Thursday, 25 August 2011

A quizzical US Open preview

With the 2011 US Open nearly upon us, and the men's singles draw done, it is customary for a tournament preview. But rather than my usual rolling out of docile and ultimately inaccurate opinions on who's on form, who will win and who to watch out for, I thought I'd find out the right answers first, then make you do the work. 

Rafa later regretted agreeing
to do the quiz himself
That's right, it's a US Open quiz (mostly focussed on Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray), combining my geeky love for stats with my obsessive love for tennis, and hopefully producing some vaguely interesting facts to raise an eyebrow or induce a "really?". The real dream for a quiz creator is for the quizee to google (other search engines are available) something because they find it so astonishing that it can't possibly be true. (Not ideal if it turns out to indeed be too good to be true, but I'm sure that won't be the case here). Anyway, I digress. 

Happy being bemused, befuddled, bamboozled, bewildered and ultimately bored bowled over like a Lasith Malinga yorker. Answers at the bottom

1. Last year, Juan Martin Del Potro was reigning champion after his 5 set defeat of Federer in '09 - how far did he get defending his title? (2 points)

2. Which of the top 4 have lost the most number of matches at the US Open? (1 point) How many times has he lost? (1 point)

3. Put the top 4 in order of their all-time winning percentage at the US Open. (2 points or nothing)

4. How many double faults did Djokovic serve during last year's US Open? (3 points if you get it exact, 1 point if you're within 3)

5. This is the first US Open since which year that Federer has been seeded outside of the top 2? (2 points) Who was top seed that year? (1 point)

"Come on Roger, you know this!"
6. How many times in the last 4 years of Grand Slams (i.e. out of 16) have Federer/Djokovic been on one side of the draw with Nadal/Murray on the other side? (2 points - exact answer or nothing)

7. Which of the 4 was in the top 20 fastest servers at last year's US Open? (2 points) BONUS point for the speed of the serve

8. How many times in the Open Era has someone won the US Open without dropping a set? (Wimbledon has been won once, Aus twice, French five times) (2 points)

9. Which of the 4 made most line call challenges during last year's tournament? (2 points) BONUS point for the number of challenges

10. There has never been 8 different nationalities represented at the QF stage of the US Open. Which two countries had more than 1 player in last year's quarters? (1 point for each country)

11. Which player/players have a positive overall head-to-head record against the other 3? (2 points)

"I should have known that
Scotland wasn't the answer to 14."
12. Excluding JMDP in '09, who was the last man to win a Grand Slam other than the top 3? (1 point for the name, 1 point for the year + GS)

13. Which of the 4 won the US Open Boys' Singles title? (2 points) BONUS point for the year

14. After the USA, which country has the most Open Era US Open Men's Singles titles? (2 points)

15. Which is the only of the 4 to have lost more Grand Slam singles matches in a year than he won? (2 points)


Post a comment with your score - if you've not done too embarrassingly that is. Maximum is 32 (35 if you get the bonus points too)

1. He was injured, so didn't compete in the tournament at all.

2. Nadal - he has lost 7 times (from 8 appearances). Djokovic, Federer and Murray have all lost 6 times. ND/AM from 6 appearances, RF from 11

3. Federer 90.32%, Djokovic 81.25%, Nadal 80%, Murray 73.91%

4. He made 28 double faults, the tournament leader was Verdasco with 36 but my favourite has to be Berankis, with 30 from just 2 matches!

5. 2002 - Lleyton Hewitt was top seed. Federer was 13th seed. Pete Sampras, seeded 17, was victorious

6. 15 of the last 16 Grand Slams have had that pattern. Roland Garros 2010 is the only time that it hasn't been Murray/Nadal on one side of the draw and Djokovic/Federer on the other side, despite constant variations in seedings

7. Andy Murray, with a 136mph serve.

8. Never - the US Open is the only Grand Slam to have never been won without the loss of a set

"I was right with all 23 challenges,
Hawkeye got the other 14 wrong"
9. Djokovic, with 23 (9 of which he was correct. Their successful challenge percentages were Nadal 46.67%, Djokovic 39.13%, Murray 35.29%, Federer 25%)

10. Spain and Switzerland with Nadal/Verdasco and Federer/Wawrinka respectively

11. Only Nadal. His record against the others is 45-24. Djokovic is 27-34, Federer 28-34 and Murray 16-24

12. Marat Safin - 2005 Australian Open. (not Gaston Gaudio at Roland Garros 2004 as I put first!)

13. Andy Murray 2004 - incidentally, Gael Monfils won all 3 of the other boys' Grand Slam titles that year 

15. Federer, in 1999, lost in the first round of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, while not playing in Aus/US

PS If you hated my quiz and thought it terribly dull or boring, please try this one then come back to me.


  1. Great quiz Sam, some great stats in there.

  2. good quiz, your q6 is a great stat. but dare i suggest the answer to q12 is Marat Safin and not Gaston Gaudio?

  3. Thanks Anonymous, you're quite right!