Theres No Place Like Home For John Isner

John Isner became the top-ranked American male tennis player by playing his best tennis at home. He wins more than two-thirds of his matches in the U.S., but just half elsewhere. Tennis writers have portrayed Isner’s strength at home as a weakness abroad. But in his sport, where players set large parts of their own schedules, displaying a repeatable competitive advantage is an opportunity, not a liability.1Unlike, say, in the NBA, where an Eastern Conference team that struggles out west can’t replace trips to California with more home dates.Even as he’s pledged to solve his road woes, Isner has filled his calendar with U.S. events. His home-court advantage has helped him rise this month from the world’s No. 13 to No. 10. A couple of weeks ago at a tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., Isner reached the semifinals, where he took a set off No. 2 Novak Djokovic. This week in Miami, he reached the round of 16 but lost on Tuesday to No. 7 Tomas Berdych. In two weeks, Isner will seek to defend his title in Houston.These wouldn’t have passed for spectacular American results when Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras ruled the sport in the 1990s, or even when Andy Roddick and James Blake took up residence in the top 10 during the last decade. These days, though, pretty good is as good as it gets for American men in tennis. None of Isner’s peers got past the round of 64 at either tournament this month; he was the last American man at each by at least two rounds. And no other American man is ranked in the top 60 in the world. (There’s little reason to hope for better things from the next generation: No American ranks in the top 20 in either the under-20 or under-21 world rankings.)Isner is famous among casual fans for his role in the longest match ever played, which he won over Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010, with the basketball-like 70-68 score in the fifth set. But he’s done his best work at home. Fourteen of his 17 career finals and six of his eight career titles have come in the United States. He’s been an entirely average player at the tour level2This means matches that count towards a player’s official match record: matches at Grand Slam tournaments, in Davis Cup matches and at ATP World Tour events. away from the U.S., winning 51 percent of his matches. At American events, he’s won 69 percent.“I always play my best in the United States,” Isner said at a press conference in Indian Wells. “A lot of times, especially in Europe, I have ‑‑ you know, I haven’t had great results at all.” He was at a loss to explain why, offering perhaps a lack of toughness at overseas tournaments. “There is no reason I can’t have a result like this outside of the U.S.,” he said.The reasons for Isner’s home advantage are varied. The obvious suspects, like the surface he’s playing on and the strength of his opponents, don’t fully explain it. A lot of it comes down to Isner himself.It’s true that much of Isner’s home success has come against weak competition. He has thrived at smaller U.S. tournaments that are optional for top players, who mostly live in Europe and don’t bother to make the trip. These events account for all of his U.S. titles and all but two of his U.S. finals. Just 6 percent of his matches at those events have come against top 10 players, none ranked in the top four. The relative weakness of his competition thanks to these events can be seen in the median ranking of his opponents over the last year: just 64, making his the softest schedule of any player in the top 35 in the world rankings.Isner also gets to play on hard courts, his favorite surface, at most of the U.S. events where he chooses to play. Just two are played on other surfaces: Houston, on clay; and Newport, R.I., on grass.These factors alone don’t explain Isner’s U.S. success, though. I pulled his career match record and ran a logistic regression, controlling for surface,3Isner has played 32 matches on grass, 66 matches on clay and 256 matches on hard courts. I separately ran the regression with each surface and also combining hard and grass, since so few matches are played on grass. The results were essentially the same. the ranking of his opponent4Technically I used the logarithm of his opponent’s ranking, since there is a much wider gap between the No. 1 and No. 10 players in the world — and therefore the probability of beating each one — than there is between the No. 10 and No. 100 players. and the value of each match, in ranking points.5The goal was to check whether Isner plays better in higher-leverage matches, those that count for more — i.e. matches in big tournaments, or later rounds of smaller ones. If he does, this effect could be confused with a preference for home courts. That’s because many of his U.S. events have weak fields, pitting Isner against early-round opponents whom he’d likely beat anywhere. That gives him more high-stakes home matches, so if he thrives in high-stakes matches, it might help explain his home advantage.To calculate the leverage of each match, I took the number of ranking points Isner would receive if he lost the match and subtracted it from the number he would get if he won, then lost the subsequent match. The result is roughly the value of the match, as prize money rises with ranking points and the points also determine a player’s subsequent seedings and affect his earning potential. The calculation is complicated by the ATP’s change in ranking points in 2009, so it isn’t exact, but since most of Isner’s tour-level matches came after 2008, the effect is small. Even after controlling for these factors, Isner remains a homecoming king. Surface, it turns out, isn’t a statistically significant driver of his success. Nor is the value of winning the match. His opponent’s ranking is highly significant. But independent of these factors, a 50-50 match for Isner away from home becomes a match he’ll win two out of three times in the U.S.Tennis isn’t usually associated with strong home-court effects, because of its individual and international nature. Many events draw fans from across the globe, who cheer for players from countries other than their own. And most players get few chances to play at home outside of the Davis Cup, the partisan international team competition that provides a rare home-court advantage in tennis. A popular explanation for home advantage in many other sports — that officials are influenced by partisan crowds — doesn’t translate to tennis because electronic line-call review at the sport’s top levels has greatly reduced the potential influence of subjective calls on match outcomes.Perhaps Isner thrives so much at home because of his background in college tennis, a level of competition where the team is primary. Isner starred at the University of Georgia and loves college team sports, spending much of a press conference last Saturday in Miami breaking down his NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket. Isner counts on support from American crowds, and was taken aback by U.S. Open fans’ cheers for his opponent, Frenchman Gael Monfils, last summer.Isner lamented his inconsistency away from home in that Indian Wells press conference, and he’d naturally rather do as well outside the U.S. as he does in it. But if he had to choose between his unbalanced current record and, say, maintaining the same win probability everywhere, he should opt for the status quo. Ranking points and prize money nearly double at each stage of a tournament, rewarding players who alternate finals with first-round exits over players who consistently lose in the second round.6We can illustrate this by imagining a simplified five-tournament sequence in which each tournament has 32 players and five rounds. Points and prize money double each round, from one point and $1 for a first-round exit up to 32 points and $32 for a title.Player A, with one title and four first-round losses, would pick up 32 points and $32 for the title, and an additional four points and $4 for the other four tournaments, for a total haul of 36 points and $36. His record would be 5-4.Player B, with five quarterfinal exits, would get four points and $4 in each tournament, for a total of 20 points and $20 — barely half the yield of Player A, despite a superior win-loss record of 10-5.So inconsistency in tennis is good. Even better is predictable inconsistency. A player who doesn’t know when he’ll thrive can’t plan around it. Someone who does best at clay-court events can schedule as many as he can fit in. A player who plays best at home ought to schedule as many home tournaments as possible. Isner has learned that lesson. He has reaped the benefits of a tournament calendar that still features a significant number of U.S. events, even as players from other countries have ascended in the rankings.In addition to the U.S. Open and the mandatory events in Indian Wells, Miami and Cincinnati, Isner had 10 ATP events in the U.S. to choose from in 2007 and 2008, his first two years on tour. That number declined to nine, then eight and then, this year, seven. But the decline in American men’s talent has been even steeper during that time, making ranking points at those events low-hanging fruit for Isner. Combine the easy fields with his home-court preference, and Isner finds lots of success in places such as Atlanta, Winston Salem, N.C., and Houston — even as events he played earlier in his career in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, San Jose, Calif., and New Haven, Conn., have vanished.Early in his career, Isner didn’t choose so well for himself. In his first two years on tour, he opted to play just three of his 10 non-mandatory events in the U.S. But from 2009 to 2013, he managed to play 29 of his 53 optional events in the U.S., even though only one-fifth of such events took place there. Last year, the U.S. hosted eight of these events, and Isner played in seven. He reached the semifinals of six and the finals of three, winning twice.Isner has taken advantage of his home-court preference more wisely than his peer and frequent doubles partner, Sam Querrey. I ran the same analysis on Querrey, the second-ranked American man today. For Querrey, too, surface and leverage weren’t significant. He also showed a significant home-court advantage, though the effect was smaller and less significant than for Isner.7A 50-50 match away from the U.S. for Querrey would turn into a match he’d win 62 percent of the time at home. Yet after playing almost exclusively at home in his rookie year on tour, Querrey has opted to play events away from the U.S. almost as often as home tournaments, averaging one more optional road trip per year than Isner.Perhaps many players would show a strong, significant home advantage if they had the chance. None of the world’s top five players gets more than two or three home events each year. Players from the other Grand Slam-hosting countries — the U.K., France and Australia — have a few more opportunities. But those countries combined have about the same number of tournaments as the U.S.Tennis’s general move away from the U.S., and Isner’s impending 29th birthday, might keep him from entering as many home events in the future. He’s compensating by making more of his opportunities and stepping up at the bigger U.S. events, such as this month’s strong runs and his finals in Cincinnati last year and in Indian Wells the year before that. If Isner can keep improving at the big U.S. events, he won’t have to worry about getting better away from home. read more

RBC will refinance TCI UK Bail Out loan

first_img RBC Team off to Grand Turk with EZ Pay Related Items:royal bank of canada, uk tci bail out Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 06 Jan 2015 – Royal Bank of Canada, RBC is the bank the Government will go with to refinance that UK-backed bail-out loan of 2009. The Loan Refinancing Ordinance passed on December 17th and took effect the next day. The new law lays out the who, the how, the how much and the how long among other things of the bridge loan refinancing which will do away with the UK guaranteed loan of $170 million dollars. It is outlined in the ordinance that the loan with RBC cannot exceed $28 million dollars, must be repaid at the end of three and a half years, at a rate initially of 1.2% and that it will be repaid in fourteen equal installments of two million dollars every ninety days. It is explained that in order to keep that borrowing rate, the Turks and Caicos will have to maintain a BBB+ rating for at least the duration of the loan; if we lose ground there, it will cause a hike in the borrowing rate. This also means that if the TCI secures a better credit rating, then the rate of the loan will decrease. Included in that ordinance is that the TCI can repay the RBC Loan early without penalty and that the first payment would be due ninety days after disbursement of the money. Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Roll Out of EZ Pay in TCI today 16 Graduate from Save The Bays International YEA Leadership Training Programlast_img read more

Rodgers tips Kilmarnock to emulate Leicesters heroics

first_imgLeicester City’s historic Premier League title-winning season can be an inspiration for Kilmarnock according to Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.Aberdeen clinched the league title in 1985 and that was the league was won by a team other than Celtic or Rangers, but Kilmarnock are one point ahead of Celtic and Rodgers believes they can emulate the Leicester City of 2015/2016 season.“They deserve all the credit that they get. It is not by accident. It has been a real consistent run now over the last year or so,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.“Steve has done a brilliant job in terms of how he organizes them, the way they want to play and consistently they have got very good results.“Okay they have played two more matches than us but they are still in a position where some people wouldn’t expect them to be.“But if you watch them clearly, closely over the last year or so Steve and the players have done a great job in term of how they have worked.Leicester City, Manchester UnitedMatch Preview: Manchester United vs Leicester City Boro Tanchev – September 13, 2019 Old Trafford is the venue for the Premier League encounter between Manchester United and Leicester City, which kicks off at 16:00 (CET) on Saturday.“They are a very difficult team to beat so we know we have to be at our best to get a result we want.“They will feel why not. I think what Leicester have done to probably every team other than a so-called big club is they have made the impossible possible.“But like I say it is still very early. We have played 14 games. Get down to when there are 10 games to go and then we will see where we are at. But what they have shown is the level of consistency.“They are a very good side. They have got good players, some experienced players there and obviously, Steve and his staff have done a great job so I am sure they will be up there throughout the season.”last_img read more

Neil Warnock cannot wait for Brexit to happen already

first_imgCardiff City manager Neil Warnock has revealed he cannot wait to see the United Kingdom get out of the European Union, as citizens wait to see how the nation’s Brexit pans out.The details of the UK’s departure from the EU have been a major conversation in the media ever since a slim majority voted in favour of Brexit back in 2016.Now, as the deadline for the referendum approaches the United Kingdom’s parliament remains at a halt, while calls for a second referendum have become louder.It is undoubtedly a topic that demands patience and a lot of sensitivity; however Warnock, known for his blunt public statements insists he can’t wait for the 2016 decision to become a reality.MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Cardiff manager Neil Warnock celebrates with the fans after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Warnock will coach Cardiff City for one more year Manuel R. Medina – May 15, 2019 The manager will guide the Bluebirds in the English Championship, but he will also help the team find his successor.“I think once the country knows what they’re doing, it will be straightforward [to make signings] … Any transfer window is difficult for me, not just this one,” he told reporters, according to Goal.“I don’t know why politicians don’t do what the country wants, if I’m honest.”“They had a referendum and now we see different politicians and everyone else trying to put their foot in it … Why did we have a referendum in the first bloody place?”“I can’t wait to get out of it, if I’m honest. I think we’ll be far better out of the bloody thing. In every aspect.” “Football-wise as well, absolutely. To hell with the rest of the world.”last_img read more

A Response to Subcompact Publishing

first_imgSo why do so many of our digital magazines publish on the same schedule, with the same number of articles as their print counterparts? Using the same covers? Of course, they do because it’s easier to maintain identical schedules across mediums. To not design twice. To not test twice (or, at all).Unfortunately—from a medium-specific user experience point of view—it’s almost impossible to produce a digitally indigenous magazine beholden to those legacy constraints. Why? Not least because we use tablets and smartphones very differently than we use printed publications.The key here, for Mod, is the “indigenous magazine”—a product born exclusively for the mobile-digital platform, free of any print production and pricing frameworks. He goes on to highlight The Magazine, created by Marco Arment, as a perfect example of the digitally indigenous magazine. It’s short (four or five articles), it’s design is breezy and open, it’s file size is small, it’s cheap and easy to snack on.This all may be true, and there’s probably an audience for The Magazine and future brands just like it. But what’s wrong with publishing a tablet magazine that’s full of print magazine design and rich media content, that’s $4.99 for a single copy and might take all night to download to Apple’s Newsstand? Nothing, really, because there’s room in the market for the digitally indigenous magazine and the digital magazine that’s married, for good or bad, to its print namesake. I understand that with digital comes an expectation of disruption and re-invention. And not just an expectation, but actual disruption. But it’s also a world where all sorts of business models live and play.I don’t think Mod is necessarily saying all publishers need to drop their old-school, print-legacy-based digital magazines and start producing $2, 4-article, scrolling mini-apps. He does say though, that publishers are balking at producing products like these because they’re not based on a familiar model and they’re not likely to produce immediate and significant returns. Funnily enough, neither have the full-blown tablet magazines, for now. What will be interesting to see is how much the subcompact model informs or influences the sedan version of digital magazines—or simply rides next to it. An essay by Craig Mod has been making the rounds lately among media watchers. It’s a terrific read. Mod, a current independent writer and former Flipbook employee, touts what he’s calling the Subcompact Manifesto, which places a premium on a minimalist approach to digital publishing. His manifesto emerges out of one of the main criticisms ‘traditional’ publishers have received for their tablet magazines and apps: They’re unwieldy, hard to use, have too many bells and whistles and take up too much room. But most importantly, they’re tied to print production schedules, design and pricing. In other words, tablet editions are not exploiting the medium in the open, nimble, socially-forward way they could and/or should be.As Mod says: last_img read more

Impossible to unlock new iPhones Apple tells US court

first_imgApple Inc (AAPL.O) told a U.S. judge that accessing data stored on a locked iPhone would be “impossible” with devices using its latest operating system, but the company has the “technical ability” to help law enforcement unlock older phones.Apple’s position was laid out in a brief filed late Monday, after a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn, New York, sought its input as he weighed a U.S. Justice Department request to force the company to help authorities access a seized iPhone during an investigation.In court papers, Apple said that for the 90 percent of its devices running iOS 8 or higher, granting the Justice Department’s request “would be impossible to perform” after it strengthened encryption methods.Those devices include a feature that prevents anyone without the device’s passcode from accessing its data, including Apple itself.The feature was adopted in 2014 amid heightened privacy concerns following leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance programs.Apple told U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein it could access the 10 percent of its devices that continue to use older systems, including the one at issue in the case. But it urged the judge to not require it to comply with the Justice Department’s request.”Forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand,” Apple’s lawyers wrote.A spokeswoman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers, whose office is handling the case, declined comment.Earlier this month, Orenstein expressed skepticism about whether he could require Apple to disable security on the iPhone, citing Congress’ failure to act on the issue of encryption despite the urging of the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation.Orenstein deferred ruling until Apple had a chance to say if it was “technically feasible and, if so, whether compliance with the proposed order would be unduly burdensome.”Apple in its brief said it limited its views to those questions rather than the broader legal issue at hand, which it called “important.” In an order Tuesday, Orenstein invited Apple to address that issue. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.The case is In re Order requiring Apple, Inc to assist in the execution of a search warrant issued by the court, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 15-mc-01902.last_img read more

Indian tariffs on US products no longer acceptable Trump

first_imgUS President Donald TrumpReutersUS President Donald Trump again hit out at India over the issue of tariffs on Tuesday, less than a fortnight after he discussed the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan and both agreed to address the issue.Trump’s attack in a tweet came just as trade officials of the two countries are preparing to meet to address the issue as a follow up to the talks between him and Modi in Osaka on the sidelines of G20 Summit.In the tweet, Trump said, “India has long had a field day putting tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable!”Earlier, before his meeting with Modi on June 28, Trump had tweeted: “I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the tariffs must be withdrawn!”India slapped tariffs on 28 US products including Harley-Davidson motorcycles and US-grown apples after Washington withdrew its long-standing preferential status on June 1 that exempted billions of dollars worth of products made there from US levies.During their meeting, Modi told Trump that India had taken some action after the General System of Preferences (GSP) was revoked by the US and “we should now look forward and we should see how we can resolve some of these issues,” according to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.”There was a discussion on trade. Both sides aired their concerns, both sides spoke about the interest of the other side and what was agreed was that the trade ministers of both countries would meet at an early date and would try and sort out these issues,” Gokhale had told the media after the meeting.”President Trump, of course, welcomed this idea,” the Foreign Secretary had added.He had said the two sides would first have technical discussions.External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on July 4 said that trade officials of the two countries would meet soon to discuss the trade issue.”It is important to understand that in any relationship that is multi-dimensional like India and the US, there are bound to be certain differences and perspectives where we share a different approach. How we handle it is the key. And flowing out of the meeting what we agreed was that on all the issues, we will continue to talk,” he said.last_img read more

Large section of persons arrested by ACC are govt officials

first_imgA large section of persons arrested in drives conducted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over the last three years are government officials.These accused officials are serving in the departments of land administration, finance, health, education, electricity, gas, passports, banks, WASA, customs, roads and transport.The commission, after Iqbal Mahmud took office as its chair in 2016, detained 641 persons. Among them, 361 were government officials while 141 bank and insurance officials, 75 businessmen, and 31 politicians.Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB) 2018 household survey said around Tk 106.89 billion were exchanged in bribes.It also identified the law enforcement as the most corrupted institution in the country while the passport office, BRTA, judicial service and land services followed.According to the TI corruption index, corruption rose in 2018. In 2017, Bangladesh ranked 17th on the most corrupted countries’ list while it ranked 13th this year. ACC sources said, around 2.1 millions allegations were received through the ACC hotline in the last 20 months. Other than this, a total 17,000 written complaints were filed with the commission in 2018 while the number was 17,983 in 2017, and 13,000 in 2016, and 10,415 in 2015. More than half of the allegations were brought against government officials.”As the ACC deals with embezzlement of government funds, corruption and bribery, it is only natural to receive more allegations against government officials,” ACC commissioner (investigation) Mozammel Haque Khan said, adding, “Though bribery is more common among the government officials, corruption involving larger sums of money takes place more outside.”Following allegations received through hotline, ACC conducted drives at government hospitals, BRTA, Titas Gas, WASA, RAJUK, airlines, civil aviation, LGRD, REB. Since September 2017, 40 government officials were suspended by the ACC enforcement team and 45 were detained so far. Also, 7.1 million taka which exchanged hands illegally, had been returned.The commission also set up 50 traps to catch 50 government officials. Two chief engineers of the shipping department and Ansar commandant Ashikur Rahman were among persons detained in such sting operations.Corruption has increased as there is hardly any precedence of punishment for corruption, TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said. Over the last three years, top government officials, bankers, representatives were among the detainees. In 2016, a number of 388 persons were arrested while 182 and 57 were arrested respectively in 2017 and 2018. This year 14 persons have been arrested so far.The arrest spree declined somewhat following the public service 2018. According to the act, the concerned authority’s permission is required before arresting any government official even if they commit a criminal offence while in service.Prominent among those arrested over the last three years by ACC are chairman of the Farmers Bank audit committee Mahbubul Haque Chisty, chairman of AB Bank M Wahidul Haque, Citycell CEO Mehbub Chowdhury, former RAJUK chairman Iqbal Uddin Chowdhury, National University proctor HM Tayehid Jaman, Hallmark Group chairman Jesmin Islam, former coastguard director general Shafiq Ur Rahman, Partex Group director Shawkat Aziz Russel, former director of the passport directorate Munshi Muyeed Ikram, former Agrani Bank managing director Mizanur Rahman Khan and others.last_img read more

Read FIVE Books Win FREE Orioles Tickets

first_imgFrom now until April 1, The Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Baltimore Orioles are sponsoring the Tom Clancy Reading Club. Children from birth through fifth grade can register any Pratt Library location in Baltimore. For more information on the Tom Clancy Reading Club, visit www.prattlibary.org.last_img