After taking Rome, can Zverev win Roland Garros?

Alexander Zverev
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Almost exactly two years ago, Alexander Zverev fell down hard and in the semis at Roland Garros. He had to retire due to his ankle injury. His body was ruined. It has taken the German a long time to slowly improve again, and finally in Rome, he won the title, beating Nicolas Jarry.

He was very patient, he was creative, and he could mash the ball. Zverev can very controversial, but on the court, the 27-year-old can be calm, and thoughtful. The No. 4  is rising again, so in Paris, he will try to be more focused. He badly wants to win a Grand Slam for the first time.

“Because it’s clay, to start with. It’s the most physical one for me, in my opinion,” Zverev said about the three-out-of-five at Roland Garros. “It’s the physically toughest one.  But I think it’s the one where I have the most memories, good or bad. US Open, yes, I was two points away from winning the title [in 2020]. Of course, that’s also one that kind of sticks out.  Roland Garros, so close to being in the final [against Rafa Nadal] I felt like. I was playing some of the best tennis of my life in 2022. Those kind of things, they are still in the back of my mind. Yeah, that’s the one that I want to do well in.”

At the start of the year, Zverev  looked like that his return was more consistent, and his forehand went deeper, close to the lines. But in the semis at the Aussie Open, he was up two sets, but then Daniil Medvedev began to be incredibly consistent, and then Zverev went back, and he missed some critical shots, losing 7–5, 6–3, 6–7(4), 6–7(5), 3–6.  That was almost heart breaking. But right now, he wants to try it again.

“That’s the one that I want to win. That’s the one that I look forward the most maybe throughout the year,” he said.  “I’m going to do everything I can this year and we’ll see where I can end up.”

It is one thing that Zverev  can beat a bunch of good, but not great players, but can he take down Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, at Roland Garros, or one of them? That is a tough order. He says that he can.

“I’m somebody that I know when I don’t play well, I can lose to anyone, but when I play well, I know I can beat anyone. That’s my mindset,” Zverev said. “That’s how I think about it.  I know I have to focus on myself, to find my rhythm in Paris the way I did here. Then everything is on my own racquet.”

Once again in Paris in 2023, in the semis, he was very formable, but Casper Ruud was super steady, and the Norwegian won. However, Zverev just won Rome, so on the excellent clay, he is thrilled and more mature, when he is thinking. Now he has to drive it.

“Nole is going to be at his best. You’ll see,” Zverev said. “It’s just the way it is. Rafa is going to play a lot better than he did in Madrid and Rome. I’m certain about that. The other two [Sinner and Alcaraz] they just depend on health. If they’re healthy, they’re two of the best players in the world, for sure, and there’s no question about it. Whether or not they are healthy, I cannot answer because I don’t know. I’m not inside their body. I saw Jannik posted a picture of him practicing again, so I’m assuming he’s fine and feeling good on the tennis court. Look, it’s all about health. When they’re healthy, they’re two of the best players in the world.”

Just like Zverev, who is healthly, and the best player, too? That is a  huge question.

Can Nadal win Madrid for the last time?

Rafael "Rafa" Nadal

Will Rafa Nadal actually play at Roland Garros, given that over the past couple years, his body is breaking down? Is he finally healthy again, or will start to go down, ASAP? He doesn’t know, but however, he will try, day after day, and then, in a month, if he be confidence again, then he will charge on the wild clay? No one, really knows.

At Madrid, Nadal beat Alex de Minaur  7-6, 6-3 , which is somewhat surprising, as last week in Barcelo,  the Aussie beat him in straight sets. Now though, Nadal’s  huge forehand is coming back.

“I think last few days my body feelings improved a little bit, but not sure yet,” said Nadal about Roland Garros. “I understand for you sometimes it’s difficult  to understand some things, but for me, Roland Garros is the most important tournament of my tennis career, no, and all the things that I lived there, enjoyed there, stays in my heart forever.  So is not a thing about losing or winning. It’s about going on court there with the feeling that I can fight and I can be competitive, let’s go on court and dream about what can happen, no?  So if I am not able to go on court and dream about even if it’s the minimum percentage, for me don’t make sense to go on court, no? I prefer to stay with all the amazing memories that I have.

“I want to be there, and even losing, but go on court with the chance to dream about something important, if that happens, I gonna be on court. If I am not allowed to make that happen, even if it’s a super, super small percentage, I probably will not go on court. That’s the feeling, and it’s best-of-five, so it’s a different story.”

He is so right, especially playing with the best-of-five, rather than the best-of-three. That is a dramatic difference. Nadal has won 14 titles in Paris, the most ever. He is the so-called “king of the clay.” He was so consistent, with his massive forehand, his incredible return, his speed, with his gigantic  legs.

But Nadal is aging, and he cannot stop it. However, if he can continue to play well in Madrid, and maybe in Rome, then he will have enough time to recover. After that, at Roland Garros, he will be very intense.

Who would have known that Thiago Monteiro upset  Stefanos Tsitsipas  two days ago. He has never gone deep at the big events, but now the 29-year-old is playing wonderful. The Brazilian believes that he can grab it, when he is playing tremendous. Good luck with him.

“I knew I had a big challenge ahead against a top player, but I was feeling good. I was just trying to enjoy also, and I just believed that I could create opportunities and believed in my game that I was back to feeling good again,” Monteiro said. “So today it worked really well, and it give me,  big confidence to know that in a good day I can play, in high level against these big guys.”
 
Win or lose this week, even though Ons Jabeur has been up and down this year, but she does lover to really mix it up, and chuck in some fantastic drop shots. Maybe Jabeur will start to win again, but the No. 9 had not played very well since last September. That is a long time. She said that she doesn’t have to know what to do on the court, but to understand how to react. She will have to be more patient.

“I just was going, like, with the flow and seeing how the game was focusing a lot on myself lately.  I feel like I want to get back the creativity and the intuition part that I play really well with,” Jabeur said. “I know I’m intuitive person, so the more I let myself play more freely, the better I play. Obviously it’s very important to have tactics, but I feel like sometimes that puts a lot of pressure on me. If I want to go do a dropshot on a return, I will do it. I don’t want to regret it after or having someone, like, Why did you do that? Wrong choice. Yes, it’s my choice.”
 
She has to face against Jelena Ostapenko, a very aggrieve person. On clay though, there should be some long, physical rallies.

The No. 1 Iga Swiatek lost in Stuttgart, losing against the terrific player, Elena Rybakina, but she won Indian Wells, and plus, she has won four Grand Slams. But first, she has be more clear, when she is playing. She still has to adjust to it.

“You need to kind of switch your mindset sometimes during the rallies or make different decisions.  So, yeah, you need time, for sure,” she said. “Everybody needs it, I think. But also, the most important thing is not to treat clay the same way everywhere, because honestly in Stuttgart it’s different. Here it’s much, much different than Rome and Paris. Rome is the slowest. You go from the fastest in Madrid to,  the slowest in Rome and then to kind of average in Paris.”

The Americans are trying to win a huge another event,  when Sebastian Korda has to face against Daniil Medvedev. He is going to grind it, all day…This should be a fine match, when Danielle Collins has to play versus the No. 2,  Aryna Sabalenka. Collins has yet to beat her, so she has to change it up, and be more careful. Something extra.

Danielle Collins wins Miami, can she won a Slam?

Was it very surprised when Danielle Collins won the Miami Open, beating Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-3 in the final? Maybe, as for the first time, when the 30-year-old finally won a WTA Masters 1000-level even. That is a very long time, but over the past two weeks, she was very focused, she nailed her forehand and her backhand deep, into the corners. She can try to blast it, all the time, but she can also over hit, and lose her control. Yes she is playing great now, but for many years, she was not close. However, in Florida, Collins locked in.

“That game took a lot out of me and Elena was pushing me all around the court,” Collins said. “At the end I was just like, ‘Thank God.’ It all caught up to me.”

She came ranked No. 53  in Miami, and now she is No. 22. She said that at the end of the year, she will retire, because she’s suffering from the endometriosis, a painful ailment that affects the uterus. That can be painful, but on court, you just have to fight, in the matches. You have know choice.

Just before she played in Miami, she woke up, and she was ready to dance, and to put it in.

“When I walked in today, I immediately had, like, a few cameramen on me and we were having some great moments with my team. I said, you know, these are some really special moments<“ Collins said. “I don’t want to be so focused on everything else where I don’t get of take it in.
Part of the reason why I played so well and did a good job today was because I had that mentality of, like, I’m going to enjoy every minute of this. This is my last year, and these are some of my final events. I want to remember these moments. I do look back on sometimes different stages of my career, and be like, wow, that’s a blur and I don’t really remember it that much. It doesn’t really seem that long ago when you say, oh, four years or six years, but in a lot of ways it can feel like an eternity.”

She has yet to win Grand Slam, but at least she reached into the final at the 2022 Aussie Open, and then she finally lost, versus Ashleigh Barty. Really, Barty is a better played, even after she retired then Collins. So that is not a big deal, but maybe, in the next seven months, she can win another tournament. Maybe the U.S. Open?  She has only won three events, so then why not to go for it again.

Many times, Rybakina can play amazing, but then, she can trip it up. She was not thrilled when she lost in the final. The No. 4 Rybakina said that about Collins “she’s playing very aggressive…Physically I was not at my best so I couldn’t push myself. Maybe I should have maybe just risked a little bit more when I had these break points.”

She didn’t, but on the clay, she will try again with more patience…All of the three top players — with Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff— all lost. It is impossible to win all the matches, month after month, so if you lose, you can take a huge breath, and move on…This week, in Credit One Charleston Open, Collins will face against the No. 6 Ons Jabeur. That should be a crazy match, as Jabeur can really mix it all around, but she has been slumping, so she will have to really center…Almost all the American women who are playing, with also with Jessica Pegula, Madison Keys and Emma Navarro, among others. Hopeful the weather will be decent, as there have been some tough days over the past four weeks, including in California, Florida, and South Carolina. Good luck…

With the men, at the 2024 Aussie Open, Jannik Sinner said, “I like to dance in the pressure storm.” Well he did it, and the won it at Miami 6-3, 6-1, over over Grigor Dimitrov. He is winning all the time, now. This year, he could become No. 1 for the first time. Maybe, because on the clay, it will be totally more feel, on the court. However, he is so darn good, now. He has only lost won match over the past three months. He is  solid and powerful. Now he is No. 2, ahead of Carlos Alcaraz , slightly. A few years ago, he wasn’t understanding what to do, a lot. But now, he is very calm, and conscious.

“You go through, when you’re young, you don’t handle these situations as I handle them now. Maybe in the future I handle them even better, ”Sinner said, who also destroyed Daniil Medvedev in the semis. “But my personality is very trying to stay calm. But in the other way, you have to don’t sit back. You have to attack it. You know, if I lose the match by attacking and trying to take it, for me it’s better than standing back and then seeing what’s happening. That’s also how I am.  So you have to stay focused, mentally in every situation. On the courts, many things can happen. The momentum can switch so fast even if you’re up a set and break. So you have to be very aware of this.”

He has to go to Monte Carlo, to play,  next week. weeks. The Italian is also thinking about playing at Roland Garros, but he is already thinking about Rome. Or anything.

“Now the clay season is coming, so usually I struggle there. So let’s see what I can do this year,” he said. “For sure, I am living a good life now…For sure, the main goal is Roland Garros, yes, but trying to work slowly into this tournament and trying to play it in the best possible way. Before I have Rome, for me, especially is a really, really important tournament. Playing with the home crowd, it’s always amazing. No, I’m very relaxed.  Physically I’m in a different shape than I was last year, which the clay is a lot physical. Then we’ll see how it goes.”

He will go somewhere… The American men are in Houston this week, on clay.  It has gone for a very long times, and the fans who see to like it. However, there are not any of the top 10, but at least there are a couple men who are in the top 20 with Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton. The Argentine, Francisco Cerundolo, is also there, who is rankedNo. 23. Whoever will win the event and then they will travel into Europe. When they land, they can continue to cheer. But after that, can they beat the tremendous players, to win, or fold, again? That is a huge question.

Miami final: Can Grigor Dimitrov upset Jannik Sinner?

Grigor Dimitrov
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The last time when that Grigor Dimitrov reached into the final at a ATP 1000 was in October, when he reached at the Paris Masters, and he didn’t win it, he was getting better.  Over the past 11 days in the Miami Open, he rose up, upsetting Carlos Alcaraz,  and also when he out-lasted Alexander Zverev 6-4 in the third. Finally he was confidence again, which can be a bit odd, giving that the 32-year-old did not play well last year, here and there, but something must have happen to focus much more on the court.
However, has to face against Jannik Sinner, who is on fire, as he has only lost one match in 2024, and at the Aussie Open, he won it, when he played fantastic.

Almost four years ago in Rome, Dimintrov beat him 6-4 in the third, and it was darn close, but he was more steady at the end. Yet last year, Sinner beat him twice, in Miami, early in straight sets, and then in the fall, he pushed him back to win in three sets in Beijing.
Dimitrov has changed, again, to be real, much more, as in the start of the year, he won Brisbane, and he reached the final in Marseille. He was different.

“I think the discipline brought me to that moment. There is nothing else,” Dimitrov said, who won Cincinnati and the ATP 1000 Final in London in 2017. “I didn’t kind of deviate from my target, not even my goal. I had small targets throughout — every single week I had a target, and also to be able to put my body through all that on a daily basis was also very important for me. Every single day when I wake up and I don’t have a big pain that would stop me to practice 100% was already a success for me. So when you start putting all that together, I think it’s where I’m most, in a way, most proud with. Of course competing against top players and beating them sort of back to back, it’s definitely what I’m the most happy with.”

The Italian is on the tear, winning everything, expected for Indian Wells. But here, he is again, nailing with her forehand and his backhand. He can smash it, into the corners, or down the line. He is more than an intense person. He has grown up.

“The first time I came here I made final, I couldn’t sleep the night [before],” said Sinner, who destroyed Daniil Medvedev. “The second time, which was last year, I was relaxed because I went through periods where I already [had similar] experiences.  Now I’m a different player, different person. I will handle it hopefully a little bit better again.”

Will Danielle Collins take down Elena Rybakina in Miami?

Danielle Collins

It would be somewhat stunning that Danielle Collins wins a huge tournament, this year, as the American has said that she will retire at the end of the year. She is only 30 years old, but it is time to go, but before that, she has to knock down  Elena Rybakina on Saturday in Miami Open.

Rybakina can play terrific, each event, but then she can lose control. But over the past 10 days, she locked in, and she kept coming, with her forehand and her backhand. She edged Vika Azarenka in the tiebreaker on the third set, and she did not get nervous, at all. She has changed, month after month.

“It’s a lot about the decisions on the court, but I’m just really proud how mentally I could still push myself even though it was really difficult from the beginning. For sure I can take a lot from this tournament, a lot of positive,” she said. “And also, in the beginning, these long matches were helping me to get back in shape. Now I’m not in shape just because I’m tired of all these long matches, but overall, it was really successful tournament no matter how I do in the final.”

Rybakina has beat Collins three times, but she did lose, once. But it is a new chapter, on Saturday, as Collins gradually rises when she paint the lines. She has missed on the court for many years, but she can also be focused, and more calm. She is a gigantic hitter, in the backcourt, and she can go for it, super early. When Collins  isn’t playing, she will occasionally read some important books. Because of that, she will get smarter, with everyone.

“I think a lot of these sports psychology books and things that they talk about high-level sports, they talk about being in the zone, almost feeling like you’re hitting beach balls, I think it can feel like that at times. That’s a good thing,” Collins said. “In other times that I have played well and have had deep runs in tournaments, it’s been like that, and then, in other times, there’s days, it’s like going out to the golf range and having a bad day and you’re missing shots.  But right now I’m timing the ball really well. I think I have made some physical adjustments too that’s helped me be able to control my shots more and hit them with more accuracy and precision.”

Collins did beat Ekaterina Alexandrova  in the semis, so she outhit her.  She did reach the the 2022 Australian Open final, so now, if she can grab Miami, it will be an AMAZING thrill. But let’s see who will put it in the basket.

“I’m looking forward to playing Elena,” Collins said. “We have had a lot of great matches previously, some battles. That’s what we play for as professional athletes, these close ones. Every time I have played her, it’s neck and neck.”

Can Danielle Collins rise up again?

Danielle Collins
Ron Cioffi / TR

Collins: “This is a really big life decision.”

She has had a tough year, but the American Danielle Collins is on a wildfire, having beaten a number of the players in Miami. Yes, she will retire at the end of the year, but what she really wants to do is to win a huge title. She may not, but she is in the semis against Ekaterina Alexandrova, so she certainly will go for it, with her massive  forehand and her backhand. However, she can really mess it up, and throw in lots of errors. She could be more patient, and wait until it is the right time, to go for it, but won’t do it, often. At least this week, she is trying to do something different. At least a little bit.

“It helped [her] be able to kind of control my shots more and hit them with more accuracy and precision,” she said. “I’m enjoying my career. I’m having a lot of fun. I love coming out here and competing. But at the end of the day, like, this is a really big life decision, and  I think that that should be pretty understandable.”

She will have to find the lines, as the Russian, Alexandrova, can also try to split the ball. Either way, the winner will have to jump on the corners, and reach.

When she is so solid, Elena Rybakina can beat anyone, if she becomes frustrated. She is quick, she can chuck it around, and she can also slam it. But with her, the No. 4 can misplace it, and almost disappear. With her, you don’t really know.

The same goes with Victoria Azarenka, and they will face off on Thursday. The veteran has always been super intense, and she will swing it so hard. However,  she also can be upset, when she is not playing great, and then she will lose it. She has won Miami three times, and she looked phenomenal, but that has been a long time ago, so the 34-year-old has to play very well, as her serve and her return is so-so.

The German Alexander Zverev is more consistent than he did before, and he will make an attempt to control it, point after point. He has to face the new young player,  Fabian Marozsan, who is rising. However, he has a lot of work to do, as he lost a number of matches this year. Let’s see if he can trouble Zverev, but I doubt, that.

Carlos Alcaraz has beaten Grigor Dimitrov three times, but in the fall in Shanghai, the Bulgarian edged him 6-4 in the third. Dimitrov always really likes to move it crosscourt, and to slice it. However, so does the Spaniard, who throws in some terrific, fantastic shots, and plus, he is extremely fast. This should be a fun match, but right it at the end, the No. 2 Alcaraz will beat him one more time. He is trying to become No. 1. Not this week, but soon enough.

Sloane Stephens: ‘Who knows how much longer I will play, but there is still a lot left’

Sloane Stephens
Ron Cioffi/TR

The older they get, many people finally become more  intelligent, and what is really happening. Sloane Stephens just turned 31-years-old, and while she won the 2017 US Open, after that, she could not do it again. Other players want to do it again and again, and while she certainly made some huge efforts, it wasn’t good enough, and that is OK. However, she has had some tough times, on the court. She knows that. 

“It’s been obviously a difficult journey, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of heartbreak, a lot of strong, incredible performances on incredible stages and great trophies and just very low lows,” she said, who is playing Miami Open, after she beat Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-3. “It’s definitely been a journey in itself, and I think obviously when I started playing tennis I would have never even dreamed of winning a Grand Slam or being No. 3 in the world.  I was playing because I really enjoyed it and I loved it.  Somebody asked me this the other day, like, does it matter that you were never No. 1 in the world? I’m, like, absolutely not. I maxed out what I had, I won a Grand Slam, I had a great career-high ranking, played the Olympics, done all these amazing things.”

Yes, there are some terrific memories, when they are awake, or sleeping. It is the good stuff, or bad, depending during the matches. Stephens can be so steady, with her forehand and her backhand, and when she is comfortable, then she can try to nail it into the lines. Even on the dirt, when she is skipping around on the court, then she can mix it up, a lot. She did reach at Roland Garros, in 2018, and while she didn’t win it, she was more respectable. But not all the time. Current, she is ranked No. 41, which is OK, but not wonderful. At the last six Slams, since 2022, she could not advance into the second week. Ouch. Perhaps she can do it again, but maybe she will just hang it around.

“When you start a sport, you can have a dream, obviously something that you really want to do, and if you do that, you get there, it’s always incredible, right? But when you do that and then you do so many other things on top of it, it’s just like icing on the cake,” said Stephens, who will face against the solid person, Sorano Cirstea. 

“I feel like I have done so much, but there is still a lot left. I’m 31, but who knows how much longer I will play, but there is still a lot left. Hopefully some more, like, accomplishments and fun things to come.”

Osaka win sets up clash with Svitolina
Another four time Grand Slam champion, Naomi Osaka, is starting to play well, so when she can go month after month, then eventually, she can be much more attentive. She can mash her forehand and her backhand down the line, quickly, and she can also raid, immediately. She has had some tough years, with her thoughts, and she is working on it, but in the matches, she can re-think what she is doing.  She has to face against another very good  player,  Elina Svitolina, in the second round. Both of them will hit the ball so hard.

It has to be with Frances Tiafoe this week in Florida, as the other American hasn’t gone deep this year, and even before that. In 2023 in June he won Stuttgart, Germany, but after that, he fell down. Two weeks ago at Indian Wells, he lost in the second round. He was a fine player in 2022, when he reached into the semi at the US Open, and he almost did it, but Carlos Alcaraz overcame him in the fifth set. At Miami, Tiafoe will face a solid veteran, the Aussie, Christopher O’Connell, so that should be a long contest. Backhand to backhand, whoever can press it, down the line, he will grab it.

Is Cameron Norrie is fading this year? I would say, no, not yet, as the No. 30 players all the time, and he is very steady.  However, he should blitz early. He will face versus Flavio Cobolli, who has had a solid season. 

Indian Wells: Tommy Paul to face Casper Ruud

Tommy Paul
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Taylor Fritz was gone, when Holger Rune hit a number of shots in a 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 victory. Now the American men have one left, in the quarters, as Tommy Paul will face off against Casper Ruud on Thursday at Indian Wells.

Paul is looking better, stroke to stroke, and he can also attack when he has a decent chance. Ruud can be creative, when the 25-year-old can feel that when he is on top of the ball, then he can hit it extremely hard.  Paul said that he really wants to win a huge tournament, like this one.

“My goal coming into this year was to win titles. I made I think two or three finals last year,” he said.  “Never won the tournament. So this year was, like, my main goal is to win tournaments. I got one title, and I want more. I mean, I want to leave the tournament with a win. The best feeling in tennis, and it doesn’t happen too often.”

Jannik Sinner is winning all the time, beating everyone right now. The Italian out-hit over Ben Shelton, and now he will be a decent  favorite when he faces
against Jiri Lehecka, another young man who is only 22 years old. He is quick, fast, and he can also jump on the ball. The Czech has been up and down this year, but at least he won at the start of the year at Adelaide, Australia.  However, Sinner knows that he has to be much more thoughtful, point after point.

”I never take things for granted. I mean, every tournament, every match you go on court trying to do your best, trying to stay mentally focused,” said Sinner. “That’s what I try to do.”

Who would have known that the American Emma Navarro took down the No. 2  Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 3-6, 6-2? She has been playing fantastic over the past eight days, with some tremendous shots, with her forehand and her backhand. She has been returning really well, and she can mix it up when she is thinking where to go. Plus, now she is more comfortable, on the court, and off.

“It’s a little bit unnatural for me to be in the spotlight and be playing on a court like that with a ton of fans and TVs and eyes on me. It’s not my natural way,”  Navarro said. “But I feel I’m definitely getting more comfortable Also I think that was my second or third fist pump ever.”

She will have to face against Maria Sakkari, who loves to rally, and she rarely gives it up. However, she can push the ball, at times. That should be a marathon.

The other American, the former 2023 U.S. champion, Coco Gauff, easily beat  Elise Mertens 6-0 6-2. Now Gauff  will face against Yuan Yue of China, who is very steady, but in order to chop the American, she will have to nail it in her forehand. Gauff has a fantastic backhand, and she is also wonderful at the net, but she can slip up with her forehand. Without a doubt, though, she can really focus, even when she is not playing great. She is more mature and she is getting better, gradually.

TennisReporters.net top 32 men: 5-1

Novak Djokovic

5 Andrey Rublev
He is very powerful, when he is on, and he can smile in the ball, to both sides. When he is feeling very good, the Russian can go for it, early, or if he is feeling patient, he can mix it up from the backcourt. However, he has yet to win a Grand Slam, and while he can be right there, but then, his other spectacular player rarely become nervous. He does, on occasion. Unfortunatly, he has yet to reach the semis at the Grand Slams, as the 26-year-old has backed up when it was close. He did win Monte Carlo, and Bastad, Sweden, and also, when he reached the final at Shanghai, China in October . That was very solid, but Novak Djokovic beat him time and time again, so if he wants to upset him, next year, he has to improve his volley, and also, closer at the net.  He might be able to win a Slam in 2024, then he is going to be a real show.

4 Jannik Sinner
Here is another one who can eventually grab to win a Slam. The Italian had a terrific week in the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy,, beating Daniil Medvedev, upsetting Djokovic early on, but then in the final, the Serbian rose, while Sinner looked pretty tired, or maybe he was  collapsing. In a sense, it doesn’t really matter, as in the fall, he played fantastic, winning Beijing and Vienne, beating  Daniil Medvedev, twice. He stood toe-to-toe, grinding him down, and with some his massive strokes, with his backhand or his forehand. He even won the ATP Masters in Toronto in August, revolting so high. However, he can mess it up, depending which week, whether he is playing great, or mediocre. He is tall, and he can put it into the corner, but next year, if he can win Slam for the first time. To do it though,  he has to return better and deeper, and meld it up, even more.  He has to be more true , and really pay attention before he gets on the court. It is almost mandatory.

3 Daniil Medvedev
The other Russian had a up and down year, winning a bunch of matches, but also, when he looked darn good at the U.S. Open against Djokovic in the final, he looked like he had a real chance to win it, but in the second set tiebreaker, he was right there. then he missed some unpaired error. He does really like to rally, very flat, and he will to wear down the opponents, but at times, he doesn’t like to come into the net enough, so his decisions could be questionable. He has a little bit with the spin, now,  and his first serve is flat, to different areas. The man can look startling, and this year, he won Rotterdam, Netherlands,  Doha, Qatar ,  Dubai, Miami and Rome. In the fall, he was very decent, but not fantastic. He is quite caring, and he looks to think, when he is talking, which is awesome, but in the court, if he wants to win another Slams, he must change a few things, especially when he can go down really low, and put it away.

2 Carlos Alcaraz
He has become darn fast,  sprinting to the right and to the left, mixing it up, and he can win it into the corners for a winner. The Spaniard is very young, and he still has a decent amount to improve, but he already can change his tactics. His forehand and his backhand are jolly sturdy, and he can also touch it on the net and put it away. However, after he won Wimbledon, and he played wonderful ball, after that, he could not win another title. Of course he was hurt, bodily, once and a while, and perhaps he was mentally shake, yet next year, he will learn how he will approach it. In the first half, he also won Buenos Aires, Indian Wells, Barcelona, Madrid, and London/Queens, and of course, Wimbledon, in the clay, the hardcourts, and the grass. That was almost flawless, but then   he wasn’t after that. At the end at the ATP Finals, Djokovic beat Alcaraz in straight sets, out hitting him, backhand versus backhand.  Maybe at the Australian Open, he can win the title, that is if his second serve and his return can be upwords.

1 Novak Djokovic

Way back when, when he won his first Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open, he was so swift, and his backhand was already phenomenal, but his forehand was good, but not great. His return was so sensible, and he could play stroke after stroke, and he rarely became tired. However, he knew, year after year, that he had to get much better so he could not only beat everyone, but to win the titles, he had to be more muscular, in the matches. Now, he has won 23 Grand Slams, a record, and here and there, he could miss some strange errors, but he will always try to hang in there, and re-do it.    He won three Slams this season, and next year, he might be able to do it again. He has won 98 Slams, and he is third behind Jimmy Connors (109 titles) and Roger Federer [103 titles.) In 2024, Djokovic could pass Federer, and eventually, maybe next year, he can tie Connors. Either way, he is the dominates.

TennisReporters.net, the top 32 women: No. 5-1

Aryna Sabalenka
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

5 Jessica Pegula
If she is totally on fire, she can hit it, stroke after stroke. Her backhand is so consistent, hitting it crosscourt, in the middle, deep, and whaling it down the line. Her forehand can also be very solid, and she can also put it away at the net. However, she did have a very good year, but not spectacular. Yes, she beat a number of excellent players, but she lost in more than a few critical matches. Yes, she has been here for a long time, and two years ago, she started to play much better, but currently, while she is very, very good, but she has yet to reach into the Grand Slams final. She really has to, one way or another. Next year, if she finally wins a Slam, she has to serve harder, and also, with her forehand. It really will be a huge critical challenge.

4 Elena Rybakina

When she is really on, she can crush the ball, all over the place.She is quick, she is very fast, and she can read where  she is going. However, she plays a lot, and  in the first six months, she looked terrific, almost grabbing the Australia Open,  and then, she won Indian Wells and Rome. But after that, she began to slip. She did win a few fine wins, like when she beat with Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, but she lost in some far, close matches to both of them. She is a solitary person, when she is hitting the ball, where she is going, and not deciding the right way. She did win the 2022 Wimbledon, and she was the outlaw, so if she can add with her second serve, and at the net, she can win another Slam, eventually, perhaps in 2024.

3 Coco Gauff
Last year, her forehand was upgrading, and her return was decent, but not great, yet. But in 2023, she began to climb, as her backhand was already phenomenal, but she had to change her forehand, and then, she really did. Now, she is not flawless yet, but she did win the 2023 US Open, snaring the third sets, when she had to, and she was just so rapt. She is still very young, and  off-court, she is very thoughtful. Some people have said that eventually, soon, she will become No. 1, and then she can win another more Slams. She might,  and maybe she will, but the realty is that Serena Williams have won 23 Grand Slams, and Venus — who is still playing — has won seven Grand Slams. Gauff has put together more than a few wins, and next year, she will be continue to her rising forehand.

2 Aryna Sabalenka

She did win the 2023 Australian Open, and she hit some colossal winners, with her husky forehand and her backhand, She can also attack, right after she returns, and she will  flat it out, down the line, or cross-court. She can last for a longtime, but other times, she loses what she is achievement.  But look, her serve is still decent, but not great, yet, when she is feeling it, then she can win so many matches, like when she won Madrid. The reality, though, that while she would go deep a lot, but she still cannot see where and when the bounce ball are going. Yes, she can win another Grand Slam next year, but currently, Iga Swiatek is better than she is, with her intense strokes. Plus, Sabalenka is still working with her serves, which she still can throw in a lot of double faulty. However, she is a hoot good, so she will adjust, and improve, even more.  

1 Iga Swiatek
She had another tremendous years, winning Roland Garros  and she grabbed Doha, Stuttgart,  Warsaw, Beijing, and the WTA Finals. She is not husky, but without a doubt, she is clearly the No. 1 right now. Her forehand and her backhand are strong, and her first serve is quite hard, and she can return with a number of winners. Since Ash Barty retired, two years ago, the Polish person waxed very fast, winning now four Grand Slams,  inclusion the 2022 U.S. Open. She totally values on the clay, being very patient, if she needs to, and also on the hardcourts, when she can slap the ball, until she wheres them down. The 23 Grand Slam champ Serena Williams, who is now retired, she knew all surfaces, winning on the hardcourts, on the clay, and also, on the grass.  She won so many Slams, but Swiatek has yet to win at the Aussie Open and Wimbledon.  Now it is time for her to do it, at least one of them. How about to start very early at Melbourne? She may not, but she will be checked in, peering, and intense. As she said: “Mental toughness is probably most important thing in tennis right now because everybody can play on the highest level. But the ones that are tough and that can handle the pressure are the biggest ones.”