top 32 men: No. 20-16

Frances Tiafoe
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

20 Ugo Humbert

In the fall, he lost two really close matches, against Hubert Hurkacz and Alexander Zverev. The Frenchman had played a lot, to different tournaments, and he had some fine wins, but also, he wasn’t sure where to hit the ball. However, in November, he won Metz, not with the great players, but in a sense, it doesn’t matter, as he drove the ball, quiet deep. Yes he can be consistent, but if he wants to reach into the top 10 next year, he will have to be more aggresive, whenever he gets a chance. He has won four small titles, so if he wants to grab an ATP 1000, then he is going to have to rise up, very soon.  

19 Nicolas Jarry

There are so many people who think that eventually, they can run into the top 10, or the top 5, but in reality, perhaps they cannot do it. The Chilean had a very good year on clay, winning Santiago and Geneva, knocking down Casper Ruud  and Alexander Zverev. He is pretty decent, on the hardcourts, as his forehand and his backhand are darn, strong. He does have a decent style, and he can sit there for a long time. However, if he wants to go into the top 10, then he has to improve his serve, and also, to be more patient at the net.  

18 Cameron Norrie

When Norrie is playing all the time, week after week, he is very consistent. He really likes to grind it, to set it up, and when to nail it down the line. His forehand and his backhand can be steady, and he can mix it up, but the 28-year-old has reached in 15 finals, yet he has only won at the ATP 1000, at the 2023 Indian Wells. That was great, and he returned terrific, but eventually, he can back off, here and there. At the 2021, he reached the semis at Wimbledon, he knew that he had to play terrific to upset Novak Djokovic, but the Serbian decided to sit there and hit it backhand after backhand. He was just better. Norrie will try to be better at the net, with his first serve, and with his forehand. Clearly, he plays a ton, and he likes to be creative, but maybe he should to strike, earlier.

17 Ben Shelton

Who would have know that the young American would beat a number of good players and grab it, in the matches? He was surprising, when in January at the Australian Open, he reached into the quarters, and he hit some amazing shots, but Tommy Paul was more faithful and he lost. Then many people know new who he is, yet after that, he did almost nothing, losing a lot, for six months. He needed to learn, each second, and then at the US Open, he reached into the semis, upsetting Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe. He was jumping up and down, and then in the semis, the No. 1 Novak Djokovic pounced him. As he said, “I’m thinking to myself as I’m walking to get my towel in the fourth set, and it’s, like, this is the greatest moment on the tennis court of my life, and I’m in a lot of pain, physically. But I’m loving it.”

However, during the fall, he continued to play much better, with his backhand and his forehand, when he is more in-your-face, winning Tokyo. Next year, if he continues to hit harder in the second serve, and with some more slice, then he certainly go into the top 10 next year. Or even, lower.

16 Frances Tiafoe

The other American had an odd year, playing astonishing and then, when he is on the rallies, he can table some curious shots. He is very enthusiastic, and off the court, he can laugh a lot, which is a blast. However, he was unable to win a tournament this year, and he did not even go into the final. Going into the start of the year, it looked like that his backhand should improved more, and the same goes with his return. He certainly can nail it his strong forehand on the lines. In the fall, he did not win many matches, so perhaps he was mentally shaking, , so to comeback soon, he has re-set exactly what he has to do, and be more satisfied, on the court. 2020 yearend review: top 30-26 men

Taylor Fritz

30. Ugo Humbert
The 22-year-old Frenchman is playing hard. While he is gradually coming up, he has to take more care of his game and improve his shots. He did upset Stefano Tsitsipas this year, and he also topped Marin Cilic. Normally those would be major victories but the Greek had a dusty year and the former US Open champion Cilic slumped a lot. The lefty Humbert can smash his backhand. In October, he won Antwerp, Belgium. In January, he won Auckland. There were mediocre matches, but when he is feeling fine, then he can put it away, falling there opponents. If he returns better in 2021, then he can find in the top 20. of

29. Taylor Fritz
The American had a good year; maybe not great all the time, but he plays so many matches. In the summer, it looked like he was getting smarter and more powerful. But, at the US Open, in third round versus Denis Shapovalov, he lost 6-2 in the fifth set. He was very disappointed. After that, in Europe in the fall, he was 3-6 He must have been exhausted, because he was a little bit flat. He is still young, and he can be thoughtful. He can hit the ball with strength, but, just like other young players, they have to learn to return, attack the net and show some variety. With some improvements, he will try to break into the top 15.

28. Benoit Paire
He has been a constant for a very long time, with 224 wins and 239 losses. When he retires, the 31-year-old will be thinking: I was pretty solid, but he could not crack into the top 15. He tried, but he pushed him back. The Frenchman can be arty as his game is all about the hot shots. He can slide around, and chop it. Or he can whiff. As he has said, sometimes he can play great, or the next day, it is not working.
27. Casper Ruud
Not many people who live from Norway and there are just a few competitors who have competed on the ATP Tour. During the summer, they play outside, when it is warm. But, in the fall, here comes with freezing temperatures. They play indoors, and there are some terrific areas. But, when you live there, you have travel a lot to southern Europe,and the United States. Ruud seems to know how to bang the ball, and he can run it a lot. His father, Christian, is his coach and a former ATP Tour player. Maybe Casper can add to his game, and meld it up. He has the potential.

26.Dusan Lajovic
The 30-year-old had a fine year. He can climb even higher because he has finally matured in the last two years. He was hurt significantly, but when he returned, he was sharp. In Italy a couple months ago, he upset Milos Raonic in 2 hours and 32 minutes, a heroic win. Can he finally enter the top 20? It is up in the air. He is very good, but can he really thrust himself and upend some slick players. I am just not sure that he will leap into the top-10 ever.