Elo Ratings: Men’s clay-court standings

Published by Stephanie Kovalchik

Rafael Nadal has dominated on clay for over a decade; Getty Images
With a record 10 French Open titles, Rafael Nadal has long been the man to beat on clay, but who are the men most likely to threaten his dominance?
Elo ratings are an alternative to more traditional rankings, aimed at giving a greater insight into a player’s performance ability.
> Women’s Elo Rankings: Who can stop Halep on clay this year?
They factor in every professional match a player has played in their career, taking into account the level of the opponent, the difficulty of the match and whether it took place at tour level or at a Grand Slam.
When adjusted for specific surfaces, they still take into account all of a player’s matches but weigh those on the chosen surface more heavily.
Elo Clay Ranking Player Elo Clay Rating
1 Rafael Nadal 2287.1
2 Roger Federer 2255.5
3 Novak Djokovic 2253.9
4 Juan Martin del Potro 2150.4
5 Dominic Thiem 2108.8
6 Andy Murray 2101.7
7 Alexander Zverev 2046.8
8 Marin Cilic 2040.7
9 David Goffin 2034.3
10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2012.8
11 Kei Nishikori 2009.6
12 Gael Monfils 2001.6
13 Stan Wawrinka 1995.5
14 Diego Schwartzman 1979.5
15 Tomas Berdych 1975.2
16 Grigor Dimitrov 1974.1
17 Richard Gasquet 1966.8
18 Nick Kyrgios 1960.9
19 Milos Raonic 1957.5
20 David Ferrer 1951.3
21 Kevin Anderson 1947.0
22 Roberto Bautista Agut 1946.9
23 Lucas Pouille 1934.3
24 Fabio Fognini 1932.9
25 Hyeon Chung 1931.4
26 John Isner 1927.8
27 Philipp Kohlschreiber 1927.1
28 Fernando Verdasco 1923.7
29 Alexandr Dolgopolov 1918.8
30 Borna Coric 1896.1

(April 2nd Elo rankings for players who have competed in the last two years)

How do Elo ratings work?

  • Elo ratings are already used in many other sports and when applied to tennis they outperform other published prediction methods, including those based on offical rankings.
  • Elo ratings factor in all main draw singles matches above the Challenger level.
  • Elo is smart about how many points are won or lost. If a player did more than expected in earning a win against a strong opponent, they earn more points than for an easy win. If a player underperformed by getting upset, they lose more points than for losing to an equal opponent.
  • Elo ratings can be surface-adjusted, taking into account all of a player’s matches, but weighing those on the specific surface more heavily.
  • Elo ratings of players absent from competition for more than three months are deducted 100 points. Walkovers and retirements are excluded.
  • Players earn/lose more points for results over the same opponents at Grand Slams compared to lower-level tournaments.
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