More Hot Air Please?
by Sean Randall | April 16th, 2006, 10:08 pm

Time for me to blow a little more hot air. Just kidding of course, or maybe I’m not.

Roger smiling, but does he know he's getting screwed?Unfortunately I’m still a bit hung up on the player participation issue I have, which if you haven’t read my prior posts revolves around the fact that top players are playing roughly 25% of their scheduled events (i.e., Roger Federer plays roughly 25% of the events on the circuit). Point being, that’s much less than the stars of others sports play…

Anyway, got plenty of reaction and just about all of it was negative – even from the real writers on this site! Fair enough! But what I wrote was plain and simple, fact. And here’s some more.

Continuing on the theme of just how much tennis players really do play, i did some further investigating.

Among the following pro sports stars, who do you think had the most “game days” during their last season (game day being one that counted – not exo): Golfer Vijay Singh, Hoops star Tim Duncan, Hockey’s Steve Yzerman, Tennis great Roger Federer or Baseball’s Derek Jeter.

Federer of course last year finished with an incredible 81-4 record. That’s a total of 85 “game days” in which he played. So where’s that rank among the afore mentioned athletes. Does Sir Rog play more than Duncan, or less than Yzerman? Let’s see:

At No. 1 with 159 games total last year was New York Yankee Derek Jeter. No surprise really as baseball plays a 162 game season, and frankly I don’t event think the 159 includes the playoffs, but seeing how he is so far ahead it’s no matter.

The second spot goes to golf star Vijay Singh, who believe it or not put in about 110 days of during the 2005 PGA season. Singh played 30 events of which nearly all of them required his participation in four rounds of play due to the fact he made 26 cuts. Of course it is golf, so…

At No. 3 is NBA big man Tim Duncan who checks with 89 total games played during the 2004-2005 season. Duncan of course led his Spurs to the title last May.

At No. 4 on the list is Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings. As we know Hockey was “on strike” for the 2004-2005 season, but in 2003-2004 the Red Wings captain skated in 86 games though his squad was bounced in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Calgary Flames.

And finally at No. 5 is our guy from tennis Roger Federer, who again was on court a total of 85 times last year.

The numbers are no joke, look ‘em up!

Now if you are a tennis fan – and since this is a tennis site you probably are – you are thinking “but Sean, golf is a joke and baseball is hardly exercise and well, Roger has to work so hard, and has to recover and practice and travel and…”

Yeah, I get that. Golf is a joke and baseball, geez, 40-year-old guys are still in the league so I can’t give them a nod in terms of work demands over the other sports.

But based on the numbers, it’s clear to me that Federer, Duncan and Yzerman all had basically the same number of work days, around 85. As for who does the most actual “work”, that’s up another issue. I’m a tennis guy so I’ll say Roger. An NBA guy would probably say Duncan while a hockey fan would likely say Yzerman (i have to admit, hockey’s rough stuff and Yzerman may get my vote and even Duncan, unlike Roger, had to undergo plenty of bodily contact!).

And before you start on me…they all practice, they all have to travel and they all have to do media interviews and visit sponsors, etc. Yes, I know Duncan was in the playoffs as was Yzerman thus extending their season but Roger was in the Master Cup, too. I’m not saying which is more difficult. What I am saying is that in the end Roger gets screwed because the nutjobs who run tennis can’t their sport under control and get a proper, more relevant and coherent schedule together. Tennis needs a schedule that makes sense and allows top players like Roger to play a full(er) schedule – like 50% or more of the scheduled events – over an eight month or so period.

That’s that. And those are facts. Enough for now on this topic…

The numbers again:

Player Days Season
1. Derek Jeter (MLB) 159 2005
2. Vijay Singh (PGA) 110 2005
3. Tim Duncan (NBA) 89 2004-2005
4. Steve Yzerman (NHL) 86 2003-2004
5. Roger Federer (ATP) 85 2005

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4 Comments for More Hot Air Please?

BeerMe Says:

those are some good numbers, anyone who actually plays tennis at a high level knows it is the most work of any sport.

Kristi Says:

84 wins = over 568 matches played!! Tennis is more stressful REGARDLESS of the # of days/games played, because unlike other sports where players are paid a ridiculous salary whether they play, are benched, are injured, etc. tennis greats such as Roger only get the money they earn by playing match after match and making it to the semis, finals, etc. Oh, by the way if Roger is 84-4 don’t forget he had to play SEVEN matches before he won each of those 84 tournaments; thus 84 is really 568!!!! Perhaps you don’t know as much about tennis as you claim.

Kristi Says:

WHOOPS! I was so quick to defend the sport of tennis and especially tennis great, Roger Federer, that I hadn’t had my coffee yet. Big mistake! I have to take back what I said in my previous e-mail; one can’t play 568 days when there is only 365 in a year. I didn’t mean to sound like Jessica Simposon and be so brilliant this morning. HOWEVER tennis is still the hardest sport to play. You don’t have team members to “rescue” you if you are playing poorly; you don’t get a contract salary, you only get paid for matches you win, you don’t earn any money if injured….. Need I go on? Plus tennis players play for their country in Davis Cup (no monetary reward) and those matches/DAYS should be counted as well. So there’s my response and opinion. TENNIS is the harder of the sports…. Kristi

Sunny Says:

To the contrary, there should be more tournaments at more places more frequently than happening till now. Newer players will come up and newer rivalries will sprout. New fans will be acquired and most definitely much wider audiences.

I don’t need to see the top players play each other in every tournament. It would be utterly boring. Let in new blood. Let it spice up. Let it flourish in all corners of the world at all times for all players.

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