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Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Top 20 Predictions For 2019

1. Novak Djokovic
With his fifth year-end No. 1 finish in 2018, Djokovic showed everyone he’s back. The Serbian also added four more Big Titles to his ledger by winning Wimbledon, Western & Southern Open, US Open and Rolex Shanghai Masters. Who will stop the Serbian from accumulating more Grand Slam and ATP Masters 1000 titles?
Chances of finishing in the..
Top 5: 98%
Top 10: 99%

2. Rafael Nadal
Despite playing only 13 events – four less than even Roger Federer – Nadal still finished No. 2 in the ATP Rankings, backed by – alert: you’ve heard this before – his record-setting clay-court season, which featured four of his five titles, including his 11th Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and Roland Garros titles.
If Nadal can, yet again, produce a historic European clay-court swing in 2019, expect him to earn another Top 3 finish.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 97%
Top 10: 99%

3. Roger Federer
If Federer employs the same plan of skipping the clay swing for the third year in a row, his year-end ATP Ranking will be heavily influenced by his showings at hard-court events before April: Australian Open, BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open presented by Itau. Sweep all three, like he did in 2017, and perhaps Federer will battle for No. 1 again. But come up empty and Federer could have to fight to stay inside the Top 5.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 95%
Top 10: 99%

4. Alexander Zverev
Zverev, with the biggest title of his career in the books from the Nitto ATP Finals, will face pressure out of the proverbial gates at the Australian Open, where many will expect him to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final. But the 21-year-old showed in 2018 that extra expectations don’t bother him. If the German can make a Grand Slam semi-final or two, in 12 months, we could see a “No. 3” or “No. 2” next to his name.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 96%
Top 10: 99%

5. Juan Martin del Potro
Del Potro has finished inside the Top 5 of the year-end ATP Rankings three times (2018, 5; 2013, 5; 2009, 5), but never in back-to-back years. His wrist held up during his busy 2018, but in another sign of Del Potro’s record-setting awful luck, at the Rolex Shanghai Masters in October, the Argentine fractured his right patella and had to miss the remainder of the year, including a return trip to the Nitto ATP Finals. A healthy Del Potro in 2019 could challenge for his first back-to-back Top 5 finish.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 65%
Top 10: 80%

6. Kevin Anderson
Few players, if any, will work harder than Anderson to repeat a career-best season. In 2018, the South African won two of his five titles (New York, Vienna) and made the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic) on debut at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 32-year-old’s previous best year-end finish was No. 12 in 2015.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 50%
Top 10: 75%

7. Marin Cilic
If you’re going to be stuck somewhere, No. 6 and No. 7 are OK places to land in the ATP Rankings. Cilic has resided in the middle of the Top 10 for the past three years: 2016, No. 6; 2017, No. 6; and 2018, No. 7. Last season, for the 11th straight year, he won a tour-level title. But if Cilic can add to his Grand Slam title haul (1; 2014 US Open), he might crack the upper echelon of the elite.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 45%
Top 10: 80%

Read More: Djokovic’s Surprisingly Successful Second-Serve Strategy
8. Dominic Thiem
We know this about Thiem: If he can make another deep run at Roland Garros and keep winning titles on clay in 2019 – a near guarantee – he’ll likely earn himself another place in the year-end Top 10. But how Thiem fares on hard courts throughout the season – he’s never reached a Masters 1000 hard-court final – might determine if he climbs further.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 45%
Top 10: 75%

9. Kei Nishikori
From starting his season on the ATP Challenger Tour in January to ending it with his fourth appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, Kei Nishikori surely surpassed expectations during his comeback year from right wrist surgery. More good news: With zero ATP Rankings points to defend Down Under in January, he’ll have a big opportunity to immediately scale the ATP Rankings in 2019. He twice has finished in the year-end Top 5 (2016, 5; 2014, 5).
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 33%
Top 10: 75%

10. John Isner
The 33-year-old Isner had a career year in 2018 – on and off the court. He and his new bride, Madison McKinley, celebrated the birth of their first child, Hunter Grace; Isner won his maiden Masters 1000 title in Miami; and the 6’10” right-hander debuted at the Nitto ATP Finals before finishing the season in the year-end Top 10 for the first time.
Some might balk at the idea that Isner, who will turn 34 in April, could back up his career year. But before you do that, take a look at the ages of his Top 10 peers.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 10%
Top 10: 45%

11. Karen Khachanov
The 22-year-old Khachanov, along with Borna Coric and Stefanos Tsitsipas, among other rising stars, will have the attention of everyone in 2019, as the questions will file in like the sun bakes in Melbourne – steady and intensely: Will one of them make a deep run at a Slam? Could they take the next step and begin to break up the Big Three?
Khachanov ended Djokovic’s 22-match win streak in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters in November to win his first Masters 1000 title.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 10%
Top 10: 55%
Top 20: 90%
12. Borna Coric
Coric, like Khachanov, delivered some of the best results one year after competing at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. In 2018, Coric denied Federer his 10th Gerry Weber Open title in Halle, and the Croatian made the Rolex Shanghai Masters final (l. to Djokovic) in October.
The team that joined Coric in 2018 – coaches Riccardo Piatti and Kristijan Schneider, along with manager Ivan Ljubicic, who coaches Federer – will be back in 2019 as well.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 10%
Top 10: 50%
Top 20: 90%

The next chapter starts now! 💪🏻@PiattiTennis pic.twitter.com/BWhyCPsgNP
— borna coric (@borna_coric) December 10, 2018
13. Fabio Fognini
Aged 31, the Italian compiled his best season last year – three titles, 46 wins and a personal year-end best in the ATP Rankings. Fognini seems to have calmed the inner theatre that sometimes derailed his tennis, and if he can make a couple end-of-week finishes at Masters 1000 events, he could squeeze inside the Top 10 in 2019.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 8%
Top 10: 45%
Top 20: 75%
14. Kyle Edmund
In the beginning of the season – semi-finals at the Australian Open – and towards the end of the year – winning his first title at the European Open in Antwerp – Edmund showed his best tennis. Toss a title or two in the middle of 2019 as well, and Edmund could be firmly inside the Top 15 next year.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 5%
Top 10: 45%
Top 20: 75%
15. Stefanos Tsitsipas
The 20-year-old Greek reached three finals and won his maiden tour-level title at the Intrum Stockholm Open, in addition to taking the Next Gen ATP Finals championship in Milan (d. De Minaur).
His run at the Rogers Cup in Toronto set records: Tsitsipas, then 19, became the youngest player to beat four consecutive Top 10 players at a single tournament. Yet he still has room for growth in 2019: last year, Tsitsipas reached only one fourth round at a Grand Slam (Wimbledon, l. to Isner).
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 6%
Top 10: 55%
Top 20: 80%

16. Daniil Medvedev
The Russian, who also competed at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017, might have had the best season you didn’t hear about. Medvedev went 3-0 in tour-level finals, quietly sweeping his way through the Sydney International (d. De Minaur), Winston-Salem Open (d. Johnson) and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018 (d. Nishikori). He also stepped up at Masters 1000 events, going 8-9 after starting 0-5 at the level.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 2%
Top 10: 35%
Top 20: 70%
17. Diego Schwartzman
The 5’7” Argentine is the epitome of underdog in this era of “size dominates” on the ATP Tour. But Schwartzman won the biggest title of his career, at the Rio Open presented by Claro, and set a new career-high of No. 11 in the ATP Rankings last season. The right-hander, with an aggressive style of play but also the wheels to chase down most anything, is a man few want to see across the net.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 1%
Top 10: 35%
Top 20: 65%
18. Milos Raonic
Don’t check right now, but the Canadian, who ended 2016 at No. 3 in the ATP Rankings, will be 28 when the calendar flips to 1 January 2019. But the oft-injured Raonic has bonafide reasons to be optimistic as he approaches 30.
He climbed six spots in the year-end ATP Rankings, from No. 24 in 2017 to No. 18 in 2018, and, after trying out a number of former pros, Raonic appears to have settled on 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic as his coach. The big question in 2019 for Raonic is the same question it’s been his entire career: Can he stay healthy?
If he can, he has the game to finish among the elite, and he’s proven he can do it in the past. Raonic has regularly made deep runs at Masters 1000 events and Grand Slams. He’s also finished inside the Top 10 three prior times and owns a total of six Top 15 year-end finishes.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 15%
Top 10: 50%
Top 20: 80%
19. Grigor Dimitrov
The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion will be looking for a bounce back 2019. Dimitrov dropped 16 spots in his year-end ranking, from No. 3 in 2017 to No. 19 in 2018.
A good start Down Under will go a long way to restoring that Top 10 year-end ATP Ranking for Dimitrov. In 2017, his best year yet, he won the Brisbane International for his fifth tour-level title and ended the Aussie summer by reaching his second Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open (Wimbledon 2014). The Bulgarian has said he plans to continue working with former No. 1 Andre Agassi, who joined him during the final tournament of the 2018 regular season, the Rolex Paris Masters, and coach Daniel Vallverdu in 2019.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 15%
Top 10: 45%
Top 20: 80%
 
20. Marco Cecchinato
The Italian started 2018 with four tour-level wins and at No. 109 in the ATP Rankings. But behind two tour-level titles – Gazprom Hungarian Open and Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag – and a semi-final run at Roland Garros, Cecchinato capped the best season of his life with a Top 20 finish.
Can he do it again? Much of that will depend on how Cecchinato fares on clay, his favourite surface. Collect a few more titles on the red dirt, and the 26-year-old could find himself among the elite in the game once again.
Chances of finishing in the…
Top 5: 1%
Top 10: 2%
Top 20: 50%
Source: ATP World Tour

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