Category Archives: Tennis Abstract

Event History Pages at Tennis Abstract

If you like tennis records and trivia, you’d better clear your calendar. I knew I was on to something when I kept getting distracted from my own project by all the cool stats it was spitting out.

The project: Event history pages at TennisAbstract.com. Think of them as almanacs for every stop on the ATP tour. For each tournament, you’ll find a chronological list of winners, finalists, and final scores. Then come the leaderboards–132 of them per tournament, at last count. That’s where the fun really begins.

In addition to the basics, like most matches won, most quarterfinal appearances, and the like, you’ll find tiebreak records, bagel records, the youngest titlists (and finalists, and more), the oldest titlists (and finalists, and more), and the lowest ranked titlists, finalists, and semifinalists.

Then come the match-level stats records (all links head to the Washington event’s page as an example). These are broken down into four categories:

  • Single-match records (combined): Longest and shortest matches, most aces, most breaks of serve, longest tiebreaks, and much more.
  • Single-match player records: Most aces by a single player, highest and lowest first-serve percentage, highest and lowest first-serve winning percentage, most break points earned and saved, and lots more.
  • Single-tournament player records: Marks set by players at a single year’s event, including most time spent on court, most points won, highest rate of points won, aces, double faults … you get the idea.
  • Event player records: Best all-time performances at the tournament over multiple years, including most of the same stat categories from the other sections.

Player names are linked to each guy’s own page, and years are linked to a page with each individual tournament’s results.

The links above all go to the Washington tournament’s page. Here are links to this week’s ATP events:

(I’d love to have equivalent WTA pages, and I hope to add them soon. It’ll take quite a bit more work, however, and without the 24-year history of matchstats that is available for ATP events, the resulting pages will be much less thorough.)

While I’ve put a ton of work into these this week, you’ll still probably some bugs. That’s one of the downsides of leaderboards–they have a knack for uncovering mistakes in the database. I’ve been able to add several checks to the process to avoid matches with obviously incorrect stats (e.g. impossibly short match durations), but I’m sure we’ll keep discovering more.

Enjoy!

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Custom Filters and Head-to-Heads on TennisAbstract.com

There are a couple of cool new features on TennisAbstract.com that I’d like to share with you. I’ve added another way to search for player head-to-head records, and I’ve also added even more filtering functionality to WTA pages.

Let’s start with the H2H. There have always been a variety of ways to find head-to-head records on the site, and now I’ve made it easier than ever, right on the front page:

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Start typing, and you’ll get a drop-down menu of possible players. Choose one, select another player in the field to the right, and you’ll go straight to a list of career matches between the pair.

For quite some time, there have been other ways of getting H2H results, and sometimes those methods are quicker still. First, for any upcoming match at a current tournament:

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The record shown for each matchup is the career H2H record. Click on it for the list of matches.

Next, there’s a one-click route from player pages. For any listed match on a player page, the “d.” (for “defeated”) is a link. Click on that link and you get the career head-to-head record of the two players involved in that match:

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Finally, you can use the “Head-to-Head” filter in the left-hand column.

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It takes a few more keystrokes than the other methods outlined here, but it’s a quick way to get any H2H with a particular player. Also, for power users, you can use that filter to generate a list of matches with multiple opponents:

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Custom filters

Also new today is the addition of custom date and rank filters for WTA pages. These custom filters have been available on ATP pages for several months, though I suspect many of you have yet to discover them. They work exactly the same way for men’s and women’s pages.

Let’s say, for instance, you wanted to look at Serena Williams‘s record and results since she returned to the #1 ranking last February. Click on “Time Span” in the left hand column. You’ll see a long list of years. At the bottom of the list, click on “Custom” and use the drop-down menus to select specific start and end dates:

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As an added bonus, the URL changes every time you use one of these custom filters, so once you’ve generated your list showing Serena’s 89-6 record since her return to the #1 spot, you can easily share it.

You can also get custom results for opponent ranking (the “vs Rank” filter). Let’s say you wanted to know Tomas Berdych’s record in the last year against players ranked inside the top 50, but outside the top 10:

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Enjoy!

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Projected Matchups on TennisAbstract.com Tourney Pages

I’ve been tinkering around with the tournament pages on Tennis Abstract (for example, this week’s WTA event in Strasbourg), and I want to share the latest improvement with you.

If you are unfamiliar with TA’s tournament pages, it may take a moment to adjust to the method of presentation. But I’ve found that it’s a much more efficient way of presenting a lot more data than a traditional draw diagram–without the hassle of loading a PDF and zooming in and out.

In the left-hand column, you’ll find all upcoming matches, along with the career head-to-head record for each one. Click on the player links to go to their TA player page, or on the H2H record to see a list of H2H matches. Further down, you’ll find all results from the event (including qualifying rounds), most recent first. Take a close look at the “d.” in the middle of each completed match, and you’ll find that some of them are links. Click on those links to get the career H2H results for that pair of players.

In the right-hand column is a tournament forecast. The default view shows each player’s chances of reaching each round of the tournament. ATP forecasts are based on tournament simulations, which use jrank player ratings. WTA forecasts are based on official WTA rankings.

You’ll find today’s new addition here:

taforecast

 

You can click on the links in the top row, “Archived,” to see what the forecast looked like at earlier stages of the tournament.

New today, click on links in the “Probable matchups” row to see the most likely development of the tournament, including H2H records for likely later-round matches:

talater

I imagine that this will be particularly helpful at the beginning of the week for tournaments with larger draws, when you want to get a quick glance at, for instance, quarterfinal or semifinal pairings worth looking forward to.

You can always click “Current” in the top row to return to the real-time forecast.

More TennisAbstract news:

Draws and forecasts are available for French Open qualifying:

I’ll add main draw forecasts as soon as those draws are set, as well. You can find links to those on the front page of TennisAbstract.com. They’ll be updated hourly throughout the tournament.

If you’ve been wondering about some weird numbers on the ATP stats leaderboard, it’s because 2014 matches weren’t included. (Yes, I know it’s May. Ugh.) If you haven’t checked out that page, I hope you will. There are dozens of stats and hundreds of ways to filter results and generate rankings for the last two-and-a-half seasons. For instance, here are the leaders in 2014 return points won on clay.

Finally, we’ve hit a cool milestone with the Match Charting Project. Thanks to the hard work of Deb Decker, there are 50 Rafael Nadal matches in the database, including nearly every match from this year. You’ll also find at least one match for each of 90 players in the current ATP top 100 and 43 of the current WTA top 50. I hope you’ll consider contributing to this growing resource.

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Entry Lists are Back!

I’ve finally been able to bring back one of my favorite features on TennisAbstract.com: ATP entry lists and player schedules!

You’ll find these in the lower right corner of the front page at tennisabstract.com.

Tour-level main draw entry lists are available about six weeks ahead of time.  Challenger, Grand Slam qualifying, and Masters qualifying lists are out three weeks ahead of time. The lists on the site are updated every few hours. For example, here’s the list for the Roland Garros main draw.

The best part of this is that I can compile upcoming player schedules in one place. As I complained not too long ago, it’s outrageous that this information isn’t more readily available. My schedules aren’t perfect–for one thing, they don’t include wild cards as they are awarded–but they go a long way to addressing the problem. On that one page, you can see where your favorite player is scheduled to appear over the next several weeks.

 

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New Ranking Maps and Charts

I’m excited to share with you a couple of new features I’ve been working on for TennisAbstract.com.

First is an interactive ranking map:

rankmap

The above map shows the geographic concentration of teenagers in the WTA top 1000.  Click through to the full-size map, and you can mouse over any country to find out how many players they have in that category.

More importantly, you can customize the map in a variety of ways.  Choose from either the ATP or WTA rankings, decide how deep you’d like to go in the rankings, and if you’d like, limit the age range.  It’s a great way to see which countries are most dominant on each tour, and it’s also an opportunity to visually investigate which nations are likely to hold that power in the near future.

Next is an interactive ranking history chart:

rankchart

This chart shows ranking points for the big four over the past three years.  Again, if you click through to the full-size map, you’ll get more features: mouse over any line to see the date and the player’s ranking points at the date.

Like the map, the ranking chart is fully interactive.  You can select anywhere from one to four players–for now, only in the ATP top 100–choose a timeframe, and select either ranking or ranking points.

One option I want to call you attention to is one of the timeframes: “Year-end (by age).”  Here, instead of dates, the horizontal axis shows ages.  For instance, this graph shows the big four’s year-end rankings at each age.

Enjoy!

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Help make TennisAbstract.com better (and promote your blog)

Today I’m launching a new project on TennisAbstract.com: links to great player news and analysis elsewhere on the web.

I hope you’ll work with me to make this a reality. Getting your blog posts and articles on TennisAbstract.com player pages is easy.

Step one: Fill out a quick form to tell me a few things about your site.

Step two: Add TennisAbstract.com links to player names in your posts. (The TA Linkifier makes this a snap.)

That’s it!

Please read through the rest of this page. Then, if I haven’t scared you away, please submit your information.

How it works

Once every hour or so, I’ll check your RSS feed for new content and scan any new posts for TA player links. If you’re writing about Roger Federer and include a link to his TA page, your post will show up in the “Player News and Views” section of Federer’s page.

your links here

For now, each player page will show the most recent five posts. After approximately 30 days, I’ll drop each post from the database.

Finally, this is very much a work in progress, and I’m sure I’ll do some tweaking throughout the month of August. I’ll probably break stuff. Please let me know if you think things are not working like they should, but please also be patient.

The rules

There are, of course, some basic guidelines you’ll need to follow.

The object of including “News and Analysis” on TennisAbstract.com is just that: to provide news, views, and analysis. I’m not interested in including links to sites that simply list orders of play, match results, betting lines, or betting results.

Next, TennisAbstract.com links must be relevant to the content of each post. Don’t add random links to Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic at the bottom of your articles in an attempt to game the system. I’m obsessed with TennisAbstract.com, and I’ll notice.

Finally–and this should be obvious–work must be your own. I won’t link to aggregators or any other kind of site that is recycling content that originates elsewhere.

I’m a reasonable guy, but I do retain the sole right to determine what sites and posts are included in this system. If you violate any of the above policies, or if you do other objectionable stuff that I didn’t think of until I catch you doing it, I’ll remove your site from the program and add several bad losses to your favorite player’s record.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to add TennisAbstract.com links to every post? Nope. However, only posts that include TennisAbstract.com links will show up on player pages.

Do I have to use the Linkifier? No. If you love inserting links manually, it would be churlish of me to stop you.

How about “custom filter” links? Will you recognize those too? Yes! If you’re linking to a player page, it doesn’t matter whether you’re linking to the standard view or the page with some combination of filters applied.

I submitted the form, but I haven’t heard from you and my posts aren’t showing up. Please give me 72 hours to process applications for new sites. If it has been longer than that, send me an email with a friendly reminder.

Why isn’t one (or some, or all) of my posts showing up on player pages? Please allow up to six hours for new posts to show up. (And make sure there are TennisAbstract.com player links in the post!) If it has been that long, send me an email. Stuff breaks. I’ll try to fix it.

Why doesn’t the Linkifier add a link for [some player]? Are you sure it’s spelled right? The Linkifier checks for exact matches of player names, along with a small number of variations I’ve added by hand. Check the player’s TA player page to see how the site spells it. It’s certainly possible that you’ve got it right and I’ve got it wrong. If so, send me an email.

Do you check for updates to my posts? At present, no. I’ll scan the post for player links only when it first appears. I recognize that’s not ideal for content like live blogs, so eventually this will change.

Submit your site

Click here for the very simple application instructions on TennisAbstract.com.

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National Showdowns in Challenger Finals

If Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub both win their semifinal matches at the Leon Challenger today–against Donald Young and Jimmy Wang, respectively–it would the first time that two Israelis face off in a Challenger final, at least since the beginning of 1991, when my challenger database begins.

In over 2800 Challengers in that time span, 407 of them have ended with finals contested between countrymen.  As you might guess, all-USA finals have been the most common, at 84, partly due to the former dominance of Americans in the sport and also owing to the large number of Challengers held on US soil.  Next in line are Argentina (59) and Spain (52), two countries with the key combination of many events and a large pool of second-tier pros.

Perhaps more interesting are the countries at the bottom of list.  Nations like Slovenia*, Taiwan, and Slovakia have more in common with Israel–few events in-country, with just a handful of players contesting Challengers.  Those are the three most recent countries to join the list.  Given the contemporary Challenger field, even more surprising are inclusions such as Norway, Denmark, Mexico, and Morocco, all of which enjoyed all-national Challenger finals in the 90s.

*Slovenia is increasingly becoming a force to be reckoned with.  Led by the underrated Grega Zemlja, it is one of only 12 countries with three players in the ATP top 100.

Given that 29 countries have experienced such a final, we might expect some nations that aren’t on the list.  A few that come to mind are Switzerland (usually better represented than the current two players ranked between 20 and 300), Ukraine (currently six players between #98 and #300), and Portugal (surely Rui Machado and Frederico Gil will meet in a final eventually).

Here’s the full list, including the most recent final for each country:

Country  CH Fs  Date      Event            Winner              Runner-up                
USA      84     20130204  Dallas CH        Rhyne Williams      Robby Ginepri            
ARG      59     20120730  Manta CH         Guido Pella         Maximiliano Estevez      
ESP      52     20121112  Marbella CH      Albert Montanes     Daniel Munoz De La Nava  
GER      39     20130121  Heilbronn CH     Michael Berrer      Jan Lennard Struff       
FRA      36     20121001  Mons CH          Kenny De Schepper   Michael Llodra           
ITA      31     20110718  Orbetello CH     Filippo Volandri    Matteo Viola             
CZE      24     20120312  Sarajevo CH      Jan Hernych         Jan Mertl                
BRA      20     20120910  Cali CH          Joao Souza          Thiago Alves             
AUS      17     20130225  Sydney1 CH       Nick Kyrgios        Matt Reid                
NED      5      20100906  Alphen CH        Jesse Huta Galung   Thomas Schoorel          
BEL      4      20120924  Orleans CH       David Goffin        Ruben Bemelmans          
ROU      4      20120806  Sibiu CH         Adrian Ungur        Victor Hanescu           
AUT      4      20070716  Rimini CH        Oliver Marach       Daniel Koellerer         
COL      3      20120709  Bogota CH        Alejandro Falla     Santiago Giraldo         
JPN      3      20120423  Kaohsiung CH     Go Soeda            Tatsuma Ito              
RSA      3      20110411  Johannesburg CH  Izak Van Der Merwe  Rik De Voest             
SWE      3      19931101  Aachen CH        Jonas Bjorkman      Jan Apell                
RUS      2      20100823  Astana CH        Igor Kunitsyn       Konstantin Kravchuk      
GBR      2      20050704  Nottingham CH    Alex Bogdanovic     Mark Hilton              
CAN      2      19991129  Urbana CH        Frederic Niemeyer   Sebastien Lareau         
IND      2      19990412  New Delhi CH     Leander Paes        Mahesh Bhupathi          
SLO      1      20120716  An-Ning CH       Grega Zemlja        Aljaz Bedene             
TPE      1      20111017  Seoul CH         Yen Hsun Lu         Jimmy Wang               
SVK      1      20100809  Samarkand CH     Andrej Martin       Marek Semjan             
NOR      1      19980601  Furth CH         Christian Ruud      Jan Frode Andersen       
ECU      1      19960715  Quito CH         Pablo Campana       Luis Adrian Morejon      
DEN      1      19960226  Hamburg CH       Kenneth Carlsen     Frederik Fetterlein      
MAR      1      19950814  Geneva CH        Younes El Aynaoui   Karim Alami              
MEX      1      19920427  Acapulco CH      Leonardo Lavalle    Luis Herrera

TennisAbstract.com update: If you like ATP stats, you’ll love the new leaders page.  It allows you to compare the ATP top 50 across nearly 60 different metrics, and filter matches in all the same ways you can on player pages.  Find out who hits the most aces on  clay, who plays the most tiebreaks in Masters events, who has faced the toughest opponents, or just spend the rest of your afternoon tinkering with the thousands of possible permutations.  It’s very much a work in progress, so (a) let me know if you have suggestions or come across a bug; and (b) don’t be shocked if I occasionally break it while trying to improve it.

Also, I’ve created a “current tournaments” page that aggregates all matches (completed and upcoming) at this week’s events.  It’s a great way to get a quick overview of what’s happening this week, and with next week’s qualifying draws released, you can also use the filters to zero in on, say, all Americans who are still alive in some ATP, WTA, or Challenger event.

Finally, don’t miss the Player Schedules page, which aggregates ATP and Challenger entry lists to show you who is playing where for the next six weeks.

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