Five ATP stars looking to win a maiden Grand Slam in 2021: From Daniil Medvedev to Stefanos Tsitsipas
Though Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal still sit at the top of men’s tennis, there were signs in 2020 that things may be starting to change when it comes to the Grand Slams.
This was evident at the US Open, where Dominic Thiem ended a six-year wait for a new Grand Slam champion on the ATP Tour with his run to the title at Flushing Meadows.
With several perhaps encouraged by the Austrian’s success, Oli Jefford looks at a handful of players who could well win their first Grand Slam this year.
The stand-out candidate to win a first major in 2021 is arguably Medvedev, having edged closer to the milestone in recent seasons.
The Russian was runner-up at the US Open in 2019 and a semi-finalist at the event in 2020, and he now has ATP Masters 1000 titles to his name while he was also crowned ATP Finals champion last November.
He hasn’t made a Slam quarterfinal outside of Flushing Meadows yet, but his form towards the end of 2020 suggests that should change this year as he looks to challenge the dominance of Djokovic and Nadal.
A preview of what’s to come this season? 🤔@daniilmedwed reveals the keys of his remarkable finish to 2020 ⬇️
— ATP Tour (@atptour) January 6, 2021
Zverev was agonizingly close to winning a major last year, serving for the title at the US Open before falling to Thiem, though 2020 did see big improvements for the German at Slams.
At the beginning of 2020 he reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open after years of criticism for his Slam performances.
The world No 7 will be hoping to continue to make an impact at the majors after some hugely positive results last season.
One of the bigger characters on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas finished in the top 10 of the rankings for a second consecutive season and will be hoping to push on and win a first major in 2021.
After a breakthrough run to the semi-final of the Australian Open in 2019, the Greek struggled for a while in Slams but a run to the last four at the French Open last season proved he can be dangerous at Slams.
Tsitsipas has already won big titles, winning the ATP Finals in 2019, and if he is near his best he is more than capable of pushing for a Grand Slam in 2021.
Covid-19 did not stop Rublev making huge strides in 2020, with the Russian winning a Tour-best five singles titles and also breaking into the top 10 for the first time.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) December 21, 2020
The world No 8 has rebounded well from injury issues that plagued him a few years back, and runs to the last eight at the US Open and French Open last season show he is capable of performing well at Grand Slams.
With hopefully a more complete season ahead in 2021, the Russian will certainly be a danger for whomever he faces at the big events and some good Slam runs are more than possible.
After years of being touted as one of the most promising young talents in the game, Shapovalov broke through at the US Open in 2020 as he reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
The Canadian reached a career-high of 10 in the rankings after that and now just sits two spots off that in 12th, meaning he will not be seeded to face anyone higher than him until the fourth round at the Australian Open.
With an explosive game and great athleticism, the 21-year-old is capable of challenging anyone and he could be a real danger if he lands in a good section of the draw at majors this season.
Follow Oli Jefford on Twitter @odicksonjefford.
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