time the US Open comes around?