In order to go undefeated for a week, a player must win at least four consecutive matches. As we all know, winning a tournament in pro tennis is an exception, not the norm, unless you are 2017 Roger Federer. Thus, the bulk of the ATP locker room must regularly cope with the taste of defeat. The problem comes when there are barely any wins intertwined.
This article will feature five consolidated players who are grossly underachieving and whose spot in the ATP Top 100 is jeopardized unless they right the ship. These are established veterans whose direct entry to the 2018 Australian Open is far from assured.
You will not find on this list:
- Career journeymen constantly coming in and out of the revolving doors of the Top 100. Yes, I totally expect Stephane Robert to crash out after his 180 points from Hamburg come off the books in July.
- Young upstarts with less than 20 months of service in the big leagues. By the way, I’m skeptical Jordan Thompson can thrive on the main tour.
- High-profile older players who managed to claw their way back into the Top 100 within the last couple of years. To see them lose against father time for good would not be surprising. Still, commendable effort by Mikhail Youzhny (career high #8), Radek Stepanek (CH #8), Janko Tipsarevic (CH #8) and Florian Mayer (CH #18) in 2016.
The 26-year-old defied the odds and reached the round of 16 at the Miami Open. This solid performance entails a much-needed 90-point influx to his total. On Monday, the Argentine will wake up as the No. 51 player in the world with 905 ATP points. Nevertheless, Delbonis is defending a whopping 440 points in the month of April. It is unlikely, but in the worst case scenario, he could be playing the French Open as a fringe Top 100 player.
The Writing is on the Wall
Barring a historical turnaround, the La Roda native will soon see his ranking reach triple digits for the first time since June 2008. An absurd 460 out of his 605 points are set to expire between now and Roland Garros. Add in another 90 from his surprising quarter-final run in Hamburg last July. Garcia-López needs to somehow win a tournament very soon to avoid relegation. On the bright side, the Spaniard has been killing it on the doubles tour. He’s currently the 30th best in the business.
The injury-riddled Argentinian is bound to fall off the cliff. His Houston title and Rome Masters QF account for 60% of his 720 points. Those events are taking place within the next six weeks. Time for the alarms to go off. The 33-year-old Monaco will need to build back his ranking on the Challenger Tour.
Not as Long of a Shot as you Think
The Spanish gladiator is in big trouble. While he may still be ranked among the Top 40, his demise is obvious. Ferrer has posted a paltry 3-6 record so far in 2017, including losses to poor man’s versions of himself such as Thompson, Carlos Berlocq, or Diego Schwartzman. His wins have arrived against the mercurial Bernard Tomic, then-290 ranked wild card Omar Jasika, and the promising but raw Ernesto Escobedo. The clay season might mitigate the fall, but even that is not a certainty anymore.
I Promise I don’t Hate my Country
One year older than Ferrer, the lefty Lopez finds himself in a similar hole. As his 2-6 record attests, he’s mightily struggling to rack up wins in 2017. An ailing back that limited his serving practice during preseason and a lingering divorce process that is all over the Spanish magazines are to blame.
Before finding consistency in his thirties, the Toledo native used to live off a couple superb results per year. He might need to go back to his old ways. Duplicating the Gstaad title and the Los Cabos final looks like a tall order for the current World No. 36. The silver lining is that he’s more than capable of improving his mediocre 2016 results on grass, theoretically his best surface.
After a dismal 2016 clay season, the Australian found his groove on grass and during the North American summer swing. He peaked at World No. 19 after the Cincinnati quarter-final. Ever since then, Tomic has been a train-wreck. He cannot buy a win, nor does he seem interested in fighting on the court. He better put it together soon, otherwise his demotion to the minors is a matter of time. A player of the skill level of the 24-year-old Tomic should never be sitting in the No. 156 position of the Race to London at this time of the year. A bunch of Futures-only players are ahead of him.