As 2017 showed, it’s hard to predict what will happen on the ATP World Tour. After all, who expected Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer to top the rankings? Or expected so many stars to be laid up with injuries?
Undeterred, here are a few bold calls for 2018. Check back a year from now to see if they came true.
An American will reach a Grand Slam singles final
A couple of marks held by Hall of Famer Andy Roddick came to an end in 2017: his standing as the last American male to win an ATP Masters 1000 title and reach a Grand Slam semifinal. In 2018, another one of those will fall as a player from the U.S. will reach a Grand Slam final. Jack Sock, who ended the Masters drought, is perhaps the best bet, but veterans John Isner and Sam Querrey—who broke the semis slump—can’t be counted out.
Murray and Djokovic will make a Top 10 return. The others? Well…
In 2017, injuries shook up the status quo in the men’s rankings. As they were forced to shut down their seasons, Top 10 mainstays Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic were left on the outside looking in. Former world No. 1s Murray and Djokovic will be well-poised for a return to the Top 10, but the others will be harder-pressed to make their way back among the elite. Their places were filled by the likes of Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Sock, who won’t be ready to give up any ground.
Count on a Kyrgios breakthrough
Speaking of injured players, one that never reached the Top 10 will finally live up to the justified hype. Nick Kyrgios had a rollercoaster ride through the year before shutting his season down: He dealt with some tragic personal issues and injuries, but made his debut appearance in an ATP Masters 1000 final. He won’t have many points to defend, and a couple of deep Grand Slam runs could lead to a big rankings bump.
Federer will win at least one Slam
One of the most surprising stories in all of sport was the resurgence of Federer. Two Grand Slams, a No. 2 ranking, multiple Masters titles…what will he do for an encore? Provided he’s healthy and carefully manages his schedule like he did in 2017, he’ll at least add one more major to his overall haul.
No. 1 will remain in the hands of the Big 4
Nadal made a triumphant return to the top spot, with Federer close behind him. While Murray and Djokovic work to get their legs under them, Nadal and Federer should be able to hold off the rest of the field. At the end of the season, expect one of the Big 4 to close out the season at No. 1, an annual tradition since 2004.
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