Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Year-End Top 100 Predictions Revisited

Kevin Craig and I went head-to-head last year last year in predicting the year-end top 100 in the ATP and the top 10 among players from the United States. It was my fifth year predicting the top 100 and first time going head-to-head against Kevin.

Kevin thoroughly beat me overall. His predictions were off by an average of 33.5 spots with a median of 21 with three perfect predictions. I was off by an average of 34 and median of 24 without getting a single prediction correct.

I was doing well through the top nine, but once I picked Bernard Tomic to finish No. 10, there was no recovering. I also missed badly with Kevin Anderson and Aljaz Bedene. My good predictions were putting Martin Klizan at No. 32, Viktor Troicki at No. 25 and Federico Delbonis at No. 43.

The best pick by either of us was Kevin putting Diego Schwartzman perfectly at No. 52. He also correctly predicted Stan Wawrinka at No. 4 and Tomas Berdych at No. 10. Unfortunately, Kevin was a bit optimistic for Vasek Pospisil and Donald Young.

I got the better of Kevin in our predictions for United States tennis. My picks were off by an average of 25.3 spots, while Kevin was off by 35.9 spots. My lack of optimism for Isner, Sock and Young served me well. I also picked Ryan Harrison to finish No. 85 overall. I also had Querrey and Fratangelo just a little bit higher.

Kevin did well to predict Donaldson at No. 99 and Talor Fritz at No. 86. Those two players will be the future of American tennis and the fact that Kevin so accurately predicted them is good news, because it means they are living up to the hype. That wasn't the case for the so-called "lost boys."

In my five years of predicting the year-end top 100, this was my worst year. The first three years, my average margin of error was slightly above 31 all three years. In 2015, I had my best score ever of 25, so the score of 34 is a good indicator of the level of unpredictability in 2016. However, if you ask most tennis fans, 2016 was the worst year on the ATP from a fans' perspective in recent memory, proving that unpredictability is bad for the game.

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