Melbourne and Indian Wells
- Roger Federer – The Swiss veteran has added a 20th major, a title at Rotterdam, and a new stint at #1. His runner-up finish at Indian Wells suggests that duels are in his future. The big question is whether he plays the clay season or not.
- Juan Martin del Potro – JMDP won Acapulco and Indian Wells. Those 1500 points set him up well for excellent seedings over the next 52 weeks. If JMDP can stay healthy and hit some two-handed backhands, he can challenge for another major in 2018. The US Open is his best fit given that his 2009 lone slam, 2016 silver medal, and lone Masters 1000 shield all came on outdoor hardcourts. He was 5 sets away from winning the US Open last year so he is close.
- Marin Cilic – The big Croatian has many of JMDP’s weapons and is more physically durable, but he has not yet followed up his Australian Open form or statement that he wants to finish 2018 ranked #1 with any tangible results.
- Dominic Thiem – Thiem won a 2018 clay event already. He is not dominating, but he is playing well enough to look at the clay season as a possible coronation. A lot of that depends on Rafa’s form, but he is 10-2 at the last two Roland Garros events losing to the eventual champion in each case.
- Rafael Nadal – Rafa has not played since Melbourne, but he is the defending champion at 2 majors. He has also returned from injury-induced absences more often than anyone. With clay looming, he could be at the top of this list sooner rather than later.
- Hyeon Chung – Chung made the semifinals at the Australian Open and played well at Indian Wells. He is someone to watch for years to come.
- Grigor Dimitrov – Grigor reached the quarters at the Australian Open and the final at Rotterdam. After speaking words proclaiming he was ready to fight the top tier, Dimitrov promptly lost early at Indian Wells.
- Diego Schwartzman – Everyone seems to love this undersized warrior.
- Kevin Anderson – He won a 250 level event in NYC. He was runner-up at last year’s US Open. Anderson loves the Big Apple.
- Kyle Edmund – Kyle reached his first career major semifinal at the 2018 Australian Open.