10SBALLS SHARES RICKY DIMON’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS PREDICTIONS

Written by: on 12th January 2017
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2017 Hopman Cup tennis tournament
10SBALLS SHARES RICKY DIMON'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS PREDICTIONS

epa05695756 Jack Sock of the United States in action during the men's singles match against Feliciano Lopez of Spain at the Hopman Cup at the Arena in Perth, Australia, 03 January 2017. EPA/TONY MCDONOUGH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT  |

Ricky predicts his top 10 American men, in order, at the end of 2017

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

It is always difficult to predict the top 10 American men, in order, at the end of each year. This season may be especially difficult, because John Isner no longer has a stranglehold on the No. 1 spot. He finished there–again–in 2016 but only after being briefly overtaken by Steve Johnson as the top-ranked American. Combine the battle for the No. 1 spot with the inevitable rise of the talented youngsters, and 2017 could see a real change in these rankings. Or…could it not?

 

Here are Ricky’s picks for the top 10 American men at the end of 2017:

 

1. John Isner

2. Jack Sock

3. Steve Johnson

4. Sam Querrey

5. Taylor Fritz

6. Donald Young

7. Jared Donaldson

8. Ryan Harrison

9. Frances Tiafoe

10. Denis Kudla

 

Isner underwhelmed throughout 2016 and still finished as the No. 1 American. He was briefly overtaken by Johnson late in the year but made a run to the Paris final to finish in the overall top 20. With few points, relatively speaking, to defend early in 2017, Isner should be able to surge into the top 16 and get favorable draws at several big tournaments.

John Isner of the USA returns the ball to his compatriot Jack Sock during their quarter final match at the BNP Paribas 2016 Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 04 November 2016. EPA/IAN LANGSDON

 

Sock, Johnson, and Querrey are reliable performers despite being inconsistent at times. Querrey showed what he can do by upsetting Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last summer.

 

Fritz is coming off a meteoric rise to prominence in 2016. The pressure will be on the 19-year-old during his proverbial “sophomore” season and he has plenty on his plate off the court with a new wife and a baby on the way. But Fritz’s talent is undeniable, as we saw early last season when he made a run to the Memphis title match.

Taylor Fritz of the US hits a return shot to Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in the semifinals of the Memphis Open tennis championship at the Racquet Club of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, 13 February 2016. EPA/TANNEN MAURY

 

Fellow youngsters Donaldson and Tiafoe are also firmly on the rise. Donaldson reached the third round of the 2016 U.S. Open and Tiafoe served for an upset win over Isner at the same event before falling in a fifth-set tiebreaker. Harrison and Kudla have been around for a while, but they are both just 24 years old and arguably have their best tennis in front of them.

 

Although it would be a reach to say that the United States is going to have a singles representative at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, it is fair to say that American tennis is back on the rise. That’s what makes predicting the order of the top 10 so difficult. We’ll see what happens–starting in earnest at the upcoming Australian Open!

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand.

 

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