There have been a lot of interesting developments in the first couple of weeks of play, and since the Australian Open has just come to a close, I wanted to make some predictions for the long year ahead.
The ATP is undergoing tremendous change in its’ rankings. The big four (Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Federer) has been split up or even maybe being reestablished? Who knows. No one would have expected Mischa Zverev and Denis Istomin to defeat the two best players (Murray and Djokovic) in the world and have a completely out of the blue resurgence by two former world number 1’s (Federer and Nadal).
Rising stars such as Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, and David Goffin made their way to London last year, and look ahead for another season to remember, but with old-timers coming back, their spots may be swept away from them. Grigor Dimitrov seems revitalized and ready to take on the establishment sitting at third place in the race to London so far, after winning Brisbane and his semifinal appearance at the Aussie Open. He is a sure pick in the final eight probably finishing the season as a top-five player.
While a lot of players are making their statements, one person in particular is falling behind. Tomas Berdych, who had a disappointing season last year, is not starting off 2017 on the right note, looking like his game has diminished dramatically since 2015. I predict he will fall out of the top sixteen by the end of the year. Nick Kyrgios has also begun the year slowly after losing to Seppi in the second round in Melbourne. He will have to defend his title in Marseille later this month and then in March a semifinal appearance in Miami. Being so unpredictable with his attitude, many people question his love for the sport, so I believe he will fall out of the top twenty-five, failing to live up to his talent’s abilities.
Unlike the past two years, 2017 and the years to come will be extremely competitive with a very slim gap between the top eight players. Andy Murray will maintain his crown as the best player in the world, but his and Novak’s dominance will come to an end.