Tennis Rankings: The Top 10 Players of 2010

Michael CasentiCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2010

Tennis Rankings: The Top 10 Players of 2010

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    Claim To Fame: Who walks the talk on the professional circuit?Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    The debate these days is who is GOAT, especially between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  It's inspired the coinage of words such as 'Rafanatics,' 'Fedtards,' and 'Groupie #1.'

    But have you heard of the acronym GOTY?  It's much easier to determine than to say.  You may have already correctly guessed it: Greatest of the Year.  

    I've researched quite a bit, but not to the point of staying up till 4 A.M.  Of course, I couldn't spend that much time because of my 'real' occupation!

    I have based my criteria on ranking, year-end ranking, grand slams, Masters Series 1000 Titles, other titles, and things such as match-winning streaks and records-broken.  

    After the rankings are announced, there is an extra slide, where I have listed the best quote, funniest person, etc.  Feel free to check it out!

The ATP: Who Rocks The Game?

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    The Top 8 in London. Which ones are here in the slideshow?Oli Scarff/Getty Images

    Men's tennis has begun to become a two-man show.  Sometimes, 3 or 4 more players have gone onto the stage, but that's still a not-so-common occasion.

    We'll start out with No. 10 and work our way up the list.

No. 10

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    Doubles Alley? These two Serbs won the World Tour Finals. I think you know who they are...Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Serbia.  Not Novak Djokovic.  They're both Serbian, one from Serbia and the other from Canada.  All hail the doubles duo Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic!  It's a sad case that this successful duo will end their illustrious partnership to join other doubles powerhouses: Max Mirnyi and Michael Llodra.

    They won Roland Garros and the World Tour Finals.  Not too shabby!

No. 9

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    Fried, broiled, steamed, or what ever you want, Mardy Fish was cooked by the US Open.Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Mardy Fish has been the best American on tour this season.  He had a stunning hard court season, bar the US Open.  

    One of Fish's many opponents was World No. 4 Andy Murray, whom he met 4 times.  Fish boasts an excellent record against him this year, with all 4 matches going his way.  He also defeated compatriot Andy Roddick, who was also shell-shocked by the mental toughness and play of Fish. 

    Mardy Fish reached the final of Queens, losing to Sam Querrey, and the final of the Cincinnati Masters, where he was vanquished by Roger Federer in a match the featured two tiebreak sets.  

    He won a singles title in Newport, and a doubles title in San Jose while teaming up with fellow American Sam Querrey.

No. 8

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    Big Berd reached the Wimbledon finals- his best showing at a grand slam to date.Pool/Getty Images

    This next player shouldn't be on the list. But it is a must that I put this player on this list because of his reaching a final and semifinal at a grand slam.  Welcome the talented-but-not-so-accomplished, Tomas Berdych! 

    Mr. Berd had a stunning year by his standards, a semifinals appearance at the French Open, and a final appearance at Wimbledon, where he lost to Rafael Nadal with ease.  He also qualified for the London tournament, where the top 8 players compete for the title.

    Other than that, Berdych hasn't done much on the tour, except maybe an upset of Federer in his Miami match against him.

No. 7

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    The Bryans dominated men's doubles this year, with one of their best seasons yet.Oli Scarff/Getty Images

    Fancy a Bryan?  Which one, Bob or Mike, or both?  Chances are 'both' will be the answer.  After all, both have teamed up with each other to complete, once again, a stunning season.

    The duo won the Australian Open and US Open, won 4 consecutive Masters 1000 series tournaments, ended the year ranked No. 1, and reached the semifinals of the year end championships!  That's quite remarkable for the duo, even though they're one of the most succesful doubles players in history.  To add icing to an already heavily-iced cake, they broke the Woodie's record of men's tour titles won.

    They're next target: Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver at 79.

No. 6

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    David Ferrer finished the year at World Number 7.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    This man hails from Spain.  He's a clay monster.  And before some of you out there complain about the fact that Rafael Nadal is only at No. 8, let me tell you one thing.  This man is no Nadal!  It's David Ferrer, and don't downplay his accomplishments.

    He finished the year with a 60-24 record, and was one of the leading players on the Tour in match wins. Ferrer finished the year No. 7, and he should feel no shame in losing all 3 of matches at the Tour Finals.

No. 5

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    Robin Soderling cracked the 'elite' this year.Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Robin Soderling had his break last year, but he had his season this year.  

    Remember last year when he shocked Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros?  This year, he defeated Federer in surprisingly easy fashion in the French Open quarterfinals.  Talk about deja vu.  Soderling eventually made it to the finals, only to lose to Rafael Nadal.  He reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals a few weeks later, only to lose to...guess who?  Rafael Nadal.  Soderling then went on to win his matches at the US Open all the way to the quarterfinals, where he was dispatched by Roger Federer in a breezy match.

    The Swede won 2 tournaments, including his first Masters 1000 tournaments in Paris, propelling him to a career high of World No. 4.  After the World Tour Finals, he was usurped of the No. 4 spot by Andy Murray.

No. 4

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    Anguish? Andy Murray had an up-and-down 2010.Clive Rose/Getty Images

    The Great Scot Andy Murray will surely end up in the British folklore one day; his 'heroics' and 'struggles' are things of legend. 

    He reached the final of the Australian Open, even demolishing Nadal along the way, until... he c--h--o--k--e--d.  He allowed Roger Federer reach Grand Slam No. 16.  

    He reached the semifinals of Wimbledon, only to be defeated by the eventual champion Rafael Nadal.  He was shocked at the US Open, losing early.  Murray also made the semifinals of the Tour Finals, losing to Rafael Nadal in an absolute epic thriller.

No. 3

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    Novak Djokovic finished the year at No. 3Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Nole Lekovic's cousin.  Novak Djokovic, like Andy Murray, had a roller coaster ride of a season.  His greatest achievement this year was the shocking of Roger Federer in the US Open semifinals, saving two match points against the great Swiss.  He also made the semifinals of Wimbledon and the quarterfinals of the French Open, only to let go of a two-set-to-love lead.  Djokovic also reached the Tour Finals semifinals, where he lost to the eventual champion Roger Federer.

    In addition to all these achievements, Djokovic, along with his Serbian teammates, won the Davis Cup, defeating France in a come-from-behind performance to clinch the trophy 3-2.  After winning, the Serbian team shaved their heads a la Andre Agassi.

    For the fourth consecutive year, Djokovic finished the season at World No. 3, further solidifying his status as the 'next contender.'  He didn't add to his grand slam tally, but he reached a career high of No. 2 early in the season.

No. 2

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    Roger Federer suffered some shock defeats this year, but overall, had a good season.Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Roger Federer might not have had a 2006 season repeat, but he had a decent one, by Federer standards. He started the year with an Australian Open crown, defeating Nikolay Davydenko and Andy Murray en route.  He suffered from shock exits at Indian Wells and Miami, after squandering 3 and 1 match points, respectively.  He let slip his No. 1 lead at the French Open, where he was shocked by the giant-killing Swede, Robin Soderling.  This ended his streak of consecutive grand slam semifinals at 23, and his finals run at 8.  At Halle, a warm up tournament for Wimbledon, Federer suffered another defeat to Lleyton Hewitt in the final.  At Wimbledon, the Maestro was defeated by another big-hitting onslaught by Tomas Berdych.  Post-Wimbledon, Federer has played amazingly.  He reached the finals in Toronto, losing to Andy Murray.  After that, he bounced back in Cincinnati and claimed the trophy over a resurgent Mardy Fish.  At the US Open, he squandered 2 match points against rival Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.  The Swiss then competed at the If Stockholm Open, which he won.  Following his claiming of the title, Federer traveled to his hometown, Basel, where he defeated Novak Djokovic in 3 sets.  Djokovic was the one who had upset Federer in the same tournament last year, also in 3 sets.  Federer than played the Paris Masters, where he wasted 5 match points to reach the final against hometown favorite Gael Monfils.  Had Federer won the match, he would have reached all the Masters 1000 tournament finals.  Federer than landed in London where he won the tour finals.  He eneded up with a perfect 5-0 in matches and 10-1 in sets.  He defeated Djokovic, Ferrer, and Murray in the round robin phase, and Djokovic and Nadal in the semifinals and final, respectively.  

    Federer ended the year at No. 2, and one of the big stories now is if Federer can dethrone Nadal of the No. 1 ranking for a second time.

No. 1

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    Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Paris Masters with shoulder tendonitis.Victor Fraile/Getty Images

    Of course, the man from Spain, Rafael Nadal, takes this place!  He started the year with a bad note, having to retire against Andy Murray in their Australian Open quarterfinal match.  Murray was leading 6-3, 76(2), 3-0 at the time.  The clay season was Nadal's big break.  Nadal won his first tournament in almost a year at Monte Carlo, and after that, everything was Nadal, Nadal, Nadal.  He swept the clay season, winning all the tournaments he entered, including Rome, Madrid (where he met Roger Federer for the first time in exactly a year in the final, which he won in straight sets), and the French Open.  Then, Nadal capture his second Wimbledon title.  Nadal didn't have a great lead up to the US Open, but that didn't stop the Spaniard from capturing his first US Open crown.  By doing so, he completed the career grand slam, becoming only the seventh player to do so.  He is the youngest in the elite group at 24 years of age, something Roger Federer completed only a year-and-a-half ago.  Rafael Nadal picked up a title on the way to the Year Ending Championships, where he beat Andy Murray in an absolute thriller.  Nadal then lost the championship match to Roger Federer in three sets.

Best Of The Year

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    Fernando Verdasco hit the best shot of the year at the US Open against David Ferrer.Al Bello/Getty Images

    The most feel-good story-Ivan Ljubicic winning at Indian Wells, his only Masters 1000 crown.

    The most shocking upset- Robin Soderling beating Roger Federer at the French Open.

    Best quote- "I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue." (Roger Federer)

    'Injury' of the year- Novak Djokovic struggling with his contact lenses.

    Tournament of the year- BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, France.

    Retiree of the year- Carlos Moya

    Shot of the Year- Fernando Verdasco's forehand passing shot against David Ferrer at the US Open 4th round after chasing a drop shot.

    Top 5 match of the year- Roger Federer-Novak Djokovic at the US Open, John Isner-Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon, Roger Federer-Gael Monfils at the BNP Paribas Masters, Michael Llodra-Robin Soderling at the BNP Paribas Masters, Rafael Nadal-Andy Murray at the World Tour Finals