Ranking the 5 best players without an ATP title, ft. Ben Shelton

Ben Shelton in action

While much of the attention in tennis is on winning Grand Slams and the biggest prizes in the sport, claiming a title of any category at the elite level is an impressive feat.

There are a number of established and talented current and former players, though, who have been unable to get their hands on an ATP singles trophy.

Julien Benneteau, a former world No 25 who retired in 2018, is arguably one of the better players to never triumph on the tour in singles. The Frenchman reached 10 finals between 2008 ands 2014, but lost all of them.

Here, we look at the top five active players yet to win an ATP singles tournament:

5. Jack Draper 

Jack Draper holds an impressive 36-26 (58.1%) record at ATP level and has won 15 of the 24 matches he has played this season. The issue for the talented Brit has been staying healthy – he has featured in just nine events on the main tour in 2023, as well as two Challenger tournaments and a Davis Cup match.

The 21-year-old achieved his best result at a Grand Slam earlier this month by reaching the last 16 of the US Open, having downed 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets. Draper is yet to reach a final, but has earned two victories from just five matches against top 10 opponents. Many are predicting big things from the strong left-hander if he is able to compete more regularly, including world No 6 Andrey Rublev – who ended his US Open run.

4. Jan-Lennard Struff

Jan-Lennard Struff has long been a solid performer with impressive weapons, but he arguably found the best tennis of his career earlier this season. The 33-year-old reached the quarter-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters, before making a breakthrough run to the final of the Madrid Open in May as a lucky loser. Struff downed fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the Masters 1000 final, where he performed well in a three-set loss to Carlos Alcaraz.

The German then made the final of the Stuttgart Open on grass the month after, narrowly losing to Frances Tiafoe in a final set tiebreak. He reached a career-high ranking of world No 21 later that month, but has since had his fine form halted by injury. Struff was also a runner-up in Munich in 2021. The world No 22 22 has recorded 12 wins over players ranked in the top 10, including three against opponents who were in the top three at the time.

3. Ben Shelton

Ben Shelton is currently the highest ranked player on this list – one spot below a career-high of world No 19 after his surprise run to the semi-finals of the 2023 US Open. The 20-year-old is also the least experienced, having played just 45 tour matches – from which he has a 21-24 record. He also reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January.

While he failed to win back-to-back matches on tour in between his two big runs at the majors this year, Shelton has showcased he has the belief to perform on the biggest stages. The American has the firepower – particularly with his serve serve – and the athleticism, to be an elite attacking player. Shelton is yet to reach an ATP singles final, but should feature in plenty on quicker surfaces.

2. Jiri Lehecka

Jiri Lehecka is currently at a career-high ranking of world No 29 and is expected to keep climbing, given his age and powerful, well-balanced game. The 22-year-old, who already has one of the biggest forehands in the game, has an excellent 32-20 record on the ATP Tour this season. He reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January – landing impressive wins over Borna Coric, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The Czech backed that up with a good showing at Wimbledon, where he made the last 16. Lehecka then made his maiden ATP final in Winston Salem in August, where he was beaten by Sebastian Baez. He has two wins over top 10 players – both of which came this season (against Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev).

1. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is currently ranked 25th in the world, just four spots below the career-high position of 21 he reached last month. The explosive and highly talented Spaniard possesses a combination of power, touch and speed that can make him a devastating prospect when at his best. The 24-year-old has, remarkably, reached only one ATP final – which he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo last year.

Davidovich Fokina beat world No 1 Novak Djokovic during that Monte Carlo run – one of five wins he has had against top 10 opponents. He was a quarter-finalist at the 2021 French Open and has twice made the last 16 of the US Open. The Spaniard made a strong run to the last four of the Canadian Open in Toronto last month, where he lost to Alex De Minaur.

Honourable mentions

Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Botic van de Zandschulp, Mackenzie McDonald, Emil Ruusuvuori, Matteo Arnaldi, Jenson Brooksby, Jeffrey John Wolf and Daniel Altmaier are among other notable current players yet to triumph on main tour.

Hyeon Chung, Jerzy Janowicz, and Filip Krajinovic are other active players – who are currently sidelined through injury – to have reached impressive heights in their careers without claiming a title.

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