Changeover Chat: Reviewing our 2014 Predictions For Your Amusement

Lindsay: Hey guys! So, in what is now an annual tradition here at The Changeover, I figured it would be a blast to look back at our 2014 predictions, and see just how ridiculous they really were. Andrew wasn’t with us last year, but he’s here to laugh at us anyway.

Let’s get going, shall we? The block quotes are the excerpts from last year’s chat, and our reactions are below each block.

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Lindsay: Nadal’s comeback was the story of the year on the ATP. Do we think he can continue that ridiculous pace in 2014?

Amy: Having laughably underestimated him last year, I’m going to run the risk of doing that again and say he can’t continue that pace this year, only because it was such an incredible year. It’s like Djokovic’s 2011. I’m sure he’ll have a great year and pick up at least one slam, but nobody can do that two years in a row.

Juan José: I say Nadal doesn’t end 2014 as No. 1 with two slams and five Masters 1000s, but he will end up in the top 2, with plenty of Masters 1000s, and one slam.

Lindsay: I think he gets two slams. One of the hard court ones and the French. Again.

Amy: Woohoo, I think I got that one right.

Lindsay: Haha, I was one match away from being right, but I don’t think any of us embarrassed ourselves there. We’re off to a decent start!

Andrew: I don’t think you did too badly there at all!

Amy: Rafa’s always tough to predict. Except at the French Open.

Andrew: Exactly, aside from the French, he’s a bit of an enigma. Or at least his body is.

Lindsay: Definitely–the injury was a huge part of his year, and that’s a tough thing to predict.

Moving on in the Big Four, here were our thoughts on Djokovic and Boris:

Juan José: I’m doubling down on my silly Year of the Djoko prediction from last year: 2014 will be a huge one for Djokovic. Not as violent as 2011, but plenty dominant. Three slams. four Masters 1000s. Year-end No. 1.

Lindsay: Wow.

Juan José: Unless Boris trips him and makes him break something. I’m also doubling down on my “No slams for the Muzzard” prediction, but I think he’ll win a Masters 1000 or two, and finish No. 3.

Lindsay: I think that things will be pretty evenly spread out between Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. Fed will have a moment or two of glory, but nothing to threaten the others in the rankings. Unfortunately, I still don’t see anyone else coming up.

Amy: I don’t see Djokovic having a huge year like 2011. I’d predict something similar to this year. As far as slams go, Nadal will win one or two, Djokovic will probably win the Australian Open, and even though I always say this and it’s always wrong, someone other than the Big Four will win a slam.

Lindsay: How long do we predict the partnership with Boris to last?

Amy: 20 seconds?

Lindsay: I think through the Australian Open. I think that Djokovic won’t win the Australian Open for the first time in 100 years, and he’ll panic and Boris will get the blame. Murray or Nadal for the Australian Open.

Juan José: I actually think they’ll last all year. Or at least until after Wimbledon.

Amy: We were mostly wrong on Boris.

Lindsay: Very wrong.

Amy: And JJ was very optimistic about Djokovic.

Lindsay: Yeah, JJ overestimated the Slams, but he did get YE No. 1 right!

LOL at me: “Unfortunately, I still don’t see anyone else coming up.”

Andrew: Amy, as the objective party here, I think you’re winning the predictions so far.

Amy: Haha, thank you. I’m sure we’re just getting to my silliest ones. Like Bernie winning Wimbledon.

Andrew: For what it’s worth, I would have predicted a short partnership for Boris and Novak too…I still can’t quite believe that’s actually a thing.

Lindsay: My Federer prediction was pretty good:

Amy: [Federer’s] in an unfamiliar place: he has hardly anything to defend. If he’s healthy, I expect him to take advantage of that to some extent.

Juan José: This is what I think of Federer in 2014.

Lindsay: Except out of the gates. I believe that he could go out of top 8 if he falls early in Oz. Berd and Stan are on his heels.

Juan José: “Berd and Stan are on his heels” has to be the least frightening thing in tennis.

Lindsay: Hahahaha.

Amy: Yeah, the Australian Open is the tough part for him since he made the semis there. But I don’t expect him to lose in the second round of Wimbledon again.

Lindsay: I agree, Amy. He will take advantage of it in places. But overall, I see him on the outskirts of the top 5. As you get older, you have to work twice as hard just to stay still.

Juan José: Yep – and we don’t know if Federer will be able to stay healthy for a full season. The man is going to turn 33 years old in August.

Lindsay: I predict every time he wins people will claim, “OMG HE IS BACK HE IS BETTER THAN EVER SHUT UP H8ERS.” And every time he loses people will say, “OMG RETIRE NOW.”

Amy: Well, JJ was not quite right! Lindsay, your Fed prediction will always be right for as long as he keeps playing.

Lindsay: Amy also said this, which is good:

Amy: I’m expecting [Federer’s] season to be similar to 2011. He won’t be much of a threat, but he’ll hang in there near the top. Who the heck else is there? That’s the thing. If Nadal and Djokovic continue to rack up all the points, how hard is it going to be for Fed to crack the top 5?”

Andrew: I mean, you all underestimated his year a little, but then who didn’t?! If Nadal hadn’t been absent for the latter part of the year, who knows how Federer’s season would have turned out.

Lindsay: Yeah, I don’t think any of us thought he’d threaten the No. 1 ranking.

Andrew: Also, “Who the heck else is there?” – CILIC AND WAWRINKA…obviously!

Lindsay: LOL this is fun–Our year-end Top 5 for the men—

Amy: 1. Djokovic 2. Nadal 3. Murray 4. Delpo 5. Fed

Juan José: 1. Djokovic 2. Nadal 3. Murray 4. Delpo 5. Berdych

Lindsay: 1. Nadal 2. Djokovic 3. Murray 4. Berdych 5. Ferrer

Amy: Delpo 🙁 He’s ranked No. 137, so … a little off.

Lindsay: Here’s what we said about Muzz–we were skeptical, but nobody expected him to struggle like he has:

Lindsay: I was tempted to put Murray at 2, but I don’t know how his back is holding up. I do think that he’ll have a good and consistent year, and with nothing to defend for huge chunks of the year he’ll climb up. I think the top 3 will be close, and it will be a fun race to the year-end No. 1.

Amy: I would love to see Murray put up a fight for that year-end No. 1, but like you Linz, I wouldn’t predict it just because I don’t know about his form after the surgery.”

Amy: I had so much faith in Murray after he won those two slams, but he just really hasn’t been the same since coming back. It was fun seeing him fight to qualify for the World Tour Finals, though. Scrappy Murray is always fun.

Andrew: Those top 5 calls are pretty good. Delpo aside, you’re not talking about players who were irrelevant. You just needed a little more Federer..

Lindsay: True–I mean, nobody expected Nishikori to end the year in the top 5, so we weren’t alone there.

Andrew: Murray’s troubles were really difficult to watch this year, I feel bad that he didn’t bounce back as people expected. I’ll be interested to see what his recent changes do for his 2015.

Amy: The most interesting part of Murray’s year from me, other than the end, was when he played Rafa tough on clay in Rome. I think he was up like a set and a break. Rafa d. Murray 1-6 6-3 7-5. Seeing Murray drop a breadstick on Rafa on clay was hilarious.

Lindsay: Aaah yes–but you must remember that Rafa also lost sets to Gilles Simon and Mikhail Youzhny in that tourney.

Andrew: I’ve grouped all of Murray pre-WTF race in a big ‘struggles’ folder and totally forgotten most of his good moments. I’m really surprised you guys discussed Murray as a potential No. 1. I know this is treason, and I fully expect to be hauled to the Tower of London for saying this, but I’ve never seen him as a World No. 1 contender.

Lindsay: Your application for knightship has been denied, Andrew!

Okay, moving onto the women, shall we? We’ll start with Serena, a very good place to start:

Lindsay: Personally, I think that Serena will win two slams again. Perhaps an inverse of last year and get the Australian Open and Wimbledon? I feel like after a couple of heartbreakers at the Australian Open she’ll be hungry for that one again.

I don’t see her winning 11 titles again, mainly because staying healthy enough to be that consistent will be tough as she pushes 33. But maybe around seven titles?

Amy: It’s hard to predict any change to the status quo with Serena, provided she doesn’t get injured.

Amy: Well, she had a pretty bad season for the first half, but redeemed it at the US Open. I do think she’s showing some signs of being mortal, a la Fed.

Lindsay: Right–and it was really only at the Slams that she struggled. I will brag about my “7 titles” prediction, which was correct!

Amy: At Slams and when she was playing Alize Cornet. Cornet’s 3-0 H2H vs. Serena was one of the funniest things about 2014. (One was a retirement, to be fair)

Andrew: We’re all mere mortals in the presence of Alize. I relish their first match in 2015.

You all basically got this right – she has remained dominant although not as easily as she used too. I actually think the signs of being mortal were a little more glaring a couple of years ago – although she’s struggled, she hasn’t looked as panicked this year as at times in the past

Lindsay: (I’m going to ignore our Azarenka section because it makes me sad right now. We basically all thought she’d win another Slam.)

Here were our thoughts on the other other WTA contenders:

Amy: Vika is definitely the biggest threat to win any slam other than Serena at this point.

Juan José: I don’t know about that, but at the same time, who else is there to fill the void? Radwanska won’t, Li Na might, Kvitova … who knows. Wozniacki, Ivanovic and Errani are out as well. So, Stosur? Again?

Lindsay: I agree. Kvitova seems to be really taking fitness seriously again and she does seem happy/motivated with her new beau, but we’ll see. She always could win a slam. In theory.

Juan José: Lisicki?

Amy: Yeah, I wouldn’t call any of those players more of a threat than Vika. But I’ll be interested to see how Sharapova looks.

Lindsay: Radwanska will get back to a slam final this year I think. That Wimbledon loss to Lisicki ruined her for the rest of 2013, but I think she’ll be back. I don’t see her winning one, though.

Juan José: I see Radwanska slipping away from the top 5. But still in the top 10, because who else would push her out?

Amy: Good call on Kvitova, Lindsay. I was off on Vika, but the injury played such a big role there.

Andrew: Wozniacki and Ivanovic really messed up these predictions, too.

Lindsay: They really did, Andrew. I don’t blame us for missing there.

Andrew: Absolutely not, one of the most exciting things about their resurgence is that nobody really saw it coming.

Lindsay: Some of our thoughts on Sloane and Halep:

Amy: I am expecting Sloane’s ranking to drop like an anvil.

Juan José: LOL.

Amy: Not a Sloane believer.

Lindsay: I think she stays about the same. She’ll find more consistency at smaller tourneys, but won’t be back in a slam semi.

Amy: I don’t know if I’m a Halep believer either, but I could see her enter the top 10 and stay there for a while, mostly because she has such few points to defend in the first half of 2014.

Juan José: I think Sloane might need to hit rock bottom before she climbs again. She’s an above average athlete with an unpredictable competitive spirit . So much uncertainty.

I have a lot of questions about Halep, too. I honestly don’t think she’ll exceed her doppelganger (Pennetta)’s ceiling. Borderline top 10, great clay player.

Amy: I don’t know that Sloane cares enough to find any consistency at the WTA events. It’s never a good sign when a player can’t motivate themselves at the smaller events.

Juan José: Nope.

Amy: And beyond lacking motivation, she had a bad attitude at some of those events. Snapping at reporters, playing terrible matches, etc.

Lindsay: Annacone won’t stand for that though, I wouldn’t think.

Juan José: The Annacone hire is fascinating – he can certainly see the potential, but he’s not had to deal with unmotivated youngsters recently. Though he did work for the LTA once upon a time.

Amy: Well, betting on Sloane’s ranking to drop was an easy one. I just don’t see anything beyond the hype, unfortunately.

Andrew: This is a fascinating read, actually. Sloane’s predictable drop down the rankings is really sad, but I agree with JJ that maybe she needed that before rising again.

Amy: And the Annacone hire was a dud.

Lindsay: SUCH a dud.

Andrew: Oh the Annacone thing was a real shame

Lindsay: None of us thought that Halep would become like a legitimate top player.

Amy: Yes, we didn’t think she would get into the top 2.

Andrew: Well, she did! I would have been with you guys, too. I’m a believer now, of course, but only now that she’s proved herself at the slams. No talk of Eugenie in there, I notice…

Lindsay: That’s coming soon, Andrew! Our top fives:

Amy: 1. Serena 2. Vika 3. Kvitova 4. Radwanska 5. Sharapova

Juan José: 1. Serena 2. Azarenka 3. Sharapova 4. Kvitova 5. Stosur

Amy: Stosur’s a bold pick for the top 5.

Juan José: “From the guy who picked Janowicz to finish 2013 at No. 5 …”

Lindsay: 1. Serena 2. Sharapova 3. Vika 4. Radwanska 5. Li Na 6.-100. BEPA

Lindsay: LOL at Stosur

Andrew: Oh wow, Stosur? Wow.

Amy: I think JJ mentioned she could win a Slam, too, earlier in the convo. He was a true Stosur believer!

Andrew: There were circumstances that stopped Vika, of course. A healthy Azarenka would probably have been at least No. 2.

Lindsay: Right … I don’t feel bad about mine. Vika was injured, I got Serena/Sharapova right, Radwanska finished at No. 6, and, well, Li Na would have been up there sans retirement. You guys had Kvitova up there, which I did not.

We did talk about breakthroughs too. Some chatter:

Juan José: Breakthroughs: Genie Bouchard, Madison Keys.

Amy: Do we think Stanley stays in the top 10?

Juan José: No.

Lindsay: I do.

Juan José: Jo comes back and pushes him out. Plus, there’s Raonic and Janowicz, plus Isner.

Amy: I don’t see Jo sticking around the top 10.

Andrew: Wawrinka well and truly stayed in the top 10!

Amy: Yes he did! I’m glad I didn’t answer that one …

Lindsay: JJ hit the breakthroughs well, though. I wasn’t that sold on Genie last year. Of course, Keys wasn’t on Bouchard’s level, but still a solid season.

Meanwhile, our romantic hearts were right, Amy!

Lindsay: What about Dimitrov? He had some good moments at the end of 2013 and is with Rasheed now, any thoughts?

Juan José: Dimitrov … I sold or set on fire any stock on him I owned. Such a below par competitor, and such a frequently passive match player.

Lindsay: But will he stay with Masha?

Juan José: No.

Amy: I’ll say yes, because I’m just such a romantic.

Lindsay: LOL. I’m saying yes as well. And I think he makes top 15.

Andrew: Well done, believers in love.

Lindsay: And the grand finale, where Amy talks about her muse:

Amy: Another title for Bernie. Because it worked last year. Preferably Wimbledon. I’m sure that’s how that works.

Lindsay: Benoit Paire is going to have at least one food-related injury. Benny WILL WIN A TITLE. Svetlana Kuznetsova will make a slam semi.

Juan José: No titles for Bernie, no titles for Benny, no titles for Jerzy. But three more titles for the Fog Machine.

Lindsay: Sabine Lisicki will cry on court.

Amy: Bernie won a title, so I win. It wasn’t Wimbledon, but Bogota is basically the same thing. He got a hat.

Lindsay: Haha.

Amy: Wimbledon next year.

Check back tomorrow when we make our predictions for 2015!