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Power Rankings (March 2017): Thiem and Kyrgios Impress

Kyrgios

This is the second edition of our power rankings. You can find the first one here. We will have one every month, ranking the players based on recent performances and their overall form.

Keep in mind that this does not necessarily reflect their overall season, leaning more heavily on the performances they’ve had in the last month.

The Japanese has been solid all season, but injuries could force him off the tour for a while.

10. Kei Nishikori

Previous Ranking: 8 (-2)

The Japanese player has been consistently performing, but he looked underwhelming in his loss to Jack Sock, possibly injuring himself yet again. Nishikori is inconsistent, partly due to the countless months he’s spent off tour due to the injuries he’s racked up, but he will possess the number four spot once Indian Wells concludes.

The big-serving Canadian will look to get back on track in Miami.

9. Milos Raonic

Previous Ranking: 7 (-2)

The Canadian did not participate in Indian Wells due to a hamstring injury, but he is nonetheless one of the best players in the game. He possesses a massive serve, and he still holds the number four ranking on the tour, although he will drop to number five following the conclusion of the tournament. He should return in Miami, and he’ll certainly continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Dimitrov has slowed down since his Aussie semifinal, but he has a bright future ahead of him.

8. Grigor Dimitrov

Previous Ranking: 5 (-3)

The Bulgarian lost early in California to Sock, who is now in the semifinals, but he’s already won two tournaments, including Brisbane where he defeated a slew of top players en route to the trophy. Baby Fed is finally starting to blossom, and he could win a Grand Slam in the near future if he continues playing this way.

Thiem may have abandoned his blond hair, but his performances certainly haven’t suffered because of it.

7. Dominic Thiem

Previous Ranking: N/A

Thiem has seen his ranking skyrocket in the last year, partly due to the insane amount of tournaments he’s been playing, but also to an elevation in his playing. He’s played some impressive tennis, winning the Rio Open. He also lost a tough third-set tiebreaker in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells to Wawrinka. He’s still young and is obviously going places, but one has to question the physical toll that amount of playing must take on his body.

Wawrinka may not have been as successful as his Swiss counterpart, but he is still playing some great tennis.

6. Stanislas Wawrinka

Previous Ranking: 6

Wawrinka is an erratic player who tends to come up big at Grand Slams, but he’s done exceptionally well at Indian Wells, taking out an in-form Thiem en route to the semifinals. He looks to be on track for a final showdown with fellow Swiss Federer, but Wawrinka is prone to early exits and poor performances outside of the four Slams, especially when he is the heavy favorite.

Djokovic has struggled all year, but the Serb can always turn things around.

5. Novak Djokovic

Previous Ranking: 4 (-1)

Djokovic at number 5!? This isn’t something we’re used to seeing from the Serb, but he’s struggled since winning Doha, losing early in the Australian Open and twice to Kyrgios, who is just above him on this list. He showed some flashes of his old self in his third set win over Del Porto, but he just hasn’t looked quite the same, perhaps lacking the motivation to succeed since completing the Grand Slam last year in Paris. It hasn’t looked good, but he is still on his favorite surface, and he’ll look to bounce back in Miami.

Kyrgios has been on fire, defeating Djokovic twice to bring his record against the Big Three (sorry, Murray) to 4-1.

4. Nick Kyrgios

Previous Ranking: N/A

Kyrgios has always been known to be the inconsistent type as he jumped to number four in our rankings after not being ranked just a month ago. Two great wins against Novak Djokovic, in Acapulco and Indian Wells respectively, and a good performance against Zverev are the reasons for this climb. The Australian’s serve is nothing short of incredible, and his ground strokes are impressive, especially considering those of the other big servers. Unfortunately, he was forced to resign from Indian Wells for food poisoning, but his attitude seems to have shifted, and he’s playing some of the best tennis of his life.

Nadal’s performances may have declined, but he’ll have the clay court season to look forward to.

3. Rafael Nadal

Previous Ranking: 3

Nadal advanced to the final in Acapulco where he was defeated by Sam Querrey, and he was defeated soundly by rival Roger Federer. Nadal certainly hasn’t been playing bad tennis since reaching the finals of the Australian Open, but his movement is not the same as before and Federer’s new approach to his backhand means Nadal has one less flaw to exploit. Nadal should be relishing the opportunity to play on clay following Miami where he’ll look to get back on track and aim for his 10th French Open title.

Murray was upset for the second time this season, this time by Vasek Pospisil.

2. Andy Murray

Previous Ranking: 1 (-1)

Just a week after winning his first ever Dubai title, the Scotsman lost in the second round of Indian Wells to Vasek Pospisil, another player who liked to rush to the net. Murray has struggled to retain his breathtaking form from last year, and he has had several disappointing performances so far this season. Nonetheless, the Scot is deadly and Indian Wells certainly hasn’t been his favorite tournament throughout the years, losing in the third round last year as well.

The Swiss has disposed of his opponents swiftly and in style.

1. Roger Federer

Previous Ranking: 2 (+1)

The Swiss has been phenomenal all season, although he did slip up against Donskoy in Dubai, squandering multiple match points. He seems to be on track for a great performance at Indian Wells after defeating rival Rafael Nadal quite easily — 6-2, 6-3, and he is favored for the title in California. If Federer were to win Indian Wells, that would put him more than 1,000 points over second placed Nadal in this season’s Race to London. His backhand has improved massively, and he is playing more confidently and aggressively than ever, many giving credit to coach Ivan Ljubicic.

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Luca D'Amico-Wong
Ardent Federer fan who enjoys writing about sports and games. Writer for Courtside Watch, SBNation, Forza Italian Football, SoccerNews, and Clash Royale Tactics. Did I mention that I love Federer?
http://courtsidewatch.com

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