In soccer, Brazil and Germany are preeminent; in basketball, it’s the United States; in squash, look to Egypt, and in ice hockey, Canada rules the rink. But which are the dominant nations in tennis
Historically, some national dynasties have dominated the sport, at least on the men’s side: the Four Musketeers of France in the 1920s and 1930s, Harry Hopman’s Australians led by Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, and Lew Hoad in the 1950s, and the American juggernaut of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Jim Courier in the 1990s. But who’s on top today?
We started with a list of countries that had sent players to the 2017 French Open and identified the top 10 men and women
athletes of each nation, as indexed by their UTRs
, then averaged the 10 ratings. (Note that this isn’t limited to those who entered Roland Garros this year. Roger Federer of Switzerland and Serena Williams of the United States do figure in these “top 10” calculations, although they didn’t play in Paris.)
The results are enlightening. On the men’s side, Spain (15.65) and France (15.64) top the list, and with only 0.01 point separating them, it’s a virtual deadlock for first place. A bit further back, in third place is the United States at 15.55, then at fourth/fifth place, another virtual tie between Germany (15.52) and Argentina (15.51). Italy is further back at 15.37 in sixth place, followed by Serbia, Australia, and the United Kingdom. There’s a literal tie for tenth/eleventh place between Belgium and Russia at 15.23.
Top 15 Countries in Men's Tennis (Graphic is based on average UTR of Top 10 players from listed countries- June 2017)
Some fans might register surprise at the strong showings by Japan an #12 and Croatia at #13, as well as Brazil, #17, Portugal and Korea at #20 and #21, and Colombia, #24. The highest 17 nations
all had men’s averages of 15.00 or better.
Women’s tennis produces a very different list. There, the United States leads the world at 12.83
, followed by Czech Republic at 12.76 and Russia at 12.69. The leading male-tennis nations of Spain and France come in at #7 and #9 on the women’s side. Interestingly, Ukraine’s women rank far higher than its men: the Ukrainian ladies are fifth in the world at 12.45, whereas the men rank 27th at 14.69. Similarly, the Chinese women equaled the Ukrainians’ 12.45 at fifth/sixth place, but the Chinese men, at 14.60, came in 31st.
Universal Tennis Ratings
Top 15 Countries in Women's Tennis (Graphic is based on average UTR of Top 10 players from listed countries- June 2017)
(UTR) are a widely validated method of rating any tennis player—men, women, and people of all ages—on a single 16-point scale. Unlike conventional rankings, UTRs are based on head-to head results: who did you play, and what was the score? This way of computing ratings has made UTR the most accurate and reliable method of rating tennis players worldwide.
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