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How a Tennis Ranking is NOT the whole Truth of Top 10 Tennis Players

Alcaraz won Indian Wells. Sinner won Miami. Medvedev showed up in the Finals and Semi-Finals respectively. Djokovic fell in the 3rd Round of Indian Wells and opted out of Miami. Sinner fell to Alcaraz in the semi-finals of Indian Wells whilst Alcaraz fell to Dimitrov in the Quarter-Finals of Miami. Dimitrov made the Finals in Miami and fell to Medvedev in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells. Zverev made the Semi-Finals in Miami and the Quarter-Finals at Indian Wells.

Swiatek won Indian Wells and fell in the Round of 16 at Miami. Sabalenka fell in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells and the 3rd Round in Miami. Gauff made the Semi-Finals in Indian Wells and fell in the Round of 16 at Miami. Sakkari made the Final at Indian Wells and fell in the Quarter-Finals to Rybakina in Miami. Pegula lost in the 2nd Round at Indian Wells and made the Quarter-Finals in Miami. Rybakina opted out of Indian Wells and made the Finals of Miami. Collins fell in the 2nd Round to Swiatek at Indian Wells before winning Miami. 

Are you keeping pace? By simple deduction, the rankings are wrong.

The truth of the matter is that when we narrow our focus on the current crop of Top 10 players they simply are not holding their own on a consistent basis. These cyclical performances that afford pre-conditioned peak performance outcomes are off the mark for many. But these primary players offer a glimpse into these fluctuations — back to back performances and their subsequent results. A very simple snapshot of the Top 4 to 5 players on the ATP and WTA tours at this moment in time.

But there’s more than meets the eye. Recall the 8% and those susceptible to regressing — denoted by the 2%. And here, it’s a small window that affords a glimpse into these rulers that govern the best tennis players in the world.

And that’s important. It’s a snapshot of this period of the calendar year. After all, Sabalenka won the opening Grand Slam of the season and hasn’t been able to live up to the hype. Swiatek on the other hand has continued to outperform and gain further traction with her ranking. The Australian Open Finalist — Zheng, has yet to showcase the same level of play despite her Top 10 ranking. This is one of many snippets that show a current flaw in the rankings. Meanwhile, Collins is outside the Top 10 and almost inside the Top 20 after her Miami title and yet continues to outperform 50% of the Top 10

Go figure. Numbers don’t lie. But also only tell half the truth.

Alcaraz has been backing it up with Top 2 to Top 8 performances or greater. Sinner is Top 2 and Top 4 respectively, or greater. Djokovic is out of the equation when considering these metrics. Medvedev is Top 2 and Top 4 but does’t receive as much hype as deserved. Zverev is Top 4 and Top 8 whilst Dimitrov is Top 2 and Top 16. And that’s the reality of the cutoff. Both Rudd and De Minaur are Top 16 and Top 16 — just scaling inside.

Swiatek is Top 2 and Top 16, or greater. Sabalenka is Top 16 and null (given that 16 is the marker here for inclusion if coupled with a greater performance). Gauff is Top 4 and Top 16. Sakkari is Top 2 and Top 8. Pegula is null and Top 8. Rybakina is null and Top 2. Collins is null and Top 2, or greater. Navarro is Top 8 and Top 16.

Therefore the ATP tour is led by Sinner who is followed by Medvedev, then Alcaraz, Zverev and Dimitrov before Rudd and De Minaur. That rounds out the Top 7 followed by Djokovic simply because he deserves inclusion. And remember, Sinner won the Australian Open and Medvedev was the Finalist. Both are living up to the hype.

The WTA tour is led by Sakkari followed by Swiatek. However, there is reason for slight caution here as Sakkari has only recently found her Top 10 form again whereby Swiatek has been a trailblazer ever since her early exit at the Australian Open. On this basis, there’s greater leverage to note Swiatek — alongside her current ranking, to be followed by Sakkari (although in reality, Sakkari would sit closer to 5). Gauff follows before Navarro if consistency is the name of the game. Rybakina, Collins, Pegula and Sabalenka follow. However, there is a significant level of ambiguity here as other players ranked outside the Top 10 did make the Round of 16 or greater but only the mentioned players are 1) inside the Top 10, or 2) made the Finals and/or 3) had Top 16 or greater results in back to back tournaments. It’s a tough bar but reasonable for someone with the caliber of a Top 10 player.

But why aren’t all Top 10 players included?

By deduction, Swiatek, Sakkari, Gauff and Navarro are the most consistent players across both events. In contrast, that’s 4 WTA players who have consistently been performing — 3 inside the WTA Top 10, whereby 7 have been consistently performing on the ATP tour with 5 inside the ATP Top 10 before and after these events, whereby Dimitrov is now ranked back inside the Top 10, De Minaur was and now has been pushed outside the Top 10.

On the WTA tour, Pegula (5), Jabeur (6), Zheng (8), Vondrousova (9) and Ostenpenko (10) round out the Top 10. With Rybakina’s Finalist result coupled with her performances so far this season, although she trails Swiatek, both of these players have a level of play that exceeds their fellow Top 10 on a consistent basis. Sakkari has the recent results but it’s a matter of consistency. Ostenpenko did have the results but has not performed the past two events to her new baseline (capacity). Pegula follows whilst Jabeur, Zheng and Vondrousova have not lived up to their respective rankings this season with the exception for Zheng with her Finalist result.

On the ATP tour, Sinner has earned his place as the new No. 2 whilst Djokovic undoubtedly holds onto the No. 1. Alcaraz is then firm at No. 3 and is closely followed by Medvedev. Both 2 and 3 will continue to be interchanged unless Medvedev claims another Grand Slam and/or Djokovic takes a hiatus for a few months. Zverev holds his place at No. 5. Rublev, Rune and Hurkacz round out the Top 10 and these players have not been living up to their ranking expectations over this snapshot — period in time (as in now, 2024 — primarily the month of March).

Interestingly, the ATP has a more consistent level of play in the Top 5 whereby the WTA holds true to its Top 4 with Sakkari still inside the Top 10. There are null newcomers to consider on the ATP with standout wins (per the set inclusion). In contrast, the WTA has Collins with the Miami title and Navarro with a greater level of consistency than >50% of the current Top 10 — again, over this snapshot.

The truth therefore is not entirely in the rankings.

But rankings take time and consistency. I’d argue then (along with the data) that if the Top 10 was placed on a performance scale with room for slight fluctuations and a Round of 16 result a prerequisite 75% of the time — or greater, for a Top 5 ranking, 50% of the time for a Top 10 ranking — as a minimum, we’d see something quite different. But, a few seasons ago this was the case for the true rankings and results. At this point in time, to see and understand the whole truth it has become a matter of deduction and not all Top 10 players are living up to these expectations.

It’s hard, but it’s truth. So much so, a player does not garner traction for inclusion in our data (extensively published) unless these Round of 16 results become a reality — at the Grand Slam level. It’s one thing to win significant tiles alike Indian Wells and Miami, but another to play at the same level or greater at a Grand Slam. But this is where it starts and yet if the Australian Open is anything to go by, the ATP tour has been living up to its key expectations whilst the WTA simply has not with the No. 1 — Swiatek, finding her feet again and surging, whilst Sakkari finds a new lease on her game — for how long we’ll soon find out.

To learn more about our data, predictive analytics and how to optimise your own performance, head on over to AM8 International. To learn more about AM8 International check out our selection of Books and/or options to join Dr B’s Pack to gain exclusive access to the best in the world. Not quite ready? Head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis for free access to 80+ episodes directly from Dr Berge of what it really takes to win multiple Grand Slams to securing that Top 10tennis ranking with new episodes each week. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTokTwitterThreads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.

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Australian Open Men’s Semi Finals: Medvedev v Zverev, Sinner v Djokovic and the NEW level of Tennis that has Arrived

Whilst Day 13 of the Australian Open has passed and our feature matches discussed in detail, what has yet to be shared is the Men’s semi-final clashes — both blockbusters in their own right, and lessons to collectively enhance each respective player and their performance. Whether that be Medvedev coming back from two sets down to topple Zverev, or Sinner running away with the first two sets over Djokovic before a close encounter begun, both of these matches were an absolute triumph for not simply the Australian Open but for Men’s tennis overall with new tussles coming to light.

The first of which is Zverev leading the charge and almost closing it out against Medvedev. And boy was this a fun one to watch. By all means Zverev was the stronger player for most of the match, meanwhile Medvedev was doing his best to keep pace — on the back-foot for the majority of the match before the tide changed. And that’s what happened. Zverev was able to maintain an exceptional level of play — beyond his baseline that has been discussed in relationship to patterns of play and key progressions, that went above and surpassed Medvedev’s baseline and his respective patterns of play. But sure enough, the time would come when this newly formed baseline — that aligned with Zverev’s exceptional performance, would come to a progressive halt and allow Medvedev a window – ever so slightly, to claw his way back into an incredibly tight tiebreakers before the fifth was won with merely one break of serve separating the two.

Now, if that isn’t heartbreaking I don’t know what is. But this is the game of tennis and Zverev will live to fight another day and if he continues the level of performance he displayed in this semi-final, at least once more throughout the 2024 season, he is one of a handful of current Top 10 players with a high probability of making another Grand Slam semi-final with the capacity of potentially going all the way to secure his maiden Championship.

On the other hand, Medvedev put on an exceptional display of maintenance, whereby his active baseline was tight-knit and capable of withstanding the onslaught of Zverev before his nerves stayed in tact, in those incredibly close tiebreakers, before bringing it home. And this is what deserves the spotlight. Medvedev has arguably been one of the most underrated players over the past 2 to 3 seasons as the likes of Alcaraz and Djokovic held the spotlight for their own respective reasons. Yet, it was Medvedev, there the entire time, keeping pace with both of these players, and only falling slightly short at the final hurdle. Nonetheless, Medvedev was No. 2 in the world before Alcaraz took his place at the top of the game, and despite Alcaraz’s Grand Slam success, Medvedev has maintained his tight hold on the No. 3 ranking which is complemented by a number of Grand Slam final appearances.

Ironically, the other semi-final comprises of the two players who Medvedev has most frequently fallen against at the final stages and despite the scoreline it definitely delivered. By all accounts it was Sinner who came out of the blocks firing and didn’t give Djokovic a window to play his ‘standard’ game. But that isn’t to be confused with the aforementioned baseline or the typical ‘standardised’ level of play — we’re talking the type of play that Djokovic has made his own to secure 24 Grand Slam titles. Which means for Sinner to topple Djokovic at the semi-final stage of a Grand Slam, if you weren’t sitting on the data that preempted this, draws should have been dropping in various corners of the globe.

But that’s the fun part about science and data — analytics tell a different tale and our predictive analytics preempted this two seasons prior. Yet the work involved to get to this level of play from Sinner has been an absolute — from solidifying the 7 Keys into his game and to topple Djokovic, the 8th Key needed to be front and centre. This isn’t to be mistaken, however, with a lacklustre performance from Djokovic. Credit goes to Sinner for pushing the World No.1 to the brink of the first two sets without a glimpse of a window in sight for Djokovic to snag his rhythm and/or key patterns of play. Rather, it was Sinner who flipped the table and did what Djokovic has so often done — fired from the get-go and held steady until close.

And this is what makes a Grand Slam Champion. Whilst the result of the Australian Open Championship is widely known with a new historic milestone for tennis, these four ATP players along with the four WTA players who made it to the semifinal stage really need to be placed into the limelight for such a stellar start to the 2024 season. The same applies for the level of tennis, the new baselines formed and ultimately, how both Sinner and Sabalenka were preempted to reach these heights two seasons prior — as our predictive analytics uncovered in “The 7 Keys to Optimise Your Life: Using Tennis to Develop Behaviours that Deliver Optimal Performances in Play and in Life“. And as a bonus, “How to Develop a Top 10 Tennis Ranking: the Power of the 8th Key” along ran this home for both of these players and why these results are not shocking in any way, shape or form, rather they go to show how integral all 8 Keys are and what players need to do to progress towards this exclusive ranking range.

To learn more about AM8 International check out our selections of Books to options to join Dr B’s Pack to gain exclusive access to the best in the world. Not quite ready? Head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis for free to access 60+ episodes directly from Dr Berge of what it really takes to win multiple Grand Slams to securing that Top 10 tennis ranking. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTokTwitterThreads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.