Tennis Power Ranking 2017 #1: Federer as the Wizard of Oz

The First Tennis Power Ranking of 2017:

Fedal Rise

  1. Andy Murray – Based upon his torrid finish to 2016 and his runner-up finish in Qatar Murray tenuously holds on to his #1 spot.  He did not handle the pressure of being the #1 seed at a Grand Slam particularly well.
  2. Novak Djokovic – Novak’s #2 spot is now based upon his title in Qatar and runner-up finish at the World Tour Finals.  His results from Indian Wells 2016-US Open 2016 are impressive and count in the 52 week ATP rankings, but his momentum is seemingly stalled.
  3. Roger Federer – Roger Federer was not ranked in the top 10 of my 2016 power ranking during much of 2016.  His 7 wins in Melbourne including 4 wins over top 10 seeds all add up to a big boost.  I would not expect to see Peak Roger again until Halle with the possible exception of a title push in Dubai. He will likely be opportunistic at events between now and the grass court season. Indian Wells and Miami typically play slowly and clay is not ideal for his 35-year-old body.  If a draw opens wide before the grass season, Federer will likely dig in and aim at the big trophy.  If not, I think he will play hard, but not try to reach Big 4 gears that most players don’t have.  If he can win a major as the 17th seed, why induce fatigue chasing points?
  4. Rafael Nadal – Rafa rehabilitated his position on tour with his run in Australia.  Moya has him practicing less intensely, trying to serve bigger, and trying to end points quicker.  All of that should have good effects for Rafa’s body.  One does wonder if it changes Rafa into a different sort of player that opponents do not fear engaging in rallies.  If Rafa’s error total rises and 1st serve percentage dips, does he become more conventional while also becoming more durable?
  5. Grigor Dimitrov – Dimitrov is 10-1 in 2017 with a Brisbane title and near miss in an Australian Open semifinal.  If he keeps setting the table with a big serve and letting his shot-making skills impact his opponent, he can be a factor for the remainder of this year and several years to come.  
  6. Stan Wawrinka – Stan nearly completed a two sets to love comeback in the Australian Open semifinal versus Roger Federer.  Stan’s heavy power game makes him more deadly in 3 of 5 set matches due to cumulative impact of his power and his extra time to find his range.  It would not be shocking if Stan wins a 4th major this year.
  7. David Goffin – Goffin may lack the stature to ever truly threaten for the top prizes in tennis, but he rarely beats himself and plays a fun brand of tennis.  His quarterfinal run in Oz included a nice win over Thiem.
  8. Kei Nishikori – Nishikori pushed the eventual champion to five sets, but that match has to look like a missed opportunity.  Beyond that, lingering questions about Kei’s durability are hard to shake.  On the bright side, Memphis is not too far away.  Nishikori is approaching Jerry Lawler status in Memphis.
  9. Mischa Zverev – He probably won’t stay here long, but his run to an Australian Open quarterfinal and win over a world #1 should not go unnoticed.  Also, Mischca Zverev could pave the way for his younger brother’s emergence as a top 10 player.
  10. Denis Istomin – Similar to Mischa Zverev, Istomin is unlikely to maintain this spot as big events unfold in 2017.  Yet, his upset of the six-time and greatest hardcourt champion in Australian Open history should not go unnoticed.
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