ATP talking points: Are Alexander Zverev and co ready to topple Novak Djokovic?
Alexander Zverev was the final winner of the regular season at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, but there are plenty of talking points ahead of the 2022 campaign.
The German’s success capped a year that was dominated by Novak Djokovic at the Grand Slams but hinted at a real changing of the guard.
Here are some key questions around the 2021 season and a look ahead to the 2022 campaign.
Where does men’s tennis stand?
At something of a crossroads. Djokovic had his best season ever at the majors, coming within one match of a Calendar Grand Slam, but Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were badly affected by injury and slipped down the rankings. Daniil Medvedev and Zverev could be said to have created a new big three alongside Djokovic, with the Russian winning a first Slam at the US Open.
What about the next generation?
Djokovic was the notable exception at a youthful ATP Finals that reinforced the feeling that the dynamic is changing at last. Twenty-year-old Jannik Sinner made his debut at the year-end tournament while 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz (above) announced his huge talent to the world and won the finals event for players aged 21 and under.
How about the Brits?
— Cameron Norrie (@cam_norrie) October 18, 2021
Anyone who predicted Cameron Norrie would be on the verge of the top 10 at the end of 2021 should buy a lottery ticket immediately. It is a staggering achievement for the 26-year-old and overshadowed another season of progress for Dan Evans. Things are looking brighter, too, for Andy Murray, whose body is finally allowing him to play and train consistently. But Kyle Edmund’s knee problem has now sidelined him for more than a year while strength in depth remains a major issue.
How is 2022 shaping up?
With a great deal of intrigue. Has Federer played his last match? Can Nadal regain the French Open title? Will Djokovic continue to rule the slams? Can anyone else join Medvedev and Zverev in consistently challenging the world number one? Can Murray push back towards the top of the game? From a British perspective, watch out for 19-year-old Jack Draper, who will hope to follow Emma Raducanu by breaking into the big time.
Any other issues?
An Independent Safeguarding Report, commissioned by the ATP earlier in the season, has been completed. It represents a key element of the ATP’s overall safeguarding review to ensure all adults and minors involved in professional tennis are safe and protected from abuse.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 4, 2021
Yes. Next year – if not later this year – should see a conclusion to the ATP’s investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made by Zverev’s former girlfriend, Olga Sharypova. The German has vociferously denied all the claims but the issue has cast a cloud over the men’s game and there will be a great deal of attention on whatever the ATP concludes.
The five oldest women ranked by the WTA at the end of 2022
Who are the oldest women ranked by the WTA?
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach admits ‘working with Zverev was not easy’
Alexander Zverev is reportedly not the easiest man to work with.
Iga Swiatek has surprised even her coach with 2022 progress
Iga Swiatek looks poised to be even better in 2023.
Emma Raducanu’s quest to toughen up is on track – Tim Henman
Emma Raducanu is working on her toughness.
ATP top 10 prize-money earners in 2022: Novak Djokovic leads the way as Nick Kyrgios cracks top 10
Your ATP top 10 prize-money earners in 2022.
Rafael Nadal confirms one event that he will skip in 2023 as cool images emerge from exhibition match
Rafael Nadal won’t defend one of his titles in 2023.
Bianca Andreescu finally ‘in tune with herself’ and hopes to use tennis ‘to help inspire others’
Bianca Andreescu feeling the love on and off the court.
Canada worthy Davis Cup winners as lucky losers, wildcards and substitutes all part of tennis history
Oh, Canada! Enjoy your Davis Cup win.
Ashleigh Barty ‘honoured’ as she battles Nick Kyrgios for prestigious Australian tennis award
Who is your Australian tennis player of the year?
Rafael Nadal says Big Three rivalry with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic key to their longevity
Rafael Nadal says Big Three rivalry has taken them to “extreme mental and tennis levels”.