Well, here is a synopsis of the full records of players for 2000. 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. So its time to hand out some awards!
of the year
Last year, Yevgeny Kafelnikov was the top player with the most tour matches with 86. In 2000 he was once again among the best with 98. He was outplayed by several players at lower levels like German Puentes and Gorka Fraile, feasting on the Spanish satellites. They each played 104 matches. Ahead of them is a 21-year-old from Azerbaijan by way of Canada, Emin Agaev who had 107 matches, 112 when you include Davis Cup. Agaev ran the gamut levels, playing in many futures, a few challengers, and even a satellite in Turkey in addition to three qualifying appearances in ATP level tournaments and Davis Cup for Azerbaijan. But the busiest of all players, by far, is Nikolay Davydenko who played an amazing 120 matches in 2000! The 19-year-old from Russia had much success in 2000, raising his ranking from #653 to #133. Will all that experience under his belt help Davydenko make a splash at the ATP level this year?
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. Among the first of the players with significant results was Bojan Vujic of Yugoslavia. Vujic is a strange case for the second year in a row. Last year I mentioned that he played in only two events amassing a record of 12-2. Well, this year Vujic was at it again playing in just 3 events. This time he amassed a 15-2 record! And this after losing his first match!! After going down in the first round of qualifying in USA F1, he returned 5 months later at USA F13 where he qualified and reached the semifinals. Then in July in Germany F9, again he qualified and went on to win the title! ...and never returned. Among the regulars, Dick Norman of Belgium had the best percentage with 0.871, a record of 54-8 mostly trying to make his way back on the tour after an extensive injury. Norman went about things the right way (at least I think) getting a lot of matches under his belt in a hurry feasting on futures and eventually challengers. Another surprise at the top is Ghanaian Gunther Darkey who won all four of his Davis Cup matches for Ghana in February, then went on to post an 11-2 mark at the West Africa satellite, winning the third leg and the masters. Another impressive record was put up by another player on the comeback trail, Colombia's Mauricio Hadad. Hadad went 39-8, winning three futures titles and reaching the finals of two more. And the best record for a "top" player, for the second year in a row, was posted by Pete Sampras, who went 41-12 in 2000.
There were technically 49 weeks on the tour this year (50 if you count the Copa Ericsson masters). Francisco Costa of Brazil is our clear leader in this dept. Costa played a total of 42 weeks on the tour, including 9 ATP level tournaments, 32 challengers, and 1 Davis Cup tie. Coming in a close second is (once again) Nikolay Davydenko with 41 tournaments. Ronald Agenor, the veteran from Haiti, played in 39 tournaments while German Puentes of Spain played in 38.
Least Reward" Award
There are 1600 or so players in the rankings but over 6800 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 winning record and not making the rankings is quite an accomplishment! Our winner this year is 19-year-old Sadik Kadir of Australia. Kadir played 51 matches with a record of 26-25. He played in satellites in the first half of the year and reached the main draw twice before losing in the first round. He only reached the main draw once more in Slovakia F1 before losing a three-setter. Here's hoping Kadir's efforts will be rewarded in 2001. Alvaro Izquierdo of Spain was close with 50 matches, a record of 27-23. Bozidar Ivankovic of USA was next with 49 matches.
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. That went to American Josh Burman who went 15-8 (a percentage of 0.652). Burman played in the qualifying of 8 futures events in North America, winning his first round match each time! He successfully qualified 4 of those times only to lose in the first round. Peter Madarassy of Hungary also had a good year despite not being ranked. He won 22 matches against losing only 12.
"Most Futile Effort" Award
You might remember the "Time To Get A Day Job" Awards. Well, that was just for ATP-level competition. This award goes to Daniel Gelemanovic and Dennis Peschek for going a perfect 0-14 on the year. Ilyar Khammadov, who got an honorable mention last year in this category for going 0-12, improved this year to 1-16! The record for most loses this year went to Francisco Costa who lost 43 times in 42 tournaments. His overall record was 37-43.
"Nine Lives" Award
This goes to the player who got in the most times as a lucky loser. Emin Agaev, Ruben Fernandez, Brandon Kramer, and Cyrille Martin all were lucky losers on 4 different occasions. Martin gets the nod for having the most success as a lucky loser.
Check out everyone's match records here