A sudden rise at the end of the season propelled Andy Murray to his first ever year end #1 ranking, and he capped it all off in a showdown with Novak Djokovic, the long time world #1 in the finals of the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals. In a 6-3 6-4 upset, Murray won just his second match of the season against Djokovic as the Serbian continued his late season slide, compared to his usually lofty standards.
Murray finished the year by winning 25 straight matches, a remarkable blitz that included two Masters titles, and six top 10 wins. He’s a fitting world #1 after claiming the Wimbledon title, and the Olympic gold medal this year, along with nine titles overall, and three Masters titles overall, across all of the ATP surfaces. It was quite special to him to be able to clinch the #1 ranking in front of a home crowd in London.
Djokovic finished the year with seven titles, including two Grand Slams and four Masters titles. He found form to defeat David Goffin, Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, and Kei Nishikori in the World Tour Finals. Murray beat Stan Wawrinka, Nishikori, Marin Cilic, and Raonic in a third set tiebreak.
Henri Kontinen and John Peers beat Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram in the doubles final. Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray finish the year as the top ranked doubles team, marking the first time brothers have been #1 in doubles and singles, with Andy and Jamie Murray achieving that feat. Nicolas Mahut is the world’s #1 doubles player in his own right.
The ATP top 10 in singles is Murray, Djokovic, Raonic, Wawrinka, Nishikori, Cilic, Gael Monfils, Thiem, Rafael Nadal, and Tomas Berdych, marking the first time players from different countries have made up the entire top 10.
Four players, Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric, Karen Khachanov and Taylor Fritz will finish the year inside the top 100 under the age of 21. Meanwhile the ATP continues to be a veteran’s sport, as sixteen players 33 years of age or older are inside the top 100.
The big Czech has been a top 10 mainstay for many years now, with 2009 being the last time Berdych finished outside of it. After making five consecutive Tour Finals appearances I think the 29 year olds consistent top 8 level will drop off a little In 2015. However I still believe his results will be good enough for him to sneak in the top 10 for another year.
9. Juan Martin Del Potro
This prediction may startle a few readers considering the wrist surgery that made him miss the majority of the 2014 season. However, I believe that Del Po may be back with a bang. It may take The Tower of Tandil a few months to re-find his level, but I believe he has the mental strength to get him through this period. Del Potro will rally towards the end of the season and squeak a top 10 finish.
8. Milos Raonic
The big serving Canadian was one of the most consistent performers of 2014, and I believe he will compete at a similar level in 2015. Despite the huge serve, I can’t see Raonic threating to win the big titles, and by default I have put him at number 8 in my predictions. He will have a solid year which sees him making the tour finals for a second straight year
‘Baby Fed’ finished 2014 on the cusp of the top ten, and looks set to make that breakthrough in 2015. Dimitrov has some big points to defend during grass season, but you’d expect the Bulgarian to make them up at other points in the season. Grigor will have a 2015 that will see some real high points and some real low points, which sees him finish 7th in the rankings and make his debut at the World Tour Finals.
6. Stan Wawrinka
Stan had his best season yet in 2014, winning the Australian Open, and Monte Carlo masters. Those performances led him to a 4th place finish in the rankings; His best year end ranking in his career. Lots of tennis fans believe The Swiss will have a huge fall from grace in 2015, and a few months ago I would have agreed. But Stan showed some good form at the end of the season, and I now believe he can have a decent 2015. I see a mix between his 2013 and 2014 season, which sees him finish in between the rankings he obtained in those two years.
5. Andy Murray
Murray’s ranking took a hit in the middle of 2014 as he failed to recapture his 2012-2013 form after a back injury. However, The Brit rallied some good results towards the end of the year to finish in a respectable 6th position. I don’t believe Murray will find his old form again, but he will be solid enough to finish the year just outside the top 4. His best results will likely come on grass and hard courts as he tends to struggle on clay.
4. Roger Federer
Federer had somewhat of a resurgence in 2014, which saw him make another Grand Slam final and finish the year as world number two. There is a lot of talk about Federer’s inevitable decline as he turns 34 in 2015. However I don’t see him declining too much just yet. His effortless game has seen him avoid major injuries throughout his career and I see the Swiss having one final solid year. In 2015 he will finish fourth with some good consistency throughout the year.
3. Kei Nishikori
The Japanese star finally broke into the top 8 in 2014 with a very good year. He was unlucky not to win a major title after losing in the finals of Madrid and The US Open. There has always been question marks over Kei’s health, but his talent has never been in doubt. I think 2015 is the time for Nishikori to establish himself amongst the elite. I believe a first Grand Slam and Masters 1000 title will be in order for the current world number 5, and that will see him into third in the rankings. Just not quite having the consistency of the two ahead of him.
2. Rafael Nadal
After appendix surgery saw him miss he end of 2014, Rafa will be back in 2015. You can almost guarantee that Nadal will pick up a lot of points on clay, where has dominated since he first started on tour. I expect the Spaniard to claim a record 10th Roland Garros title and fight Djokovic for other major titles during the year. However, I believe Djokovic will get the better of their battles, so Nadal will have to settle for number two at the end of the year
1. Novak Djokovic
The world’s best of 2014 will continue to be the best in 2015. Djokovic is the most consistent top performer in the game at the moment and I don’t see that changing in 2015. He will challenge for every tournament he competes in and will be victor more often than not. I expect Novak to regain the Australian Open and win the majority of Masters 1000 titles during the year. The Serb will finish the year as world number 1 again, and further add to his list of accolades.
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic
Runner up: Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic will regain the Australian Open crown. The Serb has dominated the event since the surface changed in 2008, and will win yet another title down under. Federer being the number 2 seed will make the final but will fall short in a potentially classic encounter against Djokovic. As for the defending champion, Wawrinka; he will fall in the semifinals.
French Open: Rafael Nadal
Runner up: Novak Djokovic
Rafa will win his tenth French Open crown in 2015 defeating Djokovic in the final (again). These two are clearly the two best clay courters in the world at the moment, but Rafa has had the edge every time they have met at Roland Garros.
Wimbledon: Shock winner
Runner up: Andy Murray
Wimbledon is the hardest slam to predict. I believe that upsets are more likely to happen at SW19, so I am going to say we get a shock winner here. Maybe someone like Dimitrov, or Tsonga will step up and win the Wimbledon title? Murray to make the final but loose to the shock winner with Djokovic and Federer both falling in the semi-finals.
US Open: Kei Nishikori
Runner up: Novak Djokovic
Last year’s finalist will finally be ready to step up and become a Grand Slam champion. Nishikori showed physical and mental fatigue in last year’s final after playing 3 tough matches in a row, and that’s without even mentioning the inspired form of Marin Cilic. Nishikori will defeat Djokovic in a classic final, which results in the Japanese winning his first grand slam title.
Predictions for Masters 1000 winners
Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic
Miami: Kei Nishikori
Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal
Madrid: Rafael Nadal
Rome: Novak Djokovic
Canada: Roger Federer
Cincinnati: Novak Djokovic
Shanghai: Novak Djokovic
Paris: Kei Nishikori
World Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic
Other ATP Predictions
Here are some other predictions for the 2015 season.
The ATP World Tour Finals will stay in London long term
Former World Number One Lleyton Hewitt will retire
Slovak Martin Klizan will break into the top 20
Nick Kyrigos, and Benoit Paire will win their first ATP titles
David Ferrer will decline
The International Premier Tennis League Exo will be a success in 2015
Our New Journalist Niall Clarke: What to Watch For in the 2015 ATP Season Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
January 5th is the date that tennis fans across the globe have been waiting for. It is the start of the ATP World Tour 2015 season. The very best that the sport has to offer will be showing their talents to a worldwide audience, in what promises to be an action packed year full of thrills, spills and excitement.
2014 was the year of Novak Djokovic. The Serbian clinched the Wimbledon title, 4 ATP Masters 1000 titles, and The ATP World Tour Finals crown on the way to ending the year as world number one.
However, despite Djokovic’s brilliance, 2014 may best be remembered for the surprises it threw our way. The year began with a shocking bang by Stan Wawrinka, who rose above all in Melbourne to win his first Grand Slam title. But Wawrinka wasn’t the only one to defy the odds and win their maiden slam. Perhaps even more shockingly, Marin Cilic put on a string of outstanding performances to win the US Open. Which hardly anyone predicted.
And these were only two of the many memorable moments from 2014. So that may leave you wondering, how can 2015 possibly top that? Well, i can guarantee you that there is plenty to look forward to in the upcoming year.
After finishing 2014 as the world number one, Novak Djokovic will want to finish 2015 in the exact same position. The Serb is well on his way to cementing his status as one of the all-time greats, but there is one thing missing on his list of honors. The French Open crown, and there is no doubt that is the title he wants the most at this point in his career. Djokovic has already won the other three Grand Slams, but has never lifted La Coupe des Mousquetaires. That is largely down to one man’s domination of the tournament, Rafael Nadal. Novak has defeated Rafa on clay before, including handing the Spaniard his first ever loss at Monte Carlo in 2013. The Serb will be confident he can finally overcome Nadal at the French Open this season. As well as seeking the ‘Career Grand Slam’, Djokovic will also be looking to be the first player to win the ‘Career Golden Masters’. He has reigned supreme at every Masters 1000 event, bar Cincinnati. Add that on top of looking after his wife, and son, 2015 is going to be a busy year for Novak.
Speaking of a man busy with wife and kids, Roger Federer was ‘Mr Consistency’ in 2014. The 17 time Grand Slam champion failed to win his 18th major, but he had a steady season that saw him end as world number two. A lot of talk surrounding The Swiss is when he will start declining, but he has shown improvements under Stefan Edberg and continues to be one of the top players in the sport. Federer fans will be hoping that he will win a record 18th Grand Slam in 2015, but at the age of 33, one wonders if he has enough left to do so. Roger’s best chance will come at Wimbledon, where he was a finalist in 2014, and a seven time champion. But with the rise of younger players, and Federer not getting any younger, it is hard to see him winning yet another Grand Slam.
His compatriot, Stan Wawrinka shocked the world in 2014 by winning his first Grand Slam in Melbourne, and his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo. Stan had his best season yet, which saw him finish the year at number four, his highest year end ranking to date. However despite the dizzying heights, there was also the lowest of lows in 2014. A round one loss to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at Roland Garros, was one of many disappointing results as Stan seemingly struggled to cope with the pressure of being the hunted rather than the hunter. The Swiss number two did rally to finish the year strong by reaching the semi-finals in the season ending championships, and he helped his country win the Davis Cup. A lot of tennis fans and commentators expect Stan to fall down the rankings in 2015, mainly due to the fact they don’t see him retaining his titles in Melbourne and Monte Carlo. But under Magnus Norman, Wawrinka has been playing the best tennis of his career, and with the level he is capable of showing, you can’t count the 29 year old out just yet.
2014 saw two new names to the Grand Slam honours list, but it also saw the emergence of 3 young stars. Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, and Grigor Dimitrov all had a breakthrough 2014, which saw them finish number 5, 8, and 11 respectively. They will look to continue that momentum in 2015, where they could be fighting for the major titles. Nishikori has already come within one win of becoming a grand slam champion, but an inspired Marin Cilic stopped the Japanese number one in the US Open final. Nishikori has always had the talent to challenge the best, but injuries have prevented him from making a breakthrough. With a clean bill of health, Nishikori will be looking to establish himself amongst ‘the big 4’ in 2015.
Milos Raonic has perhaps the biggest weapon of the three, with a booming serve that he can hit over 140mph on a consistent basis. The Canadian had a stellar 2014, where he reached the World Tour Finals for the first time in his career. However, Raonic will be looking to turn his consistency into big results in 2015. Grigor Dimitrov took himself towards the top 10 in 2014, but just feel short in the end. The 23 has been nicknamed ‘Baby Fed’ by many due to the similarity in technique between himself and Federer, and has shown glimpses of the talent he possesses. But Grigor will be looking to make his big breakthrough next year, with the main target of finishing in the World Tour Finals spots.
Two of the sport’s biggest names will be making their return from injury in 2015. Rafael Nadal missed the end of the season due to an appendix surgery, but the 14 time Grand Slam champion will be back in 2015, and will be looking to regain the number 1 ranking. The Spaniard will no doubt be favourite for all the clay events he enters, but there may still be question marks on his performance on other surfaces. As the only member of the current top 4 not to have a ‘supercoach’, he will be looking to prove that ‘family knows best’ as he continues to be under the guidance of Uncle Toni. But despite his recent injuries, only a fool would count Rafa out in 2015.
Juan Martin Del Potro’s 2014 season was cut short due to yet another wrist problem. Surgery kept him out of action for most of the season, and boy did the tennis world miss him. The Tower of Tandil is one of the biggest threats to the top players, with his huge forehand being the signature shot. The 2009 US Open champion is back in 2015, and is one of the most interesting stories heading into the New Year.
These players, plus the likes of Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, and David Ferrer are going to make the 2015 season one of the most interesting ever. However, the stories are not all on the court, because there is plenty going off the court as well. One of the major stories of 2015 will be the future of the Barclays ATP World Tour finals. The contract with the O2 Arena in London ends after the 2015 event, and the ATP have to decide where it’s future lies. Will it remain in London, where it’s been a roaring success since 2009? Or does it’s future lie elsewhere? It is rumoured that we will know the decision early next season, with 4 competing cities to trying to take the right to host the event from the O2. Between 2000 and 2009, the World Tour Finals was hosted at a variety of cities including Houston and Shanghai.
There are so many storylines to follow, and so many potentially classic match-ups that could take place in the upcoming season. It promises to be one of the best yet. You can follow the tour on Tennis Atlantic, where you will receive the latest news, views and reviews about the ATP tour and more.
ICYMI: Djokovic Wins World Tour Finals, Swiss Take Davis Cup Final Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
In case you missed it, here is a quick roundup of the last couple of non-exhibition events at the top level of Men’s professional tennis this year.
World Tour Finals
Novak Djokovic won his third consecutive and fourth overall year-end championships title in London at the O2 Arena, as a hobbled Roger Federer withdrew and gave the word number one a walkover victory. Besides Djokovic, only Ivan Lendl and Ilie Nastase have ever won three consecutive year-end championship tournaments.
Djokovic was the strongest player all week, not surrendering a set in round robin play against Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka, and Tomas Berdych, as none of his opponents really put in much effort. In the semis, Kei Nishikori snatched a set, but Djokovic won the other two sets surrendering just one game combined.
Clearly, a deserving champion.
Federer also played well, as the World Number 2 was able to topple Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori, two top players of the younger generation, without dropping a set, and then demolished Andy Murray in front of a home crowd for the UK number one. The match of the tournament was the semifinal between Federer and compatriot Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka had four match point chances and was up a set early, but Federer clawed his way back and eventually defeated a cramping Wawrinka in a third set tiebreak. In process of winning the match, Federer injured his back and had to pull out for the final.
The Bryans beat Ivan Dodig and Marcel Melo to win yet another World Tour Finals, as they continue to dominate the game even more than Djokovic.
Davis Cup Final
The top five Swiss duo of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka led their nation to its first ever Davis Cup title. The golden era of Swiss tennis was confirmed as the duo defeated a talented French team 3-1 for the title.
Wawrinka started proceedings by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 4 sets. Tsonga played one quality set but was pedestrian in the three others that were played. Gael Monfils fought back and beat Federer in straights for the French, leaving the tie at an even 1-1 after Friday singles.
Fed and Stan beat Richard Gasquet and Julian Benneteau in straight sets to take the doubles rubber, and Federer would clinch the tie on Sunday, easing past Gasquet in 3 sets. Though the tie was played in France, there were nearly as many Swiss fans in attendance, and they basked in the glory of their first ever Davis Cup triumph.
This is yet another achievement in the illustrious career of Roger Federer, one of the greatest players of all time.