Friday, January 23, 2015

Grand Slam Scores 2: The other weighting option

We’ve previously introduced Grand Slam scores as a simple-yet-effective method for evaluating players through tennis history through a lens that conventional wisdom can understand. The initial method used was to award 1 point for a title, and split that in half for each round further from the title that the player was eliminated. While that’s a mathematically satisfying way of handling things, there’s no reason to insist on it as the only possibility. And as it happens, there’s a readily-available alternative, one that’s already in use in a well-known venue.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Melog rankings: Pre-Australian Open 2015

As promised, I'm going to try doing biweekly (or thereabouts) updates to my tennis rankings this year. The rankings will contain the last year's worth of tennis from Grand Slams, the ATP and Challenger tours, and the Davis Cup World Group.

Due to slight changes in the ATP schedule this year as compared to last, there may occasionally be oddities in what I classify as the last year's worth of tennis - it may not always match the ATP's interpretation precisely, and I will try to point out such differences when they arise. This week's rankings cover exactly the same tennis as the ATP's, as they include everything from last year's Australian Open to the tournaments that were just completed on Saturday.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Evaluating tennis history: Grand Slam Scores

One of the subjects I plan to explore regularly in this space is tennis history. It's a subject I've explored to some extent already, generally through the context of my Melog ratings. While I think the Melog system does a creditable job evaluating tennis performance, it is not without issues.

One of those issues is that the system does not match the evaluation of tennis players in popular opinion. I often find this to be an asset; Melog places value on excelling throughout the year, not merely in big tournaments. But it is inescapably true that most evaluators, including the players themselves, put far more emphasis on Grand Slams than they do on anything else; in fact, “career Grand Slams won,” which obviously ignores achievement in other events, is a commonly-used proxy for all-time ranking.

There is another problem with the Melog system that troubles me far more: It requires a great deal of time to compile the necessary data to evaluate even a single year of tennis. And rewarding as I find that process, it still means that I’ve only got the numbers for 2008-14 so far, which leaves me without a ready means of comparing Roger Federer to Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg. That would be a nice capability to have.

As it happens, I’ve developed a method that addresses both of those problems at once: it is based entirely on Grand Slam performance, and it is readily calculable for anyone who’s played in the Open Era. And given the content of these introductory paragraphs, you’ve probably figured out that I’m presenting that method here.