ATP Top 10 Predictions for 2016

I have been focusing on the WTA tour this year but i’m pleased to say that we have a guest post from Vithun Illankovan (@VitIllankovan on Twitter) who is here to count down his season-ending top ten predictions for the ATP at the end of 2016.

10. Richard Gasquet

Gasquet

I expect Gasquet to retain his place in the Top 10 by 2016. By virtue of his improved performances in the Grand Slams, Gasquet was able to re-enter the Top 10 after a disappointing 2014, which impressively, is his 3rd Top 10 finish in the last four years. Gasquet’s performances at Wimbledon and the US Open showed what he is capable of if he plays with a bit more intensity. Beating the best players in big events still remains an issue but that is the case for the majority of the ATP tour. Staying in the Top 10 will be a tall order but I think Gasquet can do it.

9. David Ferrer

Ferrer

2015 was another typical year for David Ferrer and I expect no different in 2016. Considering Ferrer fell seven places in the rankings between 2013 and 2014, it was surprising to see him rise up again to No.7 this year when so many expected him to decline further. Winning titles at ATP 250 and ATP 500 level will be key for Ferrer; he won five titles in 2015 and will need something similar to stand a chance of remaining in the Top 10. While age continues to make life harder for Ferrer, his determination and work ethic should allow him to maintain a high ranking. While I expect his Slam performances to continue declining, he should win multiple titles to preserve his place in the world’s elite.

8. Milos Raonic

Raonic

2015 was a disappointing year for Raonic as it marked the first time in his career where he finished the season with a lower ranking than which he started it with. Raonic started the season well with performances like those of a regulation Top 10 player but injury during the clay season derailed his year and he was never able to regain his level. On a positive note Raonic has the opportunity to gain a lot of ranking points at the Slams in 2016 after early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open as well as missing Roland Garros entirely. An injury-free season and an increase in competitive spirit will be required to return to the Top 10 but it is definitely within his capability. I’d fancy Raonic to reach his 2nd Grand Slam semi-final and his 3rd Masters final next year.

7. Tomas Berdych
Berdych

Berdych had a similar 2015 to Ferrer, comfortably remaining a fixture of the Top 10 but not having any outstanding results. I would love to see Berdych push on and win his 1st Grand Slam, as I believe he has all the weapons to do so. The Australian Open and Wimbledon provide his best opportunities but unfortunately it seems that Berdych is very content with being a perennial Top 10 player.  Based on his consistency throughout a season, it is almost certain that Berdych will finish 2016 somewhere in the Top 10. However the chances of him bagging that elusive Slam or even reaching his 2nd Slam final remain highly unlikely.

6. Kei Nishikori

Nishikori

2015 would probably have been considered an acceptable year by Nishikori but I believe it could have been much better. Nishikori produced a string of consistent results during the 1st half of the year; notably back-to-back Grand Slam quarter-finals and winning three titles. However, early exits at Wimbledon (due to injury) and the US Open severely limited his progress during the 2nd half of the year. I still have doubts about Nishikori being a successor to the likes of Djokovic and Murray and ever winning a Grand Slam; the fact he is so injury-prone is the main reason for this. I expect Nishikori to have a slight improvement in Slam performances and ranking next year but I don’t see him as a genuine contender for Grand Slams anytime soon.

5. Roger Federer
Roger Federer

2015 was a solid year for Federer with his extremely attacking playing style including the introduction of Sneak Attack By Roger (SABR) paying dividends. Unfortunately, Federer came out 2nd best to Djokovic at Wimbledon, the US Open and the ATP World Tour Finals. Motivation for an 18th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and an elusive Olympic Gold singles are clear by Federer’s schedule as he is not down to play any tournaments between Indian Wells and Roland Garros. With the exception of Djokovic, Federer is almost always the favourite to win on faster surfaces but I have never been confident in him winning another Grand Slam title since Wimbledon 2012. As a result I don’t think Federer will win a Slam or Olympic Gold in 2016 but a couple of deep runs in these events and a few smaller titles will help him remain in the world’s Top 5.

4. Stan Wawrinka

Wawrinka

I have been a fan of Wawrinka’s for a long time so it is great to see him as a multiple Grand Slam champion. Despite his consistency being questionable, he continues to show his champion spirit by bringing his best tennis to the biggest events. His victory against Djokovic in the Roland Garros final was one of the best individual performances I have ever seen. I think 2016 will be another stellar year for Wawrinka. I would fancy him to win the US Open, continuing to raise debate about whether the Big 4 should be the Big 5.

3. Andy Murray
Murray

Murray had a very good 2015 with the clear highlight being leading Great Britain to Davis Cup victory and as a result winning his 2nd BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Unfortunately he failed to add to his tally of Grand Slams being beaten by a player on better form every occasion. However, it is clear that the Davis Cup took a lot out of him and it is unlikely he will be as committed to it next year now that he has won it.  I am intrigued to see how Murray fares in Australia as I know he was devastated that his run of 18 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final appearances came to an end against Kevin Anderson in the 4th Round of the US Open. I think that loss will only motivate Murray more and believe he will win the Australian Open but fall one place in the rankings due to less consistency overall.

2. Rafael Nadal

Nadal

Nadal had an extremely disappointing 2015, with it being the first year since 2004 that he failed to win a Grand Slam. The saddest thing about this was that it was due to a lack of confidence in his game rather than injuries but his level of play did improve significantly after the US Open. Nadal’s confidence isn’t where it used to be and so there are still question marks surrounding him entering 2016. However, his confidence was increasing every tournament towards the end of 2015 and when Nadal is playing confidently on clay he is virtually unstoppable. For that reason I’m backing the Spaniard to win his 10th Roland Garros title in 2016 and a rise up the rankings to where he belongs.

1. Novak Djokovic

DjokovicIt was quite an easy choice in choosing Djokovic to finish 2016 as the World No.1.  Djokovic was almost unstoppable in 2015 with his only disappointing results not achieving a Career Grand Slam or a Career Masters 1000 when he was a match away from achieving both. While Djokovic has always had the ability, it was impressive to see him maintain such a high level of intensity and concentration throughout an entire season. As it is very difficult to back up such a superb season I don’t think Djokovic will be as dominant in 2016. However he is still my pick to win Wimbledon and Olympic Gold and I believe he will comfortably end the year as World No.1.

Comments are greatly appreciated and I would love to hear your predictions too.

13 thoughts on “ATP Top 10 Predictions for 2016

  1. I have a feeling one of the young guns will make top ten this year… Kyrios or Coric. I don’t like either ones attitude but its very clear that they are fast approaching big breakthroughs.

    I’m anxious to see how Djokovic manages after such an incredible year. I reckon he’s probably nervous about it too and could be a little cautious at times. Honestly though he can have a subpar year and so long as he wins Roland Garos, the Olympic Gold and Cincinatti, he’s cemented himself as one of the best 3 players of all time.

    Like

    • I hope we see some new faces in the top 10 because I think the ATP tour really needs it. Personally, i’m finding it all a little stale and the depth isn’t great right now – I found the World Tour Finals quite dull to be honest. I’m excited about the talent coming through, especially Zverev and Kokkinakis, but I still think we are a few years off them having breakthrough years. If there’s going to be a new name in the top ten, i’d probably go for Thiem. Coric tailed off towards the end of 2015 but generally seems to be quite consistent and an excellent competitor. If Kyrgios can settle down then perhaps top 10 but I would guess he’s a bit too erratic.

      Like

  2. Thanks for your top 10 predication’s:) having watched Rafa since he started the tour in 2005,I have to agree with your comment he is a ‘confidence player’,having watched Rafa live at RG many times,he is the Greatest Clay Court Player Ever,his records are a testament to that fact.Towards the end of 2015,Rafa appeared to be playing with more confidence,in saying that Rafa will be turning 30 in 2016,it will be interesting to see if he can win another title at RG.

    Novak had an ‘Incredible Year in 2015’,RG still eludes him,to complete his career slam.To me he is a strong favorite to win the AO in 2016,a court where he has had incredible success to date.I still feel he can end the 2016 season as the No 1 player.

    Like

    • No surprises, but i’d definitely go for Djokovic as number one at the end of 2016. Roland Garros will once again be fascinating, particularly if Nadal pulls up his socks!

      Like

      • I’ll be devastated if Djokovic misses Roland Garros again! He really deserves to have won by now. After Rafa he’s pretty easily the best clay courter we’ve seen in a long time.

        Like

      • James,there have not been many ATP players when turning 30 that have been able to win a GS title,Rafa to me is not as quick as he used to be on the court,which is understandable,his game has always been a physical one,relying on defense,being brought up on clay,defense is of prime importance,over the years in his career,his knees for example,have at times been instrumental for period’s of time he has been off the tour,also his foot condition,he was told in 2005 he may never play the game of tennis again?.Rafa is not in his prime years,I also feel at next year’s Olympic Games it will be his last.Rafa is very competitive,I personally feel if he cannot get his game to be at a competitive level he will retire in the next couple of years,I feel he will focus his energy towards his tennis academy.

        Like

  3. Don’t want to spoil Djokovic’s party (:P) but I’d love to see Andy winning the AO and Stan winning the US Open 🙂
    Also I’d love so see Kei making another final. I think it’s in him – even winning a GS!
    As regards the young talents I’m not very much convinced about Coric although he is a tough competitor and very professional considering his age. I’d rather see Zverev and Rublev doing some damage. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a match of Chung yet…so that’s on my list for 2016 😉

    Here’s my top 10:

    1. Djokovic – nothing else to say
    2. Murray – I do hope he’s winning another slam!! 🙂
    3. Stan the Man
    4. Kei Nishikori
    5. Raonic
    6. Nadal
    7. Federer – here’s a special wish for an old and famous man: winning Olympic gold 😉
    8. Berdych
    9. Tsonga
    10. Benoit Paire (hahahahaha I need to laugh at myself for that guess)

    Like

    • Thanks for your predictions, Murphy! Benoit Paire… I’ll remember that one ;-). You got me thinking about my top ten which would be…
      1. Djokovic
      2. Murray
      3. Nadal
      4. Federer
      5. Wawrinka
      6. Nishikori
      7. Raonic
      8. Berdych
      9. Tsonga
      10. Thiem

      It’s much easier than the women’s because I don’t see a great deal of change. I expect Raonic to move back up since he suffered a lot of injuries in 2015. I’d like to see some new faces but not sure it will happen in 2016. I’m excited about the potential of Zverev, Kokkinakis and Rublev, but I still think we are some years off them reaching their best. I really do like Zverev and I think he and Lisicki could be a great pair at the Hopman Cup.

      Like

      • Well everyone needs to bowdown if that Benoit Paire prediction becomes true 😉 I’m not even believing it myself 😀 I just think he is crazily talented and might (at some point) realise that it doesn’t only take talent but also discipline and hard work.
        Thiem is a nice guess too – not a bad one. I think he just needs a good GS result, something like quarters or so.
        Whoever it may be, I think (and hope) there will be one new face in the Top 10! (I was about to guess it might be Zverev but that would have been too crazy – but the kid has some game and I cannot deny that I’m a fan since he won his first challenger title last year).
        As for Zverev and Lisicki, I think they are trying for Olympics Mixed. Lisicki is (IMO) the best female doubles player.
        Cannot wait for the new saison too start – I’m overly excited !!!! 😀

        Like

      • I’m pretty much in agreement here with you both, although I don’t think Djokovic can win as much this time.

        I’d love to see IronStan a few tournaments this year, it just excites my tennis heart when he plays like that. I wish Djokovic can plan his season to win the French and that final Us Open series masters title. I don’t think it will make him the GOAT, but it will put a shine on one of the most fascinating ATP records held by any player.

        The least I want to ask for, for the King of Clay, is to see an injury free season.

        @Murphy, appreciate your perspective on Lisicki, but I’ll throw in my (IMO) as well and say Sania Mirza, Venus Williams, and the other Czech Lucie come before Lisicki doubles wise.

        Like

  4. @Let’s play: Oh yeah of course. I forgot to add the “german” before female doubles player 😀 She is by far not the best female doubles player but the best GERMAN female doubles player 😉

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s