by: Nima Naderi

With the Australian Open ready to kick start the new calender year in about six weeks, there’s no better time than to turn on that crystal ball and throw our hands into the prediction pot for the 2014 year-end rankings.

In a fascinating season that featured Rafa Nadal storm back from injury to reclaim the No. 1 ranking, Roger Federer by contrast had his worst season in a decade, falling to No. 6 and winning only one smaller-tier title. Stan Wawrinka made himself a name to remember over the holidays as he finished a proud member in the top 10 for the second time in his career; so to did Richard Gasquet, who chalked up three titles and squeaked by Milos Raonic to claim the 10th position on the computer.

With that said, where will we be in a year from now? Will Nadal have equaled or nearly caught up to Federer’s mark of 17 majors? Will Novak Djokovic grab his elusive title at Roland Garros and join Rafa and Roger with all four slams? How will Andy Murray fit into the sport’s dominated rivalry that Rafa-Nole have captured? Will the Scot rebound after minor back surgery to reclaim his Wimbledon title, while imposing himself at the other majors? Finally, could we see Jerzy Janowicz or Grigor Dimitrov finally make that push into the elite top 10 and live up to their much-hyped potential?

The world of tennis is certainly a wacky place and trying to predict what will happen in a year’s time is never easy. Nevertheless, we’ll give it another shot and see how high we can hold our heads come mid-November in 2014.

For the Projected 2013 ATP top 10 rankings piece, click here.


Projected 2014 year-end ATP World Tour Rankings:

1. Rafael Nadal: The Mallorcan could very well seal the year-end ranking in January if he can win the Aussie Open. Why? Because he has zero points to defend Down Under and showed over the course of 2013 that no pressure usually means a win by week’s end. Oh, did I mention that he has zero points to defend at Wimbledon and Miami as well? Although Nadal has a ton of points to defend between March-September (and we mean a ton), he should clean up again on the clay and do well enough on grass and asphalt to roll to another No. 1 finish.

2. Novak Djokovic: Nole won’t be happy to finish No. 2 again for the second straight year, but it’s hard to see him claiming his fifth title in Oz, especially after everything he put into his post US Open run. Yes, Djokovic is one heck of a player, and yes, he can go on long winning streaks throughout important parts of the year. But, the Serb still hasn’t claimed the title in France and the clay season has such great implications on the rankings come year’s end.

3. Juan Martin del Potro: This is where it starts getting interesting. At 25, Delpo is certainly coming into his own. Defeating all Big Four members throughout ’13, the Argentine used his wrecking ball forehand to showcase his elite talent on court. Coupled with the fact that he knows his way around a clay-court and proved that he can play on grass (see Wimbledon semifinal run), Juan Martin could very well win his second slam and his first Masters title in 2014.

4. Andy Murray: Still in the prime of his career, one wonders how Murray will perform the first half of the season? He has finals points to defend at the Oz Open and he won the tune up event in Brisbane. The Scot did little to nothing on the clay in ’13 and that could once again dent his chances of finishing higher. Still, Murray is a tough out at any event and he will continue to be solid—and a slam threat—throughout 2014.

5. David Ferrer: I wrote off Ferrer from a top 10 position at the end of 2013 and boy was I wrong. Not only did the Spaniard finish in the top three, he also made his first slam final at the French Open and reached eight other finals. Ferrer will have a tough task in reaching the RG final in ’14, but he will continue to beat the players that he should.

6. Stanislas Wawrinka: I like what I’ve seen from Stan the man in the past 12 months and I’d be shocked if he wasn’t hungrier for more success. Magnus Norman has done wonders for his career and the decision to stick with him is a great one. Wawrinka will have to continue to work on his forehand for better use in pressure situations and his transition game could also be stronger. However, Stan looks like he’s enjoying himself out there and that will only lend to more success on Tour.

7. Tomas Berdych: Always a Bird and never a champion? Tomas played well throughout 2013 but with no singles titles in his pocket, it will certainly be difficult to break the top five and challenge for the majors. However, the Czech is still good enough to reach the quarters or semis in most events and that will aid him in finishing in the top 10 once again.

8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: I hate to say it but Tsonga’s best days are behind him. His coaching situation has never been great, he’s injury prone, his backhand continues to be weak, he’s dabbling with different rackets and his return of serve is one of the worst in the top 10. With that said, Tsonga’s forehand, serve and athleticism are top notch and that should enable him to stick around the elite 10 for at least one more season.

9. Milos Raonic: Finishing near the top for yet another year, it appears Raonic has finally embraced his innate attacking style courtesy of Ivan Ljubicic. Raonic has the desire and professionalism to be a top tenner, but his movement and backhand still need fine tuning in order for him to break into the top five and become a perennial slam candidate.

10. Jerzy Janowicz: Why not show some love for Jerzy? The man can smoke his forehand, rain down serves and his competitiveness amongst his piers is second to none. The Pole believes that he belongs with the big boys and his foot speed and deft touch at net are more than good enough for a place at the top. However, for Janowicz to make that leap into the top five and challenge for the slams, he’ll have to understand his game a tad more and learn to control his temperament on the big points.


Notice the lack of a high profile name missing from the year-end predictions for 2014? Even though Federer will continue to gather the most fan and media attention around the globe, the Swiss legend simply doesn’t have the same movement and consistency as he once did. Can we really see him taking out Djokovic, Murray and Nadal in consecutive slam matches? Can we really see a season where his back is not a problem? Does Federer himself want to grind and get his socks dirty for the first time in his career? It’s really a shame when the greats fade from glory but if 2013 was any indication as to what the future holds for Roger Federer, his follow up season could produce even poorer results. My guess is that he finishes somewhere between 11-15.


Agree with my picks? Have your own top 10 for 2014? Kindly share them below in the comments section.

—Nima (@tennisconnected)


  1. As a huge Rafa fan I read your picks with great enjoyment and really wish you’ll end up being spot on at the end of 2014 but my head tells me Djokovic will reclaim the No 1 position before the year ends. I don’t see Del Potro ending above Murray if both players stay injury-free thoughout the year. I think Ferrer will go down to 7th or 8th at the year end.
    My list is
    Del Potro

  2. If Tsonga’s best days are behind shouldn’t he finish 2014 lower than 2013? Ferrer’s will have difficulty defending those RG F points and even though he reached 3 consecutive finals at the end of the season, I think overplaying in 2013 catches up with him in 2014 and he’ll fall out of the top 10. I hope you don’t take offense but is your unbreakable belief in Raonic due to him being Canadian? I’m still not sold on him as a slam contender. Janowicz is also still a question mark for me.

  3. 1. Nadal
    2. Djokovic
    3. Delpotro
    4. Ferrer
    5. Murray
    6. Wawrinka
    7. Berdych
    8. Nishikori
    9. Federer
    10. Raonic/Haas or Janowicz

    My prediction is no. 6 for wawrinka but he can go higher

  4. I beg to fiffer on the proj.rankings of 2014. my rankings are:
    1.Rafael Nadal
    3Roger Federer
    4Del Partro
    6 Tsonga
    8Richard Gasquet
    10Raonic or Isner or Dmitrov orAlmagro or Verdasco
    10Isner or Dmitrov

  5. Amy Bee: Regarding Tsonga: His game will be in decline IMO, but I think he’ll do well enough in the lower level events, ala Berdych to stay in the top 8. For Ferrer, I wrote him off last year and if you take into account Federer falling, I think Ferrer has to only play solid to stay in the top 5. He’s super fit and will fight for every ball. I agree that he can’t stay a the top much longer however. As for Raonic, the bottom line is that he has the best serve in tennis and that should make for a top 10 player. I think with Ljubicic telling him to go for it will only help.

    Thanks Chinwe, v.arunachalam and Kyle for your comments. Keep them coming.

  6. Disagree with some of the predictions, here are mine:

    1. Djokovic
    2. Nadal
    3. Del Potro
    4. Murray
    5. Federer
    6. Wawrinka
    7. Berdych
    8. Raonic (or switched with Berdych)
    9. Tsonga
    10. Ferrer

  7. I don’t necessarily fault you for your picks, but I do find your reasoning as to why Rafa’s going to be number one a little odd. When you’re talking about the whole year, how many points a player has to defend doesn’t really matter anymore. Yes, Rafa has a good shot at being number one for the next several months because he missed Australia last year. But if Djokovic wins Aus and/or Roland Garros and Nadal doesn’t do as well on hardcourts, it’s still anyone’s ranking. When it comes to the 2014 ranking, everyone is starting with a blank slate. It doesn’t matter what they’re defending.

  8. “The Mallorcan could very well seal the year-end ranking in January if he can win the Aussie Open. Why? Because he has zero points to defend Down Under…”

    WTF? I’ve read enough. The race starts January 1, everybody equal at 0, until December 31 (so to speak). Points to defend are totally irrelevant! Why should I continue reading after sucha glaring a proof of lack of understanding?

  9. Federer will be in the top 10 at least until he’s 35. If he were to continue playing until the age of 40 he will be in the top 20. I think he’ll win wimbledon or the us open next year.
    My rankings for next year are:
    Del potro

  10. Like your picks – as a Rafa fan especially – I think the 1 and 2 spots will be a toss up and the rest a little more predictable. The 3 spot for Del Potro assumes he plays to his capability. In fact my entire list makes that assumption:

    1. Rafa

    2. Djokovic

    3. Del Potro

    4. Murray

    5. Ferrer

    6. Wawrinka

    7. Federer (his problem is only partly the back – the physicality of the game has caught up to him and his reflexes and foot speed just are not there and will only get worse)

    8. Berdych

    9. Raonic

    10. Gasquet

  11. “Points to defend are totally irrelevant! Why should I continue reading after sucha glaring a proof of lack of understanding”

    I think you migh be the one to not understand.

  12. Alex: There’s no love for Monfils because his knees are shot and it doesn’t appear that he will recover fully.

    Hoiha: Points to defend are not irrelevant. If that was the case, players wouldn’t drop or gain in the rankings as a result of winning or losing. Yes, I know everyone starts from zero in January but they are still defending points and trying to pick up more points where they lost early the year before. If that wasn’t the case, Djokovic would be No. 1, especially after the USO where he won 22 straight matches. However, because Nadal had no points to defend from the previous year, he was a positive every week.

    Kwaku: The above is a response to you as well. Defending points are very relevant because if they weren’t why do players fall in the rankings if they lose every one week or if they’re injured? Nadal has points to gain in Oz, Miami and Wimbledon next year. If he can win Australia, go deep in Miami and reach the final four or better at Wimby, then his chances of keeping the No. 1 ranking are much better because he’ll likely do well everywhere else. If Djokovic has a year like 2011 then that’s just too good.

    The bottom line to Kwaku and to HoiHa, if defending points weren’t relevant, then no one should have a ranking at the beginning of the year. But, because that’s not possible, point defense is very important.

    Also, thanks to John and Dave for your comments 🙂

  13. This is a great website full of interesting news about the tennis world. I like coming here and just wasting time because I could be here for hours! Also, I like the Tennis Connected Podcast. If anyone has time to check out their podcast you should!

  14. Nima, do you understand how rankings work? All points from 2013 will go away by the end of 2014. They are completely renewed every 12 months, so when determining what the rankings will be 12 months later, how many points a person has to defend is completely irrelevant. So if Nadal wins AO (unlikely) he will be no better off than anyone else who has won it in previous years. Your whole argument for why Nadal will be No. 1 is based on what he has to defend, but that is not a factor at all. That’s how the rankings work. Because of your inability to understand how rankings work, your predictions are way off. Janowicz lacks the consistency, which is so crucial, to reach the top 10. He has lived off one or two big results to carry his ranking every year. If he gets into the top 20, it will be a great year for him. Also, having Roger off the list is almost as bad as not understanding the ranking system. Roger had a great finish to 2013, he skipped the offseason exhibitions to prepare, he got rid of his coaching and racket issues, and his back is no longer a problem. All signs are good for Roger to having a better season than last year. The worst I could see him doing is No. 5. To say he won’t even get top 10 is beyond silly. I also think you have Wawrinka and Ferrer too high. Based on your picks, I would think you only watched the majors. Outside of his epics against Djokovic at AO and USO, Wawrinka had just an average year. He could easily drop out of the top 15 next year. His 2014 could be similar to Tipsarevic’s or Monaco’s 2013. Ferrer’s ranking is built on his 1200 points from the French Open, which he will not be repeating. He will probably finish just shy of 4000 ranking points for 2014, which would land him at around seven or eight. I do have to say though, I loved your pick of Murray at No. 4. I didn’t have the guts to do that, so if it works out for you, that would be an impressive prediction.

  15. I’m glad some people know that what a player has to defend does not matter for their ranking 12 months in the future. Still shocked though that some people don’t understand. What do you think the YTD rankings are for? Nima, you made the point that “if defending points weren’t relevant, then no one should have a ranking at the beginning of the year.” The reason for a ranking the beginning of a year is to determine the seeds of tournaments. Beyond that, the ranking at the beginning of a year has no bearing on the ranking at the end of the year. It’s called a 52-week ranking system for a reason.

  16. Jared Pine, It’s interesting that you say this because I spoke with Greg Sharko, who is a freind of mine and works for the ATP and he said that I’m correct. If Nadal wins the Aussie Open, does he increase his point total on Djokovic? Yes. I understand that there is a Race standing as well, but defending points, the pressure that comes with defending those points are important. Nadal has two zeros and two W’s in grand slams that he will have to defend in 2014. There’s a reason why players like Nadal and del Potro wanted a 2-year ranking system so that when players get injured they don’t drop out of the top 100. (In Delpo’s case, the top 400). I agree with what you’re saying in terms of 2014 results, but players are compared with their previous year’s results. There’s no doubt about that. Finally, if players didn’t have to defend points, why do they drop in ranking positions when they lose earlier than they did last year?

  17. When did Del Potro call for the 2 year ranking? As far as I’m aware, it was only Nadal who was calling for that. Given Nadal returned to #1 after 7 months off, I’m not sure he’s behind that change anymore.

  18. Hi Amy Bee, I believe Delpo said that during his injury layoff a few years back. I’ll try to find the article. Cheers.

  19. What’s all this talk about defending points having no meaning??? Those points mean EVERYTHING!!

    That’s why Roger being #1 as long as he was, was utterly remarkable, because he HAD to keep winning 3 Slams a year, etc., just to stay at the same points! He never got more points for winning, if it was something he’s won the year before, but, if he did NOT win what he’d won the year before, he LOST points! Defending your points means you get ZERO extra points if it’s what you’ve done the year before, you DO get more points if you win something you did NOT win the year before, and you LOSE points if you don’t win something you won the year before…

    Defending points is everything!! Why do people say they don’t matter?

  20. Replace Janowicz with Federer. The Polish is a great player yes, but he seems to one dimensional for my liking. Federer, doesn’t have that many points to defend, especially after the clay court swing, so I think he will come good. Del Potro’s wrist seems to be worsening as well.

  21. as of this week

    1.S. Wawrinka(SUI) 2,290
    2.R. Nadal(ESP) 1,950
    3.T. Berdych(CZE) 1,375
    4.M. Cilic(CRO) 910
    4.R. Federer(SUI) 910
    6.D. Ferrer(ESP) 900
    7.F. Fognini(ITA) 750
    8.K. Nishikori(JPN) 620
    9.A. Murray(GBR) 550
    10.E. Gulbis(LAT) 520
    11.N. Djokovic(SRB) 510
    12.G. Monfils(FRA) 490
    13.R. Gasquet(FRA) 435
    14.G. Dimitrov(BUL) 425
    15.J. Tsonga(FRA) 415

    Delpo & Raonic due to injuries are out of YE Top 10 (only winning GS or multi ms1000 can get them in,but that can be said for all ATP players)

    Federer with 90p from Dubai(1/4 today) is already at 1000p after 2,5 tournaments and with 14 tournaments left in his schedule it safe to say that he is in YE Top 10 (3000p mark for YE Top 10)

    Janowicz & Tsonga do not look very hot in first two months

    all in all your projection 70% same as every other tennis fan/expert
    would made, injuries have derailed your special pics (Delpo, Raonic & somewhat Janowicz)

    what i find strange is your view on Federer situation,because in this Weak Era of Tennis outside of 8 top players (Nadal,Djokovic,Wawrinka,Ferrer,Del Potro,Murray,Berdych,Tsonga) nobody can be get even close to him,yes he can lose to some of them (41Hewitt,16 Robredo,12 Haas,) but no way they can keep up on his level through the whole year…….

    sorry about “after the battle” comments,but in my defense its only 1/5th of season gone and its not bad idea to have some updated views on your prediction every few months and see how everything play out at the and of year
    Football World Cup will hurt tennis this year…..

  22. Thanks for your comments, Matt and alexa. It’s going to be an interesting year. Perhaps I’ll revisit the projected top 10 after Miami. Thanks again for your comments and talk soon.

  23. @ Nima, i think you are biased against federer. He has little points to defend compared to the Big 4. Points to defend matter a lot. Now assuming Nadal does not win the French (which I see happening) and also doesn’t win US Open, maybe finishes with poor results, this automatically opens the competition for the year end No 1.
    I see Ferrer and DelPo not matching up this year. Murray will struggle through and someone from the top 15 will join the top 10 by the end of the year.
    Federer finishes top 4 or better if he is able to wrap his arms around 1 or 2 slams.
    Before predictions, a lot of Mathematics around points and how the players trained in off-season need to be considered.

  24. And I apologise for calling you a fool, i was stunned to see that prediction when there is actually a 2013 season to compare points with…apologies

  25. Well well well, you couldn’t be more wrong about the king Fed, look where he is at and what you thought. i don’t think Nadal will be in top 2 by the end of the year either.

  26. Haha you talkn o fed is old , o fed is done , retire you fat slow loser well what you smart guys and gals got too say for yourself now?

    Who lets up


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