2014 World Tour Finals predictions

With the 2014 campaign approaching rapidly, it’s time to get predictions in for the eight World Tour Finals participants—in order. Can Rafael Nadal hold off his challengers for the top spot, or will there be a change at No. 1? Will any newcomers break through and crash the London party?

1. Novak Djokovic – If Djokovic regains the No. 1 crown, it won’t be because of Boris Becker. That’s not to say Becker will be a complete disaster of a head coach, although that is a very real possibility. Frankly, it probably doesn’t matter who coaches Djokovic; that’s just how good the Serb is. He also has extra motivation after watching Rafael Nadal storm past him, like one of the mozos at Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. Djokovic is 26 years old, health concerns are things of the distant past, and he ended 2013 on a 24-match winning streak. What’s not to like?

2. Rafael Nadal – If Nadal gets bumped out of the top spot, it won’t be because of his own dip in form. The Spaniard cooled off (how couldn’t he?) after his remarkable summer hard-court run, but his fall swing was still better than usual by his standards. Nadal reached finals in Beijing and at the World Tour Finals, and now he has enjoyed a month off following his heroic 2013 efforts. His knees are always an issue, but they held up better than anyone could have expected last season and they should do the same if Nadal continues to smartly manage his schedule.

3. Juan Martin Del Potro – It’s time for Del Potro to assume his rightful place near the top of the men’s game. In fact, it’s past time. The Argentine has had three full years to get back in peak form after missing virtually all of 2010 with a wrist injury. He has not quite made it, with no Grand Slam final appearances to his credit since winning the 2009 U.S. Open. That being said, Del Potro was one set away from advancing to a slam final on arguably his worst surface (on grass at Wimbledon). Eliminate early-round upset losses at majors and Del Potro’s slow but steady rise through the Top 10 should continue.

4. Andy Murray – Roger Federer may be the biggest question mark heading into 2014…because he’s Roger Federer. Murray, though, is a close second. The Scot has not played a match since a mid-September Davis Cup playoff tie and he has not competed in a tournament since the U.S. Open. Could back surgery end up being a blessing in disguise? Murray has had more than three months off to recover and really recharge his batteries after the emotionally-draining summer run to a long-awaited Wimbledon title. He may get passed by Del Potro as he gets back into the swing of things, but not by anyone else.

5. Roger Federer – How will the 32-year-old’s back hold up in 2014? Will his playing style change with former coach Paul Annacone no longer in the picture? Will Federer hire Stefan Edberg as a new coach? Will he go with a larger racket frame? Outside the top 4 and vulnerable to difficult draws, can the Swiss consistently avoid Nadal in the quarterfinals of tournaments? These are just some of the questions surrounding Federer as the calendar turns; too many, too be sure, for him to get back—dare it even be said—to No. 1. However, Federer’s relatively successful fall swing was encouraging. Other than against Nadal on clay or a slow hard court, Federer remains a threat to win anytime and anywhere.

6. Tomas Berdych – The good news: Berdych has become extremely consistent after serious combustibility in his younger, carefree days. He has finished in the Top 10 four straight seasons and at no point since early July of 2010 has he been outside said group. The bad news: Berdych is showing no signs of taking the next step from really good to elite. He went 0-5 against Nadal in 2013 and has now lost 16 matches in a row to the world No. 1. He was 1-4 against Djokovic last year (3-12 in total sets), dropping to 2-15 in his career against the world No. 2. More of the same can be expected from Berdych in 2014, both on the court and in the realm of social media; all in all, not a bad thing.

7. David Ferrer – Ferrer fans have been fearful of impending doom for at least a year now. When will the little beast finally run out of gas? Yes, there was an inkling of it in 2013—at times during the hard-court summer and when he failed to win a single match at the World Tour Finals. Of course, his London performance can easily explained by the fact that Ferrer played a ridiculous seven weeks in a row. Additionally, his poor play in Montreal and Cincinnati was sandwiched in between quarterfinal showings at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Slippage may begin with coach Javier Piles no longer in Ferrer’s corner, but he has at least one more World Tour Finals season in his almost-ageless arsenal.

8. Milos Raonic – Stanislas Wawrinka? Maybe. Richard Gasquet? Nah, not again. Tommy Haas? Too old. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga? Too hurt. Jerzy Janowicz? See Tsonga. John Isner? Too small…in Grand Slams and all events outside the United States. Raonic could be the relative surprise in the London field. The Canadian’s partnership with coach Ivan Ljubicic got off to a rocky start, but Raonic picked up steam during the second half of 2013. He played one of the best matches of the year against Gasquet in round four of the U.S. Open and he followed that up with a title in Bangkok and a runner-up finish in Tokyo. Raonic is has youth (22 years old), size (6’5’’), and a mammoth serve going for him. Don’t be surprised if that carries him to London.

Comments and your own predictions are encouraged!

Comments

  1. rafaisthebest says:

    1. Rafael Nadal
    2. Novak Djokovic
    3. Andy Murray
    4. Delpo
    5. Ferru
    6. Berdych
    7. Federer
    8. Stan the Man
    9. Jerzy
    10. Gasquet

  2. 1. Rafa

  3. Del Potro is over rated. If Andy returns to health, he may even be no. 1. No way is he going to be surpassed by Del Potro.

  4. holdserve19 says:

    As for Djoko or Rafa, no objective analysis can predict the winner as their level is too close. Personally, I think if Rafa’s knee holds up, he will be no. 1. Djokovic was definitely intimidated by the determined Rafa this year. If Becker can give Djokovic the key to that remarkable mental strength which enabled Becker to win 5 setters after losing the first two, then Djoker has a chance. If the ” most famous knees in tennis history” allow Rafa to be competitive, Rafa has the mental edge..

    • @holdserve, good post ! rafa has the slender mental edge as long as he is healthy…and the point that djoker was intimidated by a determined rafa in 2013 is true in my opinion..however, djoker’s attitude post USO was really good and encouraging for him..

      its just too close to call between them..

      and yeah, placing delpo at no.3 is quite a gamble ! murray is the much safer choice

    • Ricky Dimon says:

      objective analysis can definitely PREDICT a winner. It just guarantee accuracy.

  5. Nice article! My top 10 would be as follows:
    1. Djokovic
    2. Nadal
    3. Del Potro
    4. Murray
    5. Tsonga
    6. Federer
    7. Wawrinka
    8. Ferrer
    9. Berdych
    10. Janowicz

    I think Del Potro will win a Grand Slam and Tsonga will make a Slam final next year. I don’t think there will be any new faces at the World Tour Finals. Janowicz is a long shot for the top 10, but in my opinion he has more potential than Raonic.

    • Ricky Dimon says:

      good. We’ll make this into a contest of sorts and revisit it at the end of the year.

      • My Top 10:

        1. Nadal
        2.Djokovic
        3. Murray
        4. Del Potro
        5. Federer
        6.Ferrer
        7.Berdych
        8.Wawrinka
        9.Tsonga
        10.Gasquet

        *Don’t think the young lot will make lots of noise in 2014… the most talented among the lot in my view is Dimitrov. The most likely to end in top 10 is raonic though.

    • Ricky Dimon says:

      Berdych at 9????

  6. holdserve19 says:

    Re Raonic and Dimitrov, I agree with vamosrafa that Dimitrov is more talented than Raonic and that the latter has greater probability of ending in top 10. Jerzy is also an exciting talent and probably most likely to be the first slam winner among the younger lot after the big 4 loosen their iron grip on slams. What do you think vamosrafa?
    Here’s my prediction about top 4 year ends, partly based on objective analysis and partly on wishful thinking!
    1 Nadal
    2 Murray
    3 Djokovic
    4 Del Potro

    The rest of top 10 in any order Ferrer, Federer, Tsonga, Berdych, Raonic, Gasquet. Probably I should put Wawa there instead of Gasquet?

  7. holdserve19 says:

    Del Potro is just a year younger than Andy and if you compare their results so far, Andy has way better results and showed fantastic promise from day 1. I was in awe of Muzza’s talent ( as well as Rafa’s and Djoker’s ) from day 1 and was sure they would be multiple slam winners. Muzz has been an under performer compared to his talent.
    Look at Del Po and Muzza’s comparative results in masters. No comparison.
    Del Potro though hugely talented isn’t as talented as the top 4. He hits big, wielding his racket like the hammer of Thor which makes the observers and probably his opponents feel he is God and thereby they over rate him. Apparently his arms are longer than the norm enabling him to generate greater power. But his hitting too hard led to his wrist injury in 2009/10 and may lead to other injuries in 2014 or later.
    A great attacking weapon is essential for winning slams ( which Del Potro has i.e. his huge forehand).The Big 3 have more weapons and more variety and are among the best in return of serve. In the era of big servers, the ROS has now become critical in winning big matches. The big 3 including Rafa had better results than Del Potro in ROS even in 2009 and even on hard courts (Delpo’s best year so far).

    .

  8. Ricky Dimon says:

    2014 Grand Slam winners and runner-ups predictions – http://tenngrand.com/2013/12/25/2014-grand-slam-predictions/

  9. nativenewyorker7 says:

    vamosrafa,

    I like your top ten. I do think that Rafa will stay #1 again if his knee holds up. I also agree with Djoker as a very close #2 and Murray as #3. Delpo is the obvious pick for #4. He should take his rightful place this year among the top four players.

    I also do see Ferrer slipping down. I am not sure exactly about the order. Fed could be #5 with Ferrer behind him as #6 or it could be the other way around. The last four are always tricky, because somebody can manage to break into the top for the first time. I do see Berdy staying in the top ten and #7 seems reasonable. I absolutely expect Wawa to continue to play well in 2014. He could stay at #8 or possibly move up and maybe bump Berdy.

    I can see Tsonga in the top ten, possibly moving up and giving Wawa and Berdy some competition. I don’t know that Gasquet will stay in the top ten. I see no reason why he shouldn’t continue to do well, but someone like Raonic could get the #10 spot. I don’t know about Jerzy. He has struggled with some injuriesa and can be very erratic.

  10. I like your top 6, but I don’t think that Ferrer and Raonic will be in London next Nov. Feel much better about Gasquet and Tsonga, and maybe one of the young kids.

  11. Ricky Dimon says:

    nadline is in Abu Dhabi!

  12. rafaisthebest says:

    Ahem, I am changing my predictions:

    1. Rafael Nadal
    2. Novak Djokovic
    3. Ferrer
    4. Federer
    5. Murray
    6. Berdych
    7. Del Potro
    8. Dimitrov
    9. Wawrinka
    10. Gasquet

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