Thursday 10 March 2016

What the ATP top 10 might be in 5 years

The way the 'Big 3' has dominated the world of tennis in the last 13 years or so, it is very difficult to imagine men's tennis without them. Digest this for a fact; 42 of the last 51 grand slams (starting Wimbledon 2003) have been won by either Roger Federer (17 slams), Rafael Nadal (14 slams) or Novak Djokovic (11 slams). Only 6 active players in the field are former (or reigning) grand slam champions, namely, the 'Big 3', Stanislas Wawrinka (2 slams), Andy Murray (2 slams) and Marin Cilic (1 slam).

But we all know that the fairy tale run of these champions will have to end someday. Federer (34) and Wawrinka (31) are already in their 30's, and Nadal (29) is just a few months shy. The reign of the current no. 1, Novak Djokovic (28) will probably last a few years, but even he is edging ever closer to the dreaded 30's. Andy Murray (28) and Marin Cilic (27) haven't made threatening runs in grand slams recently, and they aren't exactly young (in tennis terms) either.

The 'Big 3' have dominated men's tennis for about 13 years now.
The question is who will take their legacy forward

Nobody has burst onto the scene like the way Rafael Nadal did in 2005 when he was just 17. Neither has anyone looked good enough to emulate the rise of Novak Djokovic over the past decade... yet.

Some of the youngsters have shown flashes of brilliance or the talent, to seriously be considered as contenders of grand slams in the coming years. Judging by whatever little I have seen of the new crop, here is a list, envisioning the top 10 players in the world after 4-5 years.


Just over 22 years old, Dominic Thiem is the youngest player in the top 20. The Austrian looks poised to challenge the big guns in the coming years with his great defensive skills from the baseline, quick court movement, and an enviable single-handed backhand, which he uses to exploit both sides of the court.


The 18 year old German is the youngest player in the top 100 (ranked 58), but he already looks like he belongs among the big boys. He has a decent serve to trouble his opponents, plays aggressively off both wings, and is one of the two only two players in this list who shows a bit of eagerness to come to the net. Remember, Novak spent a lot of 2013 and 2014 trying to improve his net game, which reaped him a lot of benefits in 2015.


The 25 year old Milos Raonic has been impressive this year, after injury hampered most of his 2015. His potent serve and rocket like forehand is now ably supported by his ever improving court movement and decent net game. He looks like a player who is here to stay for a long time.


Kei Nishikori at 26 years of age, is the oldest player in the list, and also the shortest. The Japanese has had decent success in the past few years, but I think his best is yet to come. He has one of the best backhands on tour, he is very quick off the blocks, and plays very good counter attacking tennis.


One of the best shotmakers on tour, Kyrgios at 19 has already made his presence felt by beating some of the best. The Australian has a good serve, can play aggressively from the forehand as well as the backhand, and is a clean striker of the ball. If he can develop a good temperament, Nick has the ability to dominate anybody on tour.


Jiri Vesely is 22 years old from the Czech Republic, and people have already labeled him as a future star. The only lefty in the list, Vesely has a more than handy serve and is a good striker off both wings.


The 23 year old Australian has been in the scene for a few years. He had a decent 2015, and will be looking to use that as a launchpad to get some significant results in the next few years. 
Even though he has the ability to dominate from the baseline, the world no. 20's game is really pleasing to the eye, and his shots look effortless.


Another 19 year old Australian, Kokkinakis is also a talented young player, who can crack decent shots off both sides, and prefers playing from the baseline. In addition to this, he also possesses a decent serve.


This time it is a 19 year old Croat who looks likely to break into the top 10 a few years later.
He seems like he is on the right path to achieve a lot of success with his stable, uncomplicated baseline game, and a seemingly positive attitude.

10.  (1) HYEON CHUNG

I have 2 contenders for this spot, as I do not know who to leave out. I am a little more inclined towards this 19 year old South Korean, who is a talent sure to make ripples in the tennis world in a few years. His game is a bit like Tomic's, looks effortless and pleasing, but he does have an aggressive mindset, which is a good sign for any youngster.


The 2015 junior US Open champion, Taylor Fritz, is just 18 years old, but he looks set to make a huge impact in men's tennis. He has a very good serve and a rocket forehand. The only reason I have a tiny bit of skepticism regarding this fellow is because he reminds me of the way Jerzy Janowicz played in the 2012-13, and then quickly faded away into oblivion. If he nurtures his talent properly, very few might be able to stop him from being a serious threat to slams in the coming years.

If you feel there can be a few more additions to the list, or anything else regarding the article you liked/disliked, f
eel free to express your opinion. Criticism or advice always paves way for improvement.

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