Well, here is a synopsis of the players win-loss records for 2006. 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 Nikolay Davydenko. He played in 98 matches with a record of 69-29 while Roger Federer was next and played 97 with an amazing record of 92-5. Federer actually had 1 more ATP match than Davydenko, but Davydenko played in 2 more Davis Cup matches. James Blake finished the year with 84 matches while Ivan Ljubicic ended with 82.
Overall, it was Michael Zverev of Germany who played 105 matches in 2006. He wins the overall crown. Spaniards are usually far up on this list and Gorka Fraile, last year's champ, and Juan Albert Viloca were right there with 100 matches. Another German, Benjamin Becker, also finished with 100 matches to round out those in triple digits. Three players finished with 99 matches: Lukas Rosol, Alberto Francis, and Andrei Goloubev. Next is our ATP winner, Nikolay Davydenko at 98.
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. Franz Stauder of Germany played in just one event (Germany F9), but he went through qualifying and then won it. But our best player of the year percentage wise has to go to none other than Roger Federer, finishing with a 92-5 record, a winning percentage of just about 95%. Thomas Schiessling finished at 13-1 while Boris Borgula ended the year at 10-1. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga finished strong at 40-5 and Guillermo Canas went 30-4.
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 Vladislav Bondarenko, who played in 40 tournaments in 2006. Bondarenko played in a lot of futures and satellite events, a few challengers, and even hit a couple of ATP qualifying events late in the year. What put him over the top was playing in the last two futures events in India in December. He lost in the first round on both occasions. Next up we have Gorka Fraile and Tomas Zib who each played in 39 events. Andrei Goloubev played 38 times in 2006.
Time to Get a
Day Job Awards
Yes, its the 17th annual and possibly final "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.
"Greatest Effort, Least Reward" Award
There are nearly 2000 or so players in the rankings but over 8100 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! Five years in a row we have seen players from Spain win this award. But not this year. We have a tie with 53 matches played without getting that elusive ranking point. It goes to Sergei Betov (BLR) (aka Siarhei Betou) and Leon Frost (AUS). Betov gets the nod for having a better record. He finished at 33-20 while Frost ended 2006 at 23-30. Next is Eudaldo Bonet (ESP) and Jamie Feaver (GBR) with 51 matches played, followed by Santi Penades-Sanz (ESP) with 47.
Our closely related "Most Success, Least Reward" Award goes to the player who had the best winning percentage (minimum of 20 matches) without earning a ranking. Robbye Poole (USA) wins that honor this year. His record was 15-5 (0.750 winning percentage) yet he did not earn that ranking point. He qualified 4 times in 5 tournaments only to lose in the first round of the main draw each time. Another American, Rhyne Williams, finished at 17-8 while Diogo Rocha (POR) ended 2006 at 18-9. None of them could win that all important main draw match.
Note: It should be noted that this list will become a bit more interesting in 2007 as first round points are no longer given at any level. Previously players got a point just for showing up in a challenger main draw and 5 points for ATP matches. But this will no longer be the case as of 2007.
"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's winner is Enrico Becuzzi of Italy who went a perfect 0-20. He darn near spoiled it against Alberto Iarossi in Italy F26. Becuzzi won the second set (the only set he won all year) and took Iarossi to 5-7 in the final set before losing. That was Iarossi's only career win. In 2005, Robert Dee (GBR) finished third with an 0-15 record. This year Dee "improved" to second place, finishing at 0-18. He lost every set last year and did the same in 2006, although did manage one tie break. Josh Olivas is another who has been a regular on this list. This year, after finishing at 1-25 in 2005, Josh again got a win for a record of 1-17 in 2006.
Now its time to find out who had the longest streaks of the year. The longest win streak once again goes to world's #1 Roger Federer. In 2005, Federer had a 35 match win streak. This year he again had several streaks, the longest one being 29 which went from the US Open to the end of the year. He has then continued that win streak into 2007 winning the Australian Open and extending the streak to 36, his career long. Not far behind Federer was Konstantinos Economidis who reeled off a 27 match win streak. He ran through the New Zealand and Australian futures events, then added on a Davis Cup win before a last win in Barcelona qualifying before the streak ended in the second round. In that span, Economidis won 5 futures events in a row. Rafael Nadal came in next with a 26 match streak and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a streak of 25.
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. Our top two 0-fers in 2006 are also the top two on this list. Enrico Becuzzi had his 20 match losing streak and Robert Dee comes in at 18. Since Josh Olivas' win came in his first match of the year, his other 17 losses came consecutively so he is in third with 17 in a row. Rodrigo Perri (BRA) and Stefan Vukov (CRO) also had 17 match losing streaks.
"Nine Lives" Award
This goes to the player who got in the most times as a lucky loser. This year we once again have a single winner. Olivier Charroin (FRA) was a lucky loser on 5 separate occasions, one more than anyone else. All 5 times it occurred in futures events. Kevin Deden (GER), Cristian Hodel (ROM), Edward Seator (GBR), Andrea Serra (ITA), and Alan Wright (GBR) were lucky losers on 4 times.
Master Blaster Award
In 2006 there were a total of 1021 cases where one player won by a "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 Andy Roddick on hardcourts but still its an accomplishment worth mentioning. This year the award is goes to David Estruch (ESP) who blanked opponents 5 times. There were a total of 5 players who did it 4 times: Sergei Betov (BLR), Niklas Bucht (FIN), Catalin Ciobanu (ROM), Pedro Clar (ESP), and Alex Lane (USA).
On the flip side of this award is Rodrigo Perri. He was shut out 5 times. We already saw him in the losing streak category. Five players had 4 instances of being defeated 6-0 6-0.
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 the award is won by Dmitry Ivanov (UZB) who retired an amazing 7 times. He has defended his title because he shared this award last year as well. (Interesting how many of these winners are alone on top.) Three players, Guillermo Alcaide (ESP), Kris Nathan (USA), and Wolfgang Schranz (AUT), retired 6 times during the year. 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. Nathan Healey (AUS) is our winner here. Again, he is all alone at the top with 6 opponents having retired. In addition, 7 players got 5 partial free passes. When you add walkovers to the list, even more of a free ride, Jan Hajek (CZE) and Ignacio "Nacho" Coll (ESP) join the list at 6. No one had more than 2 wins by walkover.
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.