Re: Best player to never win a slam

Don wrote:

Sorry I didn't see this thread at the time, but it's interesting enough I thought I'd revive it long enough to add:
I remember Tom Okker well.  He was the David Ferrer of his day.  Beat everybody he should beat, nearly always lost to the guys ahead of him.  I don't consider it surprising in the least that neither of them ever won a slam.  Not enough weapons.  To me, it's more surprising that Todd Martin never won.  It's even more surprising that Gaston Gaudio did. 

But I believe the hands-down winner of the best never to win a slam Is Marcelo "El Chino" Rios.  Nick Bollettieri, whose academy produced an absurd number of top players, both men and women, has repeatedly said that Rios was the most talented player who ever came to his academy.  Based on talent alone, I believe he is top 10 of all time.  He is also, unquestionably, the worst head case and most offensive jerk ever to set foot on a court -- and that includes some spectacular head cases and total bastards.  The ONLY reason he didn't win multiple slams and remain #1 for years lies between his left ear and his right ear.

Very interesting point, Don!
I take it that what you mean by talent is something like 'physical talent'.  But there's also talent for winning, call it 'mental' talent.

There is no question that Rios had massive physical talent.  So does Dolgopolov. He seems to be able to do anything with the ball. And Monfils at times, too. But no one is suggesting Dolgopolov or Monfils for best never to win a slam.  Why?  Well they haven't won that much.  Whereas Rios has. 

Rios had massive physical gifts - as Bolletieri attests - an opinion I take with utmost seriousness.  But Rios was also able to win tournaments.  He had some mental talent, too.  But how much?  Impossible to measure, but what we can look at is what the combination of his physical and mental talent produced.

Same thing goes for David Ferrer.  His physical talent is by most accounts somewhat less that Rios' was.  But we might argue that he had greater mental talent.  He did a lot of winning - matches, slam matches, top-10 wins, tournaments.  So who is the greater overall talent?

I would not argue against Rios maybe being the greatest physical talent never to win a slam.  But overall tennis talent??  Then I think we have to look at accomplishment.  That tells us how well a player was able to put together all their gifts in their body of work.

Borg has better numbers than Nadal to age 25.  Was Borg greater than Nadal?  I would argue 'no', because Nadal had the talent to stick around and keep winning.  In the end, Nadal's greater accomplishment wins.

So when we look at Rios, Ferrer, Tsonga, Okker, Nalbandian, Berdych, Soderling, Davydenko, and a host of others.  Who accomplished most?  For me, answering that question will go a long way to determining who was the most talented or 'best' never to win a slam.

Next question:  how to measure accomplishment?

Last edited by dwightcharles (Oct. 1, 2017 11:54pm)

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion

Re: Best player to never win a slam

There is to some extent an element of luck about winning a slam.  Probably no one would put TJohansson in the top 10 of non-slam winners had he not won one.  But he happened to come along between the Sampras and Federer eras, and got some lucky breaks in the draw.  So in determining 'best' never to win a slam, we're kind of looking at the those players who might have won if their luck had been different.

So, returning to my last post, which non-slam winner has accomplished the most?

It all depends what your standards of measurement are.  I have a few to suggest, but I'm sure there are others.

All stats are for slam non-winners only in the Open Era.

Best match winning ratio (wins/losses) at the slams:
Tsonga 2.949
Raonic 2.654
Okker 2.517
Berdych 2.482
Ferrer 2.458
# 6-13: Nalbandian, Metreveli, Nishikori, Mecir, Solomon, Monfils, TMartin, Thiem

Of course, that number can get diluted if you play past your prime.  So how about,
Most slam matches won:
Ferrer 145
Berdych 139
Tsonga 115
Robredo 107
Haas 105
#6-13: Ferreira 104, TMartin 102, Youzhny 101, Gasquet 99, Verdasco 98, Henman 98, Monfils 92, FLopez 92

Next I considered how players did in slams from the quarter-finals on, only.  Players got 1 for a QF, 3 for a SF, and 6 for RU (and 10 for a win).  I call this the slam QF+ index or SQI.

Thus for example, Berdych has been in 9 slam QF's, 6 SF's, and 1 RU.  He gets (9+18+6=)33 points.
Berdych 33
Ferrer 32
Tsonga 30
Nalbandian 23
Henman 22
Okker 20
Davydenko 18
16 Soderling, Haas, Raonic
14 Nishikori

Most 1000's won:
Rios 5
AMedvedev 4
Mecir 3
Gerulaitis 3
Enqvist 3
Daydenko 3
2 Solomon, Coria, Nalbandian, Chesnokov, Corretja, Forget, Tsonga, Higueras, Mancini, Ramirez, Ferreira, AZverev, Aguilera

Titles:
Ferrer 27
Okker 26
Gottfried 25
Clerc 25
Dibbs 22
Solomon 22
Davydenko 21
BGilbert 20

Some time has been spent in posts above on something called roughly "top 10 index". It basically looks at years in top 10 and the rank achieved once there. Don argues that it doesn't measure a player's peak but might reward low-level consistency.  I have put forward that both physical and mental talent should be considered in a consideration of who was the 'best'. 

Perhaps a compromise can be reached.  Being a bit of stats freak, I happen to have a record of ATP points of the yearend top 10 to 1990.  Before that, the calculation method was considerably different, so earlier years can't contribute meaningfully to the formula I'm proposing.  So I thought that instead of assigning a simple 10 points for 1st, 9 points for 2nd, etc, we could use the average of points that are typical of each ranking spot and assign a relative value to each position.  I also decided to extend the system to the whole top 20, but for positions 11-20 I merely scaled the results, averaging #10 with #20.

When I ran the numbers I noticed a significant change in the numbers pre-2009.  There was an ATP formula change starting in 2009, so in order to be fair, to determine the average for the ranking spots I used data from 2009 and on only.  Here are the average ranking points for each position from #1 to #20.

12866.875
10121.25
7133.75
6275
5526.25
4381.25
4129.375
3668.75
3215.625
2936.875
2816.125
2695.375
2574.625
2453.875
2333.125
2212.375
2091.625
1970.875
1850.125
1729.375

When we scale these from 1 point at #20. We get the following values to assign to each ranking #
#1 - 7.44
2 - 5.85
3 - 4.13
4 - 3.63
5 - 3.20
6 - 2.53
7 - 2.39
8 - 2.12
9 - 1.86
10 - 1.70
11 - 1.63
12 - 1.56
13 - 1.49
14 - 1.42
15 - 1.35
16 - 1.28
17 - 1.21
18 - 1.14
19 - 1.07
20 - 1.00

Next I used this scale to apply to each player's yearend ranking.  Here are the sums for each player based on their yearend rankings when considering all years they finished in the top 20.
Ferrer 25.79
Okker 22.21
Berdych 21.37
Tsonga 16.89
Davydenko 16.68
Henman 14.79
Nalbandian 13.68
# 8-15: Clerc, Gottfried, Haas, Solomon, Gasquet, GMayer, Curren, Dibbs

These totals serve as proxies for the number of points gained for each year the player was in the top 20.  So this is a measure of how much each player accomplished during the best years of their career.

I also wanted to see if the totals were different if only the top 10 were considered, I totalled the following:
Okker 20.58
Ferrer 20.19
Davydenko 16.68
Berdych 16.46
Tsonga 12.28
#6-10: Henman, Nalbandian, Clerc, Ramirez, Gottfried

I also looked at totals for only those years players were in the top 5.  This should really concentrate players who performed at the highest levels of the sport.
Davydenko 14.14
Ferrer 13.71
Okker 10.89
Nishikori 6.39
Rios 5.85
#6-11: Corretja-Raonic (tie), Norman-Curren-Clerc-Blake (tie)

I think this last category might make the strongest argument for best never to win a slam. So in the end, my best candidates for best player never to win a slam, by accomplishment are (in alphabetical order): Berdych, Davydenko, Ferrer, Nishikori, Okker, Rios, Tsonga.  I added Berdych and Tsonga for doing so well in some of the other categories.

Of these, my choice for the best never to win a slam is Ferrer.  He seems to be near the top in almost all categories.  Although Davydenko scored high in ranking points, he did not do well that well in the slams.

Thoughts on this?

Last edited by dwightcharles (Oct. 2, 2017 3:59pm)

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Great analyst and I agree it is Ferrer...

(ps: Best women never to win a slam is Wozniacki - What do the numbers show.?)

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Ferrer has had a very good career but is NOT the best player to
never win a major!!! He is a perennial quarterfinalist/semifinalist
in his best years but was NEVER a threat to the elite players!!!
His game is the game of a counterpuncher which makes him very
consistent but without the ability to end points with one or two
strokes!!!

The best players to never win a major were players with REAL
attacking firepower in their games NOT Ferrer!!!

I would put Mark Philoppousis as a good recent example and
Kevin Curren or Henri Leconte as good examples in the 80's
and 90's!!! These players were NOT as consistent as Ferrer
but made the finals of majors and more importantly could
and did defeat top players with their attacking games in their
day while Ferrer has abysmal head to head records against
all the elite players today!!!

Even at his best......betting on Ferrer winning a major with
his steady, consistent, counterpunching game was nothing
but a very foolish and irresponsible wager!!!

Last edited by sneaky (Oct. 6, 2017 2:26pm)

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Dont knoe if sneaky is right but he has a point. Best player means best level of tennis that could beat top players in a good day and not just once or twice. In that sense, guys like soderling, gonzalez, Tsonga. I would put thiem and zverev on the list until they win a slam.

Champion: '16 Rey Saber, '16 & '14  Lord Vader, '14 King Droid, '14 Naboo Champion
Runner-Up: '13 Yoda Cup Guru, '15 & '13 Lord Vader, '15 Naboo Champion
Yoda Crew player of the year: '16 & '14
YC Wins: '12 & '13 Wimbledon

Re: Best player to never win a slam

I'm still gonna vote Ferrer, because consistency is important in this sport and he built a very sustainable brand of successful tennis and made millions off of it, even though he lacked the genetic gifts of his peers.

So Ferrer all the way.  That guy is gosh-darned HERO.

Re: Best player to never win a slam

The category is the "best player to never win a major" NOT "the most
successful player to never win a major." There is a very big difference!!!

Yes....Ferrer has been a good consistent player and won plenty of prize
money but is NOT the "best player to never win a major."

Even though his results were quarters and semis and some finals across
masters and majors.....Ferrer NEVER really had a good chance of actually
winning against the elite players!!!

Philopoussis/Soderling/Leconte/Curren are much more worthy of "best player
to never win a major." All these players were in major finals and were a bit
unlucky!!! Don't forget the above mentioned players beat elite players with
their powerful attacking games!!!

Ferrer is the most successful but definitely NOT the "best player to never win
a major." With that kind of silly logic we could state Wozniacki on the Womens
tour is the "best to never win a major."

Last edited by sneaky (Oct. 9, 2017 12:43pm)

Re: Best player to never win a slam

*skims Sneaky Rant #85*

I'm still gonna vote for Ferrer.  Hero.

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Oh well I tried but certain individuals can NOT understand
good sound logic!!!

It is hard to believe but certain individuals are more likely to
believe in unicorns, UFOs, and witchcraft rather than good
sound proven facts!!!

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Take a look at post #76 above.  It talks about physical talent (which I think Sneaky is talking about) and mental talent (which Ferrer excels at).  Both are necessary.  One without the other is useless.

Is the *best* player the one with the most physical talent? or the most mental talent? or some combination of both?

Last edited by dwightcharles (Oct. 9, 2017 6:17pm)

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Good point, Dwight....but I would lean toward physical talent a bit more for
a player to win just one major!!! Petr Korda and Richard Kraijcek (players
that won one major each in the 90's) are both excellent examples of players that
were both super aggressive attacking players that lacked any consistency
(mental talent as you put it) but were capable of playing at a super high level
unlike Ferrer's steady play!!!

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Best player would be a combination of ability, longevity and consistency - Not just enough firepower to strike once like a lightning bolt - I have to go with Ferrer on this one...

PS: I don't believe in Unicorns or UFO's - Unless UFO stands for United Ferrer Opinion...

Re: Best player to never win a slam

sneaky wrote:

Good point, Dwight....but I would lean toward physical talent a bit more for
a player to win just one major!!! Petr Korda and Richard Kraijcek (players
that won one major each in the 90's) are both excellent examples of players that
were both super aggressive attacking players that lacked any consistency
(mental talent as you put it) but were capable of playing at a super high level
unlike Ferrer's steady play!!!

I agree with you, Sneaky.  For a one slam wonder, physical talent is most likely to bring glory.

But arguably, that is not the same thing as best player never to win a major.

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion

Re: Best player to never win a slam

For me Rios is ahead of Ferrer in the best player not to win a slam.

Champion: '16 Rey Saber, '16 & '14  Lord Vader, '14 King Droid, '14 Naboo Champion
Runner-Up: '13 Yoda Cup Guru, '15 & '13 Lord Vader, '15 Naboo Champion
Yoda Crew player of the year: '16 & '14
YC Wins: '12 & '13 Wimbledon

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Ah Yes.....Rios was also a very good player that could have won
with better circumstances and a bit of luck. Petr Korda beat Rios
in the 1998 Australian Open final but many thought Rios would
win before the match!!!

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Murreee wrote:

United Ferrer Opinion...

Call me a convert!

Re: Best player to never win a slam

sneaky wrote:

Ah Yes.....Rios was also a very good player that could have won
with better circumstances and a bit of luck. Petr Korda beat Rios
in the 1998 Australian Open final but leovegas app stream to mobile device before the match!!!

It doesn't matter if you become #1 in the world, he's most smart and daring tennis player ever.

Last edited by Robben (Nov. 19, 2017 3:59am)

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Robben wrote:
sneaky wrote:

Ah Yes.....Rios was also a very good player that could have won
with better circumstances and a bit of luck. Petr Korda beat Rios
in the 1998 Australian Open final but many thought Rios would
win before the match!!!

It doesn't matter if you become #1 in the world, he's most smart and daring tennis player ever.

Sweet, Marcelo Rios himself has joined our forums!  Welcome!

Re: Best player to never win a slam

Robben wrote:
sneaky wrote:

Ah Yes.....Rios was also a very good player that could have won
with better circumstances and a bit of luck. Petr Korda beat Rios
in the 1998 Australian Open final but many thought Rios would
win before the match!!!

It doesn't matter if you become #1 in the world, he's most smart and daring tennis player ever.

Rios smart and daring? I don't believe he was smart but was frugal/cheap and extremely rude
to the media/players/tennis community. I read in Nick Bolletieri's book that Rios tried to get
out of paying him and was so cheap/stingy that he stole the water of other players at the
Bolletieri Academy!!! Bolletieri believed this strange disrespectful behavior kept Rios from
fulfilling his maximum potential and I definitely agree!!!

Last edited by sneaky (Nov. 17, 2017 9:52pm)