Archives for 2020 2020 year-end review: top 5-1, men

novak djokovic

5. Roger Federer
The Mr. Style has changed the game. Although he is getting older (turning 40 in 2021), he is still brilliant. Maybe he won’t win another Grand Slam, but he will come to close. Even though the 20-Grand-Slam champ hasn’t won a major since he grabbed the 2018 Wimbledon, he still has enough variety to beat most players. This year, a few days ago, the Swiss pulled of the 2021 Australian Open. When he returns, he may play at Indian Wells in March. He hopes, as do we, that he returns. In 2020, he played only one tournament, the Aussie Open. He did win two five setters, over John Millman and Tennys Sandgren, but against the No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semis, he was a little bit tired, and he lost in just three sets. Federer was won 103 titles – way up there – but when you get a little slower, it wears on you. Look at 2019, he was good, but not fantastic, losing to very good players such as Stefano Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, Rafa Nadal, Andrey Rublev, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev. Federer is still flabbergasting great at times. But to survive in best-of-five matches, he should shorten the points. With a problem knee adding to the physical demands of a 23-year career – and a staggering brilliant 1,242-271 won-loss record – he will continue to lose speed on court. That is life.

4. Daniil Medvedev
In 2019, the Medvedev was notably good, taking four titles, two of which were ATP Masters 1000s (Cincinnati and Shanghai). In the summer and throughout the fall, helooked very robust and steady. He won Paris and then conquered Thiem 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 in in the ATP Finals. That was one of his best matches ever. In 2021, can he win a Grand Slam, which will be the first time? He sure can, as long as he upgrades his return and net play. Now is his time to dominate.

3. Dominic Thiem
A few weeks ago, Patrick McEnroe said. “Thiem will get to No. 1 in the world in 2021.” That’s a bold statement, but he has been getting better each year, which is why he won the 2020 US Open, and his one-handed backhand is incredible. The Austrian is ranked No. 3, right behind Djokovic and Nadal. Guess what? He does think that in 2021, he will be No. 1. He likes to change his form, and his is wise. He said, “I want to climb up the rankings.” He is going for it, with 2021 a year where his youth – six years younger than Djokovic and seven years younger than Nadal – can help him jump to the top.

2. Rafa Nadal
The Spaniard has a lefty slice serve, which allows him to dictate in most every match he plays. Years ago, he played Andy Murray at Wimbledon. His forehand was much bigger and his passing shots tore apart the Scot’s hair. Nadal had an answer for everything, and crushed the former Wimbledon champion. “His forehand was ridiculous. He’s hitting the ball so close to the line, so hard, that it was difficult for me to get into a rhythm,” Murray said. “I felt rushed on every point.” Nadal has won 20 Grand Slams, and next year, he can win the Aussie Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open. As long as he is healthy, he will win another major on any surface. In 2021, he will continue to work with his backhand, which is better than 15 years ago. At 34, he is still a force and one of the greatest players of all time.

1. Novak Djokovic
The 33-year-old Djokovic continues to be the head of the class. “Being No.1 once again attracts me. I would lie if I said that it’s not a goal, besides a Grand Slam title, that’s the pinnacle of the sport,” Djokovic said. “What makes me emotional the most is the new game level. Obviously, major wins are the priority but it does not decrease the importance of other tournaments: I give the maximum when I come to a tournament to win.” In 2020, he won the Australian Open again, beating Federer in straight sets and Thiem in the five-set final. He also won Dubai, Rome and Cincy. His chance at another Slam fell at the US Open (stupidly hitting a lines person with a ball) and dropping the Roland Garros final to Nadal. After that, in the fall, he was decent, but not spectacular. He can hit almost anything, his wicked serve, his smart return and his non-stopped, deep backhand. Of course, he will win another Slam in the 2021, as long he continues to work on evening out his odd forehand. Regardless, he is so sharp that he will figure out how to beat everyone. He defines secure. 2020 year-end review: top 5-1, women

Ash Barty, Ashleigh Barty

5. Elina Svitolina
The muscular Svitolina can crush it with a tremendous strength. She can dominate with her strong forehand, and her ripping crosscourt backhand. She also has a good first serve. She had a very decent in 2020, but not spectacular. The Ukrainian did win Monterrey and Strasbourg, but there small tournaments. A few years ago, she was on fire, winning Brisbane, Dubai, Rome, the WTA Finals and Toronto, all huge events. However, when she loses, she can get disgruntled and dissatisfied. She has a complete game but she hasn’t won a Grand Slam. She must figure out what is stopping her from her first major. Maybe, she just needs more variety.

4. Sofia Kenin
Five years ago, it was pretty clear that the American was very good, and she became better each month. She can pummel the ball each way with depth. At the Australian Open, she beat the No. 1, Ash Barty, and then in the final, she flew high, beating Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. The 22-year-old said, “These two weeks have been the best two weeks of my life.”
They sure were. However, after that, she had a few terrific wins, but she also lost a good amount during the summer. She was hurt, which is why she went down to Vika Azarenka 6-0, 6-0 in Rome. That was a stunner, and we all know that she crying. But came back strong, reaching the final at Roland Garros. She had a real chance, but she lost to Iga Swiatek in straight sets, hampered by a leg injury and an opponent who was on fire. Then, that was it for the rest of the year. If she is healthy in 2021, then she certainly has a chance to do deep all the time.

3. Naomi Osaka
The three-time Grand Slam winner has a game without boundaries. She won the US Open, outhitting Azarenka in three sets. Not only can she smack the ball, but when she is returning, she can hit it close to the lines. After that, she attacks. Osaka only played five tournaments in 2020, partially because she was injured. Still, the year was not just about tennis. Her political statements supporting Black Lives Matter and her unrivaled income from endorsements made her a global name beyond the tennis court. Those accomplishments helped the sport’s profile. Assuming that she is healthy in 2021, she will snag some big tournaments and maybe more Slams. She is that good.

2. Simona Halep
The Romanian is so bright, on the court, being very patient. Her backhand and forehand can go crosscourt or down the line. Her net game is very solid. Over the past decade, she was excellent at times, but emotionally, she would get upset. She can grind it, but at the Slams, very deep, she could back off. Finally, at Roland Garros, in the final in 2018, in the third set, she went for it and she beat American Sloane Stephens. She was finally there. The next year at Wimbledon, she was totally zoned in, crusing Svitolina in the semis. In the final, she stunned Serena Williams quickly, perhaps her best match ever, if not one of the best matches by anyone in 10 years. However, she can be inconsistent. This year she didn’t win a Slam, yet she won Dubai, Prague and Rome. After Swiatek thrashed her in the RG fourth round, she said, “It was a fantastic year with all the tough moments that we all had, so I’m not going to ruin the whole year just for a match. Of course, it’s not easy to take, but I’m used to some tough moments in this career.” And, she still will find a way to prove she’s one of the best in the world.

1. Ashliegh Barty
Obviously, she is a damn good player. She can be fragile, but she can also be super steady. However, the odd thing is that she is still No. 1 even though she played only four events, three in Australia in January, and one in Doha in February. After that, she didn’t play at all for the year. It wasn’t that she was hurt, she didn’t want to travel after that, staying in Australia due to the vicious coronavirus. That is totally respectable, but it has been a crazy year. Before that, Barty won Adelaide. In Melbourne, she did beat Petra Kvitova in the quarters, but in the semis, she lost to Kenin, which was very close. She is very intelligent, and thoughtful. She also loves playing doubles. She won Roland Garros in 2019 but has only one other trip to a major semifinal. In 2021, she has to reset and drive. She practices all the time, improving and trying new shots. She likes to play all sports, including her well-documented stint on the professional cricket ground. Barty will continue to get better, and she will grab a Slam in 2021. No doubt about it. 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. 2020 year-end review: top 6-10, women

Bianca Andreescu

10.  Aryna Sabalenka 
In February, the Belarussian was on track, winning Qatar when she beat Kvitova in the final. She hits some huge balls and was very aggressive when she was returning. Her confidence was exploding but then COVID-19 hit and the tour shut down. When she returned, she was mentally rusty, and it took her two months to find her groove again. In the Ostrava tournament, she won the event, beating Jennifer Brady and Victoria Azarenka. In November, she won it again in Linz, knocking out Elise Mertens in the final. She finished 2020 on a winning streak. When she starts again in January, if she wants to go up in the rankings, she needs a calmness that she has yet to show.
9. Kiki Bertens
With limited play, the Dutchwoman was able to stay in the top 10. Her best showing was in St. Petersburg, where she downed Elena Rybakina in the final after taking out three Russians. She didn’t play the US Open and had some success in the other two Slams. She had a decent run in the Australian Open to the round of 16 (losing to eventual finalist Garbine Muguruza) and also made the same round in Roland Garros but dropped a two-setter to qualifier Martina Trevisan. Bertens remains a solid force based on a consistent but far-from-flashy game. She needs to up the power and find more dominance with her strokes.

8. Petra Kvitova
Mostly, she is a happy person. She can laugh a lot, and she can be goofy. She has won two Wimbledon titles. She is a gigantic hitter, with colossal first serve and forehand. When she nails a return winner. she can scream in delight. But, 2020 was a spotty year, with no titles and only one final reached in Qatar. Ash Barty took her out in the Australian Open while she fell victim to Sofia Kenin in Roland Garros. Anytime Kvitova can’t play Wimbledon her overall yearly results are going to suffer. With her hand injury well behind her, the 30-year-old still has the firepower and drive to pass her previous best ranking of No. 2 and become the game’s top player.

7. Bianca Andreescu
It’s strange to talk about Andreescu’s year when she didn’t play a 2020 match due to a lingering injury and COVID-19 fears that kept her from performing at a top level. It seems like forever but it’s important to review her incredible 2019. A qualifier at the Australian Open, she got into the second round of the main draw. But, then she moved into overdrive, beating Angie Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Muguruza in Indian Wells. In Toronto, she dispatched Karolina Pliskova, Kenin and Serena Williams to take her second Premier 5 crown. Then, in New York, she vaulted over Serena again for her first Slam trophy. The question for 2021 is: Will she be healthy and was 2019 the beginning of a great career? She is only 20, spirited and talented. It looks like her future is just beginning.

6. Karolina Pliskova
The Czech can really smash the ball, with a huge first serve. Sometimes she is totally on the ball. But, she does like to travel constantly; when she flies, she can be jaded. In 2017, she came No. 1. That was terrific. But, in order to get a Hall of Fame nod, you have to win a Slam. Perhaps at the Australian, Wimbledon or the US Open, she will break through. She just hired a new coach, Sascha Bajin, who worked with Serena for many years. Bajin knows Pliskova needs to increase her foot speed and round out her game. Those could be the keys to finally taking a major. In 2021. 2020 year-end review: top 11-15, men

Milos Raonic

15. David Goffin
Three years ago, the Belgium had finally shone and became very good. He could always blend it up and move with speed. In 2017, he upset a few fine players, like Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem at the ATP Finals. Federer and Nadal have beaten Goffin numerous times with some blowouts, too. Now he is 30 and has gotten over his nerves, especially in the backcourt, where he is very steady. However, he has yet to win a Grand Slam or the ATP 1000 final. There is a small chance to win a major, but if he can move closer to the net, just like Rod Laver and Pete Sampras, then he can break that ceiling. In 2020, he did not do much, as he was only 12-11. He has to return better. It looks like he could win the titles, but not the big ones

14. Milos Raonic
The huge hitter came up pretty fast, with his huge serve and his muscular forehand. In 2016 Wimbledon, he reached the final, upsetting Federer in five sets in the semis. He was ready to go, but in the final, he lost to the Brit Andy Murray. While Raonic has gone deep into the finals, and he has won eight titles, but he stalled. The 29-year-old has not won an ATP 1000. During the summer, he reached into the final, at Cincinnati, cracking past Stefanos Tsitsipas. But, he went down in the final to Novak Djokovic. He is tall, his forehand is a weapon, and his backhand improved this season. But at the US Open, he lost against another Vasek Popsil. Currently, he is working with coach Mario Tudor. Optimistically, next year, he can get back into the top 3, but the most important thing is to stay on the court, rather than pulling out. He just has to stay healthy.

13. Roberto Bautista Agut
The Spaniard finally reached the semis at a Grand Slam, 2019 Wimbledon. There, he bent down and flipped his shots deep into the court. Unfortunately, he could not find a way, losing to Djokovic in four sets. He has played the majors since he started in 2005. Now, he has racked up 61 wins and 31 losses. That is very decent, but he has been stuck getting to the round of 16 over and over. The 32-year-old has always played consistently, as he rarely gets hurt. That is a huge positive. He has won nine titles, which is good, but he has yet to win at the ATP 1000s. At least in 2016 at Shanghai, he upset Djokovic and in the final, he went down to Andy Murray. Bautista Agut is very good, but that doesn’t mean that he can win a Grand Slam. However, he will try, and try again.

12. Denis Shapovalov
The young Canadian will continue to grow, but he has to improve his serves and volleys. At the start of the year, in Brisbane he looked terrific, beating Tsitispas and Alexander Zverev. He reached the quarterfinal, and then lost to Djokovic. But, he eventually stalled, and he didn’t play well as the year wound down. He was 17-15. That is not good enough. He is coached by his father, Tessa Shapovalova, and the former top 5 Mikhail Youzhny. They can really add to his game. He should be satisfied now. If he wants to go to the top, then he must expand his weapons.

11. Gael Monfils
The Frenchman can be phenomenal, sprinting and cracking with his major forehand. When he is healthy — and that is not often given over the past five years that he injured a lot— he can compete with top 10 player. But, one of the reasons was that he has not reached the final at the Grand Slam is that he can’t get is mental game up to the level of his physical game. He can be close, but he has to beat the great players. He should improve his backhand and move up closer to the baseline. He is engaging with the players and his easy personality is a winning asset. Next year, he can return to the top 10. But beyond that, I cannot see him winning a Slam. 2020 year-end review: top 11-15, women

Belinda Bencic

15. Garbine Muguruza
When she is on, she can be so darned dominant. She has two Grand Slams based on her ability to crush a bunch of winners. When she goes for it and finds her range, she can be one of the world’s best players. Her forehand and her backhand are very husky. When she loses, which is a decent amount, she gets frustrated and mournful. She can be very dreadful. The best thing in 2020 was the start of the year, when she advanced into the final at the Australian Open. She upset Simona Halep, but on Saturday she went down to Sofia Kenin in the final. That was more than respectable, but while she did win a lot matches, she could not win a title. In Rome, on clay, she was more than respectable, beating Jo Konta and Vika Azarenka. Against Halep, she was challenged and lost 6-4 in the third set. Where was her mental game? In 2021, Muguruza will be around, but will she be consistent for the entire year? That is a huge questio
14. Johanna Konta
The Australian/Brit is almost the same thing, when she is focused, and she digs in, then she would be very ground zero. She has a lot of coaches, say four, which is a lot, but she does like to listen. I am not sure why she really listens. In the last few months, she was muddy. She can back off, and she can shove the ball. She really is a cool player, but she has to change it up, at least a little more. Konta will be 30 years old, and, if she does go deep in tournaments, the fans will have to pay attention. On occasion, Konta wants to break out of her patterns. But, can she?

13. Victoria Azarenka
Ten years ago, she was No.1. She actually was the best player for a few months. She could beat anyone, winning so many matches. She won the Australian Open twice, on her march to the top. She lived on her massive stokes, with her influential forehand and backhand. She always tried to make shots on the lines. At the 2020US Open, she reached the final, beating Serena Williams in three sets in the semifinal. But, in the final’s third set, Naomi Osaka climbed up and the won 6-3. Azarenka was mentally tired. The Belarus can be very pissed off, and she was dejected . At 31 years, Azarenka can be irritable. She can best great players in 2021, or she can become distracted.

12. Belinda Bencic
It is possible that if she wasn’t hurt so much, she could have already won a Slam. But, she hasn’t reached that pinnacle. But, the Swiss was able to scrape back into the top 15. She can really grind it, and when she is feeling very well, then she can knock off most players. However, it was not a good year in 2020. When it was done, she was only 8-8. That is so mediocre. In 2015, she won Toronto during the summer. Then, she was so confident. She can drive herself, or she can nearly pop it back.

11. Serena Williams
The American has won 23 Grand Slams, so clearly, she is one of the best players on the planet. She has won so many titles, on hardcourts, clay and grass. She has almost every shot imaginable, with her massive serve, her heavy forehand, her slick backhand, and with a potent return. Williams is so rugged. However, now she is 39 years old, and she is aging. At the US Open, she lost Azarenka in the semis in three sets. That was a shocker, and then she had to wake up. Maybe in 2020, she will play here and there. But if she wants to win Slam No. 24 to tie Margaret Court, she has to break her four-match major final slide. Her footwork is no longer nimble and reaching for low balls is a major flaw. Even though she has been an all-in greatest event, it’s now time to get going again. It’s all about the commitment. 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. 2020 year-end review: top 16-20, women

Petra Martic

20. Elise Mertens
She was almost in the top 20, both 2019 and 2020, as she racked up  some good, but not specular, wins,. She won the WTA title at Doha upsetting Simona Halep. She had a super week and on Sunday, really stroked the ball. But, that was February. After that, she was only decent. If she wants to add some new shots, then she has a shot at more success. If she goes for more variety, then she could punch into the top 15.

19. Elena Rybakina
The Russian is still very young, but she had a very good year, especially in January and February. On her beloved hardcourts, she reached the final at Shenzhen, and then won Hobart. She also reached finals in St. Petersburg, Dubai (she upset Karolina Pliskova and Petra Martic) and Strasbourg. In the fall, Rybakina was decent, but not fantastic. The 21-year-old has yet to go beyond the round of 32 at a Slams. If she adds new shots and trust herself, she can rise into the top 10.

18. Petra Martic
The veteran had a good year, overall, running all over the place, really digging. She can get down really low for her shots. Even though she slides out way to the left, almost in the seats, she can flip it crosscourt on the on to the lines. In 2020, 29-year-old became a little more ambitious as she knows that she has to change it up. Now she goes bigger on her first serve, but her forehand is decent but not great. If she wants to go even further, then she is going to have to refine her forehand and at net play.

17. Iga Swiatek
Out of nowhere the 19-year-old won Roland Garros, sliding and going for the lines. She downed the Halep and Sofia Kenin, losing just a set in seven matches. She was on fire. It is amazing that over the past three years, while the top veterans had won many times, the new ones can explode because they had no fear at all. Such as Naomi Osaka, Kenin, Bianca Andreescu and Jelena Ostapenko. In 2021, Swiatek has to be consistent and thoughtful. Within next year, she could easily reach the top 10. Maybe higher.

16. Madison Keys
Over the past five years, when she is healthy, the Floridian beat everyone. She hits very hard with her forehand and backhand, with some jolting shots at the Grand Slams. She reached numerous second week, making her more and more ambitious. But, she really likes the hard courts, which contributes to her getting hurt repeatedly. She retires on court, or she will pull out before tournaments start. If she wants to reach a Slam final in 2021, she has to figure out how to stay healthy. If that works out, then there is no doubt she can leap back into the top 5. 2020 year-end review: top 21-25 men

Felix Auger-Aliassime

25. John Isner
The 35-year-old American has been around for a long time, and while he has had amazing wins, he also is slowing down. He has got a few more years, when he can still hit his famous ace with his first serve and his plastering forehand. But, beyond that, even though he added some shots, he hasn’t won a Slam and probably won’t. Years ago I thought he had a chance, but he couldn’t pull it off. He would go deep in the huge tournaments, on the hardcourts and on grass. Still, his backhand is still so-so and at 6-foot-10, he isn’t very fast. He has moments, when he won the 2018 ATP Masters 1000 Miami. That was the best moment of his life. In 2020, he always wanted to play, so if he commits even more, he could reach the top-10 for the last time. It is his decision.

24. Borna Coric
He can be odd, at times. At the US Open, he grinded it over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round. So steady. He reached in the quarters, and he thought he could go further. But against Alexandra Zverev, he didn’t return, and was too patient. He lost 6-3 in the fourth. He plays well and then plays mediocre. He went to St. Petersburg, and reached in the final upseting the former Slam finalist Milos Raonic. On Sunday, he was confident, but he couldn’t outhit Andrey Rublev, who was on fire, losing a tough two sets. Over the past two years Coric looked pretty good, but can he finally break into the top 10? Possibly, but he has to take on the role of warrior.

23. Alex de Minaur
In the last three years, the Australian won a good amount of matches, 82-53. He really likes to play and he is working on his attacking game. At the US Open, he took down Karen Khachanov in five exciting sets. Right after that, he lost to Dominic Thiem, who won the championship. Interesting, he likes grass, as well on the hardcourts. He reminds me of former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who would be intense and play for hours. If de Minaur wants to go further, he has to improve his forehand and return, too. He will continue his path into the top 15  if he starts to impose himself.

22. Cristian Garin
He likes the clay and won all of his four titles on the surface. The Chilean won Rio do Janeiro and Cordoba last February. In April 2019 he won Houston, a small event but that was important. He won Munich, taking down Matteo Berrittini. His improvement has been gradual and, at the age of 24 years, he is very good and deadly, but he has to push himself more.

21. Felix Auger-Aliassime
The 20-year-old is ranked somewhat high, but he didn’t win a lot of important matches this year. He can hit it hard but erratically, which is why he didn’t take down any top players, except when he upset No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut and defeated Grigor Dimitrov this year. That was it. He did not win from the top-10ers in 2020. The rest was a bunch of so-so players. Beyond that, in 2019, he was much better. Clearly, he must have been exhausted, as he was very flat the past three months. Next year, in 2021, the Canadian has to practice a lot, but his coaches might ask him to slow down for a while. He is a fun player to watche, and he loves to play. In January, he will retool and make a major move in 2021. 2020 year-end review: top 25-21 women

Maria Sakkari

25. Angie Kerber
A few years ago, she was the No.1, and she was amazingly consistent. She would run, left to right in the backcourt or toward the net. She is not that great when she serving, but her return is legendary. In 2020, Kerber was so-so. She hesitated and she was thinking,”What the heck was going?’ She couldn’t flow. Over the years, Kerber had some wonderful matches. She won three Grand Slams: the US Open, Wimbledon and the Aussie Open. She was locked it with no errors. If the German wants to dive into the top 5 in 2020 and win a major again, she has to figure out what is bogging her down.

24. Jennifer Brady
The American had a fine year. At the US Open, she made it all the way into the semis, winning five matches in straight sets. Nor even close. However, in the second week, she had to face Naomi Osaka. She is totally different. Brady was close until when she lost 6-3 in the third. She had a few chances, but right now, Osaka is more powerful, and playes with more variety. Overall, Brady. 25, showed that she improved a lot, and she believes 2021 can be another break out year Her chances of reaching the top 10 is narrow.

23. Anett Kontaveit
At the Austrian Open, Kontaveit edged Iga Swiatek 7-5 in the third. In the last few games, there it was, ready to nail it and embrace it. She was thrilled, but in the quarters, she was exhausted. Simona Halep quickly blew her out. Kontaveit had some good wins in the summer, but she couldn’t upset Osaka, at the US Open. She is 24 years old, and she grew up in Estonia. In a nation without a tennis history, she will need more time to progress at the highest level. However, as long as she clubs her forehand, she will have some terrific shots in 2020.

22. Maria Sakkari
The Greek had a fine summer and fall, upsetting Elina Svitolina and Serena Williams. At the Aussie Open, she took donw Madison Keys. Then she had a tough three-setter, losing to two-time Wimbledon, champion Petra Kvitova. Over the past two years, the fast Sakkari is getting smarter. There are times when she falls apart, not thinking during the points. But at the other times, when she is really thinking, she can play without fear. In 2021, maybe she can reach the top-15, if she can beef up her mediocre serve.

21. Marketa Vondrousova
Five years ago, in the juniors, she was No. 1. Many people saw that the Czech is darn good. Now in 2020, she is already gaining month by month as she adds more shots and variety. However, this year, she couldn’t put it together. She didn’t not win a lot of big tournaments. She did upset Svitolina, but that’s it. After she reaching the 2019 Roland Garros final, she was gone for the rest of the year due to left wrist surgery. She is still coming back, and if she is 100 percent in 2021, then she will make a run again.