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The ATP Leaves the Aussies Way Down Under 
(While Making  Kiefer #4)
(published February 2000)

Since Patrick Rafter and Mark Philippoussis are languishing at #16 and #17 respectively in the ATP Entry System rankings, one wonders whether the ATP rankings-makers are forgetting to look south of the equator with any regularity. 

Around the globe, Germany's Nicolas Kiefer is ranked 4th in the world by the ATP.  In the Aussie spirit of friendly competition, let's compare these players' accomplishments, shall we?

Within the past year, Philippoussis advanced to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before losing to eventual-champion Pete Sampras (in a match that Philippoussis led by a set before withdrawing with an injury); he advanced to the 4th round at the Australian Open before losing to eventual-champion Andre Agassi; and he won the Super 9 tournament held at Indian Wells.  In addition, he won both his singles matches in the Davis Cup Finals (with Rafter hurt), leading Australia to the Davis Cup Championship. 

Rafter advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals (beating 8th-seeded Todd Martin along the way), where he lost to Agassi.  He was a finalist in two Super 9 events (losing to Sampras in one of those).  In Davis Cup singles play, he went 2-0 in Australia's quarterfinal victory. 

Kiefer—ranked behind only Agassi, Sampras, and Yevgeny Kafelnikov by the ATP—lost to an unseeded player in the 1st round at the French Open, lost to an unseeded player in the 2nd round at Wimbledon, and lost to an unseeded player in the 3rd round at the U.S. Open.  His reigning Grand Slam highlight is advancing to the Australian Open quarterfinals, where he lost to the first seeded player he faced, 12th-seeded Magnus Norman. 

How did Kiefer do in the Super 9s?  He failed to make the final in any of them.  How did he do in Davis Cup play?  He didn't.  But the ATP doesn't count Davis Cup success, so while Philippoussis and Rafter brought home the Davis Cup for Australia, Kiefer racked up ATP points by winning in Tokyo, Halle, and Tashkent—triumphing over Wayne Ferreira, Nicklas Kulti, and George Bastl in the respective finals.

The AndersonSports Ranking of Tennis Success has Philippoussis #5, Rafter #6, and Kiefer outside of the top-10. 

Doesn't that sound a mite more realistic, mate?


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