The big New York City Open is finally here for the APP Tour. The question now comes whether a tournament like this at an historic venue like Flushing Meadows moves the needle at all for the APP. There’s a lot of hoopla with MLP ringing the NYSE bell and the event itself right around the corner. Players are clearly excited about the prospect of playing in what has to be the coolest venue any event has been held at to date. However, at the end of the day, we still have most of the same players – it should be noted we have quite a few current and former players at this event relatively speaking. Will the APP be able to put together a decent crowd that matches the grandiose nature of the event? Will potential viewers care more about this event simply because it is at Flushing Meadows? It’s fair to be skeptical of having a positive answer to those questions. At the same time, this is only year one of creating events like this for the APP and, as always, snap judgements aren’t necessarily the right judgements.
We’ll try to periodically give an explanation of the fantasy draft preview we do for events because of how much confusion we still get about them. These are NOT traditional previews. The chart above does not represent our respective podium choices. We do a snake draft for the 5 pro draws and whoever gets the most points at the end of the weekend for their picks wins the week (3 points for a gold, 2 points for a silver, 1 point for a bronze). This means there are no duplicate picks. In other words. Slim does not think JW Johnson is going to miss the podium this weekend. We then explain our choices as part of the preview below, which gives some analysis and insight on the field itself – hence, the fantasy draft preview.
Slim is still 6 up on the year total in wins. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick first this time.
(1) JW Johnson (Gritty)
(2) Zane Navratil / JW Johnson (Slim)
(3) Anna Bright / Bobbi Oshiro (Slim)
(4) Simone Jardim / Andrea Koop (Gritty)
(5) Vivienne David / Dekel Bar (Gritty)
Gritty – It’s a deep but not super top heavy talent pool at this event, which is why I decided to go with the only guy that could clearly be the #1 choice. JW Johnson has not been invincible but he is still undoubtedly the best singles player out there. I was then happy Slim went with Bright/Oshiro over Jardim/Koop. I had those two teams pretty close but I like the experience of Simone/Andrea more. Koop is playing very well and has the ability to initiate more offence in a partnership like this. I wanted to get my number 1 women’s team and I took Vivienne/Dekel because I am worried about Parris and Anna getting upset by other players in the bracket. Parris lost to Fudge and Bright lost to Devidze last weekend. They are the 1 and 2 singles players, but they are vulnerable. I like Vivienne/Dekel as the #1 team in a field where some of the better women are playing with weaker men and vice versa.
Slim – JW and Zane have been pretty consistent with their results so I like taking them second. My Anna Bright and Bobbi Oshiro pick here may be a little contrarian, but if you have followed our fantasy drafts it shouldn’t be a big surprise, as you would know I am very high on the potential of both of these players. While Andrea and Simone are close to them in talent, I think there is a drop after that in the women’s field which lead to me drafting them 3rd overall.
(6) Anna Bright (Slim)
(7) Parris Todd (Slim)
(8) Zane Navratil (Gritty)
(9) Adam Stone / Dekel Bar (Gritty)
(10) Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Slim)
(11) Simone Jardim / Dylan Frazier (Slim)
Gritty – Zane has been a beast in singles recently as he has dialed in that serve. It’s another deep APP singles field but I had to have him as my #2 singles choice. The results for Adam Stone have been down as we have not been shy about noting. Nevertheless, Stone/Bar did take down Thomas/AJ fairly handily earlier in the year and I kind of feel like they are due for a breakout performance. No time like the present.
Slim – Gritty jumping on Simone and Andrea at number four left the women’s singles field wide open which was great for me, as I have Anna and Parris as the clear top two players in this field but had them real close, so to get both players outside the top 5 was a real steal, in my mind. It should be no surprise that I took JW and Jorja at number 10, as I will pretty much always bet on JW, and Jorja is one of the most improved women’s players. Simone and Dylan have had a couple of disappointing results in their recent tournaments but Simone is still arguably the top female mixed player in this field.
(12) Irina Tereschenko / Jorja Johnson (Gritty)
(13) AJ Koller / Thomas Wilson (Gritty)
(14) Federico Staksrud (Slim)
(15) Parris Todd / Lauren Stratman (Slim)
(16) Andrea Koop / Zane Navratil (Gritty)
(17) Salome Devidze (Gritty)
Gritty – I weirdly like this Irina/Jorja pairing. Irina is playing an APP event and Jorja gets the benefit of the partnership where Irina has been very solid this year. I could see this team finishing higher than 3rd or they could be well outside the medal stand altogether. I had to go with AJ/Thomas here. I’m still concerned AJ takes too much court in this partnership and Dylan/DJ are a strong team who get along as friends, but those concerns aren’t enough to avoid them here. Koop/Navratil had a bronze finish in St. Louis and looked good doing it there. I have been lukewarm on Devidze’s game but you can’t deny her results or the slight advantage she gives with tight line calls. She beat Anna Bright last week in Atlanta and she’s not faltering as much later in the day.
Slim – Federico coming off of his PPA championship is getting results almost every time out now. So at number 14 I like the value in this pick. Parris Todd and Lauren Stratman are an intriguing partnership with high upside.
(18) Dylan Frazier / DJ Young (Slim)
(19) Julian Arnold (Slim)
(20) James Ignatowich (Gritty)
(21) Andrei Daescu / Eden Lica (Gritty)
(22) Lauren Stratman / Julian Arnold (Slim)
(23) Jorja Johnson (Slim)
Gritty – I had Ignatowich higher than Arnold slightly so I’m quite content getting him at this spot. There were a bunch of men’s singles players that did not get picked so we are well aware this could be another event where undrafted players find the podium in singles. I may have missed the boat on Frazier/Young, but the men’s field through 6 teams is pretty strong. Lica/Daescu are a tough out for anyone and they have so much experience playing together.
Slim – I love getting Dylan Frazier and DJ Young at the 18 spot as I have them making the podium this weekend. Julian Arnold is a guy who is rapidly improving and it would not be surprising to see him on the podium. Lauren Stratman and Julian Arnold are a high upside pick. Julian in particular is going to go for a lot and if he is on they will be a problem for other teams. Jorja Johnson, despite her youth, is still one of the more proven singles players in this field, so getting her at number 23 feels like great value.
(24) Michelle Esquivel / Lee Whitwell (Gritty)
(25) Irina Tereschenko (Gritty)
(26) Kyle Yates / Rob Cassidy (Slim)
(27) Rafa Hewett (Slim)
(28) Irina Tereschenko / AJ Koller (Gritty)
(29) Lauren Stratman (Gritty)
(30) Susannah Barr / Regina Franco (Slim)
Gritty – Esquivel/Whitwell were my #5 team because theoretically they pair well together. Esquivel’s power and Whitwell’s control. Irina in singles has been a poor bet in 2022, but this is an APP field where she gets an opportunity to play against a bunch of women who don’t always find their way to the net. I have all the Irina this week as Irina/AJ are my final mixed team and I think firmly in that #6 spot. AJ is so dynamic in mixed and Irina is experienced. They should mesh well together. Finally, I end with Lauren Stratman in singles who is fresh off of a decent performance in Atlanta. I could have gone with Simone Jardim or Megan Fudge here. Stratman beat Fudge last weekend which was the decider there. With Simone, I worry that she either withdraws or she is just going to lose then withdraw – she’s not going to fight a back draw. I may be missing some upside but I’d rather go with Stratman.
Slim – Kyle Yates and Rob Cassidy are two of the OG’s and two guys I feel like have a chip on their shoulder these days. They will be looking to make a statement by making the podium. I could have gone a number of different directions with the last men’s singles puck, but I decided to ride the hot hand and go with Rafa Hewett. Was last week’s silver a turning point in his career? Susannah Barr and Regina Franco were an easy pick for me with the last women’s doubles pick, but they will have their work cut out for them to make a podium this weekend.
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