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How the 2024 French Open separated Top 10 Tennis Players and closed the Gap between Others plus lessons for the 2024 Olympics

As the red clay settles and the noise becomes that little bit quieter, the grass beckons for those who have had time for their losses to settle and tackle a new surface with renewed hope of a better performance. Yet the tide is still high for the Champions of the 2024 French Open as their new silverware finds a new place to call home. For whilst there are only two who left triumphant with these titles, there are many more who should indeed be proud of their accomplishments to performances that really should signal a highlight of their 2024 season.

The Champions are known and yet there were some surprises. Recall that anomalies do exist and this Roland Garros was no exception. Sure, there have been much greater anomalies but the ones this French Open were not as shocking as perhaps some may have had you believe. Andreeva had been progressing and if Grand Slam statistics were to be gauged, this was almost expected – a Round of 16 in contrast to a semi-final but then again, the nerves to the health of her opponents simply can’t be collated and they’re akin to environmental factors that happen to the best.

Of course, Sabalenka was favoured to progress to the Finals to have a third straight showdown against Swiatek and to really battle it out for their next respective Grand Slam title. But again, the data favoured Swiatek almost all season as Sabalenka’s performance only started to ‘track’ come Madrid and Rome. Swiatek on the other hand had started to track essentially after her earlier exit at the Australian Open. Sabalenka did progress further at the French in contrast to Swiatek at the Australian Open but what happened between is where it gets quite juicy.

Zheng was a first time Finalist at the start of the season and was somewhat of a surprise. Then again, she was coming off a maiden Quarter-Final at the US Open. Still, this was a rapid-fire climb and as anticipated by the data, Zheng’s performance has been lacklustre since this performance peak due to the data capturing key setbacks and essentially the downside of these rapid-fire results. In contrast, Paolini reached the Round of 16 of the Australian Open and continued to progress throughout the season – that is, until the French Open. With a ranking that continued to progress to a high of 13 and now a barrier breaker after her Finalist result, a Quarter-Final would have been anticipated by Paolini if her season had not been spurred with such impressive results. Nonetheless, this still remains an anomaly but not as much as Andreeva’s peak performance

And then there was Gauff who went under the radar all season long given that Swiatek to Collins were capturing the limelight. But what many forgot to note is that Gauff in fact consistently was showing up late in these events and at the Semi-Final stage quite frequently. It would not have been surprising if Gauff did in fact take out Swiatek but then again, Swiatek at Roland Garros has steadily become a formidable force.

Whilst there is so much more to discuss and dissect, these four players on the WTA tour represent key expectations per the data – the anticipated calibre of play of a Top 10 player at 50%, 25% the anomaly in Andreeva, and 25% the player who simply had been playing akin to the Top 10 throughout the season. 

Which brings us to a key point raised in the Top 10 on both the WTA and ATP tours – only 50% of players inside the Top 10 had been living up to their ranking expectation all season. Yes, it has been said time and time again that 50% of the current Top 10 were not performing at the level of a Top 10 player. As such, players ranked outside the Top 10 but inside the Top 20 had greater scope to become a barrier breaker this season. Zheng after her Finalist result — but her performance has not been aligned with a Top 10 baseline; Collins becoming a barrier breaker shortly before the French started with a Top 10 baseline and Ostapenko earlier this season became a barrier breaker after having a super start to the season before reaching a performance plateau and now is hovering outside the Top 10. Paolini then by all accounts was anticipated to become a barrier breaker this season, but perhaps not as soon as now. Either way, her performance and results this reason are better than 50% of the Top 10 prior to the French Open.

And that’s an important point to note – these insights are prior to the French Open and the new rankings released this week.

When it comes to the men there aren’t as many anomalies to note and/or discuss but rather the level of consistency of some of these Top 10 players that simply has fluctuated between the Australian Open to the commencement of the French Open that weakened the respective data to what was potentially to come. The Top 3 players – Djokovic, Sinner and Alcaraz all had question marks around their overall performance. Djokovic was without a title – the longest he’s been in quite some time at this stage of the season. Alcaraz had an ailment he was resting in the lead up and Sinner also had an ailment but wasn’t away for as much time. Out of these 3 players, Sinner was the player with the best results to date this season. And that’s the catch – this season, not last or the one before that. Sinner was favoured to claim his second Grand Slam and second this season if he was able to maintain his level of play. But then again, Alcaraz had been idling at his side and simply was able to capitalise with more rest under his belt.

Djokovic is in fact the anomaly this Grand Slam due to his withdrawal but also that he was able to reach the Quarter-Finals and back up some lengthy match wins with another. Some may say Zverev was the anomaly but I’ll disagree. Zverev has consistently been inside the Top 5 when Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were at their respective peaks and/or still Top 10 players respectively. Zverev was ahead of Tsitsipas and slightly behind Thiem. Then Tsitsipas peaked and Zverev fell behind, same with Medvedev then Rublev came along. But Zverev was always there. Sure, Hurkacz and Dimitrov have since come to the party, but Zverev has been showing up. Medvedev was anticipated to go further, but then again, De Minaur was projected to reach the Quarter-Final stage and only one could walk away with the win. Similar to Medvedev, Zverev just shows up and keeps his level of play in tact. Unfortunately, Alcaraz came along and crashed that limelight and then Sinner, too, with these two newcomers now leading the charge – 1 and 2 respectively post Roland Garros. But Zverev is still holding strong and arguably it really came down to the mentally stronger opponent and the player with that added bit of flair in their game which really handed Alcaraz his third Grand Slam – a huge accomplishment.

No, this wasn’t necessarily anticipated due to Alcaraz’s current season. But going off Grand Slam metrics over the past 24-36 months, this was by all accounts expected. The truth is in the data.

In respect to the ATP tour rankings, the Top 10 has strengthened and yet also, all players inside the Quarter-Finals were Top 10 players if assuming De Minaur was Top 10 (already this season, however was seeded 11 during the Open). This was not the same for the WTA tour with 3 external Top 10 players – Paolini, perhaps similar to De Minaur, but then also Gracheva and Andreeva. Indeed, the WTA had more earlier upsets than the ATP with the likes of Collins and Keys running on highs and falling early. On the men’s it was Rubelv – seeded 6, who fell earlier than anticipate whilst seeds 6, 7, 9 and 10 – Sakkari, Zheng, Ostapenko and Kasatkina fell prior to or at the third round stage like Rublev.

There’s a lot to dissect at the Grand Slam level but also results that were anticipated to those that weren’t and the anomalies and how they factor into the performance spectrum. A lot of this can be reviewed on Beyond Top 10 Tennis and Episodes 88 to 96 that were Special Editions exclusively for the 2024 French Open. 

But this isn’t the end of the clay season as Paris 2024 is just around the corner. It’s an incredible mix for the players – some with a second chance for redemption, others to add that Gold to their illustrious career, and others to cement their place in the history books at an early age. Whilst it’s too soon to share insights on who’s favoured to conquer and who’s not in the running to what the data really says, I’m going to keep quiet until after Wimbledon to better gauge how much time a player may have to prepare to how they’re tracking over this 6 to 8 week period to more finely tune the collective analysis and better explain why ‘this’ player is set, or why ‘another’ player is not primed for a podium finish. But then again, crazy things often happen at the Olympics and rarely do Top 10 players secure Gold, Silver and Bronze. And there’s an irony in that, too. One thing is for sure, and that is the Olympics favour the anomaly as the pressure really takes a hold of the favoured and often it becomes all too much whilst the underdog quietly makes their way through to land on the podium. But if you’ve also been following Beyond Top 10 Tennis and read my latest release “How to Develop a Top 10 Tennis Ranking” then you also know the key behind Olympic success and how the 2024 Wimbledon Champions are more likely to not be the defending Champions this season.

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 10 tennis 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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The Countdown towards Roland Garros 2024, Swiatek’s Mantle and Tennis Players in Contention

This week on Beyond Top 10 Tennis specific players inside the Top 10 on both the WTA and ATP tours were highlighted for various reasons with an emphasis placed on whether or not they were or were not in the running for the second Grand Slam of the season. With Swiatek’s success over the last couple of weeks, it is easy to forget how both Collins and Sakkari have been surging ahead in their own rights and how Sabalenka was with a Championship point to claim the title in Madrid. What Swiatek has been able to accomplish over the best part of the last 6 to 8 weeks plus is nothing shy of remarkable as her statistics continue to climb. This is a timely reminder, however, for each and every one of you that breakthrough’s do happen we do see these players come through at the French which means Swiatek’s next Slam is definitely under threat.

Nevertheless, Swiatek isn’t anything less favourite but Sabalenka has come incredibly close in the past fortnight despite Swiatek taking an even greater advantage in Rome. If anything, it is a timely reminder of how exciting the level and depth of play is on the WTA tour irrespective of the contradictions. Not since the likes of Serena v Venus, or Serena v Azarenka, or Serena succumbing to the level of play from Kerber, Halep to Osaka have we seen this level of play. This isn’t to say that this level has not existed, rather when Serena was at her peak these players were able to deliver on at least one or more occasions on the biggest stages in the world. 

Sure, we’ve had a handful of other players deliver over this time but no one has come close to the level of play that Serena brought to life, or for that fact, Federer, Nadal to even Djokovic still, that we have been privy to a player of not simply this level but also how the rivalries continue to keep coming.

Swiatek is not alone. But her statistics do not lie. Sabalenka is close and so is Gauff and Rybakina but Swiatek continues to lead the charge. Yet, it is the closeness of these matches and the continued depth of all four of these players, that relatively align, that are delivering that next level of play. And still, Swiatek stands tall. It’s easy to forget that Swiatek is only 22 and Gauff 20 with both Rybakina and Sabalenka slightly ahead — 24 and 26 respectively, still mere years apart yet not by much. But neither of these players had accomplished this level of success at this age. Gauff is still within reach. But that’s not what this is about.

Whether 22 or 32 it’s the fact of what the data runs home. From heightened performances at Indian Wells to Miami followed by Madrid to Rome, Swiatek is all in. Sakkari and Collins are in the mix. Rybakina has continued to show when her health has been in check. However, Sabalenka only started to deliver in Madrid whereas her previous peak level of play can be tracked back to her Australian Open Win. And that’s what counts — consistency in application.

By all means Swiatek did not start the season on a peak performance run. In all fairness, she did run into Collins in the earlier rounds and that, dare I say, took the wind out of Swiatek before she could think about a Round of 16 result — it just simply wasn’t to be. But since then, Swiatek has been sublime and the only player who comes close is Rybakina. And yet, due to Rybakina not being able to play consistent events due to some ill health, the data continues to point towards Swiatek who is now followed by Sabalenka after the results of the past fortnight — in time for the next Grand Slam of the season.

But don’t be fooled. Of course I’m all in for Swiatek to claim her 5th Grand Slam but on equal accounts when does Swiatek’s tank flip to empty? It’s a careful juggling act that Rybakina and Gauff may very well be favoured to advance and perhaps even Sabalenka. But if the right key patterns are in play then I’d dare say Swiatek may very well be as dangerous on the clay as historically Nadal has been for the best part of the last near 20 years. And that’s saying something.

It would be remiss nonetheless not to highlight the potential anomaly that has silently been tracking forwards. And when I say silently we’re considering players who have still been performing just not at Swiatek’s level. From here, there’s Svitolina to Sakkari and maybe Jabeur will come to the party but even her level of play this season is perhaps akin to Djokovic — simply not apparent. Then there’s Collins to Paolini and whilst Ostenpenko started the 2024 season strong there are simply more players outside the Top 10 than are inside the Top 10 of which have been steadily progressing this season. Now that’s also saying something.

Last but not least, both Osaka and Badosa have had solid wins of late to Shnaider with two titles now this season. There are lesser known players who have been tracking and let’s remember when both Ostenpenko to Krejcikova won their maiden Grand Slam title at the French, neither was expected nor on the radar. But I’ll tell you something right here and now, if there’s a player in the running and they surpass the Round of 16 as a benchmark, our predictive analytics will take them all the way to the Championship courtesy of the 8 Keys.

Which brings us to the ATP tour and the likelihood of Djokovic securing his 25th Grand Slam title. If his most recent results this season are to go by then the answer is quite clear cut — no. If we’re to go by Djokovic’s historical performance then we all know it’s a resounding yes. That said, this will be the first time in perhaps the last 10+ years that Djokovic will not be the hot favourite.

Both Sinner and Alcaraz were out of action the past week. Alcaraz has not been dlivering as consistently this season as Sinner. Then you have the likes of Tsitsipas, Rudd and Zverev who have been. Rublev to Medvedev somewhat, Dimitrov and Hurkacz, too. And that’s the Top 10 for you. Unlike the WTA tour, this French Open is almost up for grabs across this playing field with Sinner the primary player with the advantage. But then again, he’s had a little extra time off. Alcaraz may find that form again from his 2023 season that has allowed him to claim two Grand Slams at such a young age, and perhaps add the French to his collection — or Sinner will even the tally of Slams to match Alcaraz’s haul. It’s quite possible. But I’ll say it now, if Sinner and Alcaraz make the final it’ll have all the ingredients akin to a Nadal v Federer and it’ll be incredibly exciting as the new era is officially well underway.

Similarly, Swiatek v Sabalenka in the final — three times in a row, would be a classic. And these players are all here for it.

And then you have the potential upsets. Paul has been dangerous this season, even more so than Shelton. De Minaur may very well have it in him for a semi-final birth or more. Alex has the game akin to a Chang to Fererro and with that has the legs to simply keep running. Bublik is another player who has made inroads this season and is definitely primed for an additional upset or two of one or more of the Top 10. Whilst a quarter-final may be on the cards, the data doesn’t suggest any further. But there’s always an anomaly and a player who goes above and beyond — whether from an anticipated 1st Round exit through to the 3rd Round, or like this years Australian Open when a number of anomalies appeared in the quarter-finals on the WTA tour and two of these players are now at all time ranking peaks — Kostyuk and Paolini with correlating results unlike Zheng who hasn’t been able to deliver as robust per her Finalist result at the opening Slam of the season.

As for the ATP tour there isn’t so much the argument for this level of progression but there’s depth in the form of the aforementioned dark horses and these threats are real.

If one thing is for sure, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this year’s French Open with the data to lead the way for Paris 2024, Wimbledon to the US Open. But also, with Beyond Top 10 Tennis now officially a centrepiece across all four Grand Slams, this French Open will be the first live recount and I’m equally excited to share. Not simply from a numbers point of view but primarily because I’m witnessing in real-time a genuine unfolding of the current Top 10 to the next crop surging through with key markers underpinning core results and reaffirming over and over again how the 8 Keys remain an absolute. But secretly, I’m also curious to see the next player to achieve replicated success, the next barrier breaker to the next maiden Grand Slam Chamoion as our data is brought to life and continues to underscore these outcomes and who’s who in the running for these identifiers, accomplishments, to nothing short of remarkable feats.

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 10 tennis 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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Tennis Rankings and How to stay on track towards the Top of the Game

With 12 Books to my name and 11 of those that have specifically noted the ‘how’ behind developing a Top 10 tennis ranking alongside Grand Slam Championship wins to ‘how’ to win that maiden Slam to achieve replicated success, if there’s something remarkable to achieve across the tennis landscape there’s a very good chance I’ve researched it, investigated and compiled the data, put in the hard yards, used various analytical models developed over the past twenty years, and delivered on these outcomes.

You don’t get to be at the Top of the game as its leading scientist and authority behind these key metrics without putting in the work. Truth be told, the likes of Swiatek to Alcaraz and their respective ascension to the Top of the game was all noted by these predictive analytics. And whilst I’ve previously shared this, it’s an incredibly important reminder that what has been uncovered — this new wave of data and insights, really does deliver what no Academy and/or Club across the world really does — on repeat.

Sure, you’ve got Serena’s former coach and their Academy. You’ve got various ones here in Australia. Next you’ve got Ferrero to Henin and Clijsters, plus Nadal’s and there’s definitely a two dozen others across the landscape — then ten-fold. By all accounts, you primarily only hear about two or three of them essentially because these coaches are on the ATP tour (primarily) working with Top 10 players. That said, Serena’s former coach did not develop Rune from scratch nor Halep — they’d already peaked

Ferrero and Alcaraz are a unique story. Same applies for Swiatek and even Jabeur to Rybakina and Sabalenka. That is to say, the WTA has done the hard work and these are not from “big name” Academy’s (at the time) — and that’s the point.

If anything, it’s about the journey and finding those who are willing to be with you on the way to the top. From inception— a new feature on AM8 International I’ve developed to help guide players and coaches, in cohesion, through to delivery-centric outcomes — that Top 10 tennis ranking and more, there’s really a lot more to it than meets the eye.

The funny thing is hundreds if not thousands of potential players are based at these Academy’s around the globe with some Clubs bigger than others. The irony here is that they’re not privy to this data nor have they repeated their results at scale. That’s the difference between them and AM8 International — I let the data do the talking. Which essentially means names from De Minaur to Ostenpenko — Top 10, Collins to Dimitrov who are having stellar seasons and one has already landed back inside the Top 10 with the other on their way, have been tracked in alignment with our data to indicate that these are by no means surprise results.

But promises are a funny thing. A romance of sorts between the dreamers to desires and bringing them to life. But can they really? Try not to fall into the trap unless they have PoW (Proof of Work) and your ranking continues to ascend alongside your performances. Granted, one can be great, but without the two you’re lopsided — you’re missing a key piece to the puzzle. And that’s okay given that 50% of the current Top 10 are missing these key metrics and are lagging so far this season.

But it starts at the foundations. The same applies for time off with injuries and how to mitigate these. But guess what? It comes down to your technical metrics and these technicalities if you may have been built and designed by yours truly — and are attributed to these ranking milestones and their respective achievements. If your coach is not privy to this ‘new’ wave of technical prowess, that Top 10 status is behind the eight ball. Alas, that’s why I designed the 8 Keys to ensure each and every player and coach has access to become the best in the world and join the next generation of play.

The catch? There is none, not really. It simply requires consistency and hard work. The commitment to learn the 7 Keys before the 8th Key runs your game home. And where’s home? Well in this context, comfortably inside that elusive 8% — inside the Top 10, opposed to the 2% that will regress each and every season (as a baseline).

If you’re not inside the Top 10 sure enough you have a long way to go. But that’s what The Long Game was built for to ensure you have a Pathway to follow without getting lost in all the jargon and over promises. For real, to bring dreams to life in contrast to letting them go due to injury and/or underperforming.

Oh, the best part? It’ll also save you ten-fold in the long run. Why? Quite simply I wanted to ensure AM8 International remained affordable and accessible for all which means irrespective of your socioeconomic background, there’s a PoI for you and a place you can go to for guidance and advice whilst keeping you up to speed with the latest insights behind progressing towards that Top 10 tennis ranking — ranked inside the WTA or ATP Top 20 or Top 10, or at the other end of the spectrum — developmental and/or a current high performance player, there are inroads to take (and tackle) step by step.

The best part? The epitome of the tennis world awaits and we’ve got the data to support it. But if anything, today’s lesson really is about caution — not everything you are told is always the truth. As in life, ulterior motives are a truth so if those dreams are as dear to you as my commitment to delivering on our promises, take a few minutes (or an hour, to be thorough) and sieve through AM8 International — then track back in a few week’s when our new upgrade becomes available. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. If anything, you’ll be more informed and better understand the more intricate details that go on behind the scenes and where to get started — irrespective if you’re Top 500 and/or Top 50 on the WTA or ATP tour, we’ve got a place for you to ensure those dreams become a reality.

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 10 tennis 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 Day 3: Insights on Rybakina v Pliskova