Monthly Archives: July 30, 2021

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Here are a few Fast Facts, some Strategies, and Statistical Information to help you play the ATP fantasy tennis game. I post my picks at Tennis Diary the day before each week’s tournaments start, either Saturday or Sunday.

FAST FACTS

  1. Each team consists of eight players and one doubles team. Each player or doubles team can be chosen no more than five times in a season. If you chose eight different players in singles every week, you’d use 200 players in a season. The minimum number of players you could use in singles in one season is 40.
  2. Each week’s team has to be chosen before the first match of the next tournament. The deadlines can be found on the Tournaments Page. You can also see a calendar of deadlines below. The complete rules are here.
  3. Draws for tournaments are posted 24-36 hours before the tournament starts and can be found on the ATP home page. Be sure to check the draws each week to make sure two of your players don’t meet in an early round and knock each other out of the tournament.
  4. Teams are ranked based on the total prize money your players earn.
  5. The season starts on June 25th with Wimbledon. The season ends on October 29th with the Paris Masters tournament.
  6. Season length: 16 weeks (you’ll pick 16 teams).
    • Total number of tournaments: 30.
    • Number of slams: 2 (Wimbledon and US Open).
    • Number of Masters Series tournaments: 4 (Montreal, Cincinnati, Madrid, Paris).
    • Number of tournaments on clay: 8, hard court: 10, indoor hard court: 5, indoor carpet: 5, grass: 2.

STRATEGIES

Look for the Prize Money

Look at the list of tournaments ranked by prize money below. Remember, your team’s standing is determined by your team’s total prize money.

Since the slams have the highest prize money followed by the Masters Series events and then the lower level tournament, save your top players for the slams and the Masters Series events. You should use Roger Federer in the two slams and three of the four Masters events since you can only use him five times.

Keep in mind that most players who’ve qualified for the year end Tennis Masters Cup – the top 8 players at the end of the year qualify – usually skip the Paris Masters event because they don’t want to risk injury.

Plan Your Entire Season

Plan your picks at the beginning of the season. For instance, the clay court season is very long. There are 8 clay court events so you don’t want to run out of clay court players. Some players perform best on indoor hard court and carpet and you need to save them for the fall indoor season.

If you want to know who performs well on what surface, check out these resources:

  • Tennisinsight.com has a list of the top twenty players on each surface. This site uses a sophisticated model that is constantly updated to determine a player’s rating on each surface.
  • Tennis.matchstat.com has a list of the ten players with the best record on each surface.
  • To check out an individual player’s record on a surface, go to tennis.matchstat.com and enter a player’s name. At the top of his results will be a table showing his performance on different surfaces for the past five years. Look at Juan Monaco for instance. He’s mediocre at best on hard courts but very good on clay. Keep players like him around for the clay court season.

Tournament surfaces are listed in the prize money list below.

To find the best performers at each tournament, go to tennisinsight.com and click on Tournaments. The page for each tournament lists the best and worst performers at that tournament.

Pick the Draws

If you’re a fanatic, pick the draws:

  1. Get the draws for each week’s tournaments on the ATP home page and print them out.
  2. Get the head to head records for each match in the draw and pick the winners in each round of the tournament.
  3. Choose the top players in each tournament for your team.

STATISTICS

List of tournaments ranked by prize money:

  1. Wimbledon (grass), U.S. Open (outdoor hard): $1.4 million
  2. Madrid Masters(indoor hard), Paris Masters (indoor carpet): $468, 860
  3. Montreal Masters (outdoor hard), Cincinnati Masters (outdoor hard): $400, 000
  4. Stuttgart (clay), Vienna (indoor hard): $183, 752
  5. Basel (indoor carpet): $166, 514
  6. Kitzbuhel (clay): $152, 380
  7. Tokyo (outdoor hard): $145, 000
  8. Moscow (indoor carpet), St. Petersburg (indoor carpet): $142, 000
  9. Stockholm (indoor hard), Lyon (indoor carpet): $132, 384
  10. New Haven (outdoor hard) : $84, 000
  11. Sopot (clay): $81, 637
  12. Gstaad (clay): $80, 943
  13. Bastad (clay), Amersfoort (clay), Umag (clay), Bucharest (clay), Metz (indoor hard): $76, 970
  14. Bangkok (indoor hard): $76, 500
  15. Washington (outdoor hard): $74, 250
  16. Indianapolis (outdoor hard), Los Angeles (outdoor hard): $73, 000
  17. Beijing (outdoor hard): $69, 200
  18. Newport (grass): $66, 850
  19. Mumbai (outdoor hard): $65, 850

Calendar of Deadlines

Choose your team every week before the deadlines listed below. ET (US) refers to Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. CET refers to Central European Time. These deadlines change throughout the season so always check the ATP Fantasy Tennis site each week.

2007-06-25 Last Substitution: 09:00 ET (US) 15:00 CET
2007-07-09 Last Substitution: 04:00 ET (US) 10:00 CET
2007-07-16 Last Substitution: 04:00 ET (US) 10:00 CET
2007-07-22 Last Substitution: 04:00 ET (US) 10:00 CET
2007-07-30 Last Substitution: 04:00 ET (US) 10:00 CET
2007-08-05 Last Substitution: 10:00 ET (US) 16:00 CET
2007-08-13 Last Substitution: 10:00 ET (US) 16:00 CET
2007-08-19 Last Substitution: 10:00 ET (US) 16:00 CET
2007-08-27 Last Substitution: 10:00 ET (US) 16:00 CET
2007-09-09 Last Substitution: 21:00 ET (US) 2007-09-10 03:00 CET
2007-09-23 Last Substitution: 22:00 ET (US) 2007-09-24 04:00 CET
2007-09-30 Last Substitution: 20:00 ET (US) 2007-10-01 02:00 CET
2007-10-07 Last Substitution: 02:00 ET (US) 08:00 CET
2007-10-15 Last Substitution: 04:00 ET (US) 10:00 CET
2007-10-22 Last Substitution: 02:00 ET (US) 08:00 CET
2007-10-29 Last Substitution: 04:00 ET (US) 10:00 CET

Court Speed

Court speed is an important variable in tennis matches. Faster courts favor harder hitters. Slower courts favor clay court specialists.

A player may be the number four seed at the U.S. Open but they’re unlikely to reach the semifinals if they’re a clay court specialist. Wimbledon is different. The top 32 seeds reflect the rankings but the order of the seeds is adjusted to favor players who excel of fast courts. For that reason, the top seeds at Wimbledon are more likely to reach the later rounds.

Go to tennisinsight.com and click on Tournaments. The page for each tournament will give the speed of the surface at that tournament and it’s rating in comparison to other tournaments.

Tennis Form has a table containing the court speed for all tournaments. Click on any column heading to sort the table by the entries in that column. For instance, if you click on the heading of the last column, the table will sort itself by court speed. You’ll notice that some hard courts play slower than some clay courts.

Note that this data is not the measured court speed but how fast the court is playing. The number of games played per set is a useful way of gaging court speed because the faster the court, the easier it is to hold serve and the more games will be played.

Useful Websites for Player Records and Statistics

Happy fantasies!

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Teams are cracking down on season ticket holders and a second opinion on Guillermo Coria’s steroid suit.

Friday I talked about the NCAA cracking down on bloggers and I meant to post this example of more sports entities acting badly, but I was too tired from shooting a dating video called First Date with Me. I’m having trouble finding dates so I figured I might have more luck if I posted a youtube video showing what a date with me might be like. Desperate times require desperate measures!

I’ll tell you when I put it up, meanwhile, back to sports.

Greedy Sports Franchises

Despite being a rabid Los Angeles Lakers fan, I’ve attended exactly one Lakers game in the nine years I’ve lived in Los Angeles. I bought a ticket on Stub Hub for $175 to sit in the very last row of Staples Center. It was worth it. I had a great time even though Kobe Bryant was injured and didn’t play that night. The dancers and the band and the styling contest between fans made it one of the best sporting events I’ve ever attended and I’ve been to hundreds of them.

I didn’t like paying that much but it’s not Stub Hub’s fault, that’s the market value for a Lakers ticket. Sports franchises are unhappy, though, and they’re starting to place restrictions on their season tickets holders. The New York Times reports that pro football’s New England Patriots went as far as revoking the tickets of 52 season ticket holders who dared to sell their tickets on Stub Hub. The Patriots are using Massachusetts’ anti-scalping laws to take Stub Hub to court but that’s ridiculous. They don’t care about scalping, they just want to get their share of the sports ticket “aftermarket”.

The article also says that 50 sports teams have signed a contract for resale tickets with Ticket Master. Bad news. Ticket Master has had an ugly monopoly on music concert tickets for years and it’s the scourge of rockers all over. I’m surprised Ticketmaster doesn’t charge $2.50 just for logging onto their website, they charge for everything else imaginable.

Coria’s Steroid Suit Revisited

As I reported last week, Guillermo Coria is suing Universal Nutrition for over $10 million for putting the steroid nandrolone in one of its multivitamins. Coria was suspended for 7 months when he tested positive for nandrolone after, he said, taking a Universal Nutrition multivitamin. At the time, I said Coria’s suspension should have been rescinded because ATP players were accidentally given nandrolone by ATP trainers and they avoided suspensions.

I now want to amend that. In the case of the ATP players, the nandrolone found in their positive tests had an identifiable chemical fingerprint so the ATP knew where the nandrolone came from. They also had results from a number of players who got the same supplement from the ATP trainers.

If there were a chemical fingerprint connecting Coria’s positive test to the multivitamin, then I stand by my previous opinion. It shouldn’t matter if the multivitamin came from the ATP or not. If there’s no way to connect the positive test to the multivitamin, I think the case should be handled to same way Guillermo Canas’ case was recently handled.

In that case, Canas presented information at his appeal showing that he got a prescription containing a banned substance that was meant for a tennis coach who was at the same tournament. However, since Canas didn’t present that information at his first hearing, the rules state that his suspension can reduced but not voided. With the same standard applied to Coria, he would have been handed a reduced suspension which is exactly what he got.

Later today I’ll post a 2007 ATP Fantasy Tennis guide and picks for Nottingham and S’Hertogenbosch (love that name!) so stay tuned!


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A blogger gets kicked out of the press box and why that’s a problem.

Ever listen to sports radio and hear an update from a game? “Red Sox lead the Yankees by two in the sixth inning, Spurs up by 10 on the Cavaliers at halftime, Maria Sharapova up one set to none over Anna Chakvetadze in the quarterfinals at the French Open.” Forget that last one, you’re unlikely to hear tennis anything on sports radio, at least in the U.S. But what if a blogger sends out the same updates?

A blogger from the Louisville Courier-Journal was kicked out of the press box at the NCAA baseball World Series for blogging live. Live blogging means blogging about an event as it happens. Speaking of which, stay tuned because Pat Davis and I will be live blogging the Wimbledon final. What is the ATP gonna do, come to my house and kick me out on the street in the middle of the match?

Anyway, the NCAA gets money from companies that send out live updates to cellphones and other media outlets so they didn’t appreciate the blogger doing it for free. Live blogging is also similar to radio broadcasting except that it’s written instead of verbal. Radio stations pay fees to broadcast games.

Last year, CDM Sports successfully sued the internet arm of Major League Baseball for the right to use players’ names and statistics on fantasy baseball sites. Names and statistics are news items and so are in the public domain. Scores of games should fall into the same category.

And what about a chat site? There’s nothing preventing a group of Red Sox fans from watching the game on television and chatting about it nonstop in an online chatroom. Talk Tennis has a separate forum for sharing real time tennis match results and discussion.

Internet technology has already made fantasy sports a hugely successfully business. Sports leagues are cutting off their noses to spite their face by limiting bloggers and fantasy sports sites. These leagues would lose licensing money but fantasy sports sites and bloggers advertise their sports for free. Limiting these sites is limiting the exposure of the sport and discouraging fan interaction.

I’m not suggesting that bloggers be allowed to sit behind home plate with a video camera and stream the game on youtube. I’m saying that written items are news items and should be treated as such. You can’t stop people from talking about the game online and why would you?

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The grass court season is here, so is ATP fantasy tennis, and Guillermo Coria is suing someone about those steroids.

Fantasies and Grass

The grass court season started this week with London/Queen’s Club and Halle. I was exhausted from getting up at 6am on Sunday morning to watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal play the French Open final so I didn’t have time to do picks this week. I’d better get on it though because the ATP Fantasy Tennis Season is finally here. My fantasy tennis obsession can begin!

The first tournament in the fantasy season will be Wimbledon and I’ll be posting an ATP Fantasy Tennis Guide next week to help you out but first, do as I say. Go to the ATP fantasy site, sign up, pick a team – it doesn’t matter who you pick because you can change your picks up to the beginning of Wimbledon, then click on Sub-leagues. Click on the letter T in the alphabet and find our subleague – tennisdiary.com – and click on Join This Sub-league. I send out weekly emails to sub-league members and we give a prize to our sub-league winner.

Rear View Mirror

This is where we look at my picks for the last week’s tournament. I picked four of the eight quarterfinalists at the French Open and that ain’t bad considering that half the seeds were gone by the third round. There are two bits of disturbing news left over. The first is that Tommy Haas is out until after Wimbledon. He re-injured his surgically repaired shoulder. I was beginning to really appreciate Tommy, I hope it’s not a career-ending injury.

Disturbed might describe Federer. He pulled out of Halle and that might indicate his state of mind. Losing the French Open final was a huge disappointment for him and now he has to either play the week before Wimbledon or play Wimbledon without any grass court match play. In either case, it’s not his usual preparation and that’s not a good start to his grass court season.

Speaking of Halle, Richard Gasquet lost in the first round to a qualifier named Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, a journeyman out of Pakistan with a ranking of 304. Out of the three grass court tournaments Gasquet played last year, he lost to Federer in two of them and won the other one, so this is a shocking result.

Over in London, Lleyton Hewitt is already gone and he won this tournament last year. He was beaten by Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga who’s been tearing up the minor leagues. He won three of the last four challengers he entered and beat Ivo Karlovic on grass last week in Surbiton. I saw him at the French Open in 2005 and dismissed him because he lumbered about the court but I’d better take another look.

The big matchup here is a possible semifinal meeting between Nadal and Novak Djokovic. That would be their fifth meeting this year and the season isn’t even half over. That has to be a record of some sort. Nadal won three of those previous four meetings but you know what, I’m taking Djokovic. By the way, mosey on over to the sidebar and take a vote in our poll: Can Rafael Nadal reach the finals of Wimbledon again this year? I have him at 50/50 because Andy Roddick wasn’t himself last year and Djokovic is an excellent grass court player.

If Roddick doesn’t win this thing, I’ll be disappointed. For him, not me.

Steroids

Guillermo Coria is suing Universal Nutrition of New Brunswick, New Jersey, for over $10 million dollars for putting the steroid nandrolone in one of its multivitamins. According to an AP report, Coria was taking the multivitamin in 2001 when he tested positive for the steroid. After his family had the multivitamin tested by a lab, Coria’s two year suspension was reduced to the seven months he’d already served.

In 2003, the ATP published a report titled Strengthens Practices to Combat Threat of Supplement Contamination. The paper explained that players were testing positive for nandrolone from an electrolyte replacement tablet being handed out by ATP trainers. As a result, players who tested positive avoided suspensions.

I can understand why Coria’s fellow Argentinean Guillermo Canas received a suspension. He took a prescription drug, the contents were clearly marked on the bottle, and there was a drug control officer available to him at the tournament. But I don’t see the difference between Coria’s case and the players who took the electrolyte replacement tablets. How was Coria supposed to know that nandrolone was in the multivitamin? Also, in 2001, when Coria initially tested positive, supplement companies had not yet started verifying that their products were free of banned substances.

Coria should have had his entire suspension rescinded.

APROPOS OF NOTHING DEPARTMENT

Little Jaggers

Lindsay Davenport retired from tennis so she could start a family. On Sunday she gave birth to a baby boy and named him Jagger Jonathan Leach. Okay now, you cannot name your child Jagger without knowing full well that it brings to mind one thing and only one thing: Mick Jagger. What else could it possibly mean?

Someone who watches the defunct television show JAG? Unlikely, it wasn’t that good. Someone who goes off on a jag – a drunken spree? I’m sure Lindsay didn’t mean that. Of course you can also go off on a shopping jag. If so, the little guy is well-prepared for our consumer society.

Nah, it has to be Mick and I like that. A little rocker in the family.

What the Hell is the Difference Between the ATP Race and the ATP Rankings?

If you look on the ATP rankings page, you’ll see that there are two sets of rankings: ATP Rankings and the ATP 2007 Race. After much confusion and years of wondering why anyone would care about the ATP Race, I’ve decided that no one should care about the ATP Race.

With the help of Hank Moravec, the organizer of that 6am French Open gathering and a former pro himself, I finally figured out that what ATP Race is: an opportunity to sell naming rights.

The ATP Race tracks ranking points for the current year only while the ATP Rankings track the last 12 months. By the end of the year, though, it doesn’t matter because the ATP Race points are exactly 1/5 of the ATP Rankings points so what’s the difference? One is just a multiple of the other. But it does make one more set of rankings and that’s one more opportunity to sell naming rights.

Pretty soon we’ll see one baseline sold to Nike and the other to Puma. There’ll be a big Nike swoosh at one end of the court and a big cat at the other. Kind of like the idea actually, reminds me of football fields and basketball courts.

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Of the City, Not the Girl

Was Roland Garros good for you too? I hope so, but then I’m just happy I survived the two weeks. Covering a Grand Slam often feels to me like covering the circus, and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense. The critters blow into town and set up the tents, do their thing for two weeks, then move on. The day after I look back and wonder how it all began; it seems like a million years since we got under way.

Overall this year’s French Open had a certain lugubrious quality about it. Like a meal you’ve eaten that doesn’t quite get digested, it kind of sits there causing a vague feeling of heartburn. We started off with a few good surprises and lots of rising expectations, but the further we got the less exciting it became.

Marcos Baghdatis put together a modest run. Filippo Volandri picked up where he left off after Rome and had a big win early over Ivan Ljubicic. In fact Roger Federer could have faced Volandri, then Guillermo Canas and finally Rafael Nadal. This was an early prospect I was salivating over but then other people had other ideas. Fernando Gonzalez got bumped in his opening round by the crafty Radek Stepanek, an upset on paper but not in actuality. Gonzo has been erratic this year and Stepanek is now injury-free and ready to play. Carlos Moya reminded everyone he’s nearly the oldest guy now out there, but he can still kick ass. A fine run into the quarters here for Moya.

We ended up with the four best male players in the game playing in the semi-finals: Federer, Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko and Novak Djokovic. What more could we ask for? Well, sorry to say, it didn’t feel like even that was enough. Nadal completely dominated Djokovic in three sets and while Davydenko had his moments of opportunity against Federer, he could not take them. The gap between Number One and Two and Everybody Else was painfully evident so both semis felt rather lackluster. Even the quarters felt that way although they promised plenty of action. Davydenko and Canas was a disappointment, Igor Andreev and Djokovic could have been a blast but Andreev finally ran out of steam. No one expected much of Tommy Robredo v. Federer or Moya v. Nadal.

As for the women, they disappointed as well. The hot air generated around the Williams sisters could have warmed us all up during that cold first week of weather. They came and went rather swiftly. The supposedly big show between Serena and Justine was hyped out of existence. The other quarterfinal matchups were big letdowns too. The most riveting women’s match was probably Maria Sharapova and Patty Schnyder, but not so much for the quality of play as for the drama surrounding it. In fact in the cosmic sense I would say this match had everything going on that I hate right now about women’s tennis. One player was not playing that well but she was still dominating, and the other one played a really good match up until she lost her nerve and and lost the match. I hate being associated with females when I see a match like that. Grrrrr.

So, what else was not right about this tournament since we’re obviously segueing into major complaint mode now? One of the most unpleasant memories of this year’s French was seeing those large sections of empty seats in the later rounds. Much was made of the President’s box looking quite empty other than the presence of Guillermo Vilas, who seems to need very little sleep during these events. This doesn’t happen at Wimbledon with the royals’ box so are we to assume that the British aristocracy has more free time on its hands than the French and they say to each other, “So let‘s go down and watch the lads and lassies smack balls around today?” You can bet those empty seats are going to be filled next year, by hook or by crook. This was a rather large embarrassment.

The Americans weren’t right at this event either, the men all died in their opening rounds. Once they were gone no one seemed to care anyway. We’ve sunk that low into the red clay. As luck would have it, though, the advertising world marched on, oblivious to the scores. So we got to see Andy Roddick lose his shirt over and over again in the Lacoste commercials. The French were lapping at their heels. Richard Gasquet went down in a rather surprising display of ineptitude. Amelie Mauresmo went into fragility mode nearly immediately although Lucie Safarova played a good tough match against her.

We could care less though, we had the Serbian Contingent and they took up the slack just fine. For such a small country to crank out two women and one guy into the semi-finals and then Ana Ivanovic into the women’s final, is quite an achievement. Djokovic said later that he expects one of them to win a Grand Slam within the next eighteen months. That timetable is definitely doable. I just know Novak thinks it’s going to be him first but for my money I think it will be Jelena Jankovic. The Serbs have much to crow about and crow they did. The trio arrived in Belgrade to a tumultuous welcome.

One big winner out of this event was Andreev, who climbed over Roddick, Massu, Mathieu and Baghdatis to hammer his way into the quarterfinals. He got to take home Maria Kirilenko as well, so we can see he’s a greedy bastard and this will probably psyche him up like crazy and he’ll pull the rest of his year together in hopefully artful fashion. The other big winner was, of course, Nadal, who went about his business in straightforward fashion, not dropping a set until the final.

As for the state of Federer, I keep reminding myself that he’s only the second best clay court player in the world. And that’s still nothing to sneeze at. There’s no doubt the pressure may have gotten to him in the end and it is sad that we started to talk about him as the greatest ever. He may be starting to believe it himself. Is it entirely fair of us? Maybe not, and yet we’ll keep on doing that because he is the best player around. Dammit, I WANT to see him hold up that trophy, just because it seems so difficult for him to win this one. If anyone out there could appreciate what Paris really means, it’s Roger. You will have Paris someday Roger. Just not this year.


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