It’s always interesting to have a look at the statistics for challenges during the grand slams, an indicator of either who has the best eyes or perhaps who enjoys challenging more than others. With just a few days to go (in theory) in the US Open, it’s worth examining how things have been going and the first thing to note is a change in the general success rate for men compared to women.
Generally, the women are more successful than the men (around 33 percent to 30 percent) but in the US Open this year, there has been a reversal. Going into Wednesday’s play, the men had been successful 32.2% of the time, compared to 27.8% for the women. There is no obvious reason for this – the only thing I can think of is that the men, playing longer matches, perhaps use some of their challenges in a more frivolous way, giving them a few seconds extra rest to catch breath.
Individually, there are some notables. Roger Federer, still suspicious of the system itself, has been right 50% of time, though he has only challenged four times. Andy Murray, who often challenges even when he knows the call is right, is way down the list at 22%, having been right with only six of a whopping 27 challenges – the most challenges by a long time. Steve Johnson and Florian Mayer were a perfect 100% (though with only two and three challenges respectively) while of those who have challenged more than five times, Feliciano Lopez tops the list with five right out of six (83%).
The women generally challenge less than men (they are on court for less time) and so far, American Sloane Stephens has challenged the most, perhaps because she’s delighted to be on showcourts and have the chance to use it. She was right only three times out of 12, while Maria Sharapova was not much better, right only twice out of 10 challenges.
Meanwhile, Ivan Lendl has been having fun at the expense of journalists for many years and now he’s back on Tour as coach of Andy Murray, he’s doing it more often. Doug Robson sought out Lendl and Murray for an article in USA Today and found the former world No 1 as unwilling as ever to discuss strategy, tactics or anything really about the way Murray plays. He did reveal one nugget, though, that Lendl had been suffering from a bad back during Wimbledon, which perhaps explains his stoic nature throughout. However, a smiling Lendl then said: “Under no circumstances do I want to say I’m going to be smiling if I’m not hurting in my back. Don’t have your hopes up.” To read the full piece, click here:http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/story/2012-09-05/us-open-andy-murray-and-ivan-lendl/57589802/1