It’s that time of year again when we dive into the prospects of how the projected year-end ATP Tour rankings for 2022 will shape up. Using our crystal ball, of course.
The Wrap Up
The 2021 tennis season will be remembered for many different storylines. First and foremost, the GOAT on the men’s side, Novak Djokovic, won three of the four Majors and tied his chief rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 titles each. Djokovic, along with finishing world No. 1 for a record seventh year, has proved time and time again that his accomplishments are unparalleled in the sport. That said, Djokovic’s current top two rivals Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev also had seasons to remember.
Gaining in Confidence
Medvedev’s eclectic baseline game won him his first Major in NYC, while Zverev scooped up an Olympic Gold medal and the Tour Finals in Turin. Because of these accomplishments, Djokovic’s ability to duplicate his 2021 campaign in 2022 will be difficult considering the youth, experience and confidence that Medvedev and Zverev possess.
To be honest, Djokovic really doesn’t have to worry about Federer and Nadal anymore. There’s a crop of much younger players that are looking to take over his mantle.
Looking Over the Horizon
It’s unlikely that any group or current tandem of players will be able to dominate the game in the next 10-15 years like the Big 3 did. They truly took the men’s game to new heights. Even though many fans complained that tennis was “boring” and “predictable” when all three greats where winning everything in sight, I can almost guarantee that all three will be greatly missed once they hang up their racquets for good.
We can certainly have hope and be optimistic that the likes of Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and even Holger Rune become house-hold names, but for them to carry the Tour on their backs will be a monumental task.
How 2022 Could Shape Up
It appears that the time has finally come for a player not named Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or even Andy Murray to finish atop the year-end men’s rankings. Medvedev and Zverev have proven that their moment is near and 2022 could prove pivotal in the greater outlook of their careers. Zverev has nothing left to prove on Tour other than winning a Major and reaching No. 1. The German continues to be caught up in alleged domestic abuse allegations, and no clear course of action has been brought forth by the ATP Tour to date. Could that affect his form in 2022? It certainly didn’t in 2021.
Medvedev on the other hand continues to have no controversy around him and is brimming with confidence. He believes he can win, he believes he can beat Djokovic and he now knows how it feels to capture a Major title. All positives.
Let’s now take a look at our 2022 year-end ATP Tour ranking predictions.
2022 Year-end Rankings:
1. Daniil Medvedev: As great as Djokovic was in 2021 (maybe the best season ever), one has to think that he will have a relative hangover come 2022. He will still win, he’ll still be great, but to recreate the form he had this year, will be difficult. Even for him.
Medvedev loves hard-courts and will likely take his momentum from the end of 2021 to the land Down Under. If he captures his first title in Oz, I don’t think there’s any stopping him in finishing world No. 1.
2. Alexander Zverev: The German power-house also looks to be making strides in the right direction. Where he differs from Medvedev is in the automatic department. Daniil doesn’t need to think anymore when he’s under pressure. He knows he can win. Zverev still has those second serve demons and that could very well cost him a few big matches in ’22.
21 Majors for Nole
3. Novak Djokovic: Forever a force on Tour, Djokovic will get to No. 21 in 2022 but you have to think that he’ll have to work his way into from after a tiring season. It’s all about Oz for him. He’s slated to play the ATP Cup in January. If he performs well there and takes his 10th title in Australia, an eighth finish as world No. 1 beckons.
4. Rafael Nadal: Returning after an injuring riddled season, Rafa will be looking forward to April and the start of his clay-court campaign. The Spaniard is certainly coming toward the end of his illustrious career, but he still should have enough in the tank to win one more Major at Roland Garros (maybe two).
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas: Elbow surgery has sidelined the Greek God for the time being. When he does return to action, Tsitsipas has done enough winning to date that he won’t forget how to finish top five in the world.
Time for Thiem
6. Dominic Thiem: Currently ranked world No. 15, this former US Open winner will be back in a big way in 2022. He’ll need a few months to defrost his strokes, but getting back into the top 10 should be routine for the Austrian.
7. Andrey Rublev: There’s always good vibes around Andrey. He loves to compete and he won’t leave the practice court until he’s happy. However, his game is pretty one-dimensional and the top-tier of players have figured that out. He’s still in the conversation but doesn’t have the loudest voice.
8. Matteo Berretinni: A true gentleman through-and-through, Berrettini will have a slew of points to defend come the grass-court season. His game possesses a lethal serve, potent forehand and an admirable drop shot. However, his backhand continues to be his achilles and he’s not consistent enough to beat the top players with his surf and turf style.
9. Carlos Alcaraz: On the doorsteps of truly something great, Alcaraz is a stock that no one should overlook. He’s got the power, touch, athleticism and mindset to reach the highest mountains of the sport. Still only 18, the Spaniard will continue to grow in 2022 and delight his growing fanbase.
10. Jannik Sinner: Committed to the process of improving, Sinner does everything right that a tennis player should do. He’s not satisfied with his current level and knows that he has to improve every facet of his game in order to reach a higher plateau. The key for Jannik will be to acquire a specific game-style as he moves forward. Currently, there’s too many options when the pressure is high.
Players to Watch in 2022:
Holger Rune: The entertaining Dane showed the world what he could do at the US Open by taking the first set off Djokovic in round one. His game is a bit mechanical for my liking, but he’s got a big heart and will train all day. Look for him to crack the top 50 by year’s end.
Jenson Brooksby: Making it his own way, Brooksby plays the game with an incredible amount of feel. From his two-handed slice backhand to his off-the-rise forehand, this upstart American could be the top player in his country come year’s end. His serve will need to improve to reach top 10 status.
Sebastian Baez: The next Diego Schwartzman? Seeing him for the first time at the ATP Next Gen Finals, I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t played a main draw match on hard-courts before that week. He moves well, volleys very well and has a good serve for a player that stands at only five foot seven inches in height.
What’s your projected ATP top 10 year-end rankings for 2022? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.