23 December, 2011

2011 Predictions & Reality

Until this morning when they posted the winner, I'd completely forgotten that last year I participated in Tennis-X's 2011 Year End Top 10 poll.  Looking back at my picks (posted as VE), they all seemed so well thought out then.  I even went as far as explaining the logic.  I'm sure at the time, I thought I was dead on about my picks.  But hell, that's why the play the matches, isn't it?

I wound up being right about six of the players who finished in the top ten, but for every big hit; there was a big miss as well.  So, as we begin to look ahead to 2012, I thought it would be fun to share with you what I said then, how I was right an how I was wrong...oh, so wrong.

Prediction: 1. Rafael Nadal (not as dominant as 2010, loses a match on clay)
Reality: Got the ranking wrong, but I'll give myself some extra credit for the logic.  Nadal wasn't able to play as well as he did in 2010 and lost (gasp) two matches on clay this year.

Prediction: 2. Roger Federer (stays in the mix at the majors, loses steam in day-to-day)
Again, missed on the ranking, but the logic's pretty solid.  Federer's not the day-in, day-out contender he once was, but at least four times a year we're reminded just how special this guy is.

Prediction: 3. Novak Djokovic (at least one major final, big wins from March - June)
There was no way I could've predicted The Rise of Robo-Nole, but again, the logic...at least one major final, big wins from March - June wasn't far off.  Djokovic played his best tennis in the meat of the season, I just didn't realize quite how good his best would be in 2011.

Prediction: 4. Robin Soderling (lots of year-end points, consistent all year)
Injuries happen, nothing you can do about that.  Soderling is the big, flat-hitting player who I expected to dominate the European indoor circuit in the fall, with him injured and the rest of the big four in various states of malaise, Federer took advantage.

Prediction: 5. Gael Monfils (at least one major final)
Guy's gotta put it all together at some point, doesn't he?  No?  Oh, guess not.

Prediction: 6. Andy Murray (another up and down year, misses significant time)
Up-and-down year, check.  Misses significant time, wrong--even though he didn't REALLY show up for a couple of months after Djokovic embarrassed him in Australia.  Murray exceeded my expectations by being able to keep pace with the top 3 players having yet to taste success on the biggest stages.

Prediction: 7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (healthy for six whole months and makes rankings hay because of it)
Almost dead on here.  Got healthy in the back half of the year and finished No. 6

Prediction: 8. Querrey (takes advantage of US Open series points, first Masters title)
Err, of course I meant Mardy Fish!  Alright, I'll level with you, 2011 was the year I stopped believing in Sam Querrey.  I've always thought he was a compete player, not a big four contender, but a good who could play a latter day Roddick.  Winning his way through the US Open Series tourneys, faring respectably at Wimbledon.  Yeah, he was injured most of the year, but he was erratic before that.  Next year, I'll take a pass on rating him this highly..

Prediction: 9. Almagro (replaces fellow clay dog Ferrer in the top 10)
Sorry David, wrong, wrong and wrong about you, but Almagro did finish year end No. 10.  All five of his finals and three titles were on clay.  

Prediction: 10. Isner (focuses on hard & grasscourt seasons, starts winning big matches)
Might've been a a year early on this one.

Tennis-X's Year End Poll for 2012 will be up soon.

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