On Monday, we challenged our tennis followers to come up with the total number of singles victories by former Grand Slam champions at Wimbledon.
There will be 14 titleholders in the field, and while they have names like Federer, Nadal and Williams, the numbers streaming into the Worldwide Leader in Sports were impressively high. About one-third of you put the total at 60 or more.
Sam Mindes was one of those full of optimism for the former champs. Mindes, a 20-year-old attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., was an all-state tennis player at Forest Hills Northern in Grand Rapids. He's a big fan of Roger Federer and David Ferrer. Here's Sam's take:
- "I am a little surprised by the high total, but I came up with 62. Wow. Twenty-nine for the boys and 33 for the girls. I may be picking the favorites a little too much. Here's how I came to my total:
Federer: 7; Nadal: 6; Hewitt: 4; Roddick: 5; Djokovic: 4; Ferrero: 3.
Serena: 7; Venus: 6; Henin: 5; Clijsters: 3; Sharapova: 4; Kuznetsova: 4; Ivanovic: 2; Schiavone: 2."
The overall average number? A tad more than 56 -- a total shared by only two respondents. One of them was Anca Vlad. She and her husband play tennis at the Boulevard Club in Toronto.
Her contest history suggests she'll be a contender. A few years ago, she won a cap signed by Federer for winning an ATP-sanctioned contest.
Caleb Beasley of Omaha, Neb. (birthplace of Andy Roddick), also had 56. Maybe that's why he has Roddick winning the Wimbledon title. Caleb is a civil engineer, who only recently began following tennis. He said he has become enamored with the statistics and structure of the sport, something he celebrates in his tennis blog.
Here's Caleb's breakdown of the women's side:
- "I don't see a reason it won't be an all-Williams final: 13 wins.
The Belgians are a definite unknown, it could be anywhere from 1 or 2 to maybe 11 at best (but neither has ever won Wimbledon), so let's go with 6 wins. Sharapova, Kuznetsova, and Ivanovic: All have been very up and down so I'll take a parley and say: 7 wins. Schiavone made the quarters last year and with the inconsistency of the women's field there's no reason she can't do that again: 4 wins."
Fifty-six. It's a total worth remembering when the champions are crowned; the average number predicted for U.S. singles victories at Roland Garros was 17.5 and, as it turned out, the final tally was 19 when Serena Williams was ushered from the quarterfinals by Samantha Stosur.
Which brings us to our French Open contest winner, Joseph Juda, a law student also from Toronto. He's got 60. His specificity -- alarming, to be sure -- is typical of our readers. Here's some of his breakdown of the men:
- "Hewitt could face Nadal or Federer early and despite his win over Federer in Halle, I cannot imagine he can pull that out at Wimbledon. Still, I will give Hewitt as a semifinalist where he loses to Federer or Nadal. Roddick, my favorite of the group, can hopefully win Wimbledon this year, but I just cannot bet on him at this point. He doesn't have enough match practice. He will go out in the semis as well.
"Federer and Nadal will play in the final with Nadal taking it. Nadal looked bad at Queens, but I hope it was just fatigue, and the fact that the seeds decided to go AWOL. Total =29 for the men."
If the public groundswell is any indication, Maria Sharapova -- who won two titles earlier this year (Memphis and Strasbourg) but has yet to play anyone ranked among the top 10 -- will be in the mix. Chris Casey, Beau Larson and Lee Andrew Henderson all have her in the final.
The highest total? That would be 65, courtesy of Derrick Hansen, a software asset management adviser. The lowest? Armand Diab's number is a pessimistic 26.
Finally, we leave you with another example of the peculiar passion for tennis our readers share. This from Francisco Sotelo, of Arlington, Va.:
- "After overshooting the French Open count, I may have to be modest for Wimbledon
well maybe not.
"For the men, there's a definite 13 because I believe that the title will be contended between two former champions (whether it's Roddick vs. Federer, Federer vs. Nadal or Roddick vs. Nadal), and add in five more for the one guy who makes it Semis with them. That's 18 for these three. Hewitt should account for three wins, and Novak should make it to the round of 16 as well. And I'm going to say that one of them makes the quarterfinals this year as well. That's another seven for these guys. Juan Carlos has been a bit spotty on grass so far this season, but he's good for two wins as well. Total for the men = 27.
"For the women, I really don't see anyone in the draw that could majorly disrupt a Serena vs. Venus championship Saturday again, so I'm giving the 13 wins between the two of them. Henin will live up to her seed and make the round of 16 and most likely go one step further (she's going to have to wait a few years before she gets that Wimbledon title under her belt -- most likely after Venus retires). That gives her four. Given a good draw, Clijsters, too, should make the quarterfinals, so we'll give her four. Sharapova troubles me a bit. She should make the semis, but some part of me thinks that she won't make it past the fourth round. I'll compromise and give her four as well. Sveta disappoints me. She'll win two (if that). Ivanovic? I'm not sure I want to give her two either since she won't be seeded. She'll most likely run into a seed in the first or second round, but I'll sacrifice two wins for her. And then Schiavone: Her seed says she'll make the quarterfinals, but I don't think she'll get out of the round of 16, especially if she has to run into Henin, Sharapova or Clijsters. We'll give her three. Total for the women = 32.
"So my 'conservative' figure is a total of 59 wins. I'll keep my fingers crossed."
So will we.
Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.