With the start of the season around the corner, I thought I would look at some of the players outside the worlds top 50 that I think are worth keeping tabs on in 2020. I will start with the men’s today and the women’s will follow later in the week. A cheeky little two-part series you may say!
Miomir Kecmanovic – I have to say I quite enjoy watching the Serb play. A former junior world number one and winner of the Orange Bowl where he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2015. Miomir went on to reach the final of the juniors in New York in 2016 where he lost to FAA. Kecmanovic made the quarters at Indian Wells in 2019 and the final of his first main tour event in Antalya, where he narrowly lost to Lorenzo Sonego. I was at the US Open and saw his loss to Paolo Lorenzi this year in an energy-sapping contest. The 20-year-old is currently at 59 in the rankings. His all-action style of play is good to watch though and I think we will see much more from him in 2020.
Jannik Sinner – It was at the end of the year that Sinner really came to prominence, winning the ATP Next Gen in Milan and following it up with another Challenger title in Ortisei. It has been a great year for the 18-year-old, having also won Challenger titles in Bergamo (when he was 17) and Lexington later in August. The Italian made the main draw at the US Open and also made the semis of the main tour event in Antwerp. How will he adapt to that second year on the tour? The way he ousted Alex De Minaur in Milan would suggest there should be no major problems.
Casper Ruud, Alexander Bublik, Ugo Humbert, Mikael Ymer, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Alexei Popyrin are all part of the ‘Next Gen’ era and all impressed at some stage of 2019. That should come as no surprise to us. Barring injury is is difficult to see them not improving again.
Jay Clarke – If you are a fan of British tennis, it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for Jay Clarke, who is now up to 154 in the latest list. I started following this lad back in 2017 over the summer, where he nearly made it through qualifying for Wimbledon down at Roehampton. At 21 years of age, he is making solid, steady progress up the rankings and is a likeable dude with a great work ethic and a humbleness. A Challenger title in Anning in 2019 and a runners-up spot in India were split by a second-round appearance at Wimbledon. Their he beat Noah Rubin before giving a good account of himself against Roger Federer.
Nicola Kuhn – currently down at number 214, he also impressed from what I saw of him last season. The 19-year-old Spaniard did cramp in Miami against Mischa Zverev but he also beat Federico Delbonis in Barcelona.
There are obviously some big-time players here that will be looking to shoot back up the rankings aswell. Kevin Anderson (91), Juan Martin Del Potro (122), Andy Murray (125) and don’t forget Hyeon Chung (128), who looks a top, top player when fit.
If I was given a couple of ‘Wildcards’ for the year I think Kyle Edmund will have a much better season. Kyle is currently down at 69 in the world but the signs were very encouraging towards the end of this year. I also think Dominik Koepfer is worth keeping tabs on, he had a really good season, culminating in a decent display at the US Open. He should be reaching his prime at 25 years of age. The German is currently sitting at 94 in the rankings. Lorenzo Sonego also looks a safe bet to improve on his current ranking of 52. The Italian won on the grass in Turkey just before Wimbledon and also looks very useful on the red dirt!
On that note, I will wish you all a Happy New Year. Signing out for 2019.
Andy Del Potro