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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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From A.I to Tennis Players on Fire, Final Seasons, Top 4 on the WTA and ATP tours & the G.O.A.T Data often Ignored

The last two weeks I’ve leveraged A.I to gauge it’s effectiveness to capabilities in sharing data to more precisely pulling a part key topics explored throughout individual episodes of Beyond Top 10 Tennis to give you a better glimpse or snapshot of what is essentially more than 10,000 words into an easy to digest format. It has been fun but also a lot of work. A.I definitely has its advantages but behind the scenes both of those articles were more arduous to time-consuming than I’d anticipated. And more often than not, took a hell of a lot longer to pen than writing each and every word myself.

It’s important to clarify this careful mix as I am well aware that most articles that suggest or share the use of A.I are left untouched. But truly, if you get to the undercurrent — behind these sentences to what’s really being shared, for any experienced writer there is a lot of nonsense that needs to be peeled away to get to the good stuff. Unfortunately, that takes a lot of work. The benefit nonetheless, for me personally, was sifting through a significant number of words — an entire three or four book chapters, into one concise digestible article. Now that’s no easy feat.

I’m confident I’ll be back and use A.I as an ‘assistant’ — to cull my words when needed and to condense these episode transcripts from Beyond Top 10 Tennis. From my perspective, that’s a helpful application as in reality A.I is essentially taking my work and my very own words whilst summarising it’s key contents to share. This is in direct contrast to *not* using my own words, content or elaborate and long-winded prompts over-and-over-and-over again, to a simple structured sentence with a simple command to write ‘something’ on ‘this subject’. In other words, there’s a significant difference in application and a lot of work behind the scenes.

But this week as I’m hopeful you can tell, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. There’s been way too much going on behind the scenes across the tennis landscape that has been shared on Beyond Top 10 Tennis but also has not been shared. On this merit, it deserves elaboration so let’s dive in and review some standout players…

Collins is on fire. Quite simply, she really is. It’s her final season and anyone who is dealing with endometriosis and/or has known someone who is dealing with this debilitating health condition, for Collins to play at the level she is — it’s absolutely Top 5 status without a doubt. Arguably, with a clean bill of health Collins would have notched up a few Grand Slams. She’s been ranked inside the Top 10 previously and has had to deal with surgery to rise back up the rankings. Collins has been a Grand Slam Finalist and she has notched up wins against the best. She comes with attitude and so much fun, Collins’ final season has been nothing but perhaps one of her best ‘two’ seasons to date. That said, if Collins makes a Grand Slam final this season and breaks into the Top 10 — both increasingly likely, it’ll be her best. And it has to be said that to go out with a US Open win would be stellar and something not even Serena Williams herself could manage. But then again, Collins has opted to go out at a performance peak so I’d say anything is possible with her current performance surge.

Thiem has called time and will close out his career this season. I’m sure I speak for many when I say it’s incredibly disappointing that Roland Garros won’t be giving Thiem the Wildcard he deserves having been a Finalist on multiple occasions.

Cornet is on her final season and has managed to claw her way back into the Top 100. Granted Cornet is French, Roland Garros will grant her special conditions as her career undoubtedly deserves. Not only has Cornet notched up wins against the best in the world throughout her career, she was a firm Top 20 player for a number of seasons — perhaps her first decade on tour, before shying away from her performance peak and settling between the Top 80 to Top 100 in more recent seasons.

Muguruza had a stellar career and quite simply when COVID came she was one of the more prominent players to take a much needed break. Fair is fair when you consider the demands of the tour and how Muguruza was No.1 and a Grand Slam Champion when Serena Williams was arguably at ‘one of’ her peaks. Not every player can make that claim. By all accounts, I’d say Muguruza had a number of years left in her, but then again, I’d perhaps go out on a limb and suggest she wasn’t content being ranked inside the Top 20 in the world — where her ranking had settled around this timeframe before taking an extended leave of absence. It is also important to note that for some players, normalcy is a huge reward given that they don’t get to experience that very often until their career comes to a close. And that’s where the irony of COVID comes into play. Rankings were impacted but so were a number of players who yearned for more time at home. Muguruza is the perfect example and this time away was what her heart had been missing, without a doubt, making the decision all the more easier to close off one chapter of her life and breathe life into the next.

This is a timely reminder of the demands of both WTA and ATP tours. On the other hand, Nadal arguably does not want to wave goodbye. Tennis has been his home away from home for essentially more than the past 20 years. It’s a huge part of him and his home life wasn’t what he’d yearned for as much as for the Grand Slams to fire ignited inside him when he’d step out onto the biggest tennis courts in the world. Neither is right or wrong but one has 22 and the other 2 Grand Slams.

But let’s be fair — there’s a hell of a lot more players — 99% or greater who yearn for that Grand Slam and never come within reach throughout their entire playing career. These two achieved this feat on multiple occasions and Nadal is one of the greatest players of all time

A topic most like to argue, Nadal in fact was more consistent than both Federer and Djokovic in holding onto his Top 10 ranking over the same period of time. For those interested in the statistics, these are wrapped inside the What is Your Game Missing series — 3 complete texts that extrapolate data off both WTA and ATP tours and this is one of a number of very interesting insights that is often neglected. Not even Federer or Djokovic won a Grand Slam 14 times. Whilst Djokovic has won 10 Australian Open titles, arguably he’s now under threat from the likes of Sinner to Alcaraz to add to his tally.

By all means more Grand Slams are possible for Djokovic but he’s also not against the dominance of Nadal nor Federer who had to dethrone the other as well as Djokovic to notch these wins. It’s a different era. On this note, Nadal should definitely be in discussion for G.O.A.T and similar to Collins — on an entirely different level, imagine if Nadal hadn’t been sidelined by a number of injuries in the later half of his career. Without a doubt, he was the player to dethrone Federer’s G.O.A.T status in respect to the Grand Slam tally and it was only after Nadal’s body struggled to recover from his ailments did Djokovic surge ahead — before Sinner and Alcaraz had levelled up with Medvedev his only real threat but by no means at the same level.

And this is a really interesting point. Federer peaked against the best in the world. Nadal peaked against the best in the world. Djokovic followed also against the best in the world but his more recent Grand Slams since overtaking both Federer and then Nadal were not won against the best in the world. Quite simply, Djokovic was the ‘best in the world’ left in action. And that’s another point. By all accounts, Djokovic is the player who has been able to maintain his health the longest and is deserving of the player who has been able to maintain his peak performance for the longest period of time courtesy of this health whereby both Federer and Nadal have succumbed to their ailments.

Whilst there are other players who are calling the 2024 season their last and those who have already closed out their career without a last ‘hurrah’, there’s another interesting storyline that was touched on in this week’s episode which includes Swiatek’s rise and Sabalenka gaining ground to both Gauff and Rybakina closely following. It’s an incredibly interesting time for the WTA tour as the Top 4 are truly in the race for the next Grand Slam. And it’s also exciting!

The level of play has gone up a notch and not inside the last 3 to 4 seasons have we been able to witness the stakes being this close with all 4 of these players with a Grand Slam now to their name whilst making further inroads to latch onto more. That said, Swiatek leads this pack — the second youngest after Guaff, then Rybakina and Sabalenka are at an age where their level is further primed to peak — a scary thought if considering both Swiatek and Gauff have ample room to peak in the years ahead.

Then there’s Sinner and Alcaraz looking to dethrone Djokovic and both are incredibly close. But given Sinner is out of action the past week and Alcaraz suffered an earlier loss than anticipated followed by the past week out, and Djokovic also with a number of earlier losses than typically anticipated, this has provided room for Tsitsipas and others to come forward. And this is the same player who regressed outside the Top 10 a matter of 2-3 months ago and then hit the courts with a bang to reach back-to-back finals followed by a title with Rudd closely following. But it is Tsitsipas who has continued to progress. On this note, it’s a timely reminder that Tsitsipas has been a Grand slam Finalist before and with the Top 3 not at the anticipated level and/or hard to gauge with the past week absent from tour, this is also followed by Medvedev still being in contention but hasn’t been as steadfast i.e. reaching these lead-up finals, as these other two. By all accounts, there are other players in there running from Rublev to Hurkacz, but when we’re looking at the 7 Keys to the 8th Key it really comes down to a cutthroat performance whereby the WTA tour’s Top 4 have been leading the charge in contrast to the ATP tour’s primary 4. 

A subtle word of warning — Zverev has been quietly getting the job done whilst Fritz has been regaining form. If anything, we’re mere weeks away from one of the Top 4 to make their mark — further, or for one of these ‘other’ players that haven’t garnered the spotlight to finally lift that maiden Grand Slam crown.

It’s a game of fluctuations and steadfast peak performances and who can maintain their grasp for longer periods of time before succumbing. It’s a battle in its own right and perhaps why Nadal was always poised for more but on equal accounts why Swiatek has been putting this on display in her own right. And with less than a fortnight to go until the 2024 French Open is underway, it’s this time of the season that is ample for both upsets and continued peak performances — a complex Pathway to navigate for those who are not equipped with all 8 Keys.

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 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.

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Day 13 Australian Open: Zheng, Yastremska, Zverev, Alcaraz, Medvedev and Hurkacz plus who’s in line for more Grand Slam Success?

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Australian Open Day 11: Snapshot of Kalinskaya and Kostyuk in the Spotlight, Yastrzemska v Zheng and How Zverev defeated Alcaraz