Well, here is a synopsis of the players win-loss records for 2002. 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 this year you have followed the progress week to week so it may be a little anti-climactic but still plenty of awards to hand out! And as an added bonus, we have the results of the 2002 Player Awards as voted by you here at the end of the year and compiled by Jorge Viale.
of the year
At the ATP level, the busiest player of the year was Paradorn Srichaphan who played 82 matches. Now, for this I am counting ATP and Davis Cup matches. Otherwise the winner would have been Carlos Moya with 80 matches, but Carlos was hurt by not playing Davis Cup. Jiri Novak played in 79 matches while Roger Federer, Marat Safin, and Juan Ignacio Chela played in 78 each. The shocker here is no Yevgeny Kafelnikov! Yevgeny had a tough year last year, slipping all the way to #27 in the rankings. He finished the year with a disappointing 39-25 record (only 64 matches, well off the pace).
Overall, it was Spain's Juan Giner who led most of the way. He didn't play much towards the end but finished with 106 matches, getting our Busiest Player of the Year award. Putting on a late surge was Emin Agaev of Azerbaijan, finishing with the only other three-digit total, 101 matches. Uros Vico of Italy played in 98 matches while Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain and Andres Pedroso of USA both played in 96.
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. Julian Alonso played in only one event, a satellite in Spain. Alonso is a former top 100 player and with that one satellite, he went 11-1 on the year. But we will give the award to Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands Antilles (a group of islands in the Caribbean). There was lots of activity this year in that region with many futures events in Jamaica. Rojer took full advantage of it, winning 6 futures titles and one additional final (not to mention an additional semifinals appearance where the final was washed out by rain). This included a 24 match win streak and a final record of 51-8 for a 0.864 winning percentage. Tati Rascon, who received an honorable mention in this award last year, receives another one. He went 10-0 in 2001 and came back in 2002 with a 40-7 mark. Cristian Villagran of Argentina went 40-9 and the best top player, Andre Agassi, was next with a 53-12 record.
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 Nikolay Davydenko, who played in 40 events in 2002. This is probably why he had the most losses of the year with 40 (along with Scott Willinsky of Jamaica). Next on the list is Timo Nieminen and Uros Vico with 39 tournaments. Yuri Schukin and Jan Weinzierl played in 38 each.
Time to Get
a Day Job Awards
Yes, its the 13th 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 1600 or so players in the rankings but over 7100 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 is Victor Sanchez-Gil who, like last year's winner, feasted on those Spanish satellites to a 30-34 record. That's 64 matches played in 2002, which rivals that of some top players, yet after all that Victor didn't find his way onto the rankings. Jean-Baptiste Poux of Andorra was second with an even 30-30 record and Gilles Kremer, the other "Gilles" from Luxembourg, was the top player with a winning record in this category, going 35-23 in 2002 and still not making the rankings. Jaume Barberan and Christian Banzer round out the top 5 with 56 and 55 matches, respectively.
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 Vince Mellino of Australia who went 25-10 on the year. He played exclusively in Australia in satellites and futures but could not come away with a point. A couple of Spaniards, Cesar Ferrer and Daniel Munoz de la Nava (those Spanish satellites again, with their 128 qualifying draws) were next with a 16-8 and 15-8 record, respectively. Idan Rosenberg of Israel went 18-10 while Jamil Al Agba of USA won 16 of his 25 matches to round out the top 5.
"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 at falling 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 Stephen Donovan of the United States. Donovan lost all 21 of his matches on the year!! At least he got to see the world, though, picking the most exotic places on the tour to come and go. Donovan played in such places as the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, Japan, the Czech Republic, Germany, Rwanda, Kenya, and wound up the year in tropical Barbados. Diego Beltranena of Guatemala and Rahul Sankhla of India each went 0-14 while Johannes Matschke of Germany was a perfect 0-13. However, Matschke was fortunate to get 4 wild cards into the main draws of challengers so at least got a ranking out of it.
Now its time to find out who had the longest streaks of the year. The longest win streak goes to Jean-Julien Rojer for his 24 match win streak at the end of the year. Rojer only started playing in July. After a few tournaments and some good success, he really kicked into high gear in November. It started at Jamaica F19, continued to Barbados F1, onto his homeland of Netherlands Antilles F1, then onto Aruba F1, and finally back in Jamaica F21 where the streak finally came to an end in the finals against Michal Przysiezny. In all, it was 4 titles in a row and a fifth final where the streak ended. Interestingly, Rojer got the streak going again the next week in Jamaica F22 where he won yet another title, making it 6 finals in a row.
Other good win streaks were Nicklas Timfjord of Sweden, who reeled off an 18 match win streak, all at the Germany satellite, and Takao Suzuki of Japan, Tomas Tenconi of Italy, and Wesley Whitehouse of South Africa each with 17 match win streaks.
Among the top players (obviously much more of an accomplishment), the longest win-streak goes for the second year in a row to Lleyton Hewitt with 15. Hewitt's streak started after he lost in the first round of the Australian Open (remember he had the chicken pox) then went onto titles in San Jose and Indian Wells before getting stopped in the semifinals at Miami.
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. At the top is Stephen Donovan as mentioned above. His 0-21 meant a losing streak of 21 which was the longest on the year. Olivier Mauger of France, Nicolas Quesnel of Canada, and Rayne Russell of Jamaica each had losing streaks of 17.
"Nine Lives" Award
This goes to the player who got in the most times as a lucky loser. There was no standout in this category this year. Instead there were 5 players who were lucky losers 4 times each. They were Robert Cheyne (NZL), Cary Franklin (USA), Jordi Marse (ESP), Shannon Nettle (AUS), and Scott Willinsky (JAM). There were 27 players who had 3 experiences as lucky losers.
Master Blaster Award
This year there were 763 instances of a player defeating another player 6-0 6-0. That's up from 614 last year. 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. Matt Daly of USA is king is this department, scoring a double bagel 6 times in 2002. Takeshi Itoh of Japan did it 5 times and Alan Mackin of Great Britain and Matej Bocko of Slovakia each did it 4 times. Also worth mentioning is the only triple bagel on the year, earned by Ben-Qiang Zhu of China in a Davis Cup rubber against a mis-matched Musaad Al Jazzaf of Kuwait.
On the flip side is Daiso Tagawa of USA. He got himself blanked 5 times. The really sad part is those were his only 5 matches on the year!! There were several players with 4 losses at 6-0 6-0. Among them were some familiar futility category names like the Deniz brothers and Josh Olivas.
The "Nah, I Just Don't Feel Like It" Award
Back from a 3 year hiatus is the much coveted "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 Mehdi Tahiri of Morocco. He retired during matches 7 times in 2002 and gave an additional walkover. Of course, there's nothing to say that Tahiri wasn't actually injured, but when 7 of your 11 losses on the year occur due to retirements, maybe he just didn't feel like playing that day! It should also be pointed out that Tahiri was losing during each match when he retired. Dejan Petrovic of Australia retired 6 times and 5 players had 5 each.
Here is the final tally as voted by you, the fans, at the end of last year. The categories and final results were compiled by Jorge Viale and here are the results.
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.