Measuring Grand Slam Win Difficulty by Ranking

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by serve/and/volley, May 4, 2008.

  1. serve/and/volley

    serve/and/volley Rookie

    May 14, 2006
    One somewhat superficial way to measure Grand Slam difficulty is by counting the number of Grand Slams won by their opponents in their career:

    Another way is to count the rankings of their opponents. Taking a look at multiple Grand Slam winners in the past decade, here are the following stats:

    The average ranking of their Grand Slam final opponent:

    1. Marat Safin: 3.50
    2. Gustavo Kuerten: 11.67
    3. Pete Sampras: 12.14
    4. Rafael Nadal: 13.00
    5. Roger Federer: 19.33
    6. Lleyton Hewitt: 21.00
    7. Andre Agassi: 22.00

    The median ranking of their Grand Slam final opponents:

    1. Rafael Nadal: 1.00
    2. Marat Safin: 3.50
    3. Pete Sampras: 5.50
    4. Roger Federer: 6.00
    5. Andre Agassi: 7.50
    6. Gustavo Kuerten: 13.00
    7. Lleyton Hewitt: 21.00

    Players who beat the highest ranked opponents in the finals are:

    Sampras: #1 Andre Agassi, 1995 US Open Final
    Agassi: #1 Pete Sampras, 1995 Australian Open Final
    Nadal: #1 Roger Federer, 2007 and 2006 French Open Finals

    Sampras: #2 Jim Courier, 1993 Wimbledon Final
    Agassi: #2 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 2000 Australian Open Final
    Federer: #2 Rafael Nadal, 2007 and 2006 Wimbledon Finals
    Federer: #2 Andy Roddick, 2004 Wimbledon Finals

    The lowest ranked opponent in the final is:

    Agassi: #100 Andrei Medvedev, 1999 French Open Final

    The average opponent's ranking per Grand Slam round:

    1. Rafael Nadal: 44
    1. Marat Safin: 44
    2. Gustavo Kuerten: 46
    3. Lleyton Hewitt: 49
    4. Roger Federer: 53
    5. Pete Sampras: 59
    6. Andre Agassi: 63

    This can signify a couple of things. One is having the #1 ranking for a long stretch of time (e.g. Sampras and Federer) causes them to play low ranked scrubs in the first few rounds, hence dropping their overall average. Also Wimbledon has a unique quality of players ranked in the hundreds to progress somewhat deep in the draw. (In the 1999 Wimbledon R32, Sampras had to play #595 Danny Sapsford of Great Britain.)

    Another is in the case of Nadal. Since he has to play scrubs as well due to his #2 ranking, his position at the top of the list signifies that he has consistently faced a draw at Roland Garros that is relatively the most "difficult" in terms of rankings.

    One way to get rid of the "scrubs" in the calculations is to look at the average oppenent's ranking in the last three Grand Slam rounds (QF, SF, F):

    1. Roger Federer: 14
    2. Marat Safin: 18
    3. Rafael Nadal: 18
    4. Gustavo Kuerten: 21
    5. Pete Sampras: 23
    6. Lleyton Hewitt: 24
    7. Andre Agassi: 32

    The highest combined rankings of the opponents in the last three Grand Slam rounds:

    Roger Federer: 12, 2007 US Open
    - #5 Andy Roddick (QF)
    - #4 Nikolay Davydenko (SF)
    - #3 Novak Djokovic (F)

    The lowest combined rankings of the opponents in the last three Grand Slam rounds:

    Pete Sampras: 314, 2000 Wimbledon
    - #56 Jan-Michael Gambill (QF)
    - #237 Vladimir Voltchkov (SF)
    - #21 Patrick Rafter (F)
    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  2. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Mar 8, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    This is of course superficial, but you know this.

    1999 RG is a good example. Sampras was either number one or somewhere close, while Medvedev was around 100. But Medvedev was clearly the superior clay court player.
  3. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    its hard to really compare the pre 32 seed era to the current one.

    I don't think its a coincidence that that are a lot less upsets since that system was put into place, & top players are more frequently advancing to the later rounds than they used to.

    under the old system, you could have really low ranked guys sneak through the draw(you've already noted some examples), because once a seed went out there was a void in that section. Now with 32 seeds, its less likely for that low ranked player to sneak through, because he would theoretically have to deal with not just one seed, but 2 just to get to the 4th round. And that goes for the QF, SF, etc, as well.

    do you think this ranking really reflects his true level back then? he was a former #4 & 3 time Hamburg champion at the time. What was Safin ranked when he made the '04 AO finals? in the 80s?
  4. christinamaniac7

    christinamaniac7 Semi-Pro

    Jul 17, 2007
    Big Apple
    I do not think this is a fair stat though...the reason was mentioned by others above!!
  5. superman1

    superman1 Legend

    Jan 9, 2006
    Medvedev was a guy who, if he played today, everyone would be drooling over him and wondering why he wasn't top 10. Big guy with huge shots.

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