It has been a great summer for tennis thus far with the return of fans certainly adding an extra element of spice to the recent Wimbledon tournament. Hot off the heels of that illustrious Grand Slam competition the collective tennis mind turned to Tokyo and the Olympic Games.
In this article though we are not as much concerned with the individual performances at the Tokyo Olympics – or any individual tournament for that matter. Rather, we are going to take a deep dive into the record books and let you know who has performed the best thus far on the ATP Tour.
We must start that journey with a review of 2021 for the World Number 1, but after that we’ll veer slightly off the beaten track to look at some of the smaller names making big waves on the ATP.
So dominant is the Serbian that at this moment, he’s always among the favorites for those who bet online. The 34-year-old leads the ATP this year in titles (4), finals (5), prize money ($6,220,457) and points (12,113). In February he got his year off to a bang with a record-extending ninth win at the Australian Open, comfortably dispatching Daniel Medvedev in 3 sets.
In April and May he tasted defeat as he exited the Serbian Open at the semi-final stage before losing the Italian Open to Rafael Nadal. Two weeks later he won the Belgrade Open before heading to Roland Garross where he added the French Open to his list of wins, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-2 in the final.
Across June and July at Wimbledon Djokovic was the consummate professional, easing through to the final where he beat Italian Matteo Berrettini 3-1.
(Djokovic added to his already jam-packed trophy cabinet with yet another victory at Wimbledon.)
Next on the ATP rankings list are Daniel Medvedev and Rafael Nadal, but just behind them in fourth is the impressive 22-year-old Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas who has been in exceptional form this year.
In March he made it to the final of the Mexican Open in Acapulco where he lost out to German Alexander Zverev in the final. Then in April he won the Monte Carlo Masters before losing out to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Barcelona Open a week later.
Success over Cameron Norrie in the Lyon Open was a welcome relief for Tsitsipas in mid-May before the French Open. In that tournament he defied the odds to reach the final in which he came oh so close to winning.
Leading 2-0 after taking the first two sets 7-6 and 6-2, Tsitsipas collapsed under the pressure and eventually succumbed to the majesty of Novak Djokovic. Still, the young player has demonstrated buckets of ability already this year and looks to be a real talent for the future.
(Defeat was hard to take for Tsitsipas at the French Open but he can take heart with the majority of his performance at the tournament.)
You may not be familiar with the current World Number 55 from El Palmar in Murcia, but in a few years everyone will be. Alcaraz, who only turned 18 in May of this year has been making waves in the tennis world since the age of 16 when he beat established countryman Albert Ramos Vinolas at the 2020 Rio Open.
This year has proved to be somewhat of a breakout year for the young Spaniard who started the year by becoming the youngest participant in the men’s singles history at the Australian Open. His Grand Slam debut was spectacular as he beat Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets before coming unstuck in the second round.
The undoubted high of the year for Alcaraz though was his first ATP Tour title against former World Number 7 Richard Gasquet at the Croatian Open in Umag. The poise and confidence he demonstrated in his 6-2, 6-2 victory belied his youth and highlighted the dazzling potential that he possesses.
(In the wake of his defeat to Alcaraz at the Croatian Open, Gasquet told the press he believes his opponent has the potential to win a Grand Slam.)
The 25-year-old who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and represented New Zealand at junior level is currently the brightest talent in British talent (confusing, right?)
Nationality conundrums aside, Norrie has proven himself to be a talented tennis player in recent months. Norrie reached the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in his career last month and most recently, won his first ATP Tour title in Los Cabos.
The British player defeated American Brandon Nakashima 6-2, 6-2 to secure victory in the Mifel Open after not losing a set in the entire tournament. It was a case of fifth time lucky for Norrie after coming up short in his four previous ATP Tour finals.
Whilst the heady heights of Djokovic, Tsitsipas and Alcaraz may be some way off for Norrie, we can still expect more final appearances and potentially more victories from the Briton on an upward trajectory.