Monday, July 13, 2015

Williams Wins Wimbledon, Again … Which Tennis Grand Slam Tournament Has The Highest Concentration of Winners?

This year Serena Williams won the Wimbledon Championships for the sixth time. It seems that quite a few players have won Wimbledon a lot of times. Martina Navratilova won it nine times. Steffi Graf won it seven times. Serena’s sister Venus won it five times. On the men’s side, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have won it seven times each.

But then it seems like you can win the French Open a lot of times too if you’re good on clay. Rafael Nadal has won that tournament nine times. Bjorn Borg won it six times. Chris Evert won the women’s singles seven times, and Graf got six titles.

Although maybe the Australian Open is the ‘easy’ Grand Slam tournament to win if it suits your game – after all, Novak Djokovic won it for the fifth time earlier this year, and Serena Williams won it for the sixth time. Or as Bill Simmons once noted, maybe tennis just lends itself to a player being completely dominant.

So which Grand Slam tournament has had the most dominant players, i.e. the highest concentration of winners? To measure this I calculated a concentration measure known as Herfindahl-Hirschman Index for each of the Grand Slam tournaments in the Open era (1968 onwards). The higher the index, the more concentrated the winners have been. The results were as follows:

Men’s singles: Wimbledon: 0.078, French Open: 0.075, US Open: 0.060, Australian Open: 0.052.
Women’s singles: Wimbledon: 0.101, US Open: 0.075, French Open: 0.069, Australian Open: 0.066.

So Wimbledon has the highest concentration of winners for both the men’s and women’s singles. I’ve noted above the main winners: in the men’s singles Sampras, Federer and Borg have won 19 of the 48 titles; in the women’s singles Navratilova, Graf, and the Williams sisters have won 27 titles between them. If you look at the combined totals of the top three or four winners for the other major tournaments they each lag behind those numbers.

Wimbledon – the most traditional, prestigious of Grand Slam tournaments. But also the most uncompetitive as well.

No comments: