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Shark Bites

Australian Open 2009

2009 ATP World TourGetty ImagesThe ATP World Tour’s Big 4 sets their sights on repeated Grand Slam success.

ATP World Tour stats and information guru Greg Sharko takes a look at the numbers behind the stories on the ATP circuit. 

YEAR-END BIG 4 LEAD THE WAY

In the 2008 year-end South African Airways ATP Rankings, the Big 4 of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all reached at least one Grand Slam final during the season. The seven total Grand Slam appearances by the year-end Top 4 was also the most since 2000. It was also the first time in five years the top trio each won a Grand Slam title. Since 2000, on six occasions the year-end Top 4 players have each reached at least one Grand Slam final during the season. Here is a look at how that group performed in a Slam final:

Year

No. 1 

No. 2

No. 3

No. 4

2008

Nadal

Federer

Djokovic

Murray


Roland Garros (W)

Wimbledon (W)

Roland Garros (F)

Wimbledon (F)

US Open (W)

Australian Open (W)

US Open (F)

2005

Federer

Nadal

Roddick

Hewitt


Wimbledon (W)

US Open (W)

Roland Garros (W)

Wimbledon (L)

Australian Open (L)

2004

Federer

Roddick

Hewitt

Safin


Australian Open (W)

Wimbledon (W)

US Open (W)

Wimbledon (L)

US Open (L)

Australian Open (L)

2003

Roddick

Federer

Ferrero

Agassi


US Open (W)

Wimbledon (W)

Roland Garros (W)

US Open (L)

Australian Open (W)

2002

Hewitt

Agassi

Safin

Ferrero


Wimbledon (W)

US Open (L)

Australian Open (L)

Roland Garros (L)

2000

Kuerten

Safin

Sampras

Norman


Roland Garros (W)

US Open (W)

Wimbledon (W)

US Open (L)

Roland Garros (L)

 

FIRST-TIME GRAND SLAM FINALISTS IN OZ

The Australian Open has seen seven first-time Grand Slam finalists in the past decade. All seven of the players, who went on to reach career-high South African Airways ATP Rankings the year of their final run, had never advanced past the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam tournament prior to reaching the Australian Open final. Six of the seven were ranked between No. 18 and No. 54, and five of the seven were playing in their fourth to eighth Australian Open:

Year

First-Time G.S. Finalist (Rank)

Result

A.O. Appearance,

Previous Year Result

Best ATP Ranking After

2008

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 38)

l. to Djokovic

2nd, 1st RD

No. 6 (Nov. 17, 2008)

2007

Fernando Gonzalez (No. 9)

l. to Federer

7th, 1st RD

No. 5 (Jan. 29. 2007)

2006

Marcos Baghdatis (No. 54)

l. to Federer

2nd, 4th RD

No. 8 (Aug. 21, 2006)

2003

Rainer Schuettler (No. 36)

l. to Agassi

5th, 3rd RD

No. 5 (Apr. 26, 2004)

2002

Thomas Johannson (No. 26)

d. Safin

8th, 3rd RD

No. 7 (June 10, 2002)

2001

Arnaud Clement (No. 18)

l. to Agassi

4th, 4th RD

No. 10 (Apr. 2, 2001)

1999

Thomas Enqvist (No. 21)

l. to Kafelnikov

8th, 2nd RD

No. 4 (Nov. 15, 1999)


Here are some of the players who fit the criteria and are possible contenders to reach their first Grand Slam final this year in Melbourne:

Rank (1/12/09)

Player

A.O. Appearance

Result in '08

Previous Best G.S. Result

No. 20

Marin Cilic

3rd

4th RD

4th RD

No. 21

Tomas Berdych

6th

4th RD

QF

No. 29

Paul-Henri Mathieu

6th

4th RD

4th RD five times

No. 33

Philipp Kohlschreiber

5th

4th RD

4th RD twice

No. 51

Ernests Gulbis

2nd

1st RD

QF

 

WORLD NO. 1 DOUBLES WINNERS

Rafael Nadal’s doubles title in Doha marked only the fifth time in the past 20 years a No. 1 singles player has captured an ATP World Tour doubles title. The Doha final was also the first time a No. 1 singles player has played a No. 1 doubles player, Nenad Zimonjic, in a title match on the ATP World Tour (since 1990):

World No. 1

Tournament (partner)

Rafael Nadal

2009 Doha (w/M. Lopez)

Roger Federer

2008 Beijing Olympics (w/Wawrinka)

Roger Federer

2005 Halle (w/Allegro)

Gustavo Kuerten

2001 Acapulco (w/Johnson)

Stefan Edberg

1991 Tokyo (w/Woodbridge)


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