How Hard is it to Win a Tennis Tournament?

Kyle Edmund, Britain’s number 1, has won his first ever ATP World Tour title. He has done exceptionally well, especially during a period when British hopes were low due to the absence of Andy Murray. What got us wondering though, was how this could be his first ever ATP World Tour title? He is ranked 14th in the world, has been playing for over 6 years on tour, and has been in 88 ATP tournaments, but he has only won 1? How hard is it then to win an ATP title?

There are 68 ATP tournaments a year;

  • 4 Grand Slams
  • 1 ATP Finals
  • 1 ATP Next Gen Finals
  • 9 ATP Masters
  • 13 500 Series
  • 40 250 Series

Now obviously, some of these overlap, but most players play in around 20 – 30 tournaments a year. So you would think, as a pro player, you should be winning at least 1 or 2 titles a year. Well, unfortunately not. If we look at the top 30 ranked players at the moment, 9 are yet to win a tournament this year, and three of those players are  currently in the top 15, Grigor Dimitrov (10), Kei Nishikori (11), David Goffin (12). Now we could just say that they aren’t having a good year, they’ll do better in 2019. Well unfortunately, thats not the case.

Kevin Anderson, a player currently ranked 8th in the world, once ranked 5th, who has played on the tour for over 11 years and has earned $14 million, has won a grand title of 4 ATP World Tour tournaments. That is less than 1 a year, but the strange thing is, he has had a very successful career. It seems that, even though there are lots of tournaments and opportunities to win titles throughout the year, the top players focus their attention on the grand slams and masters. Tournaments that they might not necessarily be able to win, but to get through a few rounds will provide them with big money and lots of points.

When you then realise that players such as Federer have won 98 tournaments, you begin to really understand how amazing he really is. But even he struggled to get that maiden title. His first ATP World Tour tournament was in Marseille in 1999. 2 years, and 45 tournaments later, he got his first title. He was 20 years old, and ranked 29th in the world at the time.

Hopefully that means Kyle Edmund still has time to grab a few more titles to his name, but it is a shame when you realise that there are so many amazing players out there, yet in their entire careers, they will very rarely ever win a major tournament.


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