Tag Archives: ATP

Top Next Gen Players To Watch In This Year’s US Open

The US Open is about to begin and several of the most notable names on the men’s side are out. Others (Federer and Nadal) are still taking up the top seeds. While some of the best to ever play the game are still winning, there is a new generation of players working hard to climb the rankings. Here are the top players who can make a splash in this year’s US Open.

Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov burst onto the scene in Montreal during the Rogers Cup when he surprised several top players in route to the semi final. The young Canadian opened eyes with notable wins over Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, and Adrian Mannarino. Playin gin his home country, the lefty electrified the crowd with a barrage of aces and winners. What made Shapovalov particularly entertaining to watch was his ability to hit winners off both wings from seemingly anywhere on the court.

What makes Shapovalov an interesting watch in the US Open this year is that we’ve seen him at probably his best in Montreal, but can he maintain that level? Prior to his breakthrough he was playing challenger tournaments and was ranked well outside the top 100. For this reason, nobody knows quite what to expect from him in this tournament. Making things even more fascinating is that his first round match is against fellow Next Gen player Danil Medvedev. If Shapovalov does make it a few rounds, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will most likely be waiting for him in the third round.

Jared Donaldson

Looking for the next top American tennis player? It could very well be Jared Donaldson. Donaldson made his first major appearance at the US Open in 2014 and has been slowly climbing the rankings ever since. Now ranked 51st in the world he has gained entrance into every major this year and posted his best result at Wimbledon with a third round finish.

There’s reason to be optimistic that Donaldson can continue to rise given his performance in the Western & Southern Open where he defeated David Goffin in the first round and made it to the quarterfinal. Donaldson eventually went out in a close two set match to fellow American John Isner. If the 20 year old keeps playing like he has been, he could crack the top 30 in the next few years.

16795989111_85a20e1cc9_o
Karen Khachanov

Karen Khachanov

Karen Khachanov made his major debut in the US Open last year and hopes to surpass his second round finish from a year ago. This year, he made it past the first round in all three majors played and made it to the fourth round of the French. In Cincinnati Khatchanov had a surprising lost to Sugita from Japan but looks to rebound in the US Open where he has a nice draw. If the seeds hold true, Khachanov will have a third round date with 17th seeded Sam Querrey.

Out of the Next Gen players, Khachanov is the second highest ranked at 29th in the world. In less than two years he has gone from a relative unknown to one of the top young players in the game. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on going forward.

Alexander Zverev

By a wide margin, Alexander Zverev tops the list of top under 21 players. For over a year now tennis experts have been tabbing Zverev as not only a top 25 player but a future number one. This year, his best major finish was the fourth round at Wimbledon where he lost a tough five set match to Milos Raonic.

Zverev has had a great summer in which he climbed the rankings all the way to a four seed at the US Open. In addition to his high ranking, Zverev has the distinction of the only man on tour to win two Masters 1,000 events this year not named Nadal or Federer.

With a bevy of top players withdrawing from the US Open including Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, Zverev has a great chance to make some noise and potentially even win his first major.

The big four have enjoyed unprecedented longevity at the top of the game. However, this may be the generation that finally dethrones the top players and turns the sport over to the new guard. Fans may see this process in action at this year’s US Open

Advertisements

Western & Southern Open Headlines

Half way through the Western & Southern Open, there have already been many surprises. The Western & Southern in Cincinnati serves as the closest thing to a US Open warm up tournament with many players using it as a dress rehearsal. Here are some of the early headlines from the tournament.

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev

David Ferrer’s Resurgence

Remember when David Ferrer was one of the top ten players in the world and a legitimate contender to make it to the second week of majors? After a short stretch of poor play causing Ferrer to drop out of the top 30, it looks like he’s back. The 35 year old is into the quarterfinals after two three set matches and a 6-4 6-4 win over Pablo Carreno Busta. In Montreal Ferrer went toe to toe with Roger Federer losing in three sets. He may not be a threat to win the title this year but it is nice to see Ferrer finding his game again.

Shavopalov’s Absence

Last week in Montreal the tennis world was captivated by 18 year old Denis Shapovalov. After making it to the semifinal before losing to Alexander Zverev, the tennis world is eager to see if he can follow up his performance. Unfortunately, the tennis world will have to wait until the US Open qualifying in order to see him on the big stage again. The reason he isn’t in the Western & Southern Open is that he was already scheduled to play a challenger tournament in Canada. Watch for Shapovalov to be a story again when the US Open qualifying rounds begin.

Sock’s Disappointing Tournament

Cincinnati looked promising for Jack Sock. Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament leaving the young American as the top seed in his quarter. Primed to make a deep run and assert himself as the top player in the country, Sock promptly fell flat losing to world number 46 Yuichi Sugita in two sets. Young players frequently lose to players below their ranking and ability level as they make their way through the ATP tour. However, with Sock it seems that this happens more regularly than it does to other players. This year’s US Open represents Socks best chance yet to make a run with many top players out. It may be now or never for Sock to prove himself.

American Semifinalist

With Sock struggling, other Americans are stepping up. In fact, an American is guaranteed to be in the semifinal as John Isner takes on upstart Jared Donaldson.  Donaldson took down twelfth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round and cruised to the quarterfinal. Isner benefited from Frances Tiafoe upsetting Alexander Zverev in the second round. Keep an eye on Donaldson in this match up as he has a bright future ahead of him on the tour.

Jared Donaldson
Jared Donaldson

Zverev’s Loss

After his second Masters 1000 title of the year in which he defeated Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev had a huge let down against fellow next gen player Frances Tiafoe. Tiafoe is ranked 87th in the world and has a lot of natural athleticism. Even so, given how well Zverev has been playing recently, this is as big of an upset as any in the tournament thus far. Look for Zverev to get back on track and be a real contender for his first major title.

With the quarterfinals all set, the final rounds of the Western & Southern Open promise to be exciting. It serves as a great lead in to the US Open which will be equally wide open.

Djokovic To Miss US Open

Novak Djokovic has officially announced that he will miss the US Open and the rest of the 2017 season. The cited reason for taking time off was the elbow pain that has plagued him for most of this year. According to Djokovic, he was hoping he would be able to play through the pain, but it became too much to handle during his WImbledon quarterfinal match against Thomas Berdych.

Expert Opinion

Djokovic’s doctor Zdenko Milinkovic stated earlier this week that his recommendation is for Novak to completely rest his elbow for six to twelve weeks with absolutely no tennis training. He can still weight train however.

Novak’s Future In Tennis

Djokovic is taking the injury one week at a time and not making any long term plans one way or another. He is going to rest his elbow for the remainder of the year regardless of how it feels and monitor how the injury is progressing. Numerous articles have stated that his tennis future is in doubt. However, in reality it’s highly unlikely that this is the last we’ve seen of Djokovic. The more important thing to wonder about is whether or not he can ever return to top form and reclaim his position of number one in the world. For that question, only time will tell

Who Is The 700th Ranked Player On The Men’s Tour?

The number 700 has been tossed around ever since John McEnroe said that’s where Serena Williams would be ranked if she played on the men’s tour. This idea has drawn criticism and praise alike, but does anyone know who the 700th ranked man on tour is?

John McEnroe has recently been in the news for a comment he made regarding Serena Williams. McEnroe called Serena the best player on the women’s tour. When pressed for an answer as to why he qualified the statement by calling her the best “female” player as opposed to the best player overall, he stated that Serena would not be a top player on the men’s tour. He went on to say that if Serena played against the men she would be “like, number 700 in the world.”

Whether or not that statement is factual is really anybody’s guess. However, the number 700 in the world has been the topic of discussion as a benchmark separating the men’s and women’s tours according to McEnroe’s statement. So who is the 700th ranked player on the men’s tour?

Who Is Number 700?

While ATP rankings change frequently, the honor of number 700 in the world currently belongs to Issam Haitham Taweel. The 27 year old was born in Aleppo, Syria but represents Egypt. He is right handed, has a two-handed backhand, and his favorite playing surface is hard court.

Issam
Issam Haitham Taweel

Most of Issam’s career has been spent playing ITF Pro Circuit events. This year he has an 8-14 record when combining ATP and ITF tournaments. His career record is 145-212. He has spent some time competing in ATP tournaments and has a career record of 2-5 in those draws. His career high singles ranking was achieved in 2014 when he cracked the top 700 at 635. His current doubles ranking is slightly higher than his singles ranking at 643.

Could He Beat Serena?

At this point everyone can only speculate about whether or not Issam could defeat Serena in a match. That being said, this is a great opportunity for the number 700 in the world. Issuing a challenge to Williams to play him in a match after she is back from having her baby would be a great way to get his name out there. Even if Williams declined the challenge, people would at least know his name and know that he was up for the challenge.

serena.jpg
Serena Williams

What It Means

McEnroe followed up his comments by later stating that he regretted making the statement saying he had no idea how much it would snowball. However, he did not retract it. He said comparing the men’s and women’s tour is comparing “apples to oranges.” This is most certainly true considering the players from each tour almost never compete against each other in a serious format.

For Issam, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Whether he likes it or not, people are now aware of his name simply because of circumstance. Simply because he is lucky 700.