Well, here is a synopsis of the players win-loss records for 2003. This includes match records from all ATP tournaments, challengers, futures, satellites, and their qualifying, plus Davis Cup. Of course, winning qualifying matches in satellites is not quite the same as playing in grand slams, but its still interesting to look at and there are plenty of awards to hand out.
of the year
At the ATP level, the busiest player of the year was Rainer Schuettler who played 99 matches. Now, for this I am counting ATP and Davis Cup matches. Rainer had 96 ATP matches and 3 Davis Cup. He also had one challenger match putting him exactly at the century mark on the year, making him one of the busiest ATP players in recent memory. But not very far behind Schuettler was Roger Federer at 95 matches. And there was still one other player with over 90 matches and that was Andy Roddick with 91. For comparison purposes, the winner last year, Paradorn Srichaphan, played in 82 matches.
Overall, it was Spain's Nicolas Almagro who led most of the way. He held off the competition at the end of the year, finishing on top with 112, getting our Busiest Player of the Year award. This makes it 3 years in a row a Spaniard has won this award. In fact this year the top 3 were all Spaniards. Ivan Navarro-Pastor was 4 matches behind Almagro with 108. Miguel Angel Lopez-Jaen was next with 105. Paul Logtens of the Netherlands finished with 104 matches and Schuettler wraps up those with three figures.
A special mention has to go out to Lance Maurici of Australia who took full advantage of the fact that German futures events start their qualifying on Monday. Lance played in qualifying for one event, then went to Germany to play in qualifying for that event the same week, and did it two weeks in a row. That's four events in two weeks. Technically a no-no which usually results in a fine. It didn't pay off, though. Lance lost all four matches!
Overall, there were a few players who were technically undefeated, but they either withdrew before losing or got their success in Davis Cup against significantly weaker competition. We will focus on the ranked players. Young-Joon Kim had some great success at some Asian futures events and finished the year with a 30-4 record, giving him a win percentage of 0.882. Jimy Szymanski finished at 40-7 (0.851) while Relja Fiser-Dulic had a 15-3 record (0.833). Carlos Castellanos had a few more matches and finished at 19-4 (0.826). Next was the best top ranked finisher, Andre Agassi, at 47-10 (0.825) with Roger Federer not far behind at 78-17 (0.821).
There have been technically 51 weeks on the tour this year. Note that Davis Cup weeks count and satellite weeks count as one for each week. Our Most Tournaments Played award goes to Leonardo Azzaro, who played in 40 events in 2003. With that, Leonardo barely finished the year above 500 with a 41-39 record. He was far and away the winner in this category. Next on the list were 7 players with 37. This includes 3 Spaniards and another Italian.
Time to Get a
Day Job Awards
Yes, its the 14th annual "Time to Get a Day Job" awards. This is just for ATP level events (main draws). It "honors" those players who have lost the most times in the very first round (or second round if they got a first round bye). Find out who gets the honors this year.
Least Reward" Award
There are 1700 or so players in the rankings but over 7600 that played matches last year. That's a lot of players that play and don't get ranked. At the bottom of the heap, players can play a good number of matches and yet never make the rankings. Any player who wins a first round match in the main draw of a futures event, plays in the masters leg of a satellite, or plays in the main draw of any challenger or ATP-level tournament, will find himself in the rankings. So having a lot of matches and not making the rankings is quite an accomplishment! Our winner this year for the third year in a row is a player from Spain, getting it done mainly on the Spanish satellite/futures tour. He is Sergi Barberan and he has set an all-time record (at least since 1999 when we started doing these year-end awards). Sergi managed to play a whopping 79 matches on the tour, compiling a record of 47-32 and yet he didn't earn one stinkin' ranking point! And apparently a knack for this award runs in the family because Sergi's brother Jaume was not far behind, 10th on the list with 47 matches played without a ranking. Philip Horyna of Switzerland was second with 60 matches played. American James Kent was one match behind him with 59 and Marco Gualdi of Italy played 53 times without making the big list.
Our closely related "Most Success, Least Reward" Award goes to the player who had the best winning percentage (with a sufficient number of matches) without earning a ranking. The top of this list for some reason was dominated by Americans and Koreans. The top three are all from the USA including our winner, Joe Schmulian. Joe reeled off a 23-8 record on the year but couldn't get that elusive point. Troy Hahn and Scoville Jenkins sported 15-6 records to finish above .700. Next was Hyung-Kwon Kim at 16-7 and Dylan Kim at 22-11.
"Most Futile Effort" Award
This is much like the "Time To Get a Day Job" Awards. Those were at the ATP level so at least players have a chance to fall back to a lower level to gather themselves and get going again. But let's look at the players with the worst records of the year at all levels. This award goes to Diego Beltranena of Guatemala. Beltranena lost all 19 of his matches in 2003. He also received honorable mention in this category last year for losing all of his matches in 2002. In fact, he wins the career achievement award: he has never won a match, not even a set, although he did once advance with a walkover. Since beginning his career in 1997, he has gone 0-35 in all! Not even the good fortune of an opponent pulling a hamstring or twisting an ankle. Give him credit, tough, he keeps at it. Maybe someday Diego will get his long awaited victory. (To start 2004 he has made it 36 in a row but will likely be participating in his home nation at Guatemala F1 so maybe his home crowd can cheer him to victory -- post post comment as this write up is taking a little longer than I expected: Beltranena went down in Guatemala as well). Previous to this it was Johannes Matschke who held this long of a streak. He broke out of an 0-27 streak this year with his first ever victory. It was, however, his only win of the year. Eyal Burstein of Israel finished the year at 0-13 while Axel Torres of Peru finished with an 0-12 mark. Claudio Rizzo of Italy ended 2003 with a 1-19 record or 0.050, with Matschke right behind him at 1-16.
Now its time to find out who had the longest streaks of the year. The longest win streak goes to Andy Roddick for his 19 match win streak during the summer hardcourt season. During the streak, Roddick won two masters series events (Montreal and Cincinnati) and then took the US Open title. His streak came to an end in his first Davis Cup match following the US Open. Other good streaks were Ivo Klec of Germany, who ran right through the Kuwait futures series, winning all three titles, then reaching the qualifying round at the Budapest challenger for a total of 18 in a row. Jean-Michel Pequery of France, Jimy Szymanski of Venezuela, and Wesley Whitehouse of South Africa all had 17 match win streaks. The next closest top players were Guillermo Coria and Roger Federer who each held 15 match streaks.
Here is the top streaks of the year
Of course, if we are going to look at the longest win streaks, we might as well look at the longest losing streaks, too. And, yes, the winner here is Diego Beltranena. His 0-19 also equaled the longest losing streak of the year. Close behind was Claudio Rizzo of Italy whose streak lasted 18 matches. Trent Aaron and Andre Sa both sported 16 match losing streaks.
"Nine Lives" Award
This goes to the player who got in the most times as a lucky loser. Jaco Mathew of India wins the award this year. He got in as a lucky loser 4 times in 2003. There were 23 players who got in the main draw via the back door 3 times.
Master Blaster Award
The number of cases where a player won by the 'ol "double bagel" (defeating his opponent 6-0 6-0) was once again slightly up from last year. In 2003 there were 789 cases, up from 763 in 2002 and 614 in 2001. The "Master Blaster" award goes to the player who gets the most double bagels. Of course defeating an unranked local in the qualifying of a futures event 6-0 6-0 is nowhere near doing the same to Andre Agassi on hardcourts but still its an accomplishment worth mentioning. This award is shared by James Kent (USA) and Bartolome Salva (ESP) who each achieved this result 5 times in 2003. Four players did it 4 times: Stefan Wiespeiner (AUT), Shannon Nettle (AUS), Alejandro Asta (ARG), and Gergely Hultai (HUN).
On the flip side is Ismar Moralic of Croatia. He got himself blanked 5 times. He averted a 6th by retiring while down 6-0 2-0. He also lost a match 6-0 6-1 but was able to get 3 whole games off of Kreso Zrinski at Croatia F5. Maris Sipkovs of Latvia and Sri Harsha Midathala of India lost 6-0 6-0 4 times each.
The "Nah, I Just Don't Feel Like It" Award
Next we have the "Nah, I Just Don't Feel Like It" Award, given to those players who had a habit of retiring during matches. This year's award goes to Cristian Kordasz of Argentina and Jiri Vencl of the Czech Republic. Each retired 6 times rather than sticking it out. Four players (Hector Tolosana-Berdiel (ESP), Simon Larose (CAN), Emin Agaev (AZE), and Galo Blanco (ESP)) retired 5 times in 2003. Of course, this is not to say these players didn't have legitimate injuries when they decided not to go on.
On the flip side is the Free Ride Award for players who had the good fortune of having their opponents make it easy on them by retiring. Lleyton Hewitt is an early candidate for this in 2004: three of his opponents in a row have gone down without finishing! But for 2003, it was Ben-Qiang Zhu of China who benefited from retirements or walkovers 7 times. Michael Quintero of Colombia received 6 such gifts as well.
And finally as an added bonus, Sebastien Cognet has compiled these tour stats for us. Check them out here.
Well, that's it for this year's awards. Feel free to peruse through the win-loss records on the year. Check out everyone's match records here.