Rafael Nadal had an amazing and unexpected run in 2017 Australian Open, but will he be able to carry that form through to the 2018 ATP tour? (pic: moerschy / Pixabay)
With the 2018 ATP tour looming, it’s useful to look back at the year we’ve just had. Which players are on the ascent, who is declining? So without further preamble, let’s get into it.
2017: A Brief Retrospective
2017 saw the ATP tour undergo something of an upheaval. After a number of years of apparent decline from two of the greatest players of all time, the tour had been dominated by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. And after the season of two halves that was 2016, with Djokovic dominating the first half of the year and Murray doing likewise in the second, it seemed reasonable to assume that state of affairs would continue.
Few could have predicted what actually happened, however.
2017 kicked off with a surprising return to form for Roger Federer, fresh from a months-long layoff, who claimed the Australian Open title. What’s more, he had to beat Rafael Nadal to do it! The two of them would go on to split the year’s grand slam titles between them and finish as the top two players in the world, while Murray and Djokovic struggled with form and injury and pretty much sat the end of the season out.
What can we expect for 2018?
So with that brief recap done, let’s look at the key players (in my opinion, of course) for the 2018 ATP tour.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Despite looking a bit tired in the World Tour Finals, we really saw no reason believe Nadal and Federer won’t be in a position to pick up where they left off next year. Federer seems unaffected by the ravages of time. And while Nadal did pull out of the tour finals with injury, he seems to have a handle on his own frailties that he previously lacked.
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic
2016s two best players in the world have had a disappointing 2017. Between poor results and injuries, neither really managed to fire on all cylinders this year. But, before we write them off for the 2018 ATP tour, let’s not forget that the aforementioned Federer and Nadal also finished their seasons early last year. And I’ve just spent a couple of paragraphs talking about how they dominated this year.
Dimitrov, Zverev, and Thiem
Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, and Dominic Thiem finished out the year in the top five. Dimitrov closed out his most successful year to date with a victory at the tour finals and a career high ranking, while Zverev and Thiem seem to be reaching the consistency necessary to really make a dent in the modern game. Expect these three to make some waves next year, building on the confidence this year will have brought them.
Cilic, Goffin, and Sock
Marin Cilic, one of a very select number of non-Big Four players to have landed a Grand Slam title during their reign, can never really be counted out. He’s still among the top six players in the world. He reached a grand slam final this year. It’s safe to say he will still believe he can achieve great things, despite no longer being the “next generation”.
But speaking of that next generation, David Goffin and Jack Sock had impressive 2017s that saw them each finish the year on career high rankings. Both players had a good run at the tour finals, with Goffin reaching the final itself. These young players will be looking to bring that year-end momentum forward into the 2018 ATP tour.
Bring on the 2018 ATP Tour
So the talking is done. All that’s left now is to let the dust settle and wait for the 2018 ATP tour to begin. Are you excited? Who do you think will excel and who will underachieve? Why not leave a comment below?
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