We’re half way through the year and I think it’s report card time. By now we have a pretty good idea of the batch of young players that will be the next giants of the game. Or will they? Who’s looking good and who’s not making the grade?
Here’s my assessment of the real ones to watch for the rest of the year.
1. Grigor Dimitrov
Stretched Tsonga at Wimbledon. Comparisons to Federer. The hype is starting to become a reality. Should not be long before he enters the top 20.
2. Alexander ‘The Dog’ Dolgopolov
Rios-esque magician. Mixed results this year and disappointing on grass, but clay looks to be his best bet.
3. Ryan Sweeting
Won his first title in Houston on clay, which proved he’s got temperament, but can he mix it with higher ranked players? A first round loss in Newport put a dent in his season, so will need a good hard court season.
4. Ryan Harrison
Took it to David Ferrer in 5 sets at Wimbledon but lost opening round at Newport. An exciting game and should do well on grass. Needs some confidence to get on a roll.
5. Kei Nishikori
Brad Gilbert in the corner. Awesome mover on all surfaces. Has won a title and should be top 20 soon.
6. Milos ‘Baby Face’ Raonic
The real deal. A serious threat on a fast surface, a potential Wimbledon champion. My best bet for the top 10.
7. Richard Berankis
Untested. Destroyed an injured Nalbandian in Australia, but not enough yet. Small in statue, so will need all his talent to make it to the top.
8. Tobias Kamke
Most improved player last year in terms of rankings and late bloomer. Big serve, but the jury is still out and he’s solid journeyman material in my opinion.
9. Robin ‘Schlobber’ Haase
Dangerous but injury prone so far, defaulting against Fish at Wimbledon this year. Much like Kamke, needs a break-through tournament, but will surely be a Davis Cup fixture for the Netherlands in the years to come. Hopefully not another Mario Ancic.
10. Bernard ‘Atomic Bomb’ Tomic
Finally showed some promise at Wimbledon dismantling Soderling and Malisse in straight sets. Aussie tennis is in crisis so will he handle the weight of expectation as the new number 1. The new Petr Korda?