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ATP Number One Ranking: An analysis

June 18, 2017

Andy Murray’s reign as World number 1 hit a very special point on Sunday (23rd April) – according to new research, this was the day he surpassed the average duration of an ATP number one ranking.

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Research by vouchercloud: http://bit.ly/andy-murrays-unique-milestone

Full Data: http://bit.ly/world-number-1-data-tennis

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In fact, since the ATP Rankings system was introduced in 1973, the average reign of a World number 1 has been a rather healthy 168 days – just under 24 weeks – according to research by money-saving website vouchercloud.

Murray, who has struggled through much of the season, has managed to hold onto the top spot despite the always consistent pressure from rivals within and outside of the Big Four. This has been helped in part by the struggles of number 2 Novak Djokovic, who has held the World number 1 spot for 223 weeks across three stints during his career.

That being said, Djokovic’s impressive career still only leaves him 4th in the all-time list – Roger Federer inevitably tops the tables with 302 total weeks as World number 1, while Murray currently lies in 15th in the list of 26 past and present World number 1s.

However, Murray has a long way to go before he surpasses the average career duration at World number 1, which sits at almost 88 weeks – over triple the average duration of a single stint.

Federer’s domination across his career also means that Switzerland sits at second for weeks at World number 1 when it comes to the countries. The USA, with six previous world number 1s, including Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors, dominates the list with 896 weeks. While Switzerland (302), Czech Slovakia (270) and Serbia (223) lag behind (though this is thanks to Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Novak Djokovic single-handedly carrying their respective nations).

Vouchercloud’s data also revealed the players who, perhaps, had the easiest ride to World number 1 – Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Lleyton Hewitt and Marcelo Rios all became World number 1 without having to win a single grand slam. Mats Wilander, on the other hand, had to claim 7 majors before claiming the top spot for the first time, while John Newcombe claimed 6, and Rafael Nadal and Boris Becker 5, before they each led the pack.

In fact, on average, you’ve got to claim at least two grand slams before staking a claim to the World number 1 spot – Andy Murray won three before earning his spot in November.

The data also showed the longest individual stints at World number 1, with Roger Federer famously claiming the top spot (237 weeks). Jimmy Connors (160) and Ivan Lendl (157) still lead Djokovic (122), who will be unlikely to surpass that total throughout the rest of his career.

John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors were to blame for many of the shortest stints, stealing the top spot from each other with stunning regularity. In fact, there were 11 individual one week stays at World number 1 – McEnroe owns four, Connors owns two, and Ivan Lendl also owns two.

The average World number 1 will actually sit at the top of the rankings almost 4 separate times (3.65 average), so there could be a long way for Murray to go yet.

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Notes

Data and calculations collated by Vouchercloud, using data from the ATP World Tour.

Full data is available via the link below:

http://bit.ly/tennis-world-number-1-data

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Career Weeks at World Number 1

Player Career Weeks at World Number 1 Number of Times as World Number 1
Roger Federer 302 3
Pete Sampras 286 11
Ivan Lendl 270 8
Jimmy Connors 268 9
Novak Djokovic 223 3
John McEnroe 170 14
Rafael Nadal 141 3
Björn Borg 109 6
Andre Agassi 101 6
Lleyton Hewitt 80 2
Stefan Edberg 72 5
Jim Courier 58 4
Gustavo Kuerten 43 3
Ilie Nastase 40 1
Andy Murray 24 1
Mats Wilander 20 1
Andy Roddick 13 1
Boris Becker 12 2
Marat Safin 9 3
John Newcombe 8 1
Juan Carlos Ferrero 8 1
Marcelo Rios 6 2
Thomas Muster 6 2
Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6 1
Carlos Moyà 2 1
Patrick Rafter 1 1

 

National Weeks at World Number 1

Country Weeks at Number 1 Number of Players at Number 1
United States 896 6
Switzerland 302 1
Czechoslovakia 270 1
Serbia 223 1
Sweden 201 3
Spain 151 3
Australia 89 3
Brazil 43 1
Romania 40 1
United Kingdom 24 1
Russia 15 2
Germany 12 1
Austria 6 1
Chile 6 1

 

Career Slams before becoming World Number 1

 

Player Career Slams before World Number 1
Andy Roddick 0
Ivan Lendl 0
Lleyton Hewitt 0
Marcelo Rios 0
John McEnroe 1
Juan Carlos Ferrero 1
Marat Safin 1
Thomas Muster 1
Carlos Moya 1
Pete Sampras 1
Gustavo Kuerten 2
Ilie Nastase 2
Jim Courier 2
Jimmy Connors 2
Patrick Rafter 2
Roger Federer 2
Yevgeny Kafelnikov 2
Andre Agassi 3
Andy Murray 3
Novak Djokovic 3
Björn Borg 4
Stefan Edberg 4
Boris Becker 5
Rafael Nadal 5
John Newcombe 6
Mats Wilander 7

 

Longest Stays at World Number 1

Player Longest Stints at World Number 1 Date Ending
Roger Federer 237 August 17, 2008
Jimmy Connors 160 August 22, 1977
Ivan Lendl 157 September 11, 1988
Novak Djokovic 122 November 6, 2016
Pete Sampras 102 March 29, 1998
Jimmy Connors 84 April 8, 1979
Pete Sampras 82 April 9, 1995
Ivan Lendl 80 August 12, 1990
Lleyton Hewitt 75 April 27, 2003
John McEnroe 58 September 12, 1982

 

Shortest Stays at World Number 1

Player Shortest Stints at World Number 1 (weeks) Date Ending
Björn Borg 1 August 29, 1977
John McEnroe 1 August 17, 1980
John McEnroe 1 November 7, 1982
Jimmy Connors 1 November 14, 1982
Jimmy Connors 1 February 6, 1983
John McEnroe 1 February 13, 1983
John McEnroe 1 June 12, 1983
Ivan Lendl 1 June 17, 1984
Ivan Lendl 1 August 25, 1985
Thomas Muster 1 February 18, 1996
Patrick Rafter 1 August 1, 1999

 

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