The top 32’s in 2015: Questions for Azarenka & JJ, Monfils & Fabio

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No. 24

Andrea Petkovic

The delightful German loves to speak and she is very bright, but on court she slumped this season, getting hurt once again and she was over-playing. She is a big hitter and she can be steady at times, but she gets frustrated and needs to calm down if she is ever going to reach the top 10 every again.

No. 23

Ekaterina Makarova

The Russian has been very effective on the hard courts at the majors, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open once again.

After that though, she began to slide, being frustrated when she wasn’t kissing the lines. She got hurt after the US Open and wasn’t able to play the rest of the season. She is under rated, and she can kick the heck out of the ball, but in 2016, the 27-year-old has to add more variety.

No. 22

Victoria Azarenka

In the first match of the year in Brisbane, the former No. 1 Azarenka lost a marathon against Katarina Pliskova, but it looked like she was thrilled to be back on court and ready to rumble. She has looked extremely effective at times, nearly knocking off Serena Williams and going down against Simona Halep in a classic quarterfinal at the US Open. She was right there and had she bested Halep, she could have won it all. The two-time champion has been hurt at times this year and she knows that if she wants to become No. 1 again, she has to reset her mindset. If she does not, she may be left out of the cold.

No. 21

Jelena Jankovic

The veteran Serbian has been around a very long time (15 years to be exact)and clearly she has been aging. However, once in a while, she will play great, rushing around, crushing her phenomenal backhand and smiling widely. She is ‘only’ 30 year old, so ‘JJ’ will stay around until she realizes that she isn’t strong enough to knock off the big girls anymore.


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Monfils combines great athleticism and inconsistency. Mal Taam/MALTphoto

No. 24

Gael Monfils

When the Frenchman is on, he can be the most fun, delightful player around. But when he isn’t, well, he becomes pretty shaky. He did have a few good moments, like Marseille, Monte Carlo (he upset Roger Federer) and Roland Garros, when he won two dramatic five-setters but then he finally fell again … to Federer. After that, he did very little and once again, he was hurt frequently. When he is healthy and he is feeling right, he can go very deep. But can the 29-year-old ever win a major? Doubtful.

No. 23

Ivo Karlovic

The 36-year-old Croatian is still in the top 25 in singles, which is pretty darn good, considering that most of his contempories have already retired. The 6-foot-10 Karlovic hits a huge first serve, he can bang a forehand and he isn’t bad when he gets to the net. Clearly, he isn’t that fast and his backhand is nearly atrocious, but he plays almost every week and he doesn’t back off. Who knows, if he stays healthy, he could continue playing until 40. Not bad at all.

No. 22

Victor Troicki

After being in top form from July 2013-2104, he came back, starting from zero. That was very difficult, but in 2015, he was more calm and he was very respectable. Sure, he didn’t play particularly well after the grass season (he reached the final at Stuttgart), but the Serbian played a ton of tournaments and he didn’t quit. Given what occurred, he is back on court, pushing to the limits – that is good enough.

No. 21

Fabio Fognini

Without a doubt, the Italian had some spectacular moments, shocking Rafa Nadal at the US Open after being down two sets, and besting Rafa in Buenos Aires in three sets early this year. He was tricked by Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 in the third set in Madrid, but a week later at home in Italy, he blasted the Bulgarian 6-0 in the third. Yes, he can lose frequently, but he has gorgeous shots and, if he continues to improve, he could reach the top 10 in 2016.

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