The draw for the 2017 Rolland Garros men’s tournament is complete and with it comes the questions of which player has a good or bad draw. This conversation happens entirely qualitatively with no quantification analysis utilized. Since Riles Clubhouse publishes our probabilities when the draw (Rolland Garros Predictions) is announced, it was natural to approach the draw analysis with the same quantification.
Draws for grand slams have specific rules. The #1 and #2 seeded players are placed on opposite ends of the bracket whiles the #3 and #4 seeds are then drawn into either half of the bracket. Then the seeds for #5 through #8 are placed individually drawn into each one of the top 4 seeds quarter. Next, seeds #9 to #12 are individually drawn in the same section as seeds #5 to #8 (as potential 4th round opponent). Likewise, seeds #13 to #16 are drawn into the same section as seeds #1 to #4. Next, seeds #17 to #24 are individually drawn into the section of seeds #9 to #16 as their potential 3rd round opponent. Again, seeds #25 to #32 are drawn into the same section of seeds #1 to #8 as their 3rd round potential opponent. Finally, the remaining 96 players are randomly drawn into the remaining available spaces.
This process creates a massive number of possible draw permutations. To model this large number of variations, a Monte Carlo simulation is employed in which we run hundreds of potential draw outcomes and use of Riles Clubhouse methodology to estimate each player’s probability of reaching each round in the tournament. The actual draw is then compared to the hundreds of draw simulations to determine if a player has an advantageous or poor draw.
For example, Andy Murray’s round by round probability is shown below. The orange line is the actual draw probability while the dark gray line is the average simulated draw probability. The dash lines represent +/- 2 standard deviations away from the average. If the orange line is above the solid gray line, then that player has an advantageous draw. Likewise, if the orange line is below the dark gray line, the player has a poor draw.
Also, from the analysis we can calculate the percentile that the actual draw is compared to the simulations. An average draw would be 50% percentile, a poor draw below that, and a good draw above 50%. Using Andy Murray as the example again, his draw percentile is 47% meaning that he has an average draw although very slightly on the poor side. Below is a comparison of the draw percentiles for each of the seeded players.
The seed with the best draw is David Goffin at 86% percentile. This means that his current draw is better than 86% of the draw possibilities. Looking at his draw in more detail, we can see that specifically his draw is best setup for him in the round of 16 and quarterfinals. This is because Ivo Karlovic is considered a weaker 3rd round opponent, and that Dominic Thiem is the potential round of 16 opponent. Although Thiem is a strong player, his upfront portion of the draw is strong and therefore has less of a chance to make it to that matchup against Goffin.
The player with the worst draw is Jack Sock at 4% percentile. His opening opponent of Jiri Vesely is no picnic followed by Ryan Harrison or Aljaz Bedene, likely Roberto Bautista Agut and then Rafael Nadal.
Once the opening serve is underway, this analysis of the draws becomes filed away. But the impact of the draw will define this year’s tournament. Look for a surprisingly deep run for David Goffin while we could see Jack Sock struggle earlier than his seed suggests.