Sunday, April 22, 2007

Roland Garros historical analysis: can only young players win RG?


I want to see Fed win the calendar-yr Grand Slam once.

I'd like to see it to see ANYONE do it once in my life, & I think it would be good for the interest in tennis (although dumb SI would probably still give "Sportsman of the Year" to the NFL's 4th best QB). Also, as another commenter mentioned here on TW, it would be great if someone could do it on 4 different surfaces, before the AO switches from rebound-ace to hard court soon (in 2008 or 2009?)

I have heard that the Roland Garros champions tend to be under 25. I'm concerned that Fed may only have a few more chances to realistically win RG, especially since his nemesis Nadal might be the GOAT clay player, and could actually IMPROVE ON CLAY over the next few years.

I did a quick analysis (thanks to Excel & Wikipedia) on the RG champions & finalists since 1990. Note that I calculated the end-of-year (as of Dec-31) age of the player. For instance for 2007, Federer is 26 (YOB=1981) & Nadal 21 (1986).

It turns out that this rule of thumb is basically true. Only 4 of the 17 (24%) RG winners since 1990 have been 27 or older, with 30-yr old Gomez being the oldest.

The average age is 23.8 & the median is 23.

My conclusion is that Fed needs to win RG soon, say this year or in 2008, if he is to ever do it. Also note if he doesn't, he'll be in the same boat as Sampras, with many claiming one can't possibly be the GOAT without winning RG.

DATA

RG CHAMPIONS & FINALS SINCE 1990
Yr Champion Finalist Age_C Age_F
1990 Gomez A Agassi A 30 20
1991 Courier J Agassi A 21 21
1992 Courier J Korda P 22 24
1993 Bruguera S Courier J 22 23
1994 Bruguera S Berasategui A 23 21
1995 Muster T Chang M 28 23
1996 Kafelnikov Y Stich M 22 28
1997 Kuerten G Bruguera S 21 26
1998 Moya C Corretja A 22 24
1999 Agassi A Medvedev A 29 25
2000 Kuerten G Norman M 24 24
2001 Kuerten G Corretja A 25 27
2002 Costa A Ferrero J 27 22
2003 Ferrero J Verkerk M 23 25
2004 Gaudio G Coria G 26 22
2005 Nadal R Puerta M 19 27
2006 Nadal R Federer R 20 25

PLAYER LIST
Player YOB
Agassi A 1970
Berasategui A 1973
Bruguera S 1971
Chang M 1972
Coria G 1982
Corretja A 1974
Costa A 1975
Courier J 1970
Federer R 1981
Ferrero J 1980
Gaudio G 1978
Gomez A 1960
Kafelnikov Y 1974
Korda P 1968
Kuerten G 1976
Medvedev A 1974
Moya C 1976
Muster T 1967
Nadal R 1986
Norman M 1976
Puerta M 1978
Stich M 1968
Verkerk M 1978

1 comment:

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