Top 20 in 2019, Men, 10-6

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

No. 10: Gael Monfils
The Frenchman had a strong year, rising from No. 32 to No. 10. Over the past decade, the 33-year-old was injured a tremendous amount. But, as a consummate athlete, he hangs in there, despite the fact that his knees are weathering. He is one of the fastest runners on the circuit, his forehand is massive, and he could be very patient. Some people think that he can push the ball a lot. But, the reason why is he cracked the top 10 because he loves to rally, back and forth. He can wear down the opponents. That is Monfils strategy, which can be good, but the best players can knock him down and frustrate him. On occasion, he falls away. He wants to go into the top 5 for the first time, so it is a huge challenge. In the first three months, he has to go deep a lot, especially at Rotterdam, which he won in 2019. He has to stay healthy and really committed. And then he does, he will dance in front of the net.

No. 9: Roberto Bautista Agut
The Spaniard doesn’t mind clay and grass, but he really likes to play on the hard courts. He has won nine titles, seven on the concrete. He can spin it or he can flatten it out, or he can bash it. In fact, given that he has been playing in the ATP for 15 years, eventually, you will figure out all three surfaces. Now 31, he has the experience to succeed at any tournament. At Wimbledon in July, he was sharp, and he reached the semis, but he could not break down Novak Djokovic. He did upset Djokovic at Miami in April, but that is two out of three, not three out of five. That is the big challenge for men with ambitions to win a Slam. He never gives up, but can he win a major before he retires? I doubt that.

No. 8: Matteo Berrettini
Back in September, at the US Open, the Italian stunned Gael Monfils in the quarters, 7-6 (5) in the fifth. He was super happy. Few people knew who he was, and then in the spring, he began to hit the ball hard. He is steady, and he can attack. He isn’t that nervous, except in the ATP Finals where he lost to Djokovic and Roger Federer. He looked afraid. Berrettini has improved a lot, and he practices all the time. So, in 2020, he will be more competitive, which is a lot to say about No. 8 in the world. The 23-year-old won’t disappear; he will be there for many years.

No. 7: Alexander Zverev
When the German is on, and he is hitting on the lines, he is a winner. Heck, he can win the ATP 1000s again in 2020. He has done it before, a couple times. But in 2019, there were months when he was hollow. The 22-year- old lost a lot from March through September. Then in October, he came back and he became tolerant. He couldn’t repeat his 2018 ATP Finals win, but last year, he did stun Federer and Djokovic. Yes, Zverev is still young, and darn good when he is on, but he can become frustrated. In 2020, he will be right there. But, can he finally reach a Grand Slam final? Yes, but not to win it, yet. Maybe in 2021, when he is a little bit more mature.

No. 6: Stefanos Tsitsipas
The 21-year-old Greek is steady, composed and robust. He won the ATP Finals, edging Dominic Thiem 7-6 in the third. He wasn’t edgy at all. There are days that he isn’t sure how he should approach the match, and to go for it, or not? The 6-foot-4 man is just fine when he is in control, but when he is a little bit off, he can swing way too hard and commit too many errors. Both his forehand and his backhand are threatening, and he is more decent at the net. The 30-year-old fantastic veterans have won so many Slam titles, such as Rafa Nadal, Djokovic and Federer. The young snappers have yet to win a major. But, in 2020, the 22-year-old Tsitsipas will win a Slam. He will beat them all.

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