Ranking Point Distribution in the Top 10 -- 2000-2019

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
This post will provide the stats on ranking distribution among the year-end Top 10 players from each year starting with the beginning of the second millennium. I think I'll answer the "so what?" question before I begin. I don't really believe there is a way to accurately determine weak and strong eras, but either way, it's interesting to see how the Big 4 have set themselves apart from the field so much up until recent times (when they got older and less dominant). It also gives us some insight as to how close the Top 10 are in some years. As always, if you're already bored, stop reading now.

By the way, ranking points prior to 2009 will be doubled in order to bring them up to date with the modern ranking system.

2000:
No. 1-5 Avg. Ranking Points: 7,098
No. 6-10 Avg. Ranking Points: 4,838
Margin: 2,260

2001:
No. 1-5: 7,148
No. 6-10: 4,760
Margin: 2,388

2002:
No. 1-5: 6,438
No. 6-10: 4,502
Margin: 1,936

2003:
No. 1-5: 7,948
No. 6-10: 4,308
Margin: 3,640

2004:
No. 1-5: 7,668
No. 6-10: 4,332
Margin: 3,336

2005:
No. 1-5: 7,774
No. 6-10: 4,426
Margin: 3,348

2006:
No. 1-5: 8,276
No. 6-10: 4,464
Margin: 3,812

2007:
No. 1-5: 9,184
No. 6-10: 4,002
Margin: 5,182

2008:
No. 1-5: 9,484
No. 6-10: 3,888
Margin: 5,596

Continued on next post
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
2009:
No. 1-5: 8,376
No. 6-10: 3,785
Margin: 4,591

2010:
No. 1-5: 7,835
No. 6-10: 3,503
Margin: 4,332

2011:
No. 1-5: 8,740
No. 6-10: 3,195
Margin: 5,545

2012:
No. 1-5: 8,888
No. 6-10: 3,631
Margin: 5,257

2013:
No. 1-5: 8,427
No. 6-10: 3,696
Margin: 4,731

2014:
No. 1-5: 7,673
No. 6-10: 4,374
Margin: 3,299

2015:
No. 1-5: 9,178
No. 6-10: 3,729
Margin: 5,449

2016:
No. 1-5: 7,972
No. 6-10: 3,410
Margin: 4,562

2017:
No. 1-5: 6,805
No. 6-10: 3,302
Margin: 3,503

2018:
No. 1-5: 6,926
No. 6-10: 3,960
Margin: 2,966

2019 (As of 18 June)
No. 1-5: 7,225
No. 6-10: 3,517
Margin: 3,708
 
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Third Serve

Hall of Fame
The margin numbers are the ones you should pay attention to the most. They're taken by the first stat (No. 1-5 points) minus the second (No. 6-10 points). They show how close together or far apart the Top 10 was in each year.

2008, 2011, and 2015 show the highest margins.

2002, 2000, and 2001 show the lowest margins.
 

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame
OP—how do you interpret this?

A) Bigger differentials mean top 3 or 5 players are stronger
B) Smaller differentials mean overall top 10 is stronger and therefore the top 3 or 5 couldn’t dominate as much?
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
OP—how do you interpret this?

A) Bigger differentials mean top 3 or 5 players are stronger
B) Smaller differentials mean overall top 10 is stronger and therefore the top 3 or 5 couldn’t dominate as much?
See, that's the thing. These stats can be taken in one of two ways -- one of two extremes, rather. You can also rephrase it as this:

A) Smaller differentials mean top 3 or 5 players weren't good enough
B) Bigger differentials mean the overall top 10 was weaker and the result was a power vacuum

If I had to pick, I'd pick an option C: the middle slot. A balance of both options, it could get us a starting point to work from.

But really, that wasn't the whole point of this thread. I'm not Lew. This was intended as a comment on how the Big 4 have set themselves so far apart from the rest of the field compared to some previous years. Look at 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015. Their accumulation of ATP points in those years was super impressive and only serve to add more to their legacy. Fast-forward to 2017 and beyond when you can clearly see that they have declined -- as shown by the numbers.
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
Just to be clear @Third Serve, ranking points were not simply worth half as much before 2009 as they are now. It's not a straight doubling to bring them in line, although it isn't far off. Admittedly, this may not matter hugely to the point you're making.

The years with the big and small margins aren't too surprising. 2000-2002 didn't have anyone dominating it. There were a number of player in the mix, throughout the top 10. Years like 2011 and 2015, as well as having one super dominant player (Novak), also had the rest of the top 4 basically cleaning up.

In 2011, all 4 slams, all 9 masters 1000 and the YEC were won by the top 4 players. All slam finals were held between top 4 players too. In fact, of the 16 available SF spots, 14 were held by the Big 4. That kind of consistency simply wasn't around in 2000-2002.

But you're right, it's very difficult to determine if the top players are dominating because they're great or because the field is weak, just by looking at the numbers. The answer likely lies somewhere in between. It's also helpful to have actually watched these years unfold as well, to gain context
 
Just to be clear @Third Serve, ranking points were not simply worth half as much before 2009 as they are now. It's not a straight doubling to bring them in line, although it isn't far off. Admittedly, this may not matter hugely to the point you're making.

The years with the big and small margins aren't too surprising. 2000-2002 didn't have anyone dominating it. There were a number of player in the mix, throughout the top 10. Years like 2011 and 2015, as well as having one super dominant player (Novak), also had the rest of the top 4 basically cleaning up.

In 2011, all 4 slams, all 9 masters 1000 and the YEC were won by the top 4 players. All slam finals were held between top 4 players too. In fact, of the 16 available SF spots, 14 were held by the Big 4. That kind of consistency simply wasn't around in 2000-2002.

But you're right, it's very difficult to determine if the top players are dominating because they're great or because the field is weak, just by looking at the numbers. The answer likely lies somewhere in between. It's also helpful to have actually watched these years unfold as well, to gain context
Yep, yep, yep. This stat is interesting, and I give @Third Serve credit for doing the work. However. What it means, is very difficult to tell just like many other stats when we try to compare eras, which is essentially what is happening here?
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
@Towny I was pretty sure the ATP doubled the points at the start of 2009 since they were all left over from 2008. They never posted a comparison, but I believe they informed the public about it nonetheless.

https://www.espn.com/sports/tennis/columns/story?columnist=kamakshi_tandon&id=3686016

Some of the things I drew from these stats:

1. 2007 can clearly not be grouped together with the rest of the 2003-2006 "weak era". The top players managed to make almost 1000 points more, even though the dominant player (Federer) did worse than in 2006. This is attributed to the further rise of Nadal and Djokovic and as a result the top became collectively stronger for years. People love to claim that 2008 marked the start of a "transition", but in reality the seeds had already been sown the previous year.

2. As was mentioned earlier, the highest and the lowest margins don't surprise me very much. Indeed, I had forgotten how top-heavy 2008 was, but it makes sense given that year was all about the Big 4 (although Murray not so much). But what does impress me is how we came from 2002 (with a margin of around 1,900 points) to something like 2008 (with a margin of around 5,500 points). I've said this two times before in this thread, but the dominance of the Big 4 is truly something to behold.

3. Speaking of which, Murray rightly demonstrates his position here. You can't see those numbers here, but when I was calculating the averages I noticed that more often than not, Murray signified a cutoff of points. In front of him you have the dominators, with points rising upwards of 6,000. Once you get behind him in the rankings, you end up with something like 3,000 points. The gap between Murray and the rest of the field is insane when you really take a look at it.

For further proof, take a look at 2011. Murray has 7,380 ranking points there. That's enough to justify his position in the top 5. Right after him is Ferrer with 4,925 points. Practically an anomaly. You can also see this in 2012 and 2008, albeit to a much lesser degree. I know it's become rather cliche to give players moral wins, but I honestly think Murray in some of these seasons is better than some of the No. 1 and 2 players from at least 2000-2003.

4. Look at the point drop in all three stats from 2015-2017. The Top 1-5 have averaged about 6,800 in 2017 compared to over 9,000 (no, not the meme) in 2015. It's not like the lower Top 10 have gotten better as their point averages have decreased as well. If we didn't already have proof that the standards have been lowered, we do now. This puts a major dent in the "tennis evolves" argument some try to make. The Big 4 are very clearly much weaker than in prior years. So is the rest of the Top 10, as a matter of fact. Please forgive me for stating the obvious, but it was too noticeable to ignore.
 

EasyGoing

Professional
Great thread, mate, it really is. Two things stand out for me, and I’ll mention just them because I have nth more to add to your brilliant interpretation.

First of, the tennis always evolves thing. I don’t take it seriously as I’ve only seen some of the worst Nole fans even advocate this nonsense. It’s just agenda driven propaganda or pure ignorance due to very late start of tennis watching years.

Secondly, Murray. I really struggle with this guy. Not a fan of his game, but a fan of the person. Now, it’s undeniable he is by far and away the 4th best player of this era with a large gap behind the Big 3, and possibly an even larger gap behind him. If I understand you well, your numbers confirm this. But how good is he really compared to the other top or just below the top guys?

For instance, I know that some of his season point totals are up there with Pete’s no. 1 years. But I simply can’t convince myself he is even half the player Pete was. In fact, game-wise or tennis level-wise I can’t put Andy much higher than Hewitt, even though his achievements dwarf Lleyton’s.

I am more and more starting to buy into the career inflation era premise. The surface homogenization is quite obvious, and I also think the 32 instead of 16 seeds play a part. With this in mind, the question is, are the last 20 years even comparable creeps up. I wonder what you and others make of it.
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
@Third Serve appreciate the effort but points didn't exactly double moving from 2008-2009.
"According to ATP spokesperson Dent, all players will have all their ranking points doubled at the end of this year and then go forward from here, so ranking movements toward the beginning of next year will not be too wild -- just complex."

When I examine the article closely, you have a point. The ATP just doubled the ranking points of every player to fit the 2009 system -- and then go forward from here. But either way, doubling the points seems to be the best way to bring harmony between both lists. Even if it doesn't work out that way, the list is divided into 2000-2008 and 2009-2019 so you can still make comparisons inside those smaller groups of years without crossing over into a separate ranking system.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
"According to ATP spokesperson Dent, all players will have all their ranking points doubled at the end of this year and then go forward from here, so ranking movements toward the beginning of next year will not be too wild -- just complex."

When I examine the article closely, you have a point. The ATP just doubled the ranking points of every player to fit the 2009 system -- and then go forward from here. But either way, doubling the points seems to be the best way to bring harmony between both lists. Even if it doesn't work out that way, the list is divided into 2000-2008 and 2009-2019 so you can still make comparisons inside those smaller groups of years without crossing over into a separate ranking system.
The best way would be a full conversion of the points but I understand that's more time consuming.
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
@Towny I was pretty sure the ATP doubled the points at the start of 2009 since they were all left over from 2008. They never posted a comparison, but I believe they informed the public about it nonetheless.

https://www.espn.com/sports/tennis/columns/story?columnist=kamakshi_tandon&id=3686016

Some of the things I drew from these stats:

1. 2007 can clearly not be grouped together with the rest of the 2003-2006 "weak era". The top players managed to make almost 1000 points more, even though the dominant player (Federer) did worse than in 2006. This is attributed to the further rise of Nadal and Djokovic and as a result the top became collectively stronger for years. People love to claim that 2008 marked the start of a "transition", but in reality the seeds had already been sown the previous year.

2. As was mentioned earlier, the highest and the lowest margins don't surprise me very much. Indeed, I had forgotten how top-heavy 2008 was, but it makes sense given that year was all about the Big 4 (although Murray not so much). But what does impress me is how we came from 2002 (with a margin of around 1,900 points) to something like 2008 (with a margin of around 5,500 points). I've said this two times before in this thread, but the dominance of the Big 4 is truly something to behold.

3. Speaking of which, Murray rightly demonstrates his position here. You can't see those numbers here, but when I was calculating the averages I noticed that more often than not, Murray signified a cutoff of points. In front of him you have the dominators, with points rising upwards of 6,000. Once you get behind him in the rankings, you end up with something like 3,000 points. The gap between Murray and the rest of the field is insane when you really take a look at it.

For further proof, take a look at 2011. Murray has 7,380 ranking points there. That's enough to justify his position in the top 5. Right after him is Ferrer with 4,925 points. Practically an anomaly. You can also see this in 2012 and 2008, albeit to a much lesser degree. I know it's become rather cliche to give players moral wins, but I honestly think Murray in some of these seasons is better than some of the No. 1 and 2 players from at least 2000-2003.

4. Look at the point drop in all three stats from 2015-2017. The Top 1-5 have averaged about 6,800 in 2017 compared to over 9,000 (no, not the meme) in 2015. It's not like the lower Top 10 have gotten better as their point averages have decreased as well. If we didn't already have proof that the standards have been lowered, we do now. This puts a major dent in the "tennis evolves" argument some try to make. The Big 4 are very clearly much weaker than in prior years. So is the rest of the Top 10, as a matter of fact. Please forgive me for stating the obvious, but it was too noticeable to ignore.
So as you've already pointed out, the doubling was just to get the 2008 points up to an equivalent 2009 points system level. It wasn't that every tournaments' points allocation doubled. Certain things were the same, such as slam winners and masters 1000 winners. Others were different. If you want to see the breakdown, here's a useful website:

http://www.tennis28.com/rankings/systems.html

Doubling is a rough estimate of the points, but I think it can be quite inaccurate. For instance, reaching a slam final, 2SFs and a QF in 2000-2008 would give you 1850 points, which is doubled to 3700 points. the equivalent in 2009-present would yield 3000 points. Not the biggest difference, but not exactly negligible either. In any case, I'm not offering to do the leg work so I can't really complain! Some of the stats enthusiasts on here might have a website which gives the accurate figures potentially.

As to your points:

2007 was very much part of the later era in my opinion. Rafa was essentially prime the big difference was that he underperformed at the hard cpurt slams, but he made up for that at Wimbledon. As for the masters, he won IW, lost to Djokovic in Miami and Montreal and lost to Nalbandian in Madrid and Paris (who also beat Federer there too). He didn't exactly lose to a bunch of scrubs. then you have Novak winning 2 masters, making a slam final and 2 SF. In terms of actual results, it's not too dissimilar from, say, Federer's 2011 or 2014. And of course, Federer was very much still prime, and dominated the slams.

Murray has been a very consistent player. I honestly don't think he's all that far off an ATG (maybe another slam or 2). Perhaps not the highest peak level, but he would have definitely spent a decent amount of time at number 1 in 2000-2003 were he playing then. Murray's 2012 Wimbledon - 2013 Wimbledon and his whole 2016 season were particularly impressive.

And it's certainly good to highlight the weakness of the last 3 years. The Big 3 really should not be dominating, and even with a weak field, they still can't dominate as much as they used to. hopefully, the NextGen will continue to improve, and we'll se some rising stars. My suspicion is that we will have a 2001-2 like period after 2 or 3 of the Big 3 have retired.
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
So as you've already pointed out, the doubling was just to get the 2008 points up to an equivalent 2009 points system level. It wasn't that every tournaments' points allocation doubled. Certain things were the same, such as slam winners and masters 1000 winners. Others were different. If you want to see the breakdown, here's a useful website:

http://www.tennis28.com/rankings/systems.html

Doubling is a rough estimate of the points, but I think it can be quite inaccurate. For instance, reaching a slam final, 2SFs and a QF in 2000-2008 would give you 1850 points, which is doubled to 3700 points. the equivalent in 2009-present would yield 3000 points. Not the biggest difference, but not exactly negligible either. In any case, I'm not offering to do the leg work so I can't really complain! Some of the stats enthusiasts on here might have a website which gives the accurate figures potentially.

As to your points:

2007 was very much part of the later era in my opinion. Rafa was essentially prime the big difference was that he underperformed at the hard cpurt slams, but he made up for that at Wimbledon. As for the masters, he won IW, lost to Djokovic in Miami and Montreal and lost to Nalbandian in Madrid and Paris (who also beat Federer there too). He didn't exactly lose to a bunch of scrubs. then you have Novak winning 2 masters, making a slam final and 2 SF. In terms of actual results, it's not too dissimilar from, say, Federer's 2011 or 2014. And of course, Federer was very much still prime, and dominated the slams.

Murray has been a very consistent player. I honestly don't think he's all that far off an ATG (maybe another slam or 2). Perhaps not the highest peak level, but he would have definitely spent a decent amount of time at number 1 in 2000-2003 were he playing then. Murray's 2012 Wimbledon - 2013 Wimbledon and his whole 2016 season were particularly impressive.

And it's certainly good to highlight the weakness of the last 3 years. The Big 3 really should not be dominating, and even with a weak field, they still can't dominate as much as they used to. hopefully, the NextGen will continue to improve, and we'll se some rising stars. My suspicion is that we will have a 2001-2 like period after 2 or 3 of the Big 3 have retired.
Ah, thanks for the information. That sounds about right. I agree with that and with the rest of your post. As for your very last point, my numbers are in line with your suspicions. 2018 had a very small margin between the Top 5 and the rest of the Top 10; a margin that isn't quite that far off from the 2000-2002 numbers (inaccuracies notwithstanding). We certainly are headed that way from the looks of it. It's been awhile since we've had a transitional era like 2000-2003.
 

rUDin 21

Rookie
Look at 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015. Their accumulation of ATP points in those years was super impressive and only serve to add more to their legacy. Fast-forward to 2017 and beyond when you can clearly see that they have declined -- as shown by the numbers.
What's scary is that even their declined versions won last 10 slams and 16/17 if we include Murray.
 
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