Well, here is a synopsis of the players win-loss records for 2004. 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 is Andy Roddick. Both Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt had 84 matches each but including Davis Cup matches, it was Roddick getting the nod with 92 to 86 matches played. Roger Federer was next with 80 matches played, Carlos Moya had 78 while Marat Safin finished the year with 75.
Overall, it was Gilles Simon of France who gets our Busiest Player of the Year award.. This snaps a streak of three consecutive years a Spaniard has won this award. Simon played in 107 matches in 2004, one of 7 players who reached the century mark. Dutchman Melvyn Op Der Heijde was next with 103 matches played. Daniel Gimeno gets in the Spanish presence with 101 matches. Gimeno led most of the year but did not play past the week of October 11, which cost him the title. Joshua Goodall of Great Britain and Hector Ruiz of Spain also had 101 matches. And Ivan Cerovic of Croatia and Gabriel Moraru of Romania round out those with 100 matches or more with 100 even.
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. As a testament to his dominant year, Roger Federer gets this award. And its particularly impressive considering winners in this category usually build up their records through futures or satellite qualifying. Federer, on the other hand, did it against the best competition in the world. Hats off to the world's #1! Justin Bower returned in 2004 after dealing with injuries. His comeback was successful as he reeled off a 27-3 record in the 7 events that he played. And an old familiar face in this category is Spaniard Tati Rascon. He doesn't play much but when he does he makes it count. Only 5 events for Tati in 2004 but it resulted in a 17-3 record, including two futures titles.
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 Razvan Sabau of Romania, who played in 41 events in 2004. He was the only one with this many events played. Next was Ismar Gorcic of Bosnia/Herzegovina with 40 events. German Puentes of Spain and Federico Torresi of Italy each played 39 times.
Time to Get a
Day Job Awards
Yes, its the 15th 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 1800 or so players in the rankings but over 7800 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 fourth year in a row is a player from Spain, getting it done mainly on the Spanish satellite/futures tour. He is Jordi Gil who played in 53 matches in 2004, compiling a record of 29-24, and still never managed to earn so much as one ranking point. Jordi made it through qualifying to the main draw on 5 different occasions, but never did get that main draw win. Next up was Federico Sansonetti of Uruguay who played in 51 matches with a 30-21 record but never saw the rankings list. Laurent Bondaz of France and Stuart Waters of USA each had 49 matches in 2004 without earning that elusive point.
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. Albert Loncaric of Croatia wins the award this year. He won 16 of the 23 matches he played yet did not get far enough to earn points. Also playing in 23 matches and winning 15 of them is J. Vishnu Vardhan of India. Iverson Barros of Brazil was 18-10 while Yuki Suga of Australia went 14-8, all without the reward of a ranking.
"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 year the award goes to Stefan Vukov of Croatia. Stefan, often listed as Stefano on drawsheets, is Croatian but lives in Italy. He played in various events from satellites to challengers and lost all 21 times he played in 2004. He did manage to get in some close sets but did not even win a set all year. He is a young player (just 17 years old) and got his start last year with two losses. So that brings his career record to 0-23. However, early in 2005 at United Arab Emirates F1, Stefan broke through with is first pro win, a 6-0 6-1 trouncing of Kareem Awad of USA playing in his first pro match. So that snapped the streak at 23 which leaves old favorite in this category, Diego Beltranena, still the leader in longest career losing streak. At the end of last year Diego's career record was 0-35. In 2004 he was perfect again at 0-11, extending his career losing streak to 46! With two early losses in 2005 the streak is currently at 48. But it was a bit of a breakthrough year for Diego, he won his first set at Costa Rica F1. Elsewhere in this category in 2004 was Josh Olivas at 0-19, Laszlo Toth at 0-15, and Claudio Rizzo at 0-14.
Now its time to find out who had the longest streaks of the year. The longest win streak goes to Victor Ionita of Romania who went on a 28 match win streak at one point in 2004. This is by far the longest win streak of anyone since I started keeping the streaks records in 2001. It started at the qualifying of Romania F13 the week of July 26. Ionita won 4 consecutive futures titles in Romania over the next 5 weeks. He then played in the Brasov challenger and won that too. The streak finally ended the following week in the Bucharest ATP event after 5 titles and 28 matches in a row. The next longest win streak was 23 shared by three players, Justin Bower (RSA), Roger Federer (SUI), and Jean-Julien Rojer (AHO). Federer's streak is the most impressive of them all considering his was against the best players in the world and over three surfaces. His started after the French Open on grass with consecutive titles in Halle and Wimbledon. It then made a brief stop in Gstaad on clay, then onto hardcourts and a title in Toronto. He lost in the first round in Cincinnati and in the second round of the Olympics before picking things up again and ending the season with another 16 match win streak, including another grand slam title at the US Open. In addition to that he had an 11 and a 12 match win streak earlier in the year. Roger is definitely the Joe DiMaggio of tennis!
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. No one had a longer losing streak than Stefan Vukov's 0-for-2004. He holds the longest losing streak of the year at 21 with Josh Olivas' streak of 19 next and Chris Johnson of USA is the first player on the list who actually won a match in 2004. Johnson won early in the year and then lost 17 in a row for a total mark of 1-20. Alex Wilson of Australia was next with 16.
"Nine Lives" Award
This goes to the player who got in the most times as a lucky loser. This year's winners are Enrico Wellenfeld (ITA) and Stefan Wiespeiner (AUT). They got into the main draw as a lucky loser on 4 different occasions. There were 20 players who lucked out 3 times.
Master Blaster Award
In 2004 there were a total of 715 cases where one player won by the 'ol "double bagel" (defeating his opponent 6-0 6-0). 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 year the award is goes solely to Mathieu Montcourt of France. Mathieu knocked off an opponent 4 times by a score of 6-0 6-0. There where a total of 19 players who did it 3 times.
On the flip side is Dmitry Dudko of Russia. He got himself blanked 7 times. He averted an 8th by retiring after losing the first set 6-0. In addition to that, he also won one game in a match on six different occasions! His 2004 record was 1-20. Rodrigo Perri of Brazil and Brandon Christopher of USA each lost 5 times by the goose eggs.
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 the player that happens to have gotten off to the fastest start in 2005, Christopher Kas of Germany. Kas retired 6 times in 2004. He withdrew from a match giving his opponent a walkover one additional time. Kas got off to a big start in 2005, though, winning his first 11 matches of the year, taking a title in leg 1 of the Spain #1 satellite. He also reached the semifinals of leg 2 before the streak came to an end when in the third set ... he retired! Stefan Wiespeiner is in this category too, retiring 5 times during the year. 5 other players called it an early day 5 times as well. When you factor in walkovers, Gergely Hultai joins Kas with a total of 7 retirements/walkovers. 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. The winner coincidentally (or not) was our hottest win streak winner, Victor Ionita. Ionita had his opponents retire 6 times. And, yes, 5 of them occurred during his 28 match win streak. In with 5 shortened victories each are Michael Ryderstedt of Sweden and Benedikt Dorsch of Germany.
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.