November 27th, 2015
Friday Tennis Blog: Where Does Serena’s Season Rank? Belgium Seeks D.C. Miracle
HOW GOOD WAS SERENA’S SEASON?
World No. 1 Serena Williams finished her 2015 campaign with a 53-3 win-loss record (94.64% win percentage), capturing three of the four Slams, and coming within two matches of winning a calendar Grand Slam when she lost in the semifinals of the US Open. How does her season stack up to the all-time greats? Amazingly it doesn’t even crack the Top 10 in terms of winning percentage. The Palm Beach Gardens resident was hindered by a number of factors during the season. Her 53 wins was far off her 2013 campaign (9th best all-time) when she compiled a 78-4 win-loss (95.12%). This year the 34 year old fought knee and elbow injuries, and a couple illnesses that resulted in her withdrawing three times mid-tournament, and from seven tournaments overall. That’s 25+ potential wins missed right there. Because of this, in the midst of her incredible Grand Slam run she won only five tournaments overall. In the spirit of consistent excellence she became the first person since Steffi Graf in 1990 to hold the top ranking for two consecutive years. The Top 3 all-time win-loss percentage season records? Martina Navratilova in 1983 (86-1), Graf in 1989 (86-2), and Navratilova again in 1984 (78-2).
HOW GOOD WAS DJOKOVIC’S SEASON?
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost six matches in 2015 against 82 wins. How does it stack up in the annals of greatest seasons ever? The Serb’s 11 titles in 2015 included three of the four Grand Slams, a record fourth consecutive year-end ATP Finals crown and $21.5 million in prize money. Amazingly it is only the sixth-best record in the Open Era (since 1968). The best one-year campaign may well always be John McEnroe’s scorching 1984 season (82-3, 13 titles), and Roger Federer has had two seasons consecutively when he beat Djokovic’s mark this year (81-4 in 2005, and 92-5 in 2006). Also weighing in ahead of Djokovic’s effort this year were Jimmy Connors in 1974 (93-4, 15 titles), and Bjorn Borg in 1979 (84-6, 13 titles). Djokovic says he will take being put up against the best seasons ever. If the Serb wants to look to a record all his own, it’s his six Masters-level titles in 2015, becoming the first player to win six in one year.
The business of tennis is good, topping $6 billion according to the Tennis Industry Association. Businesses sponsoring tennis tallied a record $739 million in 2014, with the final 2015 mark expected to be a new record…Andy Roddick weighs in on why Serena Williams should be named the Sports Illustrated 2015 Sports(wo)man of the Year…The Bryan brothers were edged for the year-end No. 1 by Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, only the third time in the last 13 years that the Florida-based brothers haven’t ended the year in the top spot…Security is tight in Ghent, Belgium today as the Davis Cup final between Great Britain and Belgium gets underway amidst security concerns following a terror alert after the Paris attacks a couple weeks ago. “Over the last week, the ITF has been in constant contact with the relevant authorities, the Royal Belgian Tennis Federation, the Lawn Tennis Association and our risk assessment company and this dialogue continues today,” said ITF president David Haggerty…A rift among the top ATP dogs — Roger Federer thinks tennis has too little drug testing, while world No. 1 Novak Djokovic thinks tennis has too much…The sports stats nerds at FiveThirtyEight.com say the data points to a U.S. men’s tennis resurgence...The new international sponsor of Davis Cup and Fed Cup is an online betting company.
Preview: Britain’s Match to Lose in Davis Cup Final?
Belgium will host the Davis Cup final beginning today when visiting Great Britain, led by Andy Murray, will be the solid favorite to claim a first Davis Cup since 1936. The Belgian players would need to trace their family trees to see who was alive the last time they make a Davis Cup final appearance in 1904, having never lifted the Cup as a nation.
The pressure will be almost entirely on Murray’s shoulders without a solid No. 2 singles player, as the former Wimbledon champ will look to clinch the weekend with two singles victories, and a doubles win likely partnering brother Jamie Murray. James Ward or rookie Kyle Edmund will likely fill the No. 2 singles spot for the Brits.
Belgium will counter with their No. 1 player David Goffin, and Steve Darcis in the No. 2 singles slot. Goffin has yet to take a set off Murray in two tour meetings. Darcis, who has spent much of his career at the Challenger-tournament level, has never faced Murray.
Belgium’s Cinderalla-like run to the final this year included barely edging a Swiss team 3-2 that did not include either Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka, beating a Canadian team that was without stars Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, and in the semifinals upsetting Argentina by winning the final two singles matches.
Belgium beating on Britain’s No. 2 singles player will be the key to avoiding a sweep and keeping the match live until Sunday, where anything can happen on the final day in Davis Cup.
They Said It
“I said, ‘Melo, man, if you’re this high, you can be No. 1. Why don’t you make it a goal? We’ll help you. Do you want it or not?’ I didn’t say it that way — I said it much sweeter.”
— Billie Jean King on ATP doubles player Marcelo Melo, who played for the World TeamTennis Philadelphia Freedoms, and has since risen to No. 1 on the ATP doubles ranking, speaking to The Desert Sun
“That doesn’t mean that we’re going anywhere. We’re going to come back next year stronger, healthier and hungrier to do this again because we know what [finishing No. 1] feels like…We’ll do all we can to get back on top.”
— Bob Bryan on he and brother Mike being edged for the year-end No. 1 ranking in 2015
“The biggest surprise was that on-court grunting was not an important issue for the fans.”
— Now-former WTA Chairperson and CEO Stacey Allaster on a WTA fan survey earlier this year
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(times subject to change)
7:30am-1:30pm — Davis Cup Final GBR vs. BEL (live), Tennis Channel
9am-noon — Davis Cup Final GBR vs. BEL (live), Tennis Channel
7am-1pm — Davis Cup Final GBR vs. BEL (live), Tennis Channel