2020 year-end review: top 6-10, men

Stefanos Tsitsipas

10. Matteo Berrettini
He watches various sports, and he goes to cheer. And he also pays attention. He likes swimming, football and judo. In 2019, the Italian grew up, and upset Dominic Thiem, before losing to Alexander Zverev in Shanghai. At the US Open, he upset Andrey Rublev before he lost to Rafa Nadal. Overall, though, in 2020, he looked OK, but not great. He went 9-6 this year. That was almost mediocre. In January, he needs to harness his skills and make a statement. 

9. Diego Schwartzman
He can scrape, run around and get to most ball. He has added to a few more shots. This year, he upset Nadal in Rome, and then at Roland Garros a couple weeks later, he also shocked Dominic Thiem in the fifth set. But in the semis, Nadal kicked him out. He has a very respectable ground game, but he has get do closer to the net and improve his second serve. To get higher than his one week at No. 8, he must develop more weapons.

8. Andrey Rublev
The Russian finally climbed up the rankings, figuring out that in order to be steady, he needed to suffer. He won Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna. He said it best about his 2020 campaign: “This year I win more tournaments than in my career. I win more matches than in my career. I can be only grateful for the season. I become top 10 for the first time. So the season was amazing for me.” The 23-year-old player showed more smarts. His first serve packs plenty of power and produces a lot of aces. But, he must to get better, each month to challenge the best. He did have a fine year. In 2021, I expect more of the same.

7. Alexander Zverev
Next year, the German will continue to elevate or sputter. At the 2020 US Open in the final, it was a tremendous match, toe-to-toe, between Zverev vs Thiem. The corners were tremendous, they hit some gigantic forehands and backhands. Both would were tired, but in the end, Thiem beats Zverev 7-6 (6) in the final. But, Thiem showed more daring and guts. Zverev backed off and was very upset to let his first Grand Slam slip away. He can be irritable, but when he is thinking hard, then he can blast the ball. However, he slips in and out of synch. In the fall, he won Cologne, he upset Nadal in semis at the ATP 1000 Paris. But in the ATP Finals in London, he couldn’t reach the semis. He was ready to go home, but he was still upset in New York — two months later — and, he is still recalling. “The US Open match obviously still hurts, but all the other ones, it’s great that I’m playing at this level again. Still, it was a good year and there is a lot to build on for next year.” Yes, but he has to deal with off-court issues: Olya Sharypova’s abuse allegations and another ex-girlfriend, Brenda Patea, who is pregnant and claims he is the father.

6. Stefano Tsitsipas 
The Greek can be very intense, and on court, his eyes are lucid. After he lost against Nadal in London at the ATP Finals, he said, ‘I should have handled it a little bit more clever and patiently, but it didn’t happen. My serve was not there when I needed it, you just have to be there. I wasn’t fully present. I wasn’t playing in the moment.” He also said that he was very disappointed. He actually had a good year, but not perfect. Over the past two years, of course, Tsitsipas has beaten a lot of good players. He has beaten top-20 players, but his nerves get in the way. He lost to Milos Raonic, Novak Djokovic, Borna Coric, Rublev, Grigor Dimitrov and Thiem. He has a lot of shots, and it can also be much too erratic.  Meaning, if he wants to a Slam for the first time in 2021, he has to be composed.