TennisReporters.net 2020 year-end review: top 16-20, men

Pablo Carreno Busta

20. Karen Khachanov
He loves to serve, and even without moving much, he can tear winners into the corners. The Russian had a classic match at the Australian Open, losing against Nick Kyrgios, 7-6(8) in the fifth set. They pounded it for many hours. Khachanov was so close, but he didn’t handle the returns, and needed to be faster when he is running around. In 2018, he won the ATP 1000 Paris, upsetting Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic en route to the title. But, he hasn’t taken a title since that year. In 2021, maybe he can some new shots with spin and trickery. He can easily stay within the top 20. The next step to the top 10 and consistently making  the second weeks at the Slams is quite possible but the 24-year-old needs to be more patient.

19. Grigor Dimitrov
He is now a veteran, as he won his first title in 2013 and captured the ATP Tour Finals in 2017. He has a lot of variety, and his a one-handed backhand can deliver a lot of twirl. However, this year he was toast. At the US Open, the Bulgarian lost in the second round, showing an incomplete game. There are times when he is on top of the world. Unfortunately, he has never won a major, even though the 29-year-old reached the Grand Slam semis three times. Yes, he can be a force, but he can become erratic. In 2021, he will have some great matches. But, I don’t see a return to the top-5.

18. Stan Wawrinka
How about this? The Swiss won three Grand Slams, beating Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic twice. He knows how to play on clay, and hardcourts. He doesn’t love Wimbledon, but he has made the effort. He has a divine backhand which he can return with depth. However, he has played for a very long time, and he looks to be slowing down. In the past two years, he was hurt a lot. Can Wawrinka return into the top-5 next year? I am sure that he will have some terrific wins. But, if he feels 100 percent, than winning another Slam is not out of the question. Bring it on.

17. Fabio Fognini
Last year, the 33-year-old won the ATP 1000 Monte Carlo, upsetting Nadal, Borna Coric, Zverev and Andre Rublev. The was his the best week ever. On clay, he can dig it and is so steady with a lot of crafty variety. However, during the rest of this year, he did almost nothing, ending tis years, with 6 wins and 10 losses. That is pretty lousy. On hardcourts, he is the not the same player and needs to be more consistent. In 2021, he must turn it around or he can lose quickly. It is his decision.

16. Pablo Carreno Busta
This was a very good year for the Spaniard, who can run all day, hit with a lot of spin, volley well and crack his returns. It is surpassing that he has four ATP Tour titles, three of which are on hardcourts. His career high was No. 10 in 2017 but injuries in 2018 and 2019 knocked him back down as low as No. 6x. His rise back into the top 20 shows the strength of his overall game and ability to plug on. Even though he is still in his prime at 29, you’ve got to wonder if younger and more talented players like Khachanov, Alex de Minaur and Felix Auger-Aliassime will pass him in the rankings.

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