Clay Warmups 1990-2011
When Roland Garros gets underway the prognosticators are out in full force, telling us who the favorites
are for the title.  The predictions are based on two factors:  
   1)  Previous success at Roland Garros and
   2)  Current form shown in the claycourt tournaments leading up to Paris.  
This study will look at (2) to see if there is a strong correlation between how players fare in the clay
warmups and subsequently at Roland Garros.

Point allocation for warmups

Masters Series - Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, Madrid - the most prestigious tournaments below the
slams, they have draws of 56 or 64.  Points:  W-10  F-7  SF-4  QF-2

Barcelona - not quite as prestigious as the top four, but has a 56-draw and always attracts a strong
claycourt field.  Points:  W-8  F-5  SF-3  QF-1

Minor Europe tourneys - ranging from Casablanca to Madrid to Munich, all these tournaments have a 28 or
32 draw and are played on red clay.  Points:  W-6  F-4  SF-2

Final tuneup - ATP tournaments held the week before Roland Garros..  Most top players either compete in
the World Team Championship or take this week off, and the value of these tourneys are reduced
accordingly.  Points:  W-4  F-2  SF-1

American tourneys - the weak sisters of the clay season, these not only have attracted extremely poor
fields but for many years were played on green clay, which is faster than red clay and thus of dubious value
in predicting Roland Garros success.  Points:  W-3  F-2  SF-1

Best clay warmup performances 1990-2011

Here are all the warmup point totals over 20, with the subsequent RG result in ( ).

1996   36  Thomas Muster (4R)
2007  35   Rafael Nadal (WON)
2009  35   Rafael Nadal (4R)
1995   34  Thomas Muster (WON)
2011   32   Rafael Nadal (WON)
2001   31  Juan Carlos Ferrero (SF)
2010   30   Rafael Nadal (WON)
1992   29  Carlos Costa (4R)
2005  28  Rafael Nadal (WON)
2006  28  Rafael Nadal (WON)
2008  28  Rafael Nadal (WON)
1997   27  Alex Corretja (4R)
2011   26   Novak Djokovic (SF)
1991   25  Sergi Bruguera (2R)
1994   24  Andrei Medvedev (QF)
2009  24   Novak Djokovic (3R)
1999   23  Marcelo Rios (QF)
2003   23  Juan Carlos Ferrero (WON)
1999   22  Gustavo Kuerten (QF)
2008  22  Roger Federer (F)
1990   21  Thomas Muster (SF)
1993   21  Sergi Bruguera (WON)
2000  21  Marat Safin (QF)
2010   21   Fernando Verdasco (4R)
1990   20  Andrei Chesnokov (4R)
1990   20  Juan Aguilera (2R)

No surprise to see Muster and Nadal dominating the top of the list; what may surprise is that Muster's
1996 outranks 1995.  Both seasons were remarkable; in each he won Estoril, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, and
Rome.  In 1996 he threw in a SF at Munich for good measure.  Nadal in  2010 completed the only Masters
Series hat trick, sweeping Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid.  Others on the list include the usual suspects -
Ferrero, Kuerten, Bruguera, Federer, and Djokovic.  

What you have no doubt noticed already is that this list of 26 great clay court seasons produced only 9
winners in Paris.  Does that invalidate the good clay warmups = good RG result theory?  Not entirely, note
there are many SF and QF RG results.  But it may suggest a burnout factor in playing so many matches
beforehand, especially matches with no rest days which occurs in all warmup events.