As we move towards the conclusion of 2017 we take a look at the ATP players who finished just outside the top 10 at year’s end including former world #1 Novak Djokovic, and American Sam Querrey, who is coming off a career year.
14. Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson struggled at the start the 2017 season after missing the Australian Open with a hip injury. He made his season debut at the Memphis Open in February, and didn’t win back to back matches until the Barcelona Open in late April. His rise in the rankings had a lot to do with how well he performed on the biggest stages in tennis, the grand slams. At the French Open he reached the fourth round before retiring with a hamstring injury. At Wimbledon he reached the fourth round as well before losing a five set match to American Sam Querrey. At the US Open, Anderson had the best tournament of his career reaching the finals of the US Open before losing to Rafael Nadal in three sets. Anderson’s success on the US hardcourt swing has a lot to do with his new and improved attitude on court. The beginning of the 2018 will be big for Anderson as he doesn’t have much to defend until May.
13. Sam Querrey
30 year old American Sam Querrey had the best year of his career in 2017 reaching a career high #13 in the Emirates ATP rankings. Querrey had one of the most impressive title runs this year in Acapulco when he defeated Kyle Edmund, David Goffin, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios, and Rafael Nadal en route to his 2nd ATP 500 title. He also reached the semifinals of Wimbledon defeating hometown favorite Andy Murray in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual runner up Marin Cilic. Even though he had a career season, there were definitely some matches he wishes he had back. He had a great shot at reaching the finals of the US Open, but fell to Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals in a match that ended at 1:52 a.m.
12. Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic’s 2017 season was hampered due to an ongoing elbow injury causing him to miss most of the season. There were no signs of injury the first week of the year in Doha when he defeated Andy Murray in a high quality final. Shortly after that in Australia, Djokovic was upset by then #119 ranked Denis Istomin. Djokovic was then defeated by Nick Kyrgios in back to back tournaments in Acapulco, and Indian Wells. At the French Open he fell to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinal in blowout fashion losing 7-6(5) 6-3 6-0. It was alarming to see a player we’ve seen play well for so long lose like that. His grass season started off well winning the title in Eastbourne without dropping a set. At Wimbledon, the elbow injury was just too much to cope with retiring down a set to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. He then went on to miss the rest of the 2017 season. 2018 is a great opportunity for Djokovic to rise through the rankings and get back to the top where he belongs. If he’s healthy look for that ranking to change quickly, I can’t see him outside the top ten for much longer.
11. Juan Martin Del Potro
At the beginning of 2017 it looked like injuries would once again be the story of Juan Martin Del Potro’s season. He missed the Australian Open after not feeling ready physically. He made his season debut at the Delray Beach Open and reached the semifinals before losing to Milos Raonic. He wasn’t able to win back to back matches until the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome where he reached the quarterfinals. At the French Open he wasn’t 100% physically and struggled against Andy Murray in the third round losing in straight sets. At Wimbledon he was upset by then ranked #576 Ernests Gublis. Finally at the US Open, he had a breakthrough and played about as well as he had since winning the US Open in 2009. In the round of 16 he defeated Dominic Thiem in the match of the tournament saving two match points in the fourth set. In the quarterfinals he defeated Roger Federer, before falling to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals in four sets. Del Potro then went on to win his first ATP title of the season in Stockholm defeating Grigor Dimitrov in the final. The tail end of Del Potro’s 2017 season has to give his fans a lot of hope for the 2018 season.
10. Pablo Carreno Busta
Pablo Carreno Busta definitely made the most of what was considered a down year on the ATP tour with all of the injuries. He reached the finals at the ATP 500 event in Rio before losing to Dominic Thiem in the final. His first big breakthrough came in Indian Wells where he reached the semifinals before losing to Stan Wawrinka. His title run in Estoril was impressive defeating Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro, David Ferrer, and Gilles Muller en route to his first title on the year. At the French Open he reached the quarterfinals defeating Grigor Dimitrov, and Milos Raonic along the way before losing to Rafael Nadal. He took advantage of his part of the draw opening at the US Open and reached the semifinals at a major for the first time in his career. The run in New York put him in prime position to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in London at the end of the season. Unfortunately he didn’t play to well in London losing both of his matches to Dominic Thiem, and Grigor Dimitrov. Carreno Busta showed that he’s capable of playing well on hard courts and isn’t just a threat on clay. He’ll have a lot to defend in 2018, but he’s shown he has the talent to be a top player on tour.