Ranking the 10 Most Overrated Players in Tennis

Jeff Cohn@jeff_cohnCorrespondent IIIAugust 2, 2013

Ranking the 10 Most Overrated Players in Tennis

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    As the game of tennis continues to change with each season, the media has to figure out who the subjects of the spotlight could be ahead of time.

    However, some players are incredibly overhyped and do not achieve any great results at all.

    They may have great shots and talent but are very inconsistent or lack mental games entirely.

    U.S. commentators and reporters are very quick to jump on stories about Americans, and for that reason, this list is comprised of mainly athletes from the country.

    Here are rankings of the 10 most overrated and overhyped tennis players.

10. John Isner

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    John Isner has always been known as a somewhat out-of-shape giant with a huge serve.

    I would like to partially defend him and his spot on this list by pointing out that he is improving each year, even as the competition learns to read his serving patterns a little bit better.

    And on top of that, his forehand is a very deadly weapon, so when he is involved in baseline rallies where the ball and contact point are within his reach, he is one of the best in the game, given his size.

    But, besides a brief stint in the Top 10 and a few good ATP 1000 runs, he has been so incredibly inconsistent. Part of that has been due to his lack of fitness but most of it has to do with the way he plays.

    Since he lacks a return of serve and court mobility, he is ranked among the most overrated players, because to be a top player one must have a huge weapon and an all-round game to back it up.

9. Sloane Stephens

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    Though Sloane Stephens has only been in the spotlight for a few months, she has had interestingly inconsistent results.

    She can reach the second week of a major here and fall in the first round there.

    But, I'm not as concerned with the lack of back-to-back results—I want to zone in on her actual game play.

    While she is very talented and hits consistently with pace, she does not do very much on the court other than wait for the opponent to strike errors or wait too long to pull the trigger, in which case the putaway shot may not be set up properly.

    Especially during her recent Wimbledon run, she played fairly unknown players but still had a tough time against a couple of them. She seems afraid to win sometimes and is not risky enough to be a top threat just yet, but give her some time and we shall see.

8. Marcos Baghdatis

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    Marcos Baghdatis played one of the most inspired tournaments of all time by clawing his way to the 2006 Australian Open final.

    Backing that up with a semifinal showing at Wimbledon that same year, he was able to lift himself into the Top 10.

    Fast-forward seven years and he has done almost nothing even close to those results.

    His consistent groundies and unwillingness to change are what keep him in the Top 50 in the sport, but at the same time are also keeping him from ever making a deep run again.

    Up until the last day of July this year, Baghdatis had been on a five-month losing streak. He has since won two matches in the same event but that statistic just shows that his success several years ago was ephemeral indeed.

7. Mardy Fish

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    Mardy Fish was always a solid Top 100 player but lacked any notable success at all.

    After adopting a stricter diet and losing some weight, he felt like a new man all of a sudden and voyaged into the Top 10.

    Having maybe a year-and-a-half of great results, Fish was being talked about as the next prophet in men's American tennis next to Andy Roddick.

    Now, with Roddick's retirement from the sport and Fish's health complications, it seems as though he was very much overrated and was never able to really take advantage of his spot at the top of the game.

    Sure, he went deep in many tournaments, but he did not have very many definitive wins over the players ranked above him.

6. Juan Monaco

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    Juan Monaco—talk about a one-dimensional player.

    His fitness, movement, forehand and in-game consistency are certainly tremendous.

    However, he cannot seem to break through in any sense, and he even seems to be confused on all of the different surfaces.

    Though his game is best suited for clay, he still has not had any memorable results there.

    And after venturing to the semifinals at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, he virtually fell off the map.

    He can stay in the Top 50, because he is clearly good enough, but he is almost never a threat when it matters.

5. Somdev Devvarman

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    Holding a 44-1 record in 2008 throughout the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship, Somdev Devvarman was generating a small buzz.

    He was a very good collegiate player but clearly has not been able to transition that well onto the professional circuit.

    Having not ventured past the second round of any major, he has not seen his ranking go up too high.

    And though commentators still speak about his consistent game and success in the past, they are forgetting to analyze the physical way he plays.

    Possessing zero weapons (with the exception of speed) and hitting almost all of his shots to the middle of the court, and short, at that, he is the opposite of a go-getter. Unless he develops an artillery, he will not be around for too long.

4. Christina McHale

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    Christina McHale was almost thrown into the conversation by American commentators just a couple years ago. They hailed (no pun intended) her to be the next big representative for the country.

    Unfortunately, her game plays a lot like Sloane Stephens'—only worse.

    She does not have a huge serve and is not big on hitting winners the second she is handed the opportunity. She much rather prefers to wait for her opponents to hand over chances.

    If she cannot block out the headlines about herself or figure out how to cruise past lesser-ranked opponents frequently, she may be on her way out.

3. Donald Young

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    Donald Young is, with all due respect to a very talented player, without a doubt today's biggest disappointment in the entire sport.

    Though he is only 24 years old and still has time to change and improve, I can assure you that this will probably never happen.

    2011 looked to be a turning point for the young American, as he defeated his highest-ranked opponent to date, Andy Murray, and reached his first fourth round in a Slam at the U.S. Open.

    That result should have been great for his confidence and game, but the pressure and excess hype surely got to him mentally.

    In 2012, after briefly reaching the Top 40, he fell down the tubes, presenting the Open Era with its third-largest losing streak of 17 consecutive matches.

    Young is the subject of a lot of expectation, but he may never be ready to take that next step.

2. Caroline Wozniacki

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    Caroline Wozniacki is only 23 and was the No. 1-ranked player in the world for some time.

    She participated in the semis or better in two major events and has grossed over $15 million in prize money to date.

    On top of that, she is barely in the Top 10 today, but she is surely still hanging in there.

    So why is she ranked at No. 2 on this list of overrated players? Because she is still overrated!

    Likely giving up the chance of ever winning a major in her lifetime, the Danish player always seemed to play the same way day in, day out.

    She never tried to develop a weapon and never played any differently against the vast array of players out there on the tour.

    Her ranking started to dip just when Serena Williams started making a huge comeback and she is pretty much not even talked about today, even though she is in the Top 10!

    Additionally, her relationship with pro golfer Rory McIlroy has seen both of their results and rankings slip away, but that is another story.

1. Melanie Oudin

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    Melanie Oudin—remember her?

    If your thought was, "Yes, didn't she have that quarterfinal run at the 2009 U.S. Open?" you are right on the money.

    The 21-year-old American, who is currently ranked outside the Top 100, was instantly praised and launched into the conversation of American heroes with that result in Flushing Meadows.

    But after that one result, she was unable to win a single Grand Slam match again until the 2012 French Open.

    A big reason for her decline is that those 2009 Wimbledon and U.S. Open wins were simply inspired and the competition did not know what to expect from such an unknown fighter and underdog.

    Because she is small in size, she has to rely on being a defensive counter-puncher, but she does have a pretty good forehand.

    She can use this shot to dictate at certain times, but clearly she has had no rhythm to speak of recently.

    Of course, Oudin is still young and knows what great success feels like, but if she does not hop back on the bus soon, she may be completely forgotten.