Well, here is a synopsis of the full records of players for 1999. This includes match records from all ATP tournaments, challengers, and their qualifying. 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!
Busiest player of the year
So the burning question for you stat freaks out there is "who played in the most matches in 1999 when you include the results from all levels?" Was it Gustavo Kuerten? Was it Yevgeny Kafelnikov? Was it Andre Agassi? The answer is Marc Marco of Spain!!! Marco feasted on those Spanish satellites with their four-round qualifying and Marco played a total of 106 matches, posting a record of 69-37. 73 of those 106 matches were at the satellite level. That was one more match than Jean-Rene Lisnard and Javier Garcia-Sintes, who had 105 matches played each. Lisnard, from France, had a 73-32 mark while Garcia-Sintes, also from Spain, was 71-34. Federico Browne of Argentina and Solon Peppas of Greece were the only two other players over 100 matches on the year. So as to not be disappointed, the top player with the most matches was, indeed, Yevgeny Kafelnikov with 86 (58-28).
There was a total of 49 weeks of tennis in 1999. For the top players, you can subtract 9 from that (four grand slams which last two weeks along with Key Biscayne, and four Davis Cup weeks). But for others, there was some futures or satellite action just about every week. It should be pointed out that for the purposes of this list, satellite circuits count as 4 separate events rather than one (masters playoffs do not count as an extra event). Also, if a player withdraws from a tournament or does not play though listed, it does not count as an event played.
The award for most well traveled players goes to Francisco Costa of Brazil and David McCabe of Australia, for participating in 39 weeks of tennis. At the half-way point, you might remember, Orlin Stanoytchev was the leader, and he remained busy finishing just out of the top spot with 38 events. Yuri Schukin and Gorka Fraile also played in 38 events.
Highest winning percentage
If wins and losses determine who is having the best year, that would go to Pete Sampras who finished the year at with a 38-7 (0.844). It wasn't enough to get him the top spot in the rankings but injuries were a problem for Sampras in 1999. Right behind Sampras was the world's #1. Andre Agassi finished the year with a 63-12 record (0.840). There were a bunch of players that finished technically ahead of Sampras and Agassi. There were several players that finished the year undefeated but none with more than three matches. (The way to get an undefeated record is to win a match or two and then withdraw!). There is also some addtional clean-up that I need to do. Korean Seung-Bok Baek had an interesting year. He played in only two events: Korea F1 and Korea F2 and darn near won them both! He took a wild card in to Korea F1 and went all the way to the semifinals before retiring in his semifinal match in the second set. The injury couldn't have been too serious because he came back the next week in Korea F2 with another wild card and took the title, defeating top seed Hyung-Taik Lee in the finals! So he finished the year with an 8-1 record. Another interesting case was Bojan Vujic of Yugoslavia. Vujic played in just 2 events, USA F2 and USA F5. In USA F2 he qualified and made it all the way to the third round. Then in USA F5 he again qualified and reached the semifinals. Not sure why he did so well and only played two events but it got him the amazing record of 12-2 for an 0.857 winning percentage!
"Greatest Effort, Least Reward" Award
There are 1600 or so players in the rankings but over 6500 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 (except for 64-draw events, which, in 2000, have been discontinued), 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! Dann Battistone of the United States gets our "Greatest Effort, Least Reward" Award. Dann played 62 matches in 1999 and won 33 of them, yet did not make it onto the rankings! It was mostly because he played in those afore mentioned 64-draw events in the USA Futures where you must make it to the third round to get a ranking point. Dann feasted on futures and satellite qualies all year, qualifying successfully 8 times only to lose in the first or second round. The nearest player was another American, Shawn Brooke, who played in 53 matches without a ranking.
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 21-year-old American, Scotty Scott. Scott won 16 of his 22 matches in 6 events, successfully qualifying for 5 of them. He even won 2 first round main-draw matches but darn those 64-draw events. Perhaps Scotty will make it someday.
"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 Frenchman Levent Ladin, who went a perfect 0-17 in 1999! On top of that, he lost 6-0 6-0, 6 times, and won only 1 game an additional 4 times. He did manage to take a set from Matthew Barr in Australia F4, but other than that, lost every set! Bless him for keep trying, though. Other o-fers went to James Monaghan (0-16), Denis Ladin (0-15) (yep, Levent's brother!), and Illyar Khammadov (0-12). Also, right up there with Levent Ladin was Leo McCabe of Australia. Leo won only 1 of 24 matches in 1999. (Leo's brother(?), David, was also an award winner for most tournaments played).
Master Blaster Award
The "Master Blaster" award goes to the player with the most 6-0 6-0 victories. Of course, this is most likely a case of facing overmatched opponents, but still warrents some credit. There are two winners, here. Ivan Navarro of Spain and Tim Schouten of the Netherlands. They each "double-bageled" an opponent 4 times in 1999. An additional 15 players did it 3 times and there was an amazing 620 instances of someone being blown out 6-0 6-0! On the flip side, we already mentioned that Levent Ladin was blanked 6 times but Leo McCabe was shut out 7 times!
Bad Boy of the Year Award
For anyone that has been following the results in 1999, this one should not come as any surprise. There were 32 cases of defaults in 1999. There is more than one reason a player can get defaulted from a match; conduct, not returning from a bathroom break in time, etc. But more often than not its because of bad behavior. Of those 32 defaults, only one player had more than one default and that was German Carsten Arriens, who, believe it or not, received 5! So Carsten gets our honorary "John McEnroe Bad Boy" Award! I'm sure Arriens was overjoyed when he heard that the rules of conduct were changed this year and a player is not automatically defaulted after 3 offenses.
I Just Don't Feel Like It" Award
This goes to players who have a habit of retiring from matches or losing by walkover. This goes to Italian Fabio Maggi, who retired during a match 5 times (all when he was losing, by the way) and lost by walkover 1 additional time. We will give Fabio the benefit of the doubt and assume he had some legitimate injuries but its interesting to see those who make a habit of such things. Note: these do not include instances where a player withdrew and was replaced with an alternate/lucky loser. On the flip side, the Free Ride Award goes to the player(s) that win the most by walkover or a retirement. This goes to a more familiar name, Juan Carlos Ferrero, who got such a free ride 6 times! Maybe JC's style of play just makes his opponents want to quit! Also with 6 such wins was another Spaniard, Ignacio Truyol.
Check out everyone's match records here