Sunday, November 29, 2015

How'd we do? ATP 2015 version

For the second year in a row, I invited some friends to predict who the top 10 Americans would be in the ATP rankings. I fully admit to having stole both the idea and judging metric from The Grandstand, and since I didn't receive a cease-and-desist warning, I'm going to keep with it. Thanks, guys! (Note that the Grandstand's judging system changed this year, and they didn't throw out each contestant's worst pick. So neither will On the Rise.)

In addition to our overall Top 10 finishes, stay tuned for future posts featuring Top 10 finishes for players aged 21 and under ... a tricky venture, particularly in this age of fast-rising young Americans ... and Top 10 WTA finishes.


Baseline BagelsLangPatrick RourkeParsaCourtney NguyenJonathan Kelley
1. Isner1. Isner1. Isner1. Isner1. Isner1. Querrey (20)
2. Sock2. Querrey2. Sock2. Johnson2. Sock2. Isner (21)
3. Querrey3. Johnson3. Querrey3. Querrey3. Querrey3. Sock (35)
4. Johnson4. Sock4. Johnson4. Young4. Johnson4. Johnson (40)
5. Harrison5. Young5. Kudla5. Smyczek5. Young5. Young (50)
6. Kudla6. Kudla6. Young6. Sock6. Kudla6. Kudla (80)
7. Young7. Smyczek7. Smyczek7. Kudla7. Smyczek7. Smyczek (90)
8. Smyczek8. Donaldson8. Sandgren8. Klahn8. Ram8. Krajicek (120)
9. Kuznetsov9. Klahn9. Buchanan9. Sandgren9. Klahn9. Donaldson (130)
10. Klahn10. Williams10. Klahn10. Krajicek10. Russell10. Klahn (140)

Top 10 USA men, 11/16/2015 ranking:

1. John Isner (11)
2. Jack Sock (26)
3. Steve Johnson (32)
4. Donald Young (48)
5. Sam Querrey (59)
6. Denis Kudla (70)
7. Rajeev Ram (87)
8. Austin Krajicek (101)
9. Tim Smyczek (106)
10. Ryan Harrison (111)

Others picked:
13. Jared Donaldson (134)
20. Tennys Sandgren (256)
26. Chase Buchanan (344)
28. Alex Kuznetsov (355)
42. Bradley Klahn (516)
44. Michael Russell (559)
54. Rhyne Williams (781)


The first thing to note is that American men did much better in 2015 than they did in 2014: #10 Ryan Harrison would have finished 6th in 2014, while #13 Donaldson would have finished 8th. Of the players in the Top 10, all but Querrey finished higher than they did the year before; whereas some of the guys on our lists had some down years due to injury and retirement.

The second thing to note was that everyone picked Bradley Klahn to finish Top 10, a good assumption that unfortunately didn't come to pass due to his nearly year-long injury. That added over 30 points to everyone's score.

Finally, our panel did well compared to the folks at The Grandstand. Assuming my math is correct (feel free to check!) we averaged 75.5 compared to their 77.17, and we had 4 participants with 80 points or fewer compared to their 2. #Proud.

In any case, a big thanks to everyone who participated! It was fun. And mostly, it was fun to win. :)

The results:

Jonathan Kelley: 52 points
Did not pick: Ram (-4), Harrison (-1)

Considering I had by far the most embarrassing pick (Sam Querrey at #1), it was an overall very impressive performance, if I do say so myself. If you look at the actual ATP rankings I included, I was off by a decent amount on not just Sam, but on Isner and Sock as well. But order-wise I was right on with Kudla and Krajicek, and off by only 1 with Isner, Sock, Johnson, and Young. The only Grandstand contestant who did better than me was Ben Rothenberg, who beat me by 3 points (or less than one Querrey). Lesson learned? We'll see.

Parsa: 68 points
Did not pick: Ram (-4), Harrison (-1)

A very solid year for Parsa, who was hurt mainly by putting Tennys Sandgren too high and Jack Sock too low. Still, he beat nearly everyone both here and at The Grandstand. Not bad for the young fella.

Baseline Bagels: 70 points
Did not pick: Krajicek (-3), Ram (-4)

Baseline Bagel's only real slip-up was picking Alex Kuznetsov for the #9 spot, costing him 19 points and taking him out of the running. He also had Harrison too high -- the only contestant to give Harry that vote of confidence, but one which ultimately cost him.

Courtney Nguyen: 78 points
Did not pick: Krajicek (-3), Harrison (-1)

Courtney could have had it won with that Ram pick. She was the only one who put Rajeev in her Top 10, and she was very close on her other picks. But oh, Russell. Even if Iron Mike hadn't picked this year to retire, he still was nowhere near the Top 10.

Patrick Rourke: 87 points
Did not pick: Ram (-4), Krajicek (-3), Harrison (-1)

A rough year for the former @rourkeytennis, who had Tennys and Chase Top 10. Individually not terrible picks, but which in combination doomed him.

Lang: 98 points
Did not pick: Ram (-4), Krajicek (-3), Harrison (-1)

Lang led with her heart, and boy did it cost her. Rhyne Williams played only 8 tournaments this year and earned only 27 points, most if not all of which with a bad back -- a back that hurt not just Williams, but his biggest fan as well.

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