Young American men: Can they get close to the top?

Taylor Fritz

We are still waiting to see if the young U.S. men can reach into the top 10 at some point. How about in the top 15, instead?

The older American, John Isner, is still there, ranked No. 16 in the Race to London. Can he reach the top 8 towards the end of the year and play the ATP Finals in November? Possibly, but he will have to go very deep, week after week. The 34-year-old Isner has been there before, but maybe his legs are sore.
 
It appears that the young Americans look pretty good, but are they great and fantastic? Not yet.

At least they are pushing hard. Reilly Opelka just beat Taylor Fritz in Japan. That was a big win for him. The 6-foot-11 Opelka has a huge serve, and if he can stay in close near the baseline, he can slam it. However, when he has to run very fast, he can get tripped up. Opelka will never be speedy, but he can gradually improve. He is ranked No. 53, which is OK. But next year, he has to reach the top 20 at some point. Then we will know that he is getting better gradually.

Another young American, Fritz, has had a good year, but will the No. 31 move up towards the top? He will want to, but he has to think about how he is hitting about the ball, returning, and being more logical with his decisions.

There is only one more American in the top 50 — Frances Tiafoe at No. 46. He looked good during the winter and spring, but since then he has lost a lot. He fell to Alexander Zverev in straight sets, easy stuff. Tiafoe can grind it down, but it looks like he is confused. He was ranked No. 29 early this year. It is time to re-switch.

NOTES

Outside of the U.S., there are some fascinating youngsters, such as Andrey Rublev, who just bounced Grigor Dimitrov in Japan.

In Cincinnati in August, Rublev upset Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer. Maybe he plays too much, but when he focuses and drives the ball, he is dangerous.
 
No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost at the US Open, when he retired. But in July, he won Wimbledon. He was injured in New York, but he now he feels good enough to play. Because the US Open champ Rafa Nadal won’t play for the next month, Djokovic will stay at No. 1. I would think that the Serbian will end the year ranked No. 1, but he still has work to do against the top players.

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