Top 20 in 2019: Men, 20-16

Grigor Dimitrov

No. 20: Grigor Dimitrov
Two years ago at the end of the year, the Bulgarian had risen to No. 3, winning the ATP Finals. He hadn’t won a Grand Slam tournament yet, but he really thought that in 2018, he was read to triumph. Well, he did not, and he went down somewhat fast in March. Even this year, pretty early, he couldn’t beat many of the players. He fell all the way to No. 78, before the US Open started. Right there, he switched, he woke up. He was steady and aggressive, when he had to. He beat Alex de Minaur as well as the great Roger Federer. That was the positive. While he was still up and down, at least when he begins to play in 2020, he will be confident again. But when he loses, early, then he panics. Dimitrov is a fun to watch, his strokes, but he has to step up ASAP or he will never win a Slam. Ever.
 
No. 19: John Isner
The American is still crushing his serves, and he also has his gigantic forehand. Also, a decade ago, he was somewhat weak with his backhand, and the very tall man wasn’t fast enough, side to side. It took him a long time to improve his backhand, slightly, and at the net, when he can bend down and put it away. So yes, the 34-year-old works hard aiming to get better. But, can he reach into the top 5 for the first time? Maybe next year, but he absolutely has to return substantially better. He never has, and that is critical. It is up to Isner.     

No. 18: Alex de Minaur
The young Aussie had a tremendous year, as he is only 20-years-old. He is a blaster, he attacks, he spins it and then he jump on the lines. He is pretty strong, and he moves forward quickly. Like the rest of the young players, none of them have won a Grand Slam yet. They are pushing, but to take down the best players, they need to find a way to shine three-out-of-five-set clashes. Eventually, de Minaur will be very consistent, he will think when he is down, and he maintain focus. Even though he had a fine year, if he wants to reach the top 10, or the top 5 in 2020, he must grow. There is no choice.   

No. 17: Karen Khachanov
When he is totally on, the Russian can spring it. His eyes are very wide, and he can wreck the balls. He is another young player, and he wants to play every day. But, that means he will play good, mediocre or even bad.  He really wants to raise his level. Yes, he had some very good tournaments this season, but in the fall, he was tired and he lost early a lot, and he wanted to go home. He needed to take a break. He has to learn and have a plan, before he walks on the court. If he gets smarter and actually listens, then be can push into the top 10 again. But if he plays all the time, then perhaps he will go even further behind.

No. 16: Stan Wawrinka
A few years ago, we all know the Swiss was brilliant, and incredibly confident. He has won three Grand Slams: the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open. His one-handed backhand is legendary, and he can return well when he is feeling good. It looked like he was going to win another Slam, but he became seriously hurt, and he had to stop for months. This year, Wawrinka was OK but he still isn’t fully healthy. In 2020, he may be 100 percent, and then he could take off, into the sky. However, we have to see if he can be totally locked in.

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