Power Ranking the Top 20 Men's Players After 2014 Wimbledon

Jeremy Eckstein@https://twitter.com/#!/JeremyEckstein1Featured ColumnistJuly 6, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 20 Men's Players After 2014 Wimbledon

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer gave an epic performance at 2014 Wimbledon, and only now can the ATP rankings give a snapshot of where the top players rank. It was also the first major final since the 2009 U.S. Open that did not feature either Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray. Where will they now rank?

    The next generation of players may finally be arriving. Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic landed in the semifinals. Other young players including Nick Kyrgios and Jiri Vesely made some noise.

    The following slides are a power ranking of the top 20 players in tennis. The ATP ranking is updated to reflect the Wimbledon results.

    In addition, we examine how these players will do in the next couple of months leading up to the U.S. Open. Tennis' biggest points will be awarded on faster courts and to players best suited for winning in these conditions.

20. Richard Gasquet

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 14

    Wimbledon Result: Gasquet's Wimbledon contribution will be losing nine match points and a two-set lead to 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios. Had Gasquet held on, it's likely that Rafael Nadal would have advanced to the quarterfinals and possibly beyond. Just another ripple effect in a Grand Slam draw.

    U.S. Open Outlook: There are two months for Gasquet to play well on hard courts. He has a semifinal appearance to defend at the U.S. Open, but the reality shows him to be a talented journeyman who is not expected to contend for big titles.

19. John Isner

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 12

    Wimbledon Result: Although John Isner is a big server, he lost two of three tiebreakers in his third-round defeat to Feliciano Lopez. This was hardly a surprise considering Lopez's fine play recently, but Isner proved once again that his legacy at Wimbledon will be the novelty he created with Nicolas Mahut in their 2010 ultra-marathon match.

    U.S. Open Outlook: Last year, Isner had a good run in contending at North American mid-level tournaments, including his title at Atlanta and runner-up at Washington, D.C. He also was a runner-up at the Western & Southern Open before getting humbled at the U.S. Open. Fatigue was clearly a factor then, so Isner must pace himself to peak better for this year's U.S. Open.

18. Roberto Bautista Agut

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 23

    Wimbledon Result: Maybe a third-round result is no big deal, but to a clay-courter who is looking for momentum on the summer hard courts, Roberto Bautista Agut will take it. He lost to Andy Murray in straight sets, which is hardly shameful.

    U.S. Open Outlook: Tennis fans have noticed his progress in the past few months. He has been quietly steady on the slower courts and is projected to be No. 17 in the Race to London after the Wimbledon results are tabulated. He may run off to Stuttgart, Hamburg and other venues to compete for more clay points, but don't forget about him when the North American concrete comes calling.

17. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 16

    Wimbledon Result: These days Tsonga is good enough to plow through most of the ATP tour, but he is no match for the top players. He used to take a set or two from the best players and occasionally win a big match, but now his fourth-round loss to Novak Djokovic seemed typical: a straight-set drubbing that surprised nobody.

    U.S. Open Outlook: At least he is healthy. Last year, Tsonga was unable to compete in the summer, and his ranking dropped out of the top 10. Can he get back? On one hand, he has points to gain rather than defend for a couple of months. On the other hand, his results this year show him to be a borderline top-20 player. If he does not live up to the talent people now remember, his days as a contender may already be over.

16. Gael Monfils

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 21

    Wimbledon Result: Once again, Gael Monfils provided an entertaining loss as he rallied back from a two-set deficit, won two tiebreakers and lost the fifth set to young Jiri Vesely. He missed his opportunity to duel 19-year-old phenom Nick Kyrgios.

    U.S. Open Outlook: At least we know that the New York crowds will cheer for Monfils, but he would rather get on a roll in the summer, avoid injuries and barnstorm his way into contention. He will need big results if he is to encroach upon the top 10.

15. Kevin Anderson

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    Ben Curtis/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 17

    Wimbledon Result: The 28-year-old Kevin Anderson continues his steady play with another career-best result: His fourth-round loss to Andy Murray marks three consecutive Grand Slam results in the final 16, all career highs.

    U.S. Open Outlook: Does this mean we book Anderson for the fourth round at the U.S. Open? Don't bet against it. Anderson's big serve has been backed by better groundstrokes and smarter, more aggressive play. At some point, he will be ready for a marquee win, and he is certainly a dangerous draw for anyone.

14. Fabio Fognini

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 15

    Wimbledon Result: Another meltdown for Fabio Fognini is hardly news, but his third-round loss was more painful as he dropped the fourth and fifth sets to Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-1. The clay-court specialist Fognini might be allergic to grass, but if he wants to move his ranking up, he will need to win these kinds of matches and get a ticket to the second week.

    U.S. Open Outlook: Fognini sacked clay-court tournaments in July last year, and he will look to defend titles in Stuttgart and Hamburg. If unsuccessful, his ranking will fall. Overall, he may have peaked as a player unless he can get greater control of his emotions and win more on hard courts. Plus, his samurai look enhances the angry role he seems to play.

13. Marin Cilic

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 20

    Wimbledon Result: Officially, Marin Cilic moved up nine slots with his ranking to No. 20. But Cilic has been more impressive than that in 2014. Even better, he is No. 12 on the Race to London. Always a dangerous grass-court player, he crushed Tomas Berdych in the third round and pushed Novak Djokovic to five sets in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. 

    U.S. Open Outlook: Cilic has the opportunity to pick up more rankings points in the summer. He will not be defending results until October because of his four-month doping suspension a year ago. Since his return, Cilic has shown more tenacity, and he could repeat his Wimbledon success at the U.S. Open.

12. Alexandr Dolgopolov

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    Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 19

    Wimbledon Result: Alexandr Dolgopolov lost in the third round to Grigor Dimitrov in a match that he probably should have won. Nevertheless, his energetic power and attacking tennis was a fine display and one of the highlights of Wimbledon. One round earlier, the wiry Ukrainian, who stands below six feet and weighs about 157 pounds, belted out 42 aces against Benjamin Becker.

    U.S. Open Outlook: He is very capable of winning a title or two on fast hard courts. His counter-punching attack style puts pressure on every opponent. The key will be his consistency, and if he has it, he might challenge for a quarterfinal or semifinal appearance at a big tournament like Toronto, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open.

11. Ernests Gulbis

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    Ben Curtis/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 13

    Wimbledon Result: Losing in the second round was a disappointment for Ernests Gulbis, a French Open semifinalist, but Sergiy Stakhovsky is a serve-and-volley specialist who can make life difficult for anyone at Wimbledon. (Just ask Roger Federer's fans about Wimbledon 2013.) Still, Gulbis needs to consistently penetrate the second week at majors if he is to be a serious Top 10 contender.

    U.S. Open Outlook: He should be ready for a big summer. Fast hard courts favor his serve and groundstrokes power. However, he must be prepared for some well-deserved fan antagonism at the Canada Open. If he survives, nobody will want to play him at Cincinnati and New York.

10. Kei Nishikori

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 11

    Wimbledon Result: Getting to the fourth round and losing to Milos Raonic is a solid result for Kei Nishikori, who lacks a Wimbledon kind of serve. Had he passed that test, he would have had a great shot at making a run at the semifinals. "I’m frustrated that I lost today,” Nishikori said in The Japan Times. “I want to go further next year.”

    U.S. Open Outlook: His biggest test will be the pounding he takes on North American hard courts to close out the summer. He has excellent timing and hand-eye coordination and is becoming more competent against the top players. Can he make a deep run at the U.S. Open? "It depends on the draw but I think I can make the last eight (at the U.S. Open)," he added in The Japan Times.

9. Milos Raonic

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    Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 6

    Wimbledon Result: Will Milos Raonic prove that his semifinal run at Wimbledon was not just a mirage? The ATP is relentless, and he will need to keep improving. Just ask last year's young semifinal surprise, Jerzy Janowicz. For sure, Raonic served huge, but he also handled the pressure well in topping Kei Nishikori and 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios, who had just defeated Rafael Nadal. The downside for him was doing nothing to challenge Roger Federer, as he was broken in each set for a trio of 6-4 scores.

    U.S. Open Outlook: There will be pressure in defending his runner-up points at the Canada Open, and he must show that he is a legitimate contender at Cincinnati and New York. The hard courts should favor his serve and help his more lumbering mobility. He's improving, but the jury's still out on just what kind of player he can become.

8. David Ferrer

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    Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 7

    Wimbledon Result: This was not the real David Ferrer at Wimbledon. The imposter that lost to unranked Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round was clearly sluggish or perhaps weakened by the flu problems that caused Ferrer to drop out of the Topshelf Open. He drops three slots in the rankings, and he will need a big few months to ensure that he qualifies for the ATP final in London.

    U.S. Open Outlook: We keep wondering when Ferrer will suddenly feel his age. For years, he has summoned up the energy to fly around the globe in search of mid-level clay-court tournaments to pad his ranking and put away retirement funds. But with the next generation of tennis talent beginning to make noise, Ferrer will be battling to stay in the top 10. 

7. Tomas Berdych

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    Ben Curtis/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 5

    Wimbledon Result: It's strange that Berdych, ranked No. 5, lost to Marin Cilic, then ranked No. 29, and it doesn't even feel like an upset. Berdych was out in the third round, and while this underscores the remarkable consistency that he has had in climbing to the mid-rounds, he rarely knocks on the contender's door.

    U.S. Open Outlook: Forever pushed aside by ATP legends Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Berdych will now feel the squeeze from the success of newcomers like Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios. Can a guy get respect? Maybe he will sneak up on everyone at the U.S. Open and bid for a title, but until it happens, nobody is going to talk about it.

6. Andy Murray

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    Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 10

    Wimbledon Result: When he lost on clay, his least favorite surface, to Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinals, it was a success. When he lost on grass, his favorite surface, to Grigor Dimitrov in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, it was a major disappointment. Andy Murray's reward was to lose his Wimbledon crown and fall five slots in the rankings. It was just another glimpse at how hard it is to be a top champion like Murray when the pressures, results and media reports change with the wind. 

    U.S. Open Outlook: The first thing Murray needs is to be healthy this summer. He should be able to compete much better without a painful back. Second, Murray will need to find more aggressive play. Whether new coach Amelie Mauresmo will work with him to find that aggression could be the key as to whether he will be competing for the U.S. Open title or watching younger players pass him by. There's only so much more time to get another major title or two.

5. Grigor Dimitrov

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    Ben Curtis/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 9

    Wimbledon Result: Grigor Dimitrov might now be halfway there if we used Roger Rasheed's standard for tennis progress. He survived a furious match against Alexandr Dolgopolov, crushed Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and had four set points in the fourth set before losing that set to Novak Djokovic. He and Djokovic also turned the baselines of Centre Court into amateur ice skating, with the Serbian staying on his feet at the end.

    U.S. Open Outlook: The problem with waiting for Dimitrov to develop into a star is everyone who wants an Instagram result. Building a player does not work with the speed and instant gratification of technology but rather in old-fashioned workouts and desire. By the latter measures, Dimitrov is progressing rapidly in 2014. He is fitter, stronger and more versatile. He has the makings of a champion, and the only thing that remains is to knock off a couple of final weekend matches to grab a Grand Slam trophy. He's on his way.

4. Stanislas Wawrinka

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    Toby Melville/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 4

    Wimbledon Result: He conquered Australia and Monte Carlo but flopped at the French Open. Wimbledon was a fine quarterfinals result, but he could not build on winning the first set against fellow Swiss Roger Federer. For now, he deserves to stay at No. 4 in the rankings, even if other tennis media and fans are more excited about younger, rising players.

    U.S. Open Outlook: The tough task for Wawrinka comes in defending his semifinal result in the 2013 U.S. Open. He could still get there. His game is best-suited for hard courts, but the ATP is growing more competitive, thanks in large part to...Wawrinka.

3. Roger Federer

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 3

    Wimbledon Result: He might have played his greatest match at Wimbledon, but losing the final to Novak Djokovic is the part that hurts. Roger Federer did everything he needed to do to put himself in position to win his eighth Wimbledon crown. And at age 32, his efforts, conditioning and skills are absolutely remarkable. He executed with his mind and heart but could not get over the hump against a younger champion who had to come up with his "A" game at the right times. Well done to Federer and for the way he has lifted tennis for more than a decade.

    U.S. Open Outlook: No doubt some rest is in order. He may be best advised to stay away from clay-court tournaments in July simply to rest his body and tune up for the North American swing. Federer should compete for the Canada Open, be the favorite for Cincinnati's faster surface and be one of the top contenders for the U.S. Open. It will be a tougher challenge in New York, facing a deeper field. He has not won there in six years, so he will need some breaks as well as his best tennis to try and get major No. 18 there.

2. Rafael Nadal

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    Ben Curtis/Associated Press

    ATP Ranking: 2

    Wimbledon Result: For all of Rafael Nadal's difficulties in 2014—losing the Australian Open final, dropping Indian Wells, getting drilled by Djokovic at Miami and losing at Monte Carlo and Rome—it must be remembered that Nadal did win the French Open, and he has won three of the last six majors. This year's Wimbledon run ended in the fourth round to super teen Nick Kyrgios, and not making the semifinals ultimately cost him the No. 1 ranking.

    U.S. Open Outlook: Don't expect Nadal to defend 4,000 points at Canada, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open, but do expect him to fight hard and be one of the favorites for New York's major title. Beyond that, can he win a title or two at Masters 1000 venues in the fall? The key will be his ability to defeat the second-tier players who are flexing their muscles. Nadal is arguably the favorite in semifinal and final matches at Grand Slam venues; nobody deals with pressure and makes adjustments the way Nadal can when a major is on the line. How much does he have left to keep doing this before he runs into a young opponent who suddenly plays like 2000 U.S. Open winner Marat Safin?

1. Novak Djokovic

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    ATP Ranking: 1

    Wimbledon Result: Novak Djokovic now has two Wimbledon titles and seven majors. Discussions of his greatness can continue with even more acclaim. The resilience he had to show in coming back in the fifth set after losing multiple opportunities to win the fourth set speaks volumes about his courage and strength of will. He was all too aware of the big matches he had not been able to win in majors the past couple of years. This Wimbledon victory might be the most important win of his career, one that can ease the burden of so many tough losses.

    U.S. Open Outlook: Now that Djokovic has reclaimed his No. 1 ranking, expect him to continue to pull away from Rafael Nadal in the near future. He can continue to widen their gap by winning any of the big North American titles, and the pressure should be reduced to try and capture his second U.S. Open title. He is the clear favorite to be the year-end No. 1 player. Other legacy note: Djokovic now ties Mats Wilander and John McEnroe with seven majors. He is clearly one of the top 10 players of the Open era.

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