Monday, November 30, 2015

How'd we do? ATP 21&Under 2015 version

Frances Tiafoe. © Jonathan Kelley, On the Rise
The American tennis landscape is in the midst of a generational landscape on the men's side. Of the 40 men representing USA in the ATP Top 500, only 3 are over 28 years old (and only 3 more are over 26), while 11 are under 22. Perennial ATP power Spain, on the contrary, has 14 players over 28 in the Top 500, with only 4 under 22 (none of whom is in the Top 300), out of 38 total.

In honor of this youth movement, in addition to inviting some folks to predict the year-end Top 10 ATP men from America, I asked them to predict the Top 10 who would be 21 or under (21U) at the end of the year.

And, for the most part, they did a great job given the tough task!

The most glaring error that all the participants made was excluding Tommy Paul from their picks. It's not a shock, given that the now-18-year-old was outside the Top 1000 just over a year ago, and hadn't produced nearly as strong junior results of some of his peers. But there he is -- #5 with a bullet! It just goes to show, man. It just goes to show.

Note on points system: It came to my attention when compiling these results that I had not made any contingency for players who ended the year unranked. Specifically, how would I handle my pick of Christian Harrison as the #10 21U player. I think I was confused a bit by The Grandstand's scoring system, which did not explain how it handled such situations but, upon review, seems to have addressed Josh Mieseles' pick of Christian Harrison as overall #10 American man by awarding him the points of the next-worst guess by anyone on the panel -- Romi Cvitkovic being 36 spots off with her pick of Bradley Klahn at #6.

However, if I were to use that metric in this contest for my C. Harrison pick, I would give myself only 8 points (three panelists made choices that were that far off) which seemed hardly fair for such a bad pick. So I decided to make the punishment for my Lil' Harry pick be 16, aka double the points of the next-worst pick. If you have a better suggestion, come at me, bro or sis, and I'll consider including it in the judging for 2016.


Baseline BagelsLangPatrick RourkeParsaJonathan Kelley
1. Donaldson1. Donaldson1. Donaldson1. Donaldson 1. Donaldson
2. Kozlov2. Escobedo2. Kozlov2. Kozlov2. Krueger
3. Mmoh3. Kozlov3. Escobedo3. Krueger3. Kozlov
4. McDonald4. Krueger4. Krueger4. Escobedo4. Escobedo
5. Krueger5. Mmoh5. Fritz5. Mmoh5. Baughman
6. Escobedo6. Baughman6. Mmoh6. McDonald6. Mmoh
7. J. Hiltzik7. Fritz7. McDonald7. Baughman7. Tiafoe
8. Tiafoe8. Rubin8. Baughman8. Rubin8. McDonald
9. Rubin9. McDonald9. Rubin9. Tiafoe9. Fritz
10. Halebian10. Tiafoe10. Santiago10. Fritz10. C. Harrison

Top 20 USA men, 11/23/2015 ranking:

1. Jared Donaldson (134)
2. Taylor Fritz (176)
3. Frances Tiafoe (178)
4. Mitchell Krueger (225)
5. Tommy Paul (272)
6. Noah Rubin (339)
7. Stefan Kozlov (355)
8. Deiton Baughman (361)
9. Mackenzie McDonald (379)
10. Ernesto Escobedo (388)

11. Michael Mmoh (454)
12. Jared Hiltzik (624)
13. Alexios Halebian (638)
14. Alex Rybakov (656)
15. Mico Santiago (742)
16. Collin Altamirano (815)
17. Ryan Shane (901)
18. William Bushamuka (970)
19. Reilly Opelka (971)
20. Eduardo Nava (979)

Lang: 40
Didn't pick: Paul (6)

A bravura performance -- not unexpected, given her years of focus on the younger generation of Americans. Lang's worst miss was picking Ernesto Escobedo in 2nd place, but she got Krueger and McDonald exactly right, and otherwise was quite solid. Well done!

Parsa: 44
Didn't pick: Paul (6)

Parsa tied for 2nd place. Like Lang, he only missed one player, and the one he erroneously included finished 11th (Mmoh). But other than Donaldson, he didn't get anyone else exactly right, and he undercounted Tiafoe and Fritz by a good margin. Still, a solid B.

Patrick Rourke: 44
Didn't pick Paul (6), Tiafoe (8)

Patrick tied for 2nd thanks to getting a contest-high three exact guesses. His biggest error was definitely leaving out Frances Tiafoe, but given the fact the now-17-year-old was still playing Futures qualies at the start of 2015, it's forgivable. Anyway, congrats to you, Patrick, wherever you may be.

Didn't pick: Fritz (9), Paul (6), Baughman (3)

Picking Alexios Halebian over Deiton Baughman proved an unfortunate pick, but leaving out Taylor Fritz was the killer here. And to be honest, putting Michael Mmoh in 3rd place cost him far more than including Halebian, who very quietly finished as the #13 21U guy.

Jonathan Kelley: 59
Didn't pick: Paul (6), Rubin (5)

Ughhhhhhh for me. I mean, that was lame. No right guesses other than Donaldson, only 1 guy within 1 spot of the right guess, and the Christian Harrison pick. A well-deserved comeuppance after the resounding win in the overall ATP rankings.

Tomorrow: the WTA results!

No comments:

Post a Comment