Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Who's the best tennis player of all time? Ranking of top male tennis players produces some surprises

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Fans may think of Jimmy Connors as an "old school" tennis player, but according to a new ranking system developed using network analysis, Connors is best player in the history of the game.

Fans may think of Jimmy Connors as an "old school" tennis player, but according to a new ranking system developed by a Northwestern University researcher, Connors is best player in the history of the game.

Related Articles


The rankings are published in PLoS ONE, a journal published by the Public Library of Science.

Male tennis players who played in at least one Association of Tennis Professionals match between 1968 and 2010 were evaluated through network analysis, said Filippo Radicchi, author of the study.

Ranking tennis players is a novel way to show how complex network analysis can reveal interesting facts hidden in statistical data, said Radicchi, a physicist and postdoctoral fellow in the chemical and biological engineering department of Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Radicchi ran an algorithm, similar to the one used by Google to rank Web pages, on digital data from hundreds of thousands of matches. The data was pulled from the Association of Tennis Professionals website. He quantified the importance of players and ranked them by a "tennis prestige" score. This score is determined by a player's competitiveness, the quality of his performance and number of victories.

"In this particular ranking system, it's more important to win a single match against a very good player than many matches against not-so-good players," said Radicchi, who conducted the research in the lab of Luνs Amaral, professor of chemical and biological engineering at the McCormick School.

Here's how the top 30 rank:

1. Jimmy Connors 11. Boris Becker 21. Mats Wilander
2. Ivan Lendl 12. Arthur Ashe 22. Goran Ivanišević
3. John McEnroe 13. Brian Gottfried 23. Vitas Gerulaitis
4. Guillermo Vilas 14. Stan Smith 24. Rafael Nadal 
5. Andre Agassi 15. Manuel Orantes 25. Raul Ramirez
6. Stefan Edberg 16. Michael Chang 26. John Newcombe
7. Roger Federer 17. Roscoe Tanner 27. Ken Rosewall
8. Pete Sampras 18. Eddie Dibbs 28. Yevgeny Kafelnikov
9. Ilie Năstase 19. Harold Solomon 29. Andy Roddick
10. Bjφrn Borg 20. Tom Okker 30. Thomas Muster

"One of the reasons Jimmy Connors ranks on top is because he played for more than 20 years and had the opportunity to win a lot of matches against other very good players," Radicchi said.

He expects current greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to eventually move up in the rankings if they face tough competition and continue to win matches. Radicchi, a lifelong tennis fan, plans to run this study again in 10 years to see how the rankings change.

"The rankings are a snapshot of who is at the top at this time," Radicchi said. "Players who have yet to retire are penalized with respect to those who have ended their careers. Prestige scores strongly correlate with the number of victories, and active players haven't played all the matches of their careers yet."

Researching and ranking sports stars gives a glimpse at the power of complex network analysis.

"The same application could be used to rank countries involved in the global trade of certain commodities," Radicchi said. "In general, this type of analysis can help scientists better explain and understand complicated global relationships."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. The original article was written by Erin White. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Who's the best tennis player of all time? Ranking of top male tennis players produces some surprises." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301091225.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2011, March 3). Who's the best tennis player of all time? Ranking of top male tennis players produces some surprises. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301091225.htm
Northwestern University. "Who's the best tennis player of all time? Ranking of top male tennis players produces some surprises." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301091225.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) — China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Now 'Get' No-Cost Downloads In Apple's App Store

You Now 'Get' No-Cost Downloads In Apple's App Store

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) — Apple has changed its App Store wording from "Free" to "Get," as the European Commission and Federal Trade Commission seek to protect consumers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Blocks Its Own Ads With New Contributor Program

Google Blocks Its Own Ads With New Contributor Program

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) — Google's unveiled a crowdfunding platform dubbed Contributor, which allows people to pay for ad-free sites. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins