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Novak Djkovic and the Greatest Players Under 30

Rob GoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 22, 2015

Novak Djkovic and the Greatest Players Under 30

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    Tennis players often do not have long careers after the age of 30, but fortunately there are a lot of great players with plenty left in the tank.

    The younger class of athletes are not only the future of tennis, but many of them have been among the best in the world for a long time.

    Some of them are the best at serving, while others never get intimidated and are good at breaking their opponents. However, they all know what it takes to win and do it with regularity. 

    These men are the greatest in the sport and will be for years to come.

10. Nicolas Almagro

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    Like fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro is at his best when on a clay court. He has won 12 career titles and reached an additional five finals, all of which took place on clay.

    In the French Open, he reached the quarterfinals for the third time. He had an impressive run in which he beat all four opponents in straight sets, including Janko Tipsarevic. That was until he ran into Nadal, who does not lose at Roland Garros.

    At age 26, he is in the prime of his career, but he still needs to show he can have success on other surfaces to truly be considered one of the best in the world.

    Otherwise, that No. 11 ranking is sure to drop as the tournaments move to grass and hard courts. 

9. John Isner

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    Americans used to dominate the tennis world, but now John Isner is the only one in the Top 10. 

    Isner uses his size to create an overpowering serve that is often not able to be returned. While in play, he also has a very forceful forehand that he uses to finish off points.

    Unfortunately, he has not been consistent enough in the other parts of his game to be successful in Grand Slam tournaments. Since turning pro in 2007, he only reached the quarterfinals once: last year's U.S. Open.

    He was also eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon.

    Still, the 27-year-old athlete is a player that no one looks forward to facing in a tournament.

8. Janko Tipsarevic

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    Janko Tipsarevic has been around a long time, and he seems to always be going deep into tournaments.

    Last year was the best of his 10-year career, winning two titles and going to another three finals. He also was able to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. This helped the Serbian reach the Top 10 for the first time in his career.

    Although he is already 28, Tipsarevic seems to be playing his best tennis and should be around for years to come. 

7. Milos Raonic

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    At only 21 years old, Milos Raonic is already on his way to becoming one of the best tennis players in the world.

    The Canadian has been successful by dominating with his serve, which could already be the best in the world. He currently leads everyone in 2012 with 533 aces in only 35 matches. 

    He has won a world-best 94 percent of his service games. 

    Raonic is slowly gaining more success at tournaments as he develops confidence and a more well-rounded game. He is currently the No. 22 player in the world, but at this pace that number is sure to jump quickly.

6. Tomas Berdych

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    Tomas Berdych is one of the hardest-hitting players, and it has helped him become the No. 7 player in the world.

    He is usually very consistent, although a first-round exit in Wimbledon does not bode well. However, two years ago he reached the finals of the championships before falling to Rafael Nadal.

    The native of the Czech Republic is solid on all types of courts and has been around the top 20 in the rankings for most of the last few years. What he needs to do now is have short memory of the previous loss and get himself back in the picture as a contender.

5. Juan Martin Del Potro

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    He has missed some time over the past few years, but when he competes, Juan Martin del Potro is one of the best players in the world.

    As the 2009 U.S. Open champion, del Potro has the unique status as the only person since 2005 to win a Grand Slam tournament besides Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer

    The Argentine has shown an ability to not just compete in tournaments, but win them. In the French Open, he defeated Tomas Berdych and then was up two sets on Federer before losing in the quarterfinals.

    Considering he is only 23, there is plenty of time for del Potro to return to the top of the rankings.

4. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is another player who might not have a large amount of wins, but he is a consistent performer that usually reaches the fourth or fifth round of the major tournaments.

    Tsonga reached the semifinal of the 2010 Australian Open and matched that in last year's Wimbledon. He has won over two-thirds of the matches in his career, totaling over 200 wins. 

    The most impressive part of the 27-year-old's resume is his ability to get the points that matter. He is among the best in the world at saving break points for himself, and when he can break his opponent, he is successful 47 percent of the time. 

    In close matches where every point matters, Tsonga is as clutch as they come. 

3. Andy Murray

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    Andy Murray is in a tough spot around some of the best players in tennis history. He routinely dominates weaker opponents, but he simply cannot get over the hump against the "Big Three." 

    In his career, Murray has reached the semifinals of Grand Slam tournaments nine times. He made it to the finals three of those times. Unfortunately, he has never been able to take home the title in any of the major tournaments.

    Like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Murray is very good at defending against the serve. He has won 34 percent of games in which he does not have service.

    Hopefully, Wimbledon will be the chance to finally get a win in the tournament close to his home.

2. Novak Djokovic

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    No one in the tennis world has been better over the past year than Novak Djokovic. He does just about everything well, from his pure swings to his agility to cover the entire court.

    The Serbian has won four of the past six Grand Slam tournaments, only losing on the clay courts of the French Open. Last year, Djokovic had an incredible 70-6 record and won 10 individual titles. 

    He is just entering his prime and could find himself quickly rising up the list of all-time greats as he continues to win.

    Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have faced each other in the finals of the last four Grand Slam championships, and the two now seem miles ahead of the rest of the field. However, the top name on the list has had more career success and has been doing it longer.

1. Rafael Nadal

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    With seven championships at the French Open, Rafael Nadal has already established himself as the greatest clay player of all time.

    However, he is just beginning.

    He is one of seven players to win a career Grand Slam, and the only one besides Andre Agassi to also have an Olympic gold medal. He has won at least one of the major championships in ever year since 2005.

    That is amazing for someone who only recently turned 26. 

    The Spaniard got over a losing streak to Novak Djokovic and has now won the last three times the two have met. They are easily the two best in the world, but the rivalry between them is what makes the sport entertaining.

    Nadal wins an outstanding 39 percent of return games and it helps him completely dominate his opponents.

    Djokovic might be the current No. 1 player in the world, but Rafael Nadal earns the top spot as the greatest player under 30 in the game.

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