Tag Archives: Lleyton Hewitt

A look at the Australian Open Men’s Wildcards

Last week we did an article on the Australian Open Women’s Wild cards.  Now for the Men.  Six of the eight wild cards for the 2012 Australian Open Men’s Draw have been decided.

First a little background into how the wild cards are selected from On Court Advantage (CLICK HERE).

The eight wild cards are distributed in the following way: two are reciprocal of which one each is determined at the discretion of the French Tennis Federation (*FFT) and the other is awarded to the winner of the American women-only wild card play-off winner run by the United States Tennis Association. Tennis Australia (TA) awards one as an Asian wild card as a symbol of being the Grand Slam of Asia Pacific, one to the winner of the Australian women-only play-off plus a further four at it’s discretion.

*FFT stands for Federation Francaise de Tennis or in English, the French Tennis Federation.

Reciprocal Wild Cards:

Three of the four Grand Slam tournaments have arranged a 3-way reciprocal arrangement whereby they all allocate a wild card to each other to use at their discretion. This means that all three of TA, FFT and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) set aside two Wild Cards for their home Grand Slam in order to acquire two Wild Cards for their own use at these two other Grand Slam tournaments.

Here are the 2012 Wild Cards so far:

1)    Lleyton Hewitt was given a wild card by Tennis Australia.   Former U.S. Open and Wimbledon Champion and two time Tennis Masters Cup winner.  Tennis Magazine listed Lleyton Hewitt at #34 in their list of te greatest players since 1965. He also won the U.S. Open doubles in 2000.  Hewitt is 13th on the all time career earnings list.  Hewitt is currently #186 in the world. (various sources)

Hewitt’s Homepage – CLICK HERE


 2)    Marinko MATOSEVIC – Australian only wild card playoff singles champion.  The #3 ranked player in Australia, 144th in the world.  (ATP Tennis)

Matosevic’s Homepage – CLICK HERE


3)    James DUCKWORTH – Another Tennis Australia discretionary wild card.  Duckworth is ranked 275th in the world.  This 19 year old reached a career high 7th in the world in the juniors on July 5th of 2010.  He is a right hander with a two handed backhand who has been playing tennis since he was  7 years old.

Duckworth triumphs in first final appearance

Unseeded 19-year old James Duckworth from Sydney, Australia claimed his first ITF Pro Circuit singles title with victory over Poland’s Grzegorz Panfil in the former Polish capital of Krakow.

The 2008 Australian Junior Davis Cup player triumphed in what was also his first appearance in an ITF Pro Circuit singles final defeating his seeded opponent, the third seeded player in succession he had faced, in straight sets and celebrated by giving the court a kiss!  (ITF Tennis.com)


4)    Jesse LEVINE – (born October 15, 1987) is a Canadian-born American professional tennis player. He achieved his career-high singles rank of No. 94 on November 3, 2008.

As a 13-year-old, in 2001 Levine won the U.S. Clay Court 14 Nationals singles championship, and as a 15-year-old he won the USTA boys’ 16s doubles championship with his doubles partner. As a 17-year-old, he won the 2005 Wimbledon boys’ doubles championship with his doubles partner. Playing one year of No. 1 singles as a freshman for the University of Florida in 2007, he lost only one match, finishing his career with a 24–1 record.

In June 2009 he scored his most significant victory to date, defeating world # 24 (and former world # 1) Marat Safin at Wimbledon. The following month he defeated the second top-50 player of his career, world # 48 Philipp Petzschner. His most significant achievement in doubles, was when he made the finals eventually although eventually losing to the Bryan brothers, in the 2009 U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships. (Wikipedia)

 Jesse Levine on Twitter – CLICK HERE


5)    Benjamin MITCHELL – Made it to the finals at Wimbledon (Boys Singles) before losing to Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 6-4.  Had 4 tournament wins in 2011 in Futures Series tournaments (Berri, Melilla, Esperance, Traralgon).   (Wikipedia)


6)    Jeremy CHARDY – Roland Garros or FFT Reciprocal Wild Card.  ranked #103 in the world (singles) and #137 in the world (doubles).  Career highs – 31st in singles and 57th in doubles.  Idol growing up was Pete Sampras…Considers serve as best shot…Would like to be an actor after his tennis career…Captured Wimbledon junior Championships (d. Young in SF, Haase in F) and finished runner-up at US Open juniors in 2005 (l. to Ryan Sweeting)…Finished No. 4 in world junior rankings in ’05…In 2004, won Eddie Herr International in Florida and SF at Wimbledon juniors (l. to Monfils)…In doubles, reached Roland Garros juniors final in 2005 (w/Bubka)  (ATP Tennis)


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A Statistical Look at the Importance of the Hold and Return Game Since 1998

The ATP has released statistics for service games held and serve return games won for the top three players each year since 1988.  An article on Bleacher Reports breaks down the information.

The ATP is not exactly famed for being generous with providing statistical data. Now, however, they’ve provided access to a statistical goldmine for the last 20 years.

The focus on this article is on the hold and return game.

How important are they? Can you be No. 1 with one, but not the other? Naturally, both are important, and you normally don’t get to be world No. 1 without having a fairly good game at both.

But as we shall see, there are exceptions to that general rule.

Taking a look down memory lane can provide interesting observations. The below provides statistical evidence to the return and hold game of the year end World No. 1-3 from 1998-2011.

If any of the readers want, they are very welcome to supplement the list with statistics from 1991-1997, found here. Pete Sampras was world No. 1 for four of these years, and he roughly had a hold game of 90-92 percent and a return game between 22 and 29 percent.

Before we start, I’ll just give you some general numbers as to what is needed in order to have the best, a good and a medium/bad hold and return game respectively.

If you win 90 percent of your own service games, you are at the top or in the top three on tour, more or less regardless of year. Winning 85 percent places you in or very close to the top 10, whereas 80 percent places you anywhere from No. 20 to No. 40 depending on year.

Players gunning for the world No. 1 shouldn’t fall much short of 85 percent, but there are exceptions as we’ll see below.

2400089_crop_340x234 Al Bello/Getty Images

As for return game, the list below shows that you can get by with less in certain cases and still be world No. 1 (i.e. Andy Roddick in 2003).

There’s a bit more variation with regards to how much is needed to have the best return game in the world. Some years, winning 32 percent of your return games is enough. Other years, as 2011, the top of the list even goes above 40 percent.

On average, 35 percent will put you either at the very top or in the top three.

Generally speaking, though, a return game above 30 percent puts you in the top five or top 10 on tour, and anything above 25 percent will be good enough to put you in or very close to top 20 most years.

Now, here’s the year-end top three lists from 1998 onwards. I’ve added ranking points to show the difference between No. 1 and his closest rivals.

The first number is the hold game percentage, the second is the return game percentage and the third is ranking points earned:

1998: 1. Pete Sampras: 89/25 (3,915), 2. Marcelo Rios: 85/33 (3,670), 3. Alex Corretja: 80/28 (3,398)

1999: 1. Andre Agassi: 88/34 (5,048), 2. Yevgeny Kafelnikov: 79/28  (3,465), 3. Pete Sampras: 90/21 (3,024)

1219024_crop_340x234 Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

2000: 1. Gustavo Kuerten: 86/25 (4,195), 2. Marat Safin: 84/24 (4,120), 3. Pete Sampras: 91/18 (3,385) (none of them in the top 35 in return games won)

2001: 1. Lleyton Hewitt: 83/33 (4,365), 2. Gustavo Kuerten: 87/26 (3,855), 3. Andre Agassi: 84/32 (3,520) (Hewitt and Agassi leading return games won this year and the next).

2002: 1. Lleyton Hewitt:  80/33 (4,485), 2. Andre Agassi: 87/31 (3,395), 3. Marat Safin: 83/25  (2,845) (the lowest hold game percent for the No. 1 of the decade).

2003: 1. Andy Roddick: 91/21 (4,535), 2. Roger Federer: 87/29 (4,375), 3. Juan Carlos Ferrero: 83/30  (4,205) (the shortest distance in rankings points between the No. 1 and No. 3 in the decade and the worst return game by any No. 1 player in this period).

2004: 1. Roger Federer: 92/30 (6,335), 2. Lleyton Hewitt: 82/32 (3,655), 3. Andy Roddick: 91/22 (3,590)

2005: 1. Roger Federer: 89/31 (6,725), 2. Rafael Nadal: 84/38 (4.765), 3. Andy Roddick: 93/21 (3,085)

2006: 1. Roger Federer: 90/32 (8,370), 2. Rafael Nadal: 86/29 (4,470), 3. Nikolay Davydenko: 80/35 (2,825)

2007: 1. Roger Federer: 89/29 (7,180), 2. Rafael Nadal: 86/33 (5735), 3. Novak Djokovic: 84/28 (4,470)

2008: 1. Rafael Nadal: 88/33 (6,675), 2. Roger Federer: 89/27 (5,305), 3. Novak Djokovic: 87/30 (5,295)

77498393_crop_340x234 Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

2009: 1. Roger Federer: 90/24 (10,550), 2. Rafael Nadal: 84/34 (9,205), 3. Novak Djokovic: 85/31 (8,310)

2010: 1. Rafael Nadal: 90/29 (12,450), 2. Roger Federer:89 /27 (9,145), 3. Novak Djokovic: 82/32 (6,240)

There is a lot more to the article.  To see the whole article – CLICK HERE

2011 (as of now): 1. Novak Djokovic  87/41 (13,860), 2. Rafael Nadal: 84/35, (10,375) 3. Andy Murray: 80/37 (7,825) (These three also lead the tour in return games won.)

Tennis-Federer better than ever but so are rivals, says Wilander

Matts Wilander

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK, Sept 13 | Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:33pm BST

(Reuters) – The good news for Roger Federer, according to former world number one Mats Wilander, is that he hasn’t lost any of his skill and is playing as good as ever.

But the bad news for the Swiss maestro is that the opposition has improved as well and he needs to find a way past them to add to his record collection of 16 grand slams.

“There’s no question he’s better now than he’s ever been,” Wilander told Reuters in an interview. “He’s just not winning.”

Wilander said Federer’s biggest problem was that his two greatest rivals, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, were now playing at a much high level than the rivals he was beating when he was scooping up grand slams at will.

“There’s no question that Novak Djokovic is way better than the opposition he had four, five years ago,” said the Swede.

“You have to take Novak Djokovic now and compare him to Andy Roddick at his best. Not even close. Lleyton Hewitt at his best? Not even close. And those are the guys he was beating in the finals and semi-finals.”

Federer won the last of his titles at the 2010 Australian Open. This year was the first time he had gone through a season without winning at least one grand slam title since he broke through to capture his first in 2003.

But Wilander, who won seven majors between 1982 and 1988, said the 30-year-old Swiss had shown he was anything but a spent force, reaching the final at the French Open this year and coming with one point of beating eventual champion Djokovic at the U.S. Open, which ended Monday.

The pair slugged it out over five gripping sets in an enthralling match that could have gone either way. Federer had two match points in the fifth set but Djokovic survived them both and won the decider 7-5.

“The first two sets again Novak were the best I have ever seen from him,” Wilander said.

“Djokovic is better this year than Nadal was last year and Nadal last year was better than anyone who ever played the game probably. They just get better, they really do.”

The Swede, who won the Australian Open and French Open three times each and the U.S. Open once but never Wimbledon, said there was no comparison between the standard of play between his era and now but Federer was still the best ever.

“I think they’re much better (now),” he said. “I think the state of the game is incredible, amazing.

“Is Roger the best of all time? “Yes, because he has 16. That’s where it all ends. Sixteen majors makes you the best player of all time.”

(Editing by Julian Linden; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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