This is our third edition of the tennis power rankings, and we’re switching it up a bit. Rather than ranking the players based on their talent, we’ll be ranking them based solely on their recent performances (the last month or so.) It’s getting a little tiring seeing the same names on the list every month, so this should make sure that it’ll be updated frequently. Here we go!
5. Jack Sock
With three QF or better appearances in his last three Masters, Jack Sock is on a big upswing. Beating Dimitrov (remember when he was having a good season?) and Nishikori, Sock looks to be setting up his forehand as one of the more devastating shots in tennis. Now, about that backhand…
Losing his last two Masters 1000 matches against Federer and Nadal is nothing to be ashamed of, and much less so when it comes in the tournaments’ latter halves. He’s currently the best prospect in American men’s tennis, at least until Francis Tiafoe learns how to cover the net.
4. Stan Wawrinka
Lost in the talk of legends old and prospects new, Stan the Man is still improving – he’s beginning to show consistency. Quarters, semis, and finals have all been in play for Wawrinka lately, and he’s proven that he can turn it up in these smaller tournaments too. The only man to break the Indian Wells champion’s serve in California, Wawrinka has shown better resolve in dealing with the tour’s rank and file.
The one Big Four member he really struggles with – Federer – is out for a month, and Stan’s favorite surface is right around the corner. As all tennis fans know, Wawrinka in the final stages, A.K.A. Stan the Man, is unstoppable, and if Stan is finally throwing some consistency into the mix – watch out.
3. Rafael Nadal
Quietly having one of his best hardcourt seasons in recent memory is the King of (the imminent) Clay. Like Kyrgios, he has only bowed out to the Power Rankings #1 in the past two weeks, but unlike Kyrgios, he’s not improved with a second showing. Nadal oscillates between good and great these days, but he’s playing with more and more confidence and consistency. While he may not have the same speed as he used to, he has had the second best start to the season so far. If only Federer wasn’t there.
Heading into the clay season, with the rest of the Big Four not firmly in the driver’s seat, Nadal is at his most dangerous. In a month’s time, we might be truly looking at a replay of tennis 2006, unless Thiem or Wawrinka have something to say about it. Watch out tennis world — the King of Clay is back on his favorite surface.
2. Nick Kyrgios
He has back-to-back wins over Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, and he only missed one of his two shots at Federer because of a stomach bug. Judging by the manner in which he reached his IQ QF, and the way he played his heart out at Miami (despite the horribly rude crowd), there’s no telling where the ceiling currently stands for the 21 year old Australian.
Though there’s some work to do on his on-court outbursts (to put it lightly), Kyrgios has started showing a tendency to fight for every point, something that is extremely important if the Aussie wants to dominate men’s tennis. That, paired with electric talent (he might be turning the tweener into a legitimate shot in his repertoire), has yielded Nick solid results. He looks like the most promising player on the tour right now if he manages to get his mental game together. Solidly the second best player of the last two weeks, he heads onto the clay with confidence.
1. Roger Federer
What can be said about the ATP Live Rankings leader that hasn’t been said over his long career, and reiterated these past few months? Federer has been fast, fresh, and lethal this hardcourt season, completing the Sunshine Double by defeating Rafael Nadal last week. He’s 19-1 on the season, his only loss coming to Donskoy in Dubai. He has won all three of the most important tournaments of the year, defeating his rival, Rafael Nadal, in all of them. What else could you ask for?
Though he wasn’t quite as dominant as in Indian Wells, Federer showed grit in getting past close scrapes with Berdych and Kyrgios, and then soared to victory in a tighter than it looked 6-3, 6-4 final against Nadal. He’ll take off most of the clay season, only returning for the French Open, saying he wants to focus on the grass and late hardcourt season. What’s next for Federer? Time will tell, but for now, the king is back on top.