Sunday, October 19, 2014

Predicting Where the Top American Men Will Fall in the 2015 Rankings

John Isner: John Isner has had a relatively forgettable 2014 season.  He'll finish in the top 20 once again, and won a couple of 250 level tournaments.  But other than at Indian Wells, he largely disappointed at the bigger events.  At the US Open he suffered his third consecutive defeat to Phillip Kohlschreiber, and he didn't make much noise at the other majors either.  Isner will turn 30 during the 2015 season, but this doesn't mean as much as it used to.  With the best serve in the game, he should be able to play well into his mid-thirties without much decline.  Once again, Isner should finish somewhere in the top 20, and will likely end 2015 as the highest ranked American.

Sam Querrey:  Querrey had a rough start to 2014, but had a respectable second half to the season.  He recently won 3 straight challenger tournaments, which should give him some positive momentum going forward.  While the level of competition at these tournaments wasn't particularly high, Querrey still deserves credit for doing what he was supposed to do.  Querrey has been ranked in the top 20 in years past, and I wouldn't be surprised if he finishes 2015 somewhere in the top 25.  He admittedly has let personal issues affect his play in the past, but he seems to have improved his mental toughness.  Querrey won't be challenging for slams or Masters titles in 2015, but he seems poised to have his strongest season in years.

Steve Johnson:  Before the 2014 season began, Steve Johnson seemed like he was going to be another star collegiate player who didn't have what it takes to make it in the proaround s.  He had a phenomenal career at USC, winning multiple national titles, but it took him some time to adjust to life on the professional tour.  However, in 2014 Steve Johnson turned himself into a legitimate ATP player.  He will finish around 40 in the world rankings, which is more than 100 spots better than where he finished in 2013.  Johnson should be able to build on his success in 2015, and will have a chance to crack America's Davis Cup lineup.  Johnson' game does have some limitations (notably his backhand), but he should finish somewhere in the 25-30 range in the upcoming season.

Jack Sock:  Jack Sock certainly hasn't set the ATP Tour on fire during his first few seasons, but he has made some steady progress.  2014 was by far his best season on the tour, and fans of Sock should be encouraged by his progress.  He is still only 22 and already is in the top 50 in the world.  While this may have not meant much in the past, these days it means he is developing right around schedule.  Sock probably has the most upside of all the Americans, and I expect his ranking to rise significantly in 2015.  He will be more comfortable on the tour after having a few full seasons under his belt, and now knows he belongs on court with the top guys.  Sock is more than capable of finishing 2015 around 25 in the world, and has enough talent to reach the upper echelon of the game after that.

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