With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal “playing out the string”, and the young guns still a year or so away from taking over, the 2017 No. 1 race is going to come down to the current Top 2: Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
So how will it look at the very end? Here’s my Top 10:
10. Juan Martin Del Potro
Very unfortunate that he’s missing Australia, but I think if he can stay healthy he can put together enough of a run to finish Top 10, maybe even win a Slam!
9. Stan Wawrinka
The opportunity is there for another Slam title this year, I just don’t see it, though. He’s losing his consistency and that’ll catch up to him in the end.
8. Rafael Nadal
I think he’s still a force on clay, but he’s just not a big threat on the hardcourts anymore. Hope I’m wrong.
7. Alexander Zverev
The next in line for No. 1 makes his big move. Maybe a couple of Slam semifinals? Maybe more?
6. Dominic Thiem
Has to adapt better to surfaces other than clay, and will have a big chunk of points to defend in Paris.
5. Roger Federer
With no points to defend after Wimbledon, I think even at 36 he can do some damage. Will need some good draws early on to help his situation and confidence off injury.
4. Kei Nishikori
He can play with the Big Boys, but he’s got to start winning the bigger events.
3. Milos Raonic
I think 2017 could be the year he wins a Slam, heck, maybe two. And if he wins two he might very well finish on top.
2. Novak Djokovic
Pound-for-pound, he’s the best player on the planet. I just don’t know if he really has the motivation and the dedication now to get back there.
1. Andy Murray
As long as he keeps Ivan Lendl on board it will mean good things. He might not win multiple majors in 2017, but I think he’ll win just enough and hold on to No. 1 in the end.
Others to watch for:
Nick Kyrgios – I think he breaks the Top 10 but can’t stay there.
Marin Cilic – Capable of winning another Slam.
Gael Monfils – I don’t think he’ll duplicate his 2016 season, but he’s still a threat.
Tomas Berdych – Finally falls out of Top 10.
Lucas Pouille – Wimbledon and US Open quarterfinals were no fluke.
Grigor Dimitrov – Back on track after a poor first half of 2016?
Karen Khachanov – Only 20, he won Chengdu last year and has 3 Top 30 wins to his name.
Daniil Medvedev – Like Khachanov, he’s also a 20-year-old, 6-foot-6 Russian who packs a punch.
Jack Sock – Favorite to finish as top American, but needs more consistency.
David Goffin – Needs a big Grand Slam result to crack that Top 10.
Like last year, I think this is another season with Murray-Djokovic dueling for No. 1. But I do think we could see some surprising Grand Slam winners because neither Murray nor Djokovic are unbeatable. And we could see them as early as Melbourne in a few weeks. So there’s a lot of opportunity because I think there’s a decent chance we could see four different Slam winners this year (last year we had 3).
I’m talking guys like Raonic, Zverev, Cilic and later in the year maybe in New York, Del Po. Or maybe a Kyrgios. With no real dominant player(s), I could see any of them winning Slams this season.
I also think this is the last year the Big 4 hold No. 1. After that…??? Raonic, Zverev, Khachanov, Thiem, Kyrgios?
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