Four months into the 2013 ATP season and things and would you believe Rafael Nadal is undefeated on the hardcourts while Novak Djokovic perfect on clay? What would the odds have been at the start of the year? And those aren’t the only anomalies in what has been a quite unpredictable year to date.
Roger Federer has yet to reach a final. Lukos Rosol has more titles than countryman Tomas Berdych. Thirty-four year-old Tommy Haas is at his highest ranking (14) since the start of 2008. America’s lone trophy thus far has come on clay. Japan has a higher ranked player than the U.S. does! And the player known as a “cow on ice”, Maria Sharapova, apparently can no longer be beaten on clay.
So what’s happening?? Well… Tennis!
But really, it’s still status quo at the top. Looking at the rankings it’s the same old names ruling the show: Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal who’s just behind David Ferrer.
A closer examination of the Race standings (2013 points only) reveals Djokovic, Rafa and Murray bunched in a 3-way battle for the year-end top spot. And with the events coming up I expect that race to be even tighter by the end of Wimbledon.
Obviously Nadal will be favored on the clay then I maybe give a slight edge to Murray on the grass. And after each, of course, is Novak who might even sneak through and win in Paris.
And there doesn’t seem to be any real threat to this trio coming through the ranks. Juan Martin Del Potro teases hope, only to fall ill. JW Tsonga has improved under new coach Roger Rasheed, but it’s unlikely he’s ever going to be a regular the last weekend of Majors.
Berdych, Ferrer or Richard Gasquet? I think Ferrer’s hit his peak. Like Del Potro, Berdych is a bit of tease and while his body doesn’t fail him his brain does. Gasquet’s had a promising start but fizzled in Monte Carlo complaining of this injury or that.
This season has marked the emergence of some journeymen doing good. Rosol is finally living to his upset win over Rafa by collecting his first title this past weekend. Heck, he might even be seeded at the French and perhaps Wimbledon. Flamboyant Italian Fabio Fognini is enjoying his best year as is big serving South African Kevin Anderson. And like Haas, Tommy Robredo and Jarkko Nieminen have found that elusive Fountain of Youth at age 31.
As for the youngsters. Milos Raonic has the brightest future, except the big Canadian seems to have hit a ceiling. Milos has been a solid member of the Top 30 since the start of last year, but we are still waiting for that big breakthrough win. With his firepower it should come, it has to come, right? But when???
Grigor Dimitrov nearly had his big win last month against Nadal in Monte Carlo. But while mimicking a legend’s game like Federer is admirable and righteous, it also comes with an incredible degree of difficulty and I just don’t think in the long run Grigor (or anyone except the Maestro himself) can pull it off.
Bernard Tomic seems to be back in reverse. The smooth swinging Aussie does his best work in Australia, then fades away. And it’s happening again. After an awful start to the year, Ryan Harrison just won a Challenger over the weekend to get his ranking back around 80. 80! The volatile Jerzy Janowicz is certainly tall and powerful, but what’s he done since Paris last November?
Behind this group there isn’t much. Jiri Vesely is the only teen in the Top 200. Or maybe it’s Pablo Carreno-Busta is the next bust out star?
Four months in with seven still to go. It should be a fun and turbulent ride, even on the clay, for our favorite racketeers. So buckle up.
Did I mention Nicolas Almagro currently leads the tour in aces by a wide margin?
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