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La résurrection de Stefanos Tsitsipas Jannik Sinner, on top of the world

Since the incredible Wimbledon final that ended up with the crowning of Carlos Alcaraz, the tennis world has slowed down. The best players took a well deserved break while the athletes who lacked confidence traveled through Europe to win a few ATP points. After a week of warm up in Washington DC, Los Cabos or Kitzbuhel, serious things are starting again on August 7!

The two masters 1000 before the US Open should be thrilling. The first half of the season showed that there aren’t many contenders. Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic crushed their opponents with a disconcerting ease in the greatest events. The only remaining question is who else will be part of the last four.

A duel of Titans

The number one seed at the US Open should be decided in Toronto and Cincinnati. Carlitos’ poor results last year enable him to win up to 1 775 points in the next couple of weeks. As the last Grand Slam winner of the season, the young Spaniard should arrive in the United States with a lot of confidence. Nevertheless, heavy expectations can sometimes be tricky to deal with at such a young age. Let’s not forget that Carlos is human after all – even if it’s hard to believe sometimes. His main rival situation is even more interesting. Novak Djokovic hasn’t played the American Swing since 2021. Because of his vaccine status, he had to forfeit all the tournaments in America for the last two years. As he withdrew from the Rogers Cup, he only has 1000 points to grab before arriving in New York. His twenty titles won on American soil throughout his career show how dangerous he will be against the current world number one in Cincinnati. He heart-tearing loss in the Wimbledon final should have given him even more desire to defeat his new rival.

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Novak Djokovic’s absence in Toronto makes his comeback at the top of the rankings a bit tricky. To have a chance to be seeded number one in New York, he must win the Western & Southern Open and hope that Carlitos wins less that 570 points in the next two weeks. This scenario would happen if the young prodigy lost before the semi-final in both tournaments. In ten competition this season, Carlos Alcaraz didn’t make the final four only one time [lost to Fabian Marozsan in the third round of Rome].

If the top of the world rankings seems unlikely to change, the tennis fans wait for the next encounter between the two best players of the world. The match should be spectacular no matter the outcome. So, let’s be patient and see you on August 20 – with a bit of luck.

What about the rest of the pack?

Far behind those two phenomenal players, a pack of competitors are ready to jump in. The Next Gen might not be as flaming as Carlos Aclaraz, but it hasn’t given up yet. It will take its chance if the two leaders don’t.

Daniil Medvedev leads the way, especially on hard courts. This season, the Russian has won 30 out of 33 matches on the surface. His win streak gave him four titles. As he enjoyed telling the chair umpire during his fourth-round match against Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells: “I know what a hard court is, I’m a specialist”. The Octopus always had success during the American Summer: the 2022 Cabos Open, the 2021 Us Open and Rogers Cup as well as the 2019 Cincinnati master. To these impressive results, we can also add that he is one of the few players to have beaten Novak Djokovic multiple times in big events. His Head2Head record against Carlos Alcaraz is less convincing – two defeats in as many matches this season. Nevertheless, the American hard courts’ speed should allow the Russian to play his best tennis.

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Then come Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev. The last sentence’s purpose isn’t to establish a ranking between those players. They all start the American swing with the same chances – just not for the same reasons.

The Greek had a convincing first half of the season without it being exceptional: a final at the Australian Open as well as in Barcelona – but nothing more. For a few seasons now, Stefanos Tsitsipas has had trouble to reach the next step of his career. In the most important moments, he struggles to deliver a flaming tennis. He has all the weapons to win masters 1000 on hard courts – and much more. He only has to use them in the right way. His only disadvantage compared to his close rivals is his streak of losses against Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic. This lack of confidence against the players to beat might be erased by his 10th title won in Los Cabos last Sunday.

Andrey Rublev is too often forgotten as a top 10 player. For a while his consistency was the main reason of his success at the greatest heights of tennis. From this year on, he can brag about something new. After two failures in master 1000 finals, he finally fulfilled his dream at the Monte-Carlo country club. This great victory allowed him to think about new ambitions. If he did it once, why not win a master 1000 twice? And why not dream bigger? Andrey Rublev’s end of the season should be enthusiastic if he plays the same ultra-aggressive and chirurgical tennis that enabled him to win the Sweden Open.  

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Jannik Sinner might not fully deserve his place on this list. His outstanding start of the season [winner in Montpellier, runner-up in Rotterdam and Miami] gradually gave way too much more disappointing results. The most promising Italian of his generation still ended the first half of 2023 on a positive note: a Wimbledon semi-final. But his latest performances don’t really matter… Jannik Sinner should be on this list as Carlos Alcaraz’ greatest rival. All their encounters were out of this world – and a few ended up in favor of the oldest of the two players.

On paper, Alexander Zverev might be the one in the most difficult position. Currently fifteenth in the ATP rankings, he hasn’t yet completely found back his former level of tennis. Nevertheless, winning a twentieth title in Hamburg marked a new step in his career. In the center of his hometown, he lifted a trophy after several months without doing so. He should arrive in America with big goals. As he already won the two masters 1000, he shouldn’t refrain his hopes. If he manages to win at least 800 points out of the 2000 up for grabs, Sascha Zverev should reenter the top 10 before the US Open. All bets are in!

This list is obviously incomplete. Tennis is an unpredictable sport where each tournament is made of feats and disappointments. So here are a few names that could create a surprise: Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Frances Tiafoe, Christopher Eubanks and why not Dominic Thiem.

Marnie Abbou

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