All ATP World Tour nerds are sure to know the name, Greg Sharko. The "Shark"—director of Media Relations and Information for the ATP World Tour; founder of Shark Bites; editor of the yearly ATP Media Guide, and all-round statistical guru—Sharko is practically an ATP legend.
But who is the man behind the statistics and endless scores of data and news?
Sharko’s official title is the director of Media Relations and Information for the ATP World Tour. With a fingertip grasp of, and endless memory bank of stats, facts, and details he is effectively the go-to-guy for anybody frantically needing to know anything about tennis data and statistics, hailed by Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim as "the Roger Federer of tennis research."
He joined the ATP in 1986 when it was based in Arlington, Texas. Although it is hard to believe, at that time there was little development or operation of statistical categories, charts and guides.
Sharko immediately became the leading expert in this field, creating and editing every edition of the extensive ATP Media Guide since 1990. In 2009, the latest edition totalled over 400 pages, showing that this yearly task is not to be underestimated.
In July 2000 Sharko was promoted to the ATP Director of Communications in the Americas, residing near their headquarters with his family in Ponte Vedra, FL. His responsibilities in this position include pre-tournament and on-site coordination of communications and media relations in the Americas region.
In this new role, he has introduced the popular "Shark Bites" addition to the ATP World Tour Web site. In this regular column, Sharko analyses various statistics related to men’s tennis, about both past and contemporary issues.
Reader participation is encouraged, with Sharko answering various reader enquiries in his extended "Shark Bites" feature in the ATP’s official online magazine, DEUCE. His interesting insights have been featured in this magazine since the Spring 2005 issue.
Since 2009, he gives information for entrants in the ATP World Tour 1,000 Series Online Bracket Challenges, tailoring his statistics to recent movements and events among the ATP players and rankings in order for entrants to make reasoned and informed choices in their brackets if they choose.
It is clear that Sharko's intricate role is re-moulding and redeveloping in the increasing online user participation world.
His enthusiasm about his favourite statistics and new clarifications that are needed in an ever-changing tennis world, has never seemingly diminished since he took up his unique role in 1986.
Peter Bodo, a noted tennis journalist, has called Sharko the, "hands-down Most Valuable Person of the ATP Tour (Roger [Federer], Rafa [Rafael Nadal] and Novak [Djokovic] notwithstanding)."
In fact, Sharko believes that Federer has been involved in practically all of his favourite statistics—an extensive list including Federer's streak of winning 24 consecutive finals in which he appeared (the previous record was 12 in a row, "so that's quite impressive"), and when Federer won three consecutive titles on three different surfaces—grass, clay and hard court—in 2004, as well as Federer being the first player to win multiple titles in one season on clay, grass, and hard since Borg in '79, "that was pretty special."
With his limitless knowledge of and thirst for tennis statistics and details, his love of curly fries and cheeseburgers with the works, and his private-life qualities as a terrific dad, Sharko truly is a good guy that the tennis world can’t do without.