My 2015 Top 10: Will A Refreshed And Healthy Nadal Return To No. 1?
by Sean Randall | January 4th, 2015, 2:33 pm
  • 22 Comments

So what will the 2015 ATP Rankings look like at the end of the year? Let’s get right to it.

10. Grigor Dimitrov
Copying the great Roger Federer isn’t a good strategy – it’s too damn hard, too much based on timing. But the Bulgarian proved he can win with that style and under Rasheed he’s made leaps and bounds in terms of fitness. The rise up, albeit slow, continues.

9. Juan Martin Del Potro
With some doubt if he’ll even play the Australian Open, I have to dock a few spots for Del Potro who I think will be – if healthy – back to 100% hopefully by the French. That should still give him plenty of time to get his ranking back where it should be. Factor at the US Open?

8. Stan Wawrinka
Aside from a strong performance at the ATP Finals, the “Other Swiss” really slid the second half of 2014. I think this season that continues and we’ll see him really feel the pressure at the Australian Open. An early loss in Melbourne would plummet Stan outside the Top 10. It could happen.

7. Tomas Berdych
No Lendl so where’s the motivation going to come from? Murray’s ex-coach? Twitter? The girlfriend? The clothes?

6. Kei Nishikori
Unfortunately, I think the injuries catch up to the fragile Japanese. Otherwise, he’s a real Top 4 threat.

5. Milos Raonic
Like Berdych, does he really have the desire to win? I haven’t’ really seen that win-at-all-costs attitude, but the potential is there.

4. Andy Murray
Bounced back nicely down the stretch in 2014, so that should bode well for the new season.

3. Roger Federer
Can he sneak out a Slam? Yes, maybe Wimbledon. But his biggest opponent might be his body. Nobody beats Father Time.

2. Novak Djokovic
Novak said last year that once the baby comes, the baby becomes the top priority, not tennis. Let’s see if he sticks to his word.

1. Rafael Nadal
I just think all that time off in 2014 will make his fresher for 2015. When he’s fresh, he’s best (see 2013). I also feel it helps with Federer, Murray off their peak, Djokovic adjusting to being a family man and the NextGen a year away. And call me crazy, but too many people already picking Djokovic. Just when you think you know men’s tennis, you don’t.

Among those who could make a push for the Top 10:
David Ferrer – Consistent play should keep him in the mix all season.
JW Tsonga – Like a stick of dynamite, win in Canada reminded us of what an explosive threat he can be.
David Goffin – Had a great second half to 2014, but can he carry the momentum?
Nick Kyrgios – Breakout Aussie sensation could excite, or was it too much too soon?
John Isner – Serve makes him a factor anywhere.
Roberto Bautista Agut – Was 2014 for real?
Marin Cilic – Chance to prove US Open was no fluke.
Ernests Gulbis – Really fell off after French Open SF.
Gael Monfils – Actually had a good 2014 with majority of losses to quality players


You Might Like:
Juan Martin Del Potro Could Be Back This Month!
Refreshed Roger Federer Celebrates Chinese New Year In Dubai: “Let’s Hope It’s The Year Of The GOAT!” [Video]
Rafael Nadal Set To Return January 1, 2015 At The Abu Dhabi Exo
2015 Davis Cup Draw: USA Draws Britain Again; France, Canada The Early Favorites?
Roger Federer: I’m Healthy, I’m Eager To Attack Again, So I’m Really Excited For 2015

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

22 Comments for My 2015 Top 10: Will A Refreshed And Healthy Nadal Return To No. 1?

jane Says:

yeah i could easily see #1 belonging to rafa at the end of the year. from wimbledon on, he can do nothing but gain points. also, he typically has breakout comeback seasons after injured ones: 2010 and 2013 come to mind.

with fed i wonder about his back. he’s raring to go now, but backs are easily tweaked. something like that could derail his efforts to win another slam. but he certainly seems jubilant.


SnotNosedKid Says:

Agree Sean. It seems whenever Nadal returns from a long layoff, he goes on a real tear once he’s fit and gets a couple of tournaments under his belt. Otherwise, for 2015, it looks like it’s back to the future with the Big 4. Old balls please…


Brando Says:

@Sean Randall:

Completely disagree on these 2.

9. Juan Martin Del Potro:

I would love that to happen. But no way will Juan Martin spend a year off tour (again sadly for him) and get top 10 that quick.

He took an age last time to hit the top 10, and look how Andy Murray- a fitter, greater winning pedigree- player struggled last year after only 3 months out.

So top 20 is a tough ask: top 10 for Delpo is kinda OTT call.

5. Milos Raonic:

Hell no!

How many times does his one dimensional game needs to be exposed by Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Federer and bettered also by Nishikori before people click on:

Yeah I think he’s just a better version of John Isner.

To be top 5- generally- means reaching SF’s at Grand Slams, finals or regular semi final at MS and I do not see how this one dimensional player achieves that. A serve can only take you so far: what does this guy really offer thats top 5 level beyond that?

The rest is largely agreeable in the main:

A coin toss in certain regards that will likely pan out like you say in the main. I can see Andy Murray being top 3 though.


Yolita Says:

Rafa ending the year as #1 is a definite possibility. There has been a change in the Ranking Rules that I think will benefit him.
A player can skip one masters event if he’s played 600 matches and another one if he’s played for 12 full seasons. Before, all that meant was that the player would not be fined for not playing, but 0 points would be counted towards his total.
With the new rule, if a player skips one masters event, he can count instead an extra tournament of his choice.
This means that Rafa could replace Shanghai and Paris with Estoril an Casablanca, say, for more points. :)
Let’s see how thins pan out.
I think Wawrinka will not be a top-10 player at the end of the season and there’s nothing I would like more than for Gulbis to end in the top 10, preferably in the top 8, so that I can see him in London. :D


Brando Says:

@Yolita:

No way will Wawrinka fall out of the top 10 for me. Maybe temporarily due to the maths not being in his favour post AO, but not at the YE i feel.

Just seeing how he was hitting the ball v Novak and Rafael the other day made me think damn whenever this guy is playing with the correct, strong mindset he can easily win:

His shots are powerful and his attacking game can hurt all the top players. He can dominate them even.

Last year even showed that barring FO his results were solid in the big events, top tier stuff:

- AO: W
- W: QF losing a close match v Federer
- USO: QF losing a 5 set match v Nishikori
- WTF: SF loss to Federer when he probably should have won

So in the big events he certainly steps up, goes far and if he suffers the loss it’s not without a fight.

He’s top 10 for sure- likely solid top 6 for me!


Kathy Says:

@Yolita Didn’t realize about that change in the ranking rule. Rafa would have a job replacing any tournament with Estoril, it doesn’t exist anymore. Last year I believe was the last.


jane Says:

yolita it’d be cool if ernie could make the top 8 and make london, but i have my doubts. every time i start believing in that guy, he goes off the rails. he beats fed at the french, then what happens the rest of the year? er, not much. sigh.


Michael Says:

I am not sure if Rafa will become the No.1 player, but most certainly he will be in the top three. But what is advantageous to him is his last year’s performance which might place him in good stead this year and thereby gain many points.

Regarding the line up in general, like Brando I have to disagree on many of the placements particularly Del Potro who is not even sure of playing the rest of the season as we do not know the real state of his injury. Wawarinka has a sure problem on hand in the beginning of the year as he has to defend his Australian Open crown and that is a tall order. Still, I think he can minimize his losses by making atleast the QF there. The line up has also missed David Ferrer, ever fighting warrior and gladiator who always is not easy to be dismissed. He might make the top 10 in my opinion. And there is the dark horse Monfils who can make the top 10 this time around and Kohlschrieber too has a chance in my opinion. There is also his natural tendency to over estimate the prowess of Raonic. I think he is a player without much variations and can easily be countered on court. He is rather one dimensional player who can click only if he serves well and the speed on his serve that he generates doesn’t allow him to be consistent. The top 10 also has another omission namely Cilic the last year US Open Champion. He may not be consistent but he has the capacity to spring a surprise at the majors with his power packed game.
And finally Roger, although this Tennis Genius has beaten Nature in its own game by staying fit all this long and showing his true class, I strongly guess 2015 will be the year when he would unravel himself and show age related limitations although I would be very happy if I am proven wrong. My guess is that Novak would once again end the year as No.1 followed by Rafa and Andy. Regarding the rest of the line up, anything can happen ?


Matador Says:

I will trade for him the yeard end 1 for 2 majors.


Margot Says:

@Brando
I’ve watched Nole twice now, once at the O2, make Stan look flat footed and slow round the court. Nole/Rafa can also expose Berdych’s limited, to me anyway sorry fans, game. On form Fed can and of course Kei is right up there.
Against the fleeter footed players, who also have the ability to “muscle” the ball, Raonic suffers.
The conundrum is Andy, who doesn’t seem to do as well against these “power” players.


Giles Says:

@Matador. Thanks for the link. Yes, a very interesting article indeed.


jane Says:

interesting piece matador; i like those sorts of statistical analyses, and it really puts into perspective how slowly the younger generation are coming up by comparison.


Michael Says:

Thanks for referring it Matador.


brando Says:

@Margot: agree about the berdych point, quite true. The wawrinka- novak match at wtf I did not see, but I take your point nonetheless. Yet I still have to back wawrinka: for me when he’s on, focused his just a powerhouse of a player. He literally dictates the points with his sheer power and flat shots. His BH is probably the best attacking shot on that side in the game since you know he’s itching to hit a winner on that wing. And then the manner in which he slaps his FH at such speed is devastating. I have to disagree: I think when he’s on, these in the big events he does seem to be, he plays like elite player. One when mentally strong is just a real handful to deal with.


brando Says:

@michael: I agree. I think the only certainty for the top 3 or higher is Novak will be definitely in the top 2: either tip or runner up. Beyond that all the rest sport pluses, minuses in such a equal fashion that this guessing game is a real riddle to solve. Most views here are just gut feelings: only gut feeling I have that I feel comfortable in sharing with some confidence in it is I think both Andy and kei will move up and improve at least their performance this year. I think both are ready to turn it up a notch.


Margot Says:

@Brando
Stan better hope he’s not on Rafa/Nole/Fed’s side then……..;)
BTW as much as I hate to say it, I think Milos will inevitably win a slam at some stage. He’s just so fortunate to be that much younger than the present top players and that much older than Kyrgios and co.
“Oh Lucky Man!”


brando Says:

@Margot: lol I guess. Re raonic: that would be a nightmare for me to see. Sorry. I may not root for a player but I can see their quality and applaud it. But milos is the most one dimensional, glorified John isner I see who gets propelled to an height that I find ridiculous at times. Sorry but he’s just about the most limited player I have seen in the last decade or so touted as a possible slam winner. And if that happens, it would be in the context you suggest: in the sweet spot of being younger than the reigning guard of great champions but more mature than the next generation of likely grand slam winners. He might sneak one in the inevitable transition period of the changing of guard. Hope not though: I hope the delightful kei nishikori continues to trump Mr serve, oh the balls back, thump it, continuously. Kei’s a delightful star from the intermediary generation.


Felipe Says:

Djokovic and Murray will fight for the top spot this year (both will have chances at all the slams). Nadal will fight for Roland Garros and Federer for Wimbledon.
Australian Open, as ussual, is wide open. Any quality player “on fire” can do damage or win the whole thing (a la wawrinka).
I would love to watch Nishikory lifting the trophy, or Stan defending his tittle.
Ithing tha Novak, Murray, Federer, Wawrinka and Nadal will be top ten, the rest…hard to tell.


Ronald Gaines Says:

I think that 2015 will be another great year for tennis and that we will see more younger tennis players making a move to win a major.


abuya Says:

what if… the legend federer.. ?

Top story: Federer Books Final Four Berth At ATP Finals, Thiem Advances; Last SF Spot At Stake Friday