#FantasyTennis Insider: Picking the grass court specialists

Published by FTL Insider

Andy Murray tops the grass court ELO rankings for both performances in 2016 and throughout his career. Photo: Getty Images
If you’re assembling a team for the grass season, it pays to look at player statistics on the surface.

The contrast between tennis surfaces isn’t as stark as it was, perhaps, ten years ago. But that doesn’t mean grass court specialists don’t exist. And with that swing starting next week, it’s time for the experts on the green stuff to have their time in the sun.

If you’re assembling a fantasytennisleague.com team for the next five weeks, which players should you be looking at? We’ve teamed up with the stats gurus at Tennis Australia’s GIG to analyse the grass-specific ELO rankings of the world’s best players during their careers and in 2016. ELO rankings award points based on wins and losses, with more points awarded for wins over ‘better’ players, and more points lost for surprise defeats. You can see the rankings for the Top 25 men and women (career and 2016) at the end of this article.

Murray tops men’s rankings

Perhaps surprisingly, Andy Murray ($11.3m) was not only the best player on grass in 2016, but also has the best career ELO rating of any of the top players on the turf. He’s scheduled to play Queen’s and Wimbledon, and with his recent upturn in form he might prove to be a sound investment.

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Conversely, Novak Djokovic ($13.63m) might be second on the career ELO, but came in 35th overall in 2016. While his form is definitely improving (yesterday’s defeat to Dominic Thiem aside), he’s only scheduled to play one tournament (Wimbledon) in the next six weeks and so looks like an expensive proposition.

Meanwhile, with two grass court lead-in tournaments on his calendar, Roger Federer ($20.28m) seems to be a natural post-French Open swap for Rafael Nadal ($21.05m), who has struggled on the grass in previous years.

If you’re looking to pick up some value players, Nicolas Mahut ($4.3m) has a full schedule and is renowned for his ability on the grass. So, too, is Richard Gasquet ($7.6m), who should be good for points in the coming weeks, And what about Florian Mayer ($2.47m)? He’s got serious grass court pedigree, has a packed schedule and comes at a bargain bucket price. What’s not to like?

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Big hitters come to the fore

With Serena Williams on the sidelines for this grass court swing, there’s a chance for some new names to come to the fore.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is Serena’s big sister Venus ($11.29m) who comes in second on the career ELO rankings. However, Venus is only booked in to play Wimbledon this season, so it will probably pay to look elsewhere in the coming weeks.

Last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Angelique Kerber ($8.77m) is unsurprisingly a good investment based on ELO ratings. The German is scheduled to play Birmingham (GW19), but if you’re thinking of investing perhaps it would be prudent to wait a week as her value will surely drop following her French Open flop.

If you’re eyeing a bargain, Sabine Lisicki ($4.16m) is making her return from injury. The German, who has been absent for an extended period, has the perfect game for grass but does lack match practice. Coco Vandeweghe ($6.12m) is another player with a game suited to the green stuff and has a packed schedule in the coming weeks. And Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina ($5.63m) is hasn’t enjoyed her time on the clay, but has a game better suited to the grass and will be looking to pick up points – and value – in the next five weeks.

Grass court ELO ratings for Top 25 men

Men’s grass court career rankings (ELO)     Men’s grass court 2016 rankings (ELO)  
Player FTL value ($m) Rank Player FTL value ($m)
Andy Murray 11.3 1 Andy Murray 11.3
Novak Djokovic 13.63 2 Milos Raonic 10.1
Roger Federer 20.28 3 Roger Federer 20.28
Milos Raonic 10.1 4 Gilles Muller 6.41
Jo Wilfried Tsonga 9.4 5 Steve Johnson 6.4
Marin Cilic 8.83 6 Ivo Karlovic 4.12
Rafael Nadal 21.05 7 Nicolas Mahut 4.32
Juan Martin Del Potro 7.05 8 Dominic Thiem 12.55
Kei Nishikori 9.38 9 Sam Querrey 7.84
Tomas Berdych 8.74 10 Kei Nishikori 9.38
Richard Gasquet 7.63 11 Tomas Berdych 8.74
Florian Mayer 2.47 12 Florian Mayer 2.47
Nicolas Mahut 4.32 13 Bernard Tomic 3.96
Nick Kyrgios 10.6 14 Philipp Kohlschreiber 5.76
Philipp Kohlschreiber 5.76 15 Marin Cilic 8.83
Ivo Karlovic 4.12 16 Alexander Zverev 11.58
Tommy Haas 3.56 17 Jo Wilfried Tsonga 9.4
Sam Querrey 7.84 18 Jiri Vesely 5.7
Steve Johnson 6.4 19 Donald Young 4.4
Grigor Dimitrov 6.38 20 Richard Gasquet 7.63
John Isner 8.13 21 David Goffin 10.7
Feliciano Lopez 5.51 22 Adrian Mannarino 4.8
Bernard Tomic 3.96 23 Andreas Seppi 3.68
Stan Wawrinka 9.1 24 Lucas Pouille 8.6
Kevin Anderson 6.34 25 Pablo Cuevas 7.41

Grass court ELO ratings for Top 25 women

Women’s grass court career rankings (ELO)   Women’s grass court 2016 rankings (ELO)
Player FTL value ($m) Rank Player FTL value ($m)
Serena Williams 20.36 1 Serena Williams 20.36
Venus Williams 11.29 2 Dominika Cibulkova 7.87
Angelique Kerber 8.77 3 Coco Vandeweghe 6.12
Maria Sharapova 10.8 4 Elena Vesnina 5.63
Victoria Azarenka 10.97 5 Madison Keys 7.28
Madison Keys 7.28 6 Angelique Kerber 8.77
Petra Kvitova 9.22 7 Karolina Pliskova 8.54
Sabine Lisicki 4.16 8 Venus Williams 11.29
Dominika Cibulkova 7.87 9 Caroline Garcia 5.66
Elena Vesnina 5.63 10 Barbora Strycova 8.28
Agnieszka Radwanska 6.03 11 Ekaterina Makarova 4.48
Coco Vandeweghe 6.12 12 Simona Halep 13.57
Belinda Bencic 2.61 13 Misaki Doi 3.91
Simona Halep 13.57 14 Carla Suarez Navarro 7.4
Ekaterina Makarova 4.48 15 Monica Puig 4.49
Barbora Strycova 8.28 16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6.03
Karolina Pliskova 8.54 17 Johanna Konta 10.97
Sloane Stephens 8.21 18 Kristina Mladenovic 13.58
Yaroslava Shvedova 3.5 19 Belinda Bencic 2.61
Garbine Muguruza 6.42 20 Agnieszka Radwanska 6.03
Kristina Mladenovic 13.58 21 Yaroslava Shvedova 3.5
Jelena Jankovic 3.7 22 Alison Riske 5.35
Svetlana Kuznetsova 11.59 23 Jelena Jankovic 3.7
Kirsten Flipkens 4.73 24 Eugenie Bouchard 3.82
Lucie Safarova 7.23 25 Kirsten Flipkens 4.73
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