It was quite a year in men’s tennis and as we review 2017 on the ATP World Tour we will start with the players who finished between 50-45 in the year end world rankings. Three of the six players in these slots are below the age of 23 and are potential future stars. Here is your review.
#50: Kyle Edmund
22 year old Kyle Edmund had a bit of a stalled season in 2017, he finished 34-30 overall and failed to take a title, at the same time he stepped up full time to the ATP tour though, playing a full season at the ATP level for the first time. Edmund started the year slow with just a single quarterfinal in Delray Beach before summer, he reached the semis in Atlanta upsetting Jack Sock, and made another run to the semis in Winston-Salem before retiring in the third round of the US Open. The season concluded for Edmund with a run to the semis in Vienna, as the young Brit beat a lot of the players he was supposed to, but scored few marquee wins and struggled against top competition. Making the second week of a slam will be a key goal for him in 2018, along with improving his grass court game, as he has struggled on the surface.
#49: Aljaz Bedene
Another Brit, Aljaz Bedene, got close to his career high ranking in 2017, finishing the year inside the top 50 largely thanks to an undefeated run below the ATP level (23-0), he combined that with a 19-18 record at tour level to produce a solid season that included three challenger titles. Expect Bedene to take on a full time ATP schedule next year as his season was cut short by injuries, despite those injuries he also reached the ATP final in Bucharest, producing his best tennis on clay. That result was Bedene’s second career ATP final and he’ll be aiming for a first career ATP title in 2018.
#48: Borna Coric
21 year old Borna Coric finished the year in the top 50 despite a third straight season below .500 at the ATP level. Coric finished 21-25 at the tour level with an 8-5 non-tour record. The Croatian young gun won his first career ATP title in Morocco and booked his ticket to the Next Gen finals largely due to a pair of quarterfinals in Winston-Salem and Madrid to go with that aforementioned title. Coric’s best wins on the year were against Andy Murray, Alexander Zverev, and Dominic Thiem as he showed he could battle the best, and hang with his peers. Consistency was an issue though as Coric had 15 opening match exits in tournament play, something that really set back his chances of reaching a ranking that would allow him to be seeded in the Grand Slams.
#47: Ryan Harrison
25 year old Ryan Harrison is a long way away from being a next-gen bust that was stuck on the challenger tour. In 2017 he reached a career high of #40 in the ATP singles rankings and finished #47 after going 27-25 in overall match play. The pressure seems off the American as he won the final title in Memphis and also reached the final in Atlanta during the season, performing at his best on hard courts. He also had a clay court quarterfinal in Estoril, as Harrison seems to be cementing a solid mid-level career for himself. His Grand Slam performances were poor, and that will be an area of improvement to target in 2018. Harrison remains an elite ATP doubles player.
#46: Gael Monfils
Veteran Gael Monfils remains a talented shotmaker, but he posted his fewest number of wins on tour since 2012, going just 20-14 in a season that was again limited due to injuries. Monfils started the year strong, reaching the second week in Australia, and he also reached week 2 in Paris and a final in Nottingham on grass, but otherwise it was a forgettable year as the Frenchman couldn’t stay healthy. Wins over Kei Nishikori and countryman Richard Gasquet were his best results on the season, but he suffered five opening match exits. Given his age, it’s possible Monfils could continue to decline in 2018.
#45: Karen Khachanov
Young gun Russian Karen Khachanov got a ticket to the Next Gen finals after going 27-31 on the season, with his time spent on the ATP Tour for the first time in a full season. Khachanov struggled mightily in the summer and fall, winning just one match between the US Open and Next Gen finals but he started the season much better, reaching week 2 at Roland Garros, the semifinals in Halle, and the quarterfinals in Barcelona. A poor record on hard courts cost Khachanov dearly in 2017 and he’ll need to improve on the surface if he’s going to finish next year in the top 40. Khachanov went just 9-21 on hard courts in 2017.