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

The 2022 ATP season allowed the advent of a new generation. The best match of the year was, undoubtedly, the quarterfinals between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner at the US Open. At 19 and 21 years old, they are the spear figures of the Baby Gen. These two players trivialize the exceptional; but the athletes who live in their shadow can’t be forgotten.

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Lorenzo Musetti is the living proof that Italian tennis doesn’t only depend on Jannik Sinner. In 2022, he reached his career-high ranking: 23rd in the world. This position isn’t due to chance. He won his maiden ATP tournament in Hamburg in July and his second one in Napoli in October. These two victories show the progress that Lorenzo Musetti has made during the past year. Even though he is a very talented player, his lack of consistency and his emotiveness have often been blamed on him. The 20 years old player revealed himself to the general public at the 2021 French Open. In the fourth round, he was leading two sets to love against Novak Djokovic before losing: 7/6 7/6 1/6 0/6 0/4 forfeit. During this amazing match, the qualities as well as the flaws of the young Italian were crystal clear. He astonished the Parisian crowd with his one-handed backhand, his hidden dropshots and his talent at the net. As he was flaming, the outcome of the match seemed decided before the transformation of Novak Djokovic. After a long toilet break, the Serb came back on court. He found back his game quality and destroyed the hopes of the young Italian. The latter got annoyed – he was consumed with frustration. Unable to deal with his emotions, he forfeited. This match says it all about Lorenzo Musetti: a talented player whose performance is hampered by emotiveness.

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Sebastian Korda is one of the nine Americans to be in the top 50. Coached by his father, Pietr Korda, he doesn’t lack a role model. Impressive during some games, he still lacks consistency to reach his full potential – and make his top 20 debut. After winning his maiden title in Parma in 2021, his 2022 season was less successful. He multiplied disappointing performances; and rarely reached quarterfinals. Despite these not very encouraging results, Sebastian Korda has all the required weapons to become a great player.

Monte-Carlo : Sebastian Korda defeats Carlos Alcaraz

His main asset is his backhand – hit at shoulder height. He multiplies winners with his downing and accelerated balls. He also doesn’t hesitate to use his slice to break his opponent’s rhythm. He makes more unforced errors on his forehand side – a vector of improvement for the 2023 season. The young American shows his talent at the net. He imprints a constructed forward game, made possible by balls taken early. Adept of serves-and-volleys, he relies on a near perfect kick serve. Currently 33rd in the ATP Rankings, the 2023 season should be the occasion to take a new step in his career.

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Ben Shelton is the American revelation of the second half of the season. Winner of the 2022 NCAA championship, he played his first match on the ATP Tour at the Atlanta Open. He lost in the fourth round against John Isner after a fantastic match composed of two tie breaks. During the entire match, the 20 years old player couldn’t stop smiling – he didn’t seem to realize his feast. During the Cincinnati masters, he defeated Casper Ruud (6/3 6/3), then second in the world. This win shows the extent of this young player’s talent. Despite his lack of experience on the professional tour, Ben Shelton handled his nerves against the Roland Garros runner-up. Even if his game still lacks construction, he tries to imprint a constant aggressiveness to chock his opponent. Thanks to his volley skills, he doesn’t hesitate to come at the net to conclude his points. After his defeat in the first round of the US Open, he focused on the Challenger Tour for the rest of the 2022 season. He ended this year brilliantly: he won three tournaments in as many weeks. He was rewarded with his top 100 debut. Currently 96th in the world, he will be able to play at the Australian Open without a wild card.       

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Borna Coric embodies a different kind of player. He was a hope of world tennis for numerous years. In 2015, he was the youngest player of the top 50. He was 12th in the world at the end of the 2018 season but his rise was slowed down by a shoulder injury. He came back on the ATP Tour in March 2021. After a few disappointing matches – defeats in the first and second rounds of numerous ATP tournaments – Borna Coric decided to play on the Challenger Tour. As the month passed by, his performances got better. He won the Parma Open. He was nominated “best comeback player of 2022” thanks to his astonishing performance at the Cincinnati masters. He defeated Rafael Nadal in the first round (7/6 4/6 6/3). On his way to the finals, he didn’t drop a set against Lorenzo Musetti, Cameron Norrie or Felix Auger-Aliassime. He played against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last match of the Cincy Open. To beat the Greek player, Borna Coric relied on his powerful backhands and his consistency during long rallies. While the fourth player in the world broke down, the Croatian kept on using his efficient game patterns. Nevertheless, the end of the season was less dazzling. A question remains: Was Borna Coric’s victory in Cincinnati an enchanted interlude or the beginning of his rise in world tennis?

Cincinnati Master : Borna Coric beats Stefanos Tsitsipas

All these promising players should play spectacular matches during the 2023 season. Will they manage to impose themselves against the Next Gen, the players of the Baby-Gen already well established in the top 15, and against the everlasting Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic? Answer on the 13th of January at the Australian Open.

Marnie Abbou

One thought on “Players to watch out for in 2023

  1. Lili Fontaine dit :

    Enfin un nouveau regard sur le tennis actuel!!

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